Sunday, 17 September 2017

The War of the Spanish Succession: The Battle of Oudenarde July 11th 1708 (Part 4) The Ground was Soaked in Blood

As fire and fury erupted in the infantry conflict for the village a more stately procession of squadron after squadron of horse arrayed themselves to the north of Groenenwald, In fact the French had so many horse they sent away a full two regiments to their left flank where the Dragoons of John Churchill were making so much mischief. A decision they bitterly regretted later (see below):

The French were quite happy to play the defensive and form a front to await the outcome of the infantry assault. The Prussian General in turn deployed his cavalry within charge range of the French ti tempt them forwards. Still the French did not come so a  unit of Prussian Dragoons were sent north of the windmill to outflank the French wing. As it stood the Prussians had a tactical advantage of the "charge" bonus and of the attached leadership of a General. Sensing the hour of need was at hand, with his orders to support the Hanoverian infantry to his right and seeing the intent French on pressing their infantry attack in the centre the Prussian General attached himself to the lead cavalry unit and committed unto a desperate charge (see below, yes the French commander at this moment was regretting sending those "extra" horse away to the other flank):

The cavalry line was engulfed with furious hand to hand fighting. After the charge the results seemed to be swinging towards the Allied side as the French were more disordered. As a means using them rather than losing them, the French committed to a cavalry charge against the Hanoverian line infantry to support the final heave of their infantry against the village of Groenewald. With both flanks secured they Hanoverian landsers held fast (see below):  

Meanwhile after more hand-to-hand combat the French cavalry were bested, either being routed or left in disorder. The battle was not over by a long margin but the immediate danger of a central collapse of the Allied line was averted. Eyes turned back to the French Infantry battling in the town to see that they too had been repulsed in their final attack and were reforming, unlike their cavalry who had been scattered (see below):

The Allied line looked much more ordered than the French who were bunched in a compressed salient, hindering each others effective deployment. The danger being that a simple reverse would ripple disorder through the ranks as retreating troops fell back on fresh. The French commander had a worried air about himself at this point. The Allied infantry were ponderously trying to close the door between the central village (Groenewald) and the "windmill" (which unhelpfully had lost its sails) [middle left in the photo] to twist their disadvantaged dangerous "L" into a battle winning position (see below):

The two French regiments of horse reappear from their futile traverse of the French lines to face off the enthused and victorious Prussians who are screening the advancing Allied infantry. The French infantry (now two brigades) although not disordered and are still "packed together" (see below):

With the "crisis" of defence passed, Marlborough now pondered the point of his attack. Additional French reinforcements can be seen moving up in the background. Now was teh time to press the Allied advantage.

Friday, 15 September 2017

The War of the Spanish Succession: The Battle of Oudenarde July 11th 1708 (Part 3) O' Fortuna

There then came to the matter of a small village. They, the French had it, and we sir wanted it and that was the matter of it. The men in scarlet advanced, there was disorder all round and the smoke of battle made the scene quite intense (see below, the French and British infantry come to grips with one another):

For a moment the French looked to have the better of it as they regained their order and pressed forwards (see below, the British are stalled and the French battalion has regained its initial composure and a fresh new French brigade of infantry can be seen advancing menacingly):

At this moment John Churchill (Allied C-in-C) stepped forwards and commanded a column of mounted Dragoons to come timely at the gallop and charge the French infantry while they disposed in line and vulnerable to such a swift move. The French infantry in local command were entirely focused upon their British infantry they were too late in coming to aware of this new danger. They broke and fled back into the village whence they first came (see below the action of the charge):

Although the local danger had passed and one jaw of death had been averted the fresh French infantry brigade posed a second jaw even more dangerous (see below the French infantry battalion is scattered but the British line is in disarray):

With the dexterity of a great captain of antiquity Marlborough straitened his lines, withdrawing his cavalry to a useful reserve position but despite his best efforts the "L" of the Allies looked very vulnerable. The whole defensive position depended upon a garrisoned village of Groenewald holding its nerve in teh battle to come (see below, if Groenewald falls [in the centre of the battlefield] the flanks of both Allied brigades would be mercilessly exposed )

It is at this very point the French Commander hurls the fresh French infantry newly arrived on the battlefield. The smoke of battle once again engulfs the field of play (see below, without the expedience of time for a softening up barrage with artillery the French go in):

This gentlemen is warfare in "The Age of Reason", mathematical but more the bloody for its application.

Next: The Dark Heart of the Matter

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Arghh .. Bit Rot

I bought them long ago. I first (with my sensible head on) tried them all to see that they all "worked" then put them back on the shelf for that rainy day when I would need them.

Then that rainy day came and I slipped the CD into the computer and .. nothing, Data .. what data? Sigh. Bit rot?

To be precise I cannot see my Wargames Illustrated CD 3 (The Green One).

Sad face!

The bizarre thing is that I was not searching for an article but for an Old Glory advert which (if my befuddled memory serves me well) showed some 15mm 1815 French Line Infantry. I wanted to use that as a basis of a painting guide. That info I can get from "other" internet image searches however that's not the point.

Instead of "painting" I find myself backing up what I still have on the "old" CDs to an external hard drive to 'make it last longer'. Oh for the cloud in this scenario! There is currently a lot of chunking from my computer's CD Drive to external Hard Drive going on just now!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Missed it but it appeared to be a very good one!

UK Connections 2017 has come and gone. It looked to be a brilliant one judging by the blog posts and write ups:

Interestingly they made the BBC News:

Past Perspectives (MegaGame Designers):

Bob Cordery:

PaxSims (Rex):

I am looking forward to the post-conference lecture slides and audio to be uploaded to their site:

Of interest already is their Introduction to Wargaming download (if you do not know who was Von Rieswitz was then take a sneak peek at slide 5 and find out):

Sadly one of those events I would have loved to have gone to but logistics and time away from the family forbade it :(

Monday, 7 August 2017

The War of the Spanish Succession: The Battle of Oudenarde July 11th 1708 (Part 2) Blood is Spilled

The dismounted Dragoons do their bit and give the Bavarian's a nasty surprise (see below):

All is going to plan the Bavarian's are discomforted but have extended out to match the British frontage. A rather ominous brigade formation of French Infantry can be seen in the distance. It has emerged having crossed the French held river bank and is the first sign of French reinforcements (see below):

The Bavarian's charge home with half their force in disorder (see below):

The first round of combat merely serves to disorder the furthest British unit, but a ripe chance is missed to rout the disordered Bavarian unit (a disordered unit that loses a melee routs). The dismounted British Dragoons try and cause 'insult to injury' as the Bavarian cavalry continue with the second round of melee home, but "aim high" (see below):

The swirling melee results in the disordered cavalry of both sides being routed. The "Hinge Factor" here being the remaining British unit is disorder but not the remaining Bavarian. The British unit finds itself in mortal peril (see below):

It all hangs in the balance as a third round of cavalry combat ensues as the British Infantry relentlessly pursue the retreating Swiss who fall back to a French Battalion holding the next hamlet (see middle right of photo). The Allied Hanoverian Brigade can be seen (bottom of the photo) in column and deploying in line to form the centre of the Allied line of battle. The French reinforcements, fresh cavalry and infantry, are clearly visible in the top of the photograph. (see below):

John Churchill (Marlborough) is keen to press the advantage and orders and immediate attack. The resulting firefight checks the first British Infantry battalion. The Swiss meanwhile rally from rout and disorder and form a second line behind the French Infantry (see below):

These early battles are setting the scene as Marlborough (me) is keen to push forward risking gaps and flanks to gain the advantage of a faster rate of deployment, while the wily French general is happy to 'play for time by trading ground and shortening his lines of communication' and slow the British down hoping they will "over extend themselves".

Next: Feeding the Fire