Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pfalz-Kognat-Obersaynische Action at Steinkreisdorf

Force-marching to Mainz, the Herzogerheer was able, after some consultation between the Elector Archbishop and Monsignor de Chiaroscuro, to cross the Rhein by means of the Elector's pontoon bridge, and proceed up the Main valley towards Frankfurt.

Near the hamlet of Steinkreisdorf just north of the city, the lead elements of the Herzogerheer encountered the pickets of the Franco-Imperial troops. Germanian forces were moving on Frankfurt through the crossroads village of Steinkreisdorf, and initial battle lines had already been formed as the Herzogerheer marched into the Imperial camp.

After a brief consultation with the other general officers of the combined Franco-Imperial force, it was decided to deploy the Herzogerheer to fill a gap in the center of the line, between Steinkreisdorf and the smaller hamlet of Ostburg, with the Obersaynische dragoons, von Bacharach infantry and most of the artillery train held in deep reserve, since the congested state of the animal tracks which served as roads around the tiny town were already jammed by the numerous regiments already deployed.

Immediately to the left of the sector assigned to the Herzogerheer were two Imperial converged grenadier battalions, two battalions of foot, and the Courland Timofievich Cossacks whose commanding general had been rendered hors de combat during an ill-advised reconaissance before the commencement of main action by a lucky sharpshooter of a Germanian Jaeger unit. The now-leaderless units were summarily transferred to the command of Generalmajor vom und zum Riesling, while his grace oversaw the deployment of the Herzogerheer to their right.

When vom und zum Riesling arrived to assume command, the Imperial forces were confronted by a squadron of Germanian cuirassiers, a squadron of dragoons, and two battalions of foot. A shallow stream separated the two armies, which, upon vom und zum Riesling's arrival, began advancing towards each other.

Uncertain of the reliability of the cossack force based upon his experiences of the unreliability of the similar grenzer forces which he had encountered in his service against the Turk, vom und zum Riesling paired one of the two converged grenadier battalions with the cossacks to confront the Germanian horse, while one of the hat battalions was advanced to confront the frontline Germanian infantry.

A sharp exchange of fire commenced between the Imperial hat battalion and the Germanian battalion, including its grenadiers. The superiour numbers and, perhaps, good fortune of the Germanians told from the start, as the initial volley of the Germanians blasted over a third of the Imperial battalion away.

The battered battalion stood to return fire, but the second Germanian volley proved too much, and the unit broke and ran, leaving the second-line Imperial unit, which had commenced a wheel to secure the bridge over the stream with its left flank dangerously exposed. The cossacks found themselves, as well, now confronted with two far heavier cavalry units splashing across the stream to their front, with the converged grenadier unit threatened by Germanian units to either flank.


Making a virtue of necessity, vom und zum Riesling elected to order the cossacks to secure the gap left by the flight of the Imperial infantry. Maneuvering with remarkable celerity, the cossacks wheeled into the gap between the Imperial first and second echelons. This gambit risked disaster if either the Germanian horse or foot advanced on the exposed grenadiers, who could be pushed calamitously into the cossacks as they passed, reducing all to confusion...



But in fact, the Germanian forces, slowed by the stream did not immediately advance. The now somewhat depleted foot unit preferred instead to wheel slightly to take a better angle of fire on the grenadiers, while the Germanian horse paused to reorganise after fording the stream. This gave the cossacks the desperately needed opportunity to complete their advance into the gap left by the broken Imperial infantry, and to begin to envelop the flank of the advanced Germanian foot. The second echelon battalion of converged Imperial grenadiers now commenced a wheel to the left to cover the exposed left of the forward battalion of grenadiers, who were now exchanging murderous fire with the Germanian foot.


The cossacks, unable to wheel to take the first echelon Germanian foot in the flank, elected instead to throw themselves forward to assay the flank of the second echelon Germanian infantry unit, hoping to draw its fire or to bypass it entirely to operate in the rear of the Germanian lines. The Germanian reserve unit stood stolidly as the cossacks galloped by, less than 50 yards from their left flank, but held their fire and watched the light horsemen, yipping and screaming, storm by.


The superiour training and elan of the grenadiers now began to tell in the firefight over the streambed. Even as their numbers dwindled to just over half their original effective strength, the Imperial grenadiers phelgmatically clung to their drill, pouring volley after volley into the forward Germanian infantry battalion. Already bloodied by the earlier exchange with the Imperial hat battalion, the resolve of the grenadiers proved too much for the Germanian foot, who wavered, and then broke.

The second echelon battalion of Imperial grenadiers had by now advanced to secure the first echelon's left, just in time to meet the advance, first of the Germanian dragoons, who had the better of the fight but elected to fall back to permit the Germanian cuirassiers to attempt a second charge. The cuirassiers, though, were thrown into disorder splashing across the stream, and were slashed by a storm of lead from the grenadiers. The charge of the cuirassiers disintegrated into chaotic butchery, and all momentum from the cuirassiers' chargers was lost. The Germanian horse broke and were thrown back, routing back to the Germanian rear, just as the cossacks completed their wheel around the Germanian reserve infantry to the open ground behind them...
The Germanian second echelon infantry now advanced to attempt to finish off the battered Imperial grenadier unit which had routed its first-echelon partner, and the remaining Imperial hat battalion on the Imperial right now splashed into the stream to menace the Germanian foot's left, while the Germanian dragoons wheeled about to attempt to salvage the honour of the Germanian cavalry by charging again into the grenadiers on the Imperial left.
The combined musket and cannister of the fresh, second-echelon Germanian battalion indeed proved too much for the grenadiers in the Imperial center, who broke and fell back before rallying some distance behind the stream. At the same time, though, the withering fire of the Imperial grenadiers on the left raked the Germanian infantry, reducing them to less than half their original numbers, and, most disastrously, the cossacks now rode down the broken remnants of the Germanian cuirassiers, with an easy wheel to come back around and finish off not only the broken Germanian foot fleeing on the Germanian left, but also to dispatch the dragoons if additional fire from the stronger Imperial grenadiers opposite them finally broke them. The situation for the Germanian brigade seemed lost, and the commander ordered his bugler to sound retreat.


Meanwhile, his grace Herzog Ignaz faced a somewhat different, if no less determined foe further off to vom und zum Riesling's right. The Leib-Kürassiere and the vom und zum Riesling and the von Bernkastel infantry regiments accompanied by the two new light seven-pound howitzers of von Rebholz's expanded artillery train were deployed against two squadrons of Germanian superiour hussars, a battalion of Jaeger, and two battalions of Germanian infantry.

As vom und zum Riesling had done, Herzog Ignaz's first attentions were to securing the bridge over the stream to permit quick deployment, especially of the howitzers, over the stream. When the enemy hussars ventured too close to the Leib-Kürassiere, though, the impetuosity of their charge quickly altered plans.


Met by a countercharge by the hussars, both the Leib-Kürassiere and hussars splashed into the stream in bloody hand-to-hand. Complete disorder ensued, but the superiour weight and armour of the Leib-Kürassiere first pushed the hussars back up onto the stream banks, and then broke them entirely. The Leib-Kürassiere pursued, running the survivors down in sanguinary punctuation.


The vom und zum Riesling infantry at the same time confronted the Jaeger across the stream. The Jaeger were able to fire first, but their much smaller numbers meant that their fire was almost swallowed up by the Obersaynische foot without visible consequence, while the vom und zum Riesling return volley devastated the Germanian Jaeger, who broke and ran.


Sensing the opportunity for a decisive breakthrough, Herzog Ignaz now sounded the general advance. The howitzers were limbered and advanced to the stream banks, while the vom und zum Riesling and von Bernkastel regiments marched into the stream to press the advantage. The Germanians, though, remained undaunted, and the Germanian first echelon infantry advanced to meet the Obersaynische infantry battalions as they attempted to reorder themselves on the far side of the stream. The first Germanian volley ripped into the vom und zum Riesling battalion, already bloodied by the Jaeger, and the Obersaynische foot broke and fled.


The Germanian second echelon infantry, rather than following its partner into melee with the Obersaynische foot wheeled to its right to confront the Leib-Kürassiere as they thundered in pursuit of stragglers from the butchered hussars. The Germanians loosed their first volley into the Obersaynische horse at moderate range, but the armour of the Leib-Kürassiere proved good and only the flanks of the unit were bloodied. The Jaeger, steadied by the covering fire of the Germanian second-echelon close order unit, now rallied, and attempted to bring fire to bear upon the Leib-Kürassiere as well, but succeeded only in drawing the charge of the Obersaynische heavy horse upon them where they stood in the open, breaking them and scattering them as well.


Now the sector hung in the balance, as the Germanian second-echelon continued to wheel to its right, by now completely facing to the rear of the main line in an attempt to bring fire on the Leib-Kürassiere, while the first-echelon exchanged fire with the disordered von Bernkastel infantry just over the bridge. In a crucial moment of decision, the Oberst of the Germanian first-echelon battalion elected not to charge the von Bernkastelers, preferring instead to continue to exchange fire, not noticing the successful fording of the stream just to the von Bernkasteler right of one of the two seven pound howitzers which, when the initial discharge of the artillery ripped into the Germanian left, sowed panic down the Germanian line. The Germanian battalion broke and fled to the rear, towards the Leib-Kürassiere dispatching the final remains of the Jaeger.

News of the cossacks and Leib-Kürassiere operating in their rear spread like wildfire throughout the Germanian sector, reaching the Germanian Generalmajor just before word of the astonishing storming of the Germanian left by a combined Gallian-Saxe Jungbach brigade led by the prodigious subaltern Fahnrich von Austin. Electing to salvage what he could from the sector, the Germanian commander sounded the retreat, leaving the field in the hands of the forces of the Herzogerheer.

The Leib-Kürassiere have been awarded the battle honour "Steinkreisdorf" for the action above reported, and a further list of honours and decorations will be forthcoming at the Neuweinsfest in Hunsruck this week.

14 comments:

Bluebear Jeff said...

An excellent battle report . . . your forces have certainly earned the respect of those Germanians this day.


-- Jeff

Anonymous said...

Well done Paul!
Applause and many loud bravos!
Bill/Chevert

ColCampbell50 said...

Paul,

Thank you for the excellent write-up and pictures of this portion of the battlefield. I was so engrossed with fending off Msr. Chevert's cavalry and Msr. Gilles' infantry that I missed what was happening with my Cossacks. It appears that they also will acquire a "Steinkreisdorf" battle streamer as well, especially since they were mentioned in Herr Blei-Sammeln's dispatch.

Jim

Capt Bill said...

What an inspiring battle report! Thanks...

Der Alte Fritz said...

Excellent battle report and pictures. How did all of those Cossacks get a free ride through the rear of the Germanain lines?

All in all, a splendid looking BAR game.

Fitz-Badger said...

Is there an echo? Looks like this blog post got duplicated.
Excellent report and photos! (worth a second look, I guess ;-) )

andygamer said...

What are most of the figures, Paul?

Herzog Ignaz said...

The Imperial and Germanian troops were of unknown provenance, having been assigned to me on the spot, but the Pfalz-Kognat-Obersayn foot were Revell 1/72 Austrians, while the Leib-Kürassiere are RSM Austrian cuirassiers. The howitzers are RSM as well, but the battalion guns were Revell 1/72 Austrian artillery.

The cossacks were permitted into the Germanian rear because every unit past whom they rode either had a more pressing unit to their front or held fire to preserve the first fire bonus for a seemingly more worthy unit behind it.

A J Matthews said...

An excellent battle report! Thank you for sharing.

Frankfurter said...

finally got to view it this Sunday morning.
Alas, I'd rather be at Mass, but that's how things are ...
Anyway, it is a lovely job!
:)
A

tidders said...

Great battle report and pictures

-- Allan

MurdocK said...

Love the use of the pictures!

Great that table actions are continuing!

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