Sunday, October 18, 2009

Battle of Anheuser

Tabletop battlefield map

A proxy battle for Beerstein and Frankzonia.

The Frankzonian militia had gone brigand and fled from the pursuing forces of Baron von Ballpark. Certain that these 'militia' were not going to be able to form a credible force, Baron von Ballpark decided to continue to round them up after a leisurely breakfast in the woods gap.

M. Gen. Ziegfeldt von Phaulie, commander of the foot brigade, decided to allow the Sultan of Swat to lead the pursuit with his dragoons the Magellicas.


The morning orders were clear from Major General Adolph von Coors, and rumor was that the Prince was in HQ, the second brigade was to press on past the town of Anheuser and seek out the brigands or the marauding force of cavalry that was suspected of being in the area. Since this was Brigadier General Barley Anheuser's own provincial territory he had great stock in making sure that the status quo returned quickly.

Upon reaching the area the Olendenberg Grenzers reported spotting actual columns of men moving out from the norther wald regions.

Not one to put up with such open defiance of his territory Anheuser ordered the Grenz to investigate and personally led the musketeers of the second brigade, Isenbeck and the Pabst Musketeers to investigate.


"Zo, what again is ze zignal?" the wretched looking man asked Vizegraf von Dumbkoff of Hesse-Holstadt. Tired of repeating this, yet willing to see the plan through to the end.

"When you see me throw this yellow kerchief." For added emphasis the Vizegraf threw his silk kerchief on the ground.

Grinning a nearly toothless grin the Holstadt agent/veteran nodded and tramped off into the woods to the north. Somewhere in those woods the rest of these grizzled veterans had infiltrated part of the nearby garrisons of Frankzonia, now these troops had managed to stir up some of the Frankzonian regulars. These troops were even now moving towards this part of Beerstein, provided the other agents information was correct, there would be a meeting engagement here today. With luck Hesse-Holstadt would catch the flank of an exposed Beerstein brigade and rout it.


The Olendenberg Grenzers had reached the ridge line, they were looking at a curious sight. Two lines of irregular troops had formed, there was a column marching behind them in the distance. They appeared to be making ready to fight and at the same time looking all over the place as though seeking a place for shelter ... or pursuit.

Only a minute after the runner was sent off to inform Anheuser there was a rapid movement at the edge of the distant woods, emerging from the trees were lines of well mounted dragoons. In a uniform pattern that none of the Grenzers had seen before, nor could they positively identify as being from Hesse-Holstadt. More than that they saw the rear column of men start to form a 'square' that more resembled an egg shaped mob.

The nearest lines of men continued to advance on the Grenzers, who followed discipline and began skirmish fire on them. These strange troops then 'attempted' to return fire with pistols, musketoons and old matchlocks. Their effect was to bring chuckles of pity from the Grenzers.

A second volley was preparing to come from the main line of Grenzers when half of these odd-ball troops suddenly began pulling muskets and carbines out from packs and coat rolls, tossing aside their pistols and useless matchlocks they began to pour out a suddenly lethal and effective fire. The hidden Holstadt veterans appeared!


It was here that the real battle began, my son Alex was playing the young and impressionable Anheuser who very quickly picked up on the strange movements of these 'militia' lines. He was then really shocked to see the Hesse-Holstadt advance guard show up on his left flank.

Not wasting a moment, Peter in command of the Hesse-Holstadt forces, rushed the dragoons into the action in an attempt to pin Anheuser in place long enough to get the rest of the Hesse-Holstadt army up to catch this one brigade alone.

Reacting quickly Anheuser pushed his forces to the ridge line, to gain the high ground in the area and ordered the rear unit Isenbeck Musketeers to form square to face the oncoming horsemen.

Hesse-Holstadt troopers did not oblige and tracked their charges into the Grenzers and the Pabst Musketeers in an attempt to catch them in the flank in line!

Meanwhile the Frankzonians had continued to press on these naughty militia. The dragoons scattered one unit, then formed up into line with the Hussars. The militia force Graubenbauer was clearly not behaving like any militia they had seen ever before. More than that they appeared to have a mix of muskets and carbines!

Artillery was brought up to break the resolve of these units before any cavalry would test them.

The first rush of dragoons did not work.

Brigadier Anheuser himself studied this strange force of militia and distant cavalry. Certainly these were not Hesse-Holstadt soldiers. Who were they and which side were they on?

Hesse-Holstadt troops were certainly on the field and now they were closing on the Grenzers with Jagers!

At last Anheuser had a name for the Hesse-Holstadt brigadier he was facing, von Dumbkoff!

The Hesse-Holstadt dragoon charges had left them disordered and not able to directly support each other. It was this moment that Major General Adolph von Coors arrived with the rest of the Beerstein forces. The Holsein Lieb Hussars have a vulnerable and juicy target for the start of the day ~ the 1st Pferdendung Dragoons of Hesse-Holstadt!

Shocked at what came next the Frankzonian artillery blasted grapeshot into the red capped militiamen, the went wild into a frenzy and charged up the hill into the Pabst Musketeers. Upon arrival at the Musketeers these poor men were found to be very nearly unarmed, swinging virtually useless broken musketoons and matchlocks without bayonets or even pikes! They were sent back with extreme losses, driven towards the guns that had sent them into such a frenzy!

Meanwhile the rest of the Beerstein forces had arrived and the gun batteries had started a furious pounding of the nearest Hesse-Holstadt dragoons.

Baron von Ballpark was really confused now. The militia had been more or less contained or dispatched into the woods areas before them ... now he could hear a major artillery duel taking place beyond the ridgeline in front of him! The lead elements were coming back with dispatches to him about a battle with troops in Prussian looking uniforms and others in Austrian looking uniforms. A messenger also came back with a Grenzer that insisted they were in the Reich Duchy of Beerstein!?!

The Hesse-Holstadt cavalry was taking a pounding and any more losses might force the whole army to retire from the field. The commander in chief Flugelheim was not going to let that happen. Immediately he recalled all the cavalry into a reserve position and re-organized his forward lines to support the two remaining batteries of artillery.

They had lost one entire battery to the charge of Beerstein's Holstein Leib Hussar!

Seeing the re-organization going on opposite him, von Coors ordered similar linear preparations, seen here are the Grenadiers being sent to the far right flank of the forming line ... to anchor it against a Hesse-Holstadt flank move.

The critical moment had come for von was the moment to strike for a victory!

Anheuser is directed to hit at the Jagers which had broken through the Grenzers and tip the scales in Beerstein's favor.

Meanwhile the no-mans-land was filled with the smoke and shell of four batteries exchanging fire between the two lines.

The grand overview of the battlefield showing Frankzonian troops to the far right, Hesse-Holstadt to the center and left, and Beerstein in the center and lower left.

Further overview, Frankzonia to the top, Beerstein to the right and Hesse-Holstadt to the left.

Carnage in the no-mans-land continued during the artillery duel, with both Hesse-Holstadt and Beerstein troops being lost. Beerstein was coming out on the loosing end of the duel, taking losses at a rate of 2:1, huge gaps were forming in the lines of musketeers and grenadiers.

Frankzonian view of the battle continued to be one of monitoring the fleeing militia and coming to grips with where they were, Beerstein?!?

The final gambit of Anheuser had failed, the Pabst Musketeers failed to inflict any casualties on the advancing Hesse-Holstadt Jagers who just missed taking the colors of Pabst and Anheuser himself! The brigadier had stayed with the men providing a final morale push and saber slashing his way out from the melee once the lines had broken.

Nightfall came, finding the Hesse-Holstadt commander Flugelheim in no mind to continue any pursuit as he was not at all sure what the Frankzonians were going to do and his cavalry was in no shape to match up with the remaining Beerstein horse.

von Coors retired from the field by nightfall and set upon making sure that the Alesgarden bridges over the river Amstal would be well guarded.


Bluebear Jeff said...

It seems that some folks were in the wrong place at the wrong time . . . and a merry melee did ensue.

What rules did you use, Murdock?

-- Jeff

Capt Bill said...

What a wonder battle, wish I could have been there. Although I have painted some of my Hesse-Holstadt army I have not named them yet. I will take on the names you provided, they look great. Please provide me your order of battle and officer names so they can be included. Thanks and best regards...Bill

abdul666 said...

Tolkien gave us the Battle of Five Armies: thanks for sharing with us this exciting Battle of Three and a Half Armies!

Fitz-Badger said...

Excellent battle report! Sounds like a fun and interesting game.

MurdocK said...

Rules were modified SHAKO, by consent with Peter.

Capt Bill, I will dig out the list if I can, my primary system is out right now having caught a 'bug' last night ~ sigh ~

Ya the 3+ troop mix was fun coming up with while working from the 'raw' data that Beerstein and Frankzonia game me for starting with.

Fun? Well my son Alex was most distressed when he thought he was going to get overwhelmed by the or more to one odds!

Capt Bill said...

Tell Alex not to be too concerned that's what the fog of war is all about...

Frankfurter said...

Given that the mutineers etc. seem to have risen due to the activities of the Hesse-Holstadt forces, and given the the prior good relations with Saxe-Beerstein (who are also loyal supporters of the Merry Teaser, the Empress of the Oysterriech_) V. Ballpark will probably offer compensation to the Beerstein leaders and suggest a pursuit of the Hesse Holstadt forces.

The Hurtshog, unfortunately, is far to the north, monitoring the greater collisions between Gallia and Hesse Seewald!


MurdocK said...

yes Arthur the Hurtshog will support Beerstein ... will the local commander so that? Will he fall back?

Will the Beerstein high command risk connecting with Frankzonian forces in the woods?

Are there more Hesse-Holstadt forces lurking just over the border? Have they already begun re-enforcement?

So many questions ... so few answers.

Frankfurter said...

V. Ballpark is fairly cognizant of the Hurtshog's overall strategy ... which requires a strong Beerstein as a foil against Stagonia among other things.
V. Ballpark himself is very likely to try to locate Beerstein captives or wounded and return them to the Beerstein field commander with profound apologies (and explanations) on behalf of Frankszonia.
On the other hand, messengers are sure to be dashing to Frankfurter and Oscar Meyer, whose ability to generate rapid strategic movements is legendary ....

Rafael Pardo said...

I have enjoyed the AAR and the pictures... ¡a great battle!
What's the next one?

Grimsby Mariner said...

Great stuff Murdock. Makes me want to get away from the painting desk and onto the tabletop - just work stopping me at the moment.

Keep up the good work.