Friday, 1 February 2013

Battle Of Bauernhof - 1739 (And a Bit)

Caeasar wrote this week's report of the Gong Garage Gamers meet:

Despite the defeat of the Pie Wars, Erzerhog von Sparker chose to tour Tuscany, allegedly in the company of one M’ Lady de Winter. His stalwart Chief of Staff, Graf Schmallenstein, hurriedly cobbled together the tattered remnants of the army of Sans Couleur and met the relentless onslaught of Riskovia on the undulating plains of Bauerhof.

Comte de Cesare, taking a well-earned rest with his wife, four mistresses, and twenty-seven children, handed command of the Riskovian forces to the recently promoted Count Johnovanovich Thomski, a veteran Turk slayer who returned to the western front escorted by his handpicked brigade of Albion.Count Thomski chose a somewhat symmetrical deployment with artillery in the centre, four battalions of infantry either side, flanked by a further two battalions of cavalry on the extreme flanks. Graf Schmallenstein adopted an aggressive posture, clumping all his infantry in march column on his right flank, guns centre and all his cavalry, well out of harm’s way and any prospect of combat, behind fields on the left.

The meeting engagement (each side starting with 6 action cards, balanced forces of eight foot, four horse, four guns) opened with Schmallenstein doing nothing… in order to stack his hand with cards. Thomski, seizing the opportunity to catch Sans Couleur units enfiladed in march column and making full use of his National Advantage of Artillery Academy, responded with a deafening bombardment, causing some disruption to a lead fusilier unit. The bombardment continued as Sans Coleur troops grimly closed with the enemy in march column, robot-like, the thick smoke causing one battalion to momentarily march straight at the enemy, as if guided by the malevolent hand of Count Thomski (“Confusion!” card).

The grand orchestra of the advance unfolded as the Sans Couleur troops wheeled sharply to the Riskovian left flank and changed formation into line for the fire fight to ensue. They had grossly underestimated the other National Advantage of Riskovia, being “Maison du Roi”, as they tried to match the elite Pink Guards of the Riskovian front rank, who lead a headlong charge against a heavily disrupted Sans Couleur line with predictable consequences – first blood and one Sans Coleur unit down. Again, as if guided by the enemy (“The Heat of Battle card), a Sans Coleur unit lost its cool and to the shouts of “revenge!” charged two enemy battalions, and swiftly dissolved in the melee despite its National Advantage of “a la Bayonette”. The Riskovian guns, now in canister range, raked the Sans Couleur flank, wiping out yet another battalion.

At this point the Sans Couleur main assault had fragmented into three separate formations with gaping holes caused by the loss of three battalions and Schmallenstein struggled to unite his infantry force once again to renew the offensive. Despite several charges by the indomitable Pink Guards, Sans Coleur managed to link up the battle line and began to envelop the Riskovian flank, checked only by a half-brigade of hussars who attempted to charge a formed line and learnt its lesson dearly. Both sides were drastically down on action cards, but the enveloping Sans Coleur firing lines began to even up the casualty count, with the loss of a precious Pink Guards battalion and another less-prestigious fusilier unit.

After a couple of hours of dogged fighting a gentleman's truce was called, with army morale on both sides at 10 (from 16), two battalions lost from Riskovia, three battalions from Sans Couleur, and Sans Couleur in a marginally better position to exploit the flank, though probably no time soon. Though not decisive, still a very enjoyable game of Maurice which cast light on some of the nuances of manoeuvre in the Age of Reason and plenty of practice at close combat. Sadly and yet again, the Albion brigade was well out of the action and will have to wait another day to earn its stripes.

Thanks to Lord Saunders of Alan for supplying the splendidly gaudy coloured troops, sitting patiently on the side lines with Lord Saunders Senior, and containing his criticism while I did absolutely nothing with my cavalry wing.

Once again I took the photos and, of course, most of the figures are unpainted still.

Riskovians deployed for battle:

San Couleur cavalry. It spent the whole battle doing nothing.

The infantry lines advance towards each other.

Riskovian cavalry charges.

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