Thursday, March 13, 2008

Schacht bei Ritterbrucke - Part II

French brigadier Brent Olsen deploys his line infantry, while the Arquebusiers de Grassin secure the wooded area of the Preecewald.

The Right Flank: the Fight for the Preecewald
The area comprising the Preecewald covered about a five foot frontage of table space and Frederick was not sure if he had enough infantry to cover the whole table. Nevertheless, he recognized the importance of this terrain to the survival of the Prussian army. For one thing, it served to funnel most of the French infantry towards the center of the battlefield, creating some certainty as to where the French might attack. Secondly, the little valley to the north of the Preecewald provided an easy roadway into the rear table areas of both armies. Frederick sensed that the French would attempt to sneak a couple of battalions through this passage.

Brigadier General von Harms was given a battalion of light jagers to contest the woods and initially three battalions of Prussian musketeers to hold back the French. A reserve battalion of the British 20th Foot was deployed on the rear table behind the Preecewald. Frederick released this battalion to von Harms at the start of the first turn when it became apparent that a French push was coming through this sector. Von Harms deployed IR5 - Alt Braunschweig regiment of musketeers in the open passageway and they would cover themselves in glory throughout the battle as they fended off two battalions of enemy infantry, captured a 6-pound cannon, and drove off two squadrons of light cavalry.

The British 20th Foot advance through the woods, driving back the Grassins, while the Alt Braunschweig regiment not only blocks the passageway, bu nearly advances to the back table edge.

The action in the Preecewald started off with a lively firefight between the Prussian Jagers (48 figures) and a rather large battalion (70 figures) of Arquebusiers de Grassin (both Eureka and Suren figures combined together). Due to the negative firefactors for shooting in the woods (-1 for every 3" of cover), neither side could gain much of an edge in the firefight. At this point, von Harms sent the 20th Foot into the woods (operating disordered for being a formed unit in the woods) to root out the Grassins. He also advanced the Prussian IR24 Schwerin regiment on the left flank of the British, en echelon, as well as IR20 Bornstadt on the left of Schwerin, also en echelon. Nifty deployment there, Herr Harms - well done! On the French side of the table, Monsieur Olsen advanced the Regt. d'Eu and the Irish Regt Bulkeley to counter the Prussian advance.

A closer view of the 20th Foot in the woods, with Jagers to their front and the French light infantry falling back.

The fighting in this sector now shifted towards the southern edge of the Preecewald as the 20th Foot and IR24 settled into a brisk firefight for the rest of the game. IR20 had to hold back due to the presence of the French brigade in the center of the table as well as a strong reserve of French Gardes Francaises, Grenadiers de France, and 5 full squadrons of the Carabinier cavalry. So the picture above depicts the furthest advance of von Harms, which was largely a bluff.

The French counter-attack at the edge of the woods. A spectacular view of linear warfare.

Monsieur Olsen had a surprise or two up his sleeve, rolling out the 60 figure Grenadiers de France to match up against the British 20th Foot in the woods. Then he shifted the d'Eu and Bulkeley regiments out into the open and to the right to square off against von Harms' two Prussian battalions that were out in the open ground. This seemed to bring the Prussian advance to a halt for a short while. At the same time, French brigadier Earl Kyle was advancing his brigade of four battalions into the center of the battlefield. You can just barely see the lead battalion of La Reine from Kyle's brigade advancing in the center.

French regiment Bulkeley (Irish) falls back and defends the French artillery battery. Irish figures are from the Capitulations range of WAS French. These are very nice figures.

The brigades of Olsen (French) and Harms (Prussian) continued the fire fight out in the open, with regiment d'Eu finally taking so many casualties that it routed away. The Irish Bulkeley regiment was whittled down severely and fell back towards the protection of a French battery. The French paid out an equal amount of damage to the Prussians, as shown in the picture below. IR24 and IR20 appear to be at or close to half strength. In BAR, when a battalion falls below 50% of its original strength, then it must take a morale check each time it takes casualties.

The fight in the open appears to be played out with both sides taking severe casualties. The Grenadiers de France appear to have thwarted the British 20th Foot's advance in the woods. Brent has skillfully hidden the powerful Gardes Francaises behind him, so things look better for the French in this sector than the picture would suggest.

While all of this was going on, IR5 Alt Braunschweig was fighing off everything that the French could throw at them, including a couple battalions of Russians, of all things.

IR5 Alt Braunschweig covers itself in glory as it defends the pass north of the Preecewald. Russians are RSM95 figures and the Prussians are my own Potsdam Miniatures.

In effect, the French and the Prussians fought to a draw on the right flank. However, a draw was as good as a win as far as the Prussian victory conditions were concerned, for Harms was protecing victory points in this sector. The French still had a powerful reserve of the Gardes Francaises and the Carabinier heavy cavalry deployed in the center on the back table. This would have been sufficient to deter any further Prussian advance in this sector. I didn't spend much time watching the fighting on the right flank, as I was heavily engaged with the cavalry, but it appears that all of the players gave a good account of themselves and nobody made any errors that could turn the outcome of the game. It was well played by all!

End of Part II. Tomorrow we will look at the action that took place in the center of the battlefield.


  1. It is amazing to enlarge the pictures and see just how much work has gone into these displays. Beautiful.

  2. Superb as ever Jim. I look forward to tomorrow.....

  3. Morning Jim,

    Great game description and, again, wonderful photos. I particularly like the Irish and Russian regiments. I have a unit of RSM infantry that I will paint as some Irish wild geese post-move. . . probably May and June. IN the mean time, these are lovely fellows to look at.

    Best Regards,