Monday, October 12, 2009

Battle of Schaumburg - Part II

The Erbprinz Friedrich and his staff assemble on the Muhlenberg. Behind them one can see the attack force of infantry and cavalry that would soon be unleashed upon the French centre on the Schmeideberg heights. (CLICK PIX TO ENLARGE)

The battle in the center stretched from the little village of Leiha on the left, running over the elevated height of the Schmeideberg to the right of Leiha, and continuing on to the Pheasantry, which was a sort of dividing line between the fighting for Tagewerben and that of the high ground. The Erbprinz planned to strike the heights with the brigades (from right to left) of Itzenplitz (4btns), Saldern's Guards Brigade (3btns), and von Bevern's brigade (4btns). Each line infantry brigade had a battery of two six pounders, for mobility's sake and the Guards had a supporting heavy battery consisting of a 10-inch howitzer and a light 12-pounder. Cavalry support was provided by 8 squadrons of elite guard cavalry (CR10 Gensdarmes, and CR13 Garde du Corps, both cuirassiers).

The Hesse Seewald Garde (IR6 - Suren figures) of von Saldern's Guards Brigade march into the village of Posendorf at the foot of the Schmeideberg. Itzenplitz's brigade can be seen to the right of the village along with the artillery batteries of the two brigades. The heights are not yet occuppied by the French.

I spoke too soon, for now one can see the French artillery trudging up the opposite side of the Schmiedeberg. They would win the race to the top.

On the next turn, the French artillery began to limber while three French infantry battalions close up behind them. The battalion in the second rank, Regt. Guyenne, would be awarded a battle honour for its stalwart fighting today.

The Cavalry Battle At Leiha
While Itzenplitz and Saldern were trudging up the slopes of the Schmeideberg (Pratzen Heights), the Prussian guard cavalry sought to exploit a gap that appeared to exist at the foot of the heights, near the village of Leiha.

Prussian Gensdarmes (CR10) gallop towards the undefended gap between the villages of Posendorf (in the background) and Leiha (in the foreground). The end of the Schmiedeberg can be seen to the immediate left.

As commander of the Prussian guard cavalry, I looked across the field and saw nothing but open fields ahead of me, and no French infantry or cavalry around Turn 3 of the game. So I decided not to wait for the infantry to take Leiha, on the far side of the table, but slap leather and charge on ahead and try to disrupt the French as best I could. With the five squadron Gensdarmes (CR10) and the three squadrons of Garde du Corps (CR13) I figured that I could handle anything that the French could throw at me. So proceed I did, cutting a rather dashing figure if I do say so myself.

The French cavalry regiment Royal arrived to plug the gap between Leiha and the heights, but with only 3 squadrons, they would be no match for the Prussian guard cavalry of 8 squadrons. To the right, IR34 Hesse Seewald Kadet Korps (Minden Miniatures) advance towards the heights in column of grand divisions. They were in a hurry to scale the heights and did not take the time to stop and shake out into a line. So they would attack in a rare column formation for the sake of speed.

The Prussian Gensdarmes pitch into the French Royals, who are now reinforced by a squadron of Maison du Roi horse grenadiers (red coats) and a squadron of French Carabiniers ( I think), giving the French 5 squadrons versus an initial 5 squadrons of Prussians. However, the Garde du Corps proved to be the difference as they Royals routed and the other two squadrons fell back to their infantry supports. On the right, IR334 Kadet Korps has now deployed into two supporting lines of two grand divisions, due to the space restrictions on the hill. They engage a French infantry battalion in a firefight.

After the first grand cavalry melee, both sides' squadrons retired 24 inches to the rear to reform. This allowed von Bevern to advance his brigade forward to capture Leiha and hopefully burst through the gap create by the guard cavalry. The Prussian guard cavalry then returned and charged into a battalion of les Gardes Suisses infantry that was advancing into the gap. Above, one can see the Prussian infantry battalion Schwerin (IR24) shooting down one part of the Swiss, while the Prussian cavalry hack down the other half of the Gardes Suisses. At the top of the picture is the village of Leiha. Buildings by Herb Gundt.

Time ran out before the Prussians could truly finish off the Swiss and some of the other French regiments that were milling about near Leiha. I have no doubt that the Swiss would have lost the melee and routed before the Prussian guard cavalry, while Bevern could have moved his brigade into the gap to engage the last French unit in the center: les Gardes Francaises. (shades of the Russian guards at Austerlitz).

The Infantry Battle on the Heights
While the cavalry action was going on at the foot of the heights, an intense infantry struggle commenced on the top of the hill.

Lt General Guerchy (Duke Siefried) commanded the French second column and swung them around to hit Itzenplitz's brigade in the flank, while St. Germain's third column fired on the Prussians from the front.

For a brief moment, it looked like Itzenplitz's brigade, supported by IR34 Kadet Korps from Saldern's brigade, were going to capture the heights and advance down the rear slope to finish off the French center. Itzenplitz had a battalion of grenadiers on the crest, supported by the guard 12 pound battery, while the Kadets blazed away at the French Regt. Guyenne. Guyenne refused to leave and so the Kadets elected to charge and finish them off. However, the Kadets were below half strength and thus had to take a morale check before charging. They failed. And Guyenne stood there with one last stand (15 figures) of troops, down 75% of its initial strength.

Guerchy advances down the transverse of the Schmeideberg to create a bend in Itzenplitz's line. Meanwhile, a battalion of Grenadiers de France charged into the Prussian grenadier battalion (5/20) and the Saldern's 12 pounder battery. The artillerists sensibly evaded, leaving their guns behind, thinking that it was only a matter of time before they could return and reman their guns. Afterall, the Prussian guard infantry was coming up behind them.

The situation near the end of the game. The Kadets (on the left end of the height are about to rout, but the Hesse Seewald Garde is coming up behind them in two sections to make the final push. Itzenplitz's last two units are about to get crunched, while the IR15/III Garde Grenadiers have formed a break-water line to the right of Posendorf. The French appear to be advancing to Posendorf, but off camera to the right, are coming 5 squadrons of Prussian hussars and two untouched battalions of infantry to fight the French.

As five o'clock approached, it appeared that the French were barely hanging onto the heights, but would the one Prussian guard battalion be enough to make the final punch through the line? The second Prussian guard battalion had to break off the attack and form at a right angle to face the advancing French, who were descending the heights, supported by another regiment of French heavy cavalry. There was enough there for both sides to say that they had fought each other to a stand still. I think that I would have to agree with that assessment of the battle for the heights.

Tomorrow's Report - the great cavalry melee on the northern flank.
I hope that you enjoyed the second installment of my battle report. Do feel free to leave a comment or ask any questions that you may have by clicking on the comment box, below.


  1. Morning Jim,

    Just what I needed to get me focused this morning. What a wonderful game and description! Can't wait to see the account of the cavalry melee.

    Best Regards,


  2. An excellent battle report! Plenty of action and tension. I'm looking forward to more.

  3. YES, YES, YES,a fine battle report indeed!!!

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  5. We were very fortunate to have access to three 6'x28' tables (holy cow!), companionable participants, a great scenario, a resplendent array of soldiers/terrain and scrumptious chow.
    I am personally happy and grateful to read these reports and see the photos because I was posted on the French extreme left flank; the table edge. As a result I barely had an idea of what was going on beyond Duke Seifried's 2nd. Brigade.
    Walking past Duke from time to time provided snapshots, as it were, but I was always thinking about how to throw the Prussians out of Tagewerben and afterwards obtain the stream beyond it. We ran out of strength given excellent resistance by my celebrated foe, George.

    My point being: I was so absorbed in my area I did not could I care much about what was going on far from me. Historical!
    As an aside, I knew for almost one week I would probably be posted to attack Tagewerben and afterwards punch through deep into enemy territory to cause mischief.

    I had a lot of speculative fun because my task resembled something from history that I studied a lot in my youth.

    Big town in the way. Woods. A fortified stream to cross with more woods. A distant road to exit upon to cause the foe to draw off two units to each one of mine that might exit the back table.

    Most of us have probably studied the December 1944 Ardennes Offensive. I knew what the Germans did wrong and hoped I knew what to do to compensate and break through.

    As a result it was fun and interesting to take the lessons of history and see if application of them might help. One thing did help. I did not bypass Tagewerben err Bastogne. "Nuts" back at ya.

    I had a ton of fun.
    aka Brigadier Fischer
    and to a lesser extent Lt. Gen. Chevert

  6. SCHLACHT BEI SCHAUBURG, THE BATTLE OF SCHAUMBURG was our 45th BAR game since May 2005. God willing #50 will occur in 2010 and might be worth some kind of special commemoration festivities.

  7. Might I enquire the manufacturer of the wagons and French guns seen in the third photo down in part II?

    Thanks, Keith Flint.

  8. The limber teams are from RSM and they are pulling Elite Miniatures SYW French 8 pdrs (I would guess) or 4 pounders. The supply or ammo wagon and team is from Front Rank. The wagon in the background is from Redoubt's Western Gunfight range, or so I am told. All figures in the picture are from the collection of Randy (le comte d'Artois).

  9. Greatly enjoyed the reports....though if it was truly Schaumburg there should be traffic cones scattered about. However this does explain the craters in the roads...The Land o'Woodfield awaits the next dispatch-

    Tim O'Leary

  10. As the Commander of Les Guardes Suisse, I must say that I was quite proud of them. They held your cavalry, reinforced as it was, for three rounds. No breakthrough for you, I'm afraid! It may have looked good from your side, but I have to say that it looked quite good from mine, too. I had a guard regiment to back up the Suisse, ready to pour lead into the hapless Prussian rabble Guards, but time did not allow. No bragging like you did rout the Suisse, when they didn't in fact rout!!

    It was a fantastic game and thank you for both hosting and inviting me. I had a great time!

    Don Perrin

  11. Jim
    just lovely eye candy, those big tables really allow great flanking moves.

    closeups please of those lovely village houses.