Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Battle of Trentonberg

Saxon camp at dawn of Christmas Eve Day


Yesterday my nephew Alex (the Heir Apparent) and I decided to cross swords in my basement and go at it with a war-game. It took me an hour to tear down the Leuthen terrain, but as long as I had the Winter ground cloth, trees, roads and buildings, I decided to organize a scenario based in the Winter.

I decided that it was time for my Hesse Seewald army to have its very first battle against their hated enemy, the Saxons. Since I only had three squadrons of Saxon cavalry in my so-called Saxon army, I recruited some Austrian infantry and cavalry into the Saxon army. Since the Hesse Seewald army is clad mostly in green coats, I added the Austrian de Ligne Dragoons to the HS army.

Since Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were but a day or two off, what better scenario could I do than to run a sort of Trenton game!

Thus 4 battalions of Saxon infantry was posted in the town of Trentonberg, 2 battalions of Croats were deployed in a screen forward of the town, and 4 regiments of cavalry were deployed on the wings (2 regiments per wing). In addition, two more Saxon regiments would be on the march to the sound of the guns and enter the table at a later date (determined by the roll of a D6 die to decide which turn their arrival would occur). Additionally, a squadron of light Uhlans were posted as a cavalry vedette to the west of the town.

The Hesse Seewalders would deploy on their table edge and get two free turns of movement before we reverted to an initiative die roll each turn hence.

On Turn 3, each Saxon battalion would roll a D10 to determine whether or not they were aroused from their brandy-induced slumber: odd number = No; even number= Yes. It would take one full turn for a Saxon battalion to form up after it was ordered to Stand To. The first battalion of the Gyuli Regiment rolled the requisite even number and so it began to form up. The second battalion was called to on Turn 4. The two battalions of the Prinz Sincere regiment did not form up until Turn 6. The reserve battalions also entered the table on Turn 6 (I decided that the reserves would not reach the table until the 4 battalions in camp were formed up.

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Erbprinz Friedrich of Hesse Seewald (commanded by Alex, the Heir Apparent) received a scouting report that the Saxon army had taken up winter quarters in nearby Trentonberg. Their camp was established too close to the Hesse Seewald army, which had taken up quarters on the west bank of the Saale River in Thuringia. His mentor, Marshal von Glasenap agreed that now would be an opportune time to strike a blow against the Saxons and disrupt their plans for the coming Spring Campaign.

The Erbprinz gathered up his small army of 8 battalions (including the Garde and a battalion of converged grenadiers) and 6 cavalry squadrons and make a night march towards Trentonberg. The infantry was divided into two brigades of 4 battalions, one commanded by his brother Prinz Heinrich and the other commanded by General Alberti. The cavalry on both wings were commanded by their regimental commanders.

At dawn, having been undetected by the Saxons (commanded by me), the Hesse Seewalders methodically deployed from their march columns and conducted the minuet of deploying into two lines of battle. Their deployment was virtually completed before a company of Croats fired off a volley at the HS Jagers, who preceded the army just to handle events such as this. The Croats took casualties from the return fire and then retired back towards Trentonberg in good order.


Another brigade of Saxons winter down in their camp too.


An aerial view of the Saxon camp at Trentonberg.


The Heese Seewald army advances

The first brigade of Prinz Heinrich deploys into line and advances toward Trentonberg.

Hesse Seewald Corps of Guides (Light Dragoons) pass through the village of Donopdorf.
The General Alberti's second brigade of the Hesse Seewalders deploys from column into line in preparation for the battle.
Both brigades are now deployed and advance towards the Saxon camp in Trentonberg. So far they are undetected.


An overview of the battle lines. Saxon Uhlans de Saxe provide a vedette line on the left flank of the Saxon camp. Trentonberg is seen on the right. Another village, whose name has been forgotten by History, anchors the HS right flank. More jagers and Croats have it with each other in that village.


The Uhlans fall back in face of the advance of formed enemy cavalry. The HS Corps of Guides preceed the Buddenbrock Dragoons.

A large cavalry melee forms on the left flank of the Saxon camp. The Hesse Seewald dragoons prevail and run the Saxon cavalry from the field.



Hesse Seewald Garde in their red coats spearhead the attack on the Saxon camp.

The Garde engages the 1st Battalion of the Gyulai Regiment, which has roused themselves from the camp.

The Garde has had enough of the firefight and decide to charge the Gyulai Regiment.



The Garde routs! However, other Hesse Seewald regiments advance through a gap in the lines which was defended only by a battery of Saxon 3-pounders. However, the second battalion of Gyulai is engaged in melee with one HS battalion and is about to flanked by another battalion. Not a good thing.

At this point in the battle, The Heir Apparent and I decided to call a halt to the game and assess the winner and loser. We both argued that our own side was losing the battle at this time. Here is my assessment (which counts the most LOL):

The HS cavalry has run all of the Saxon cavalry off on the Saxon left flank. It will be free to reform and within two turns it will run amok in the rear of the Saxon positions around Trentonberg. In the center, the Gyulai regiment was resisting remarkably well as both battalions were holding fast and preventing the HS infantry from extending their battle line. A sort of traffic jam had battalions stacked up behind each other in Prinz Heinrich's brigade. The veteran General Alberti's brigade would likely clear out the 2nd Gyulai battalion and capture a part of the town. So I would award the center to the HS army. Total numbers: 3 battalions versus 1 battalion would eventual play out in the Hesse Seewalders' favor on the right flank.

The rest of the Saxon army (4 battalions) were fresh and firmly ensconced in the part of Trentonberg that was on the back table of my battlefield and I didn't see the HS battalions rousting them out of the village.

Thus my assessment is that the Battle of Trentonberg was a victory for Hesse Seewald. The HS army gave the Saxons a bloody nose, but the Saxons gave as good as they got and conducted a heroic stand in the town. The Saxons would be able to retire back a few miles to safety and they were not captured or destroyed.

By the way, all of the figures used in this battle were either Minden Miniatures or Fife & Drum light dragoons, which look very smart in their Tarleton helmets.

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I would like to wish my readers a Merry Christmas and Boxing Day and hope that you get all of the books and war-game figures that were on your wish list. We are having 23 guests at Schloss Seewald tomorrow, after which the Princess and I are going to serve a Christmas meal in the nearby homeless shelter. It should be a fun and very busy day in our home.

9 comments:

  1. Merry Xmas to you too! Oh and a great looking game too:)

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  2. Great game and write-up, Jim. Merry Christmas!

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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  3. Atmospheric and wonderful cold pictures! And merry Christmas!

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  4. Brilliantly extemporised! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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  5. What a super game. Hope you had a good Christmas.

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  6. Neat little game

    merry xmas and a happy new year

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  7. Merry Christmas to you too Jim. Hope you had a great time with friends and family.

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  8. Great game Jim, thanks for taking the time to share it with us. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and all the very best wishes for the New Year.
    Best regards

    Chris

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