Pursuit at Drei Furten

 

In the previous engagement, the Action at Gemunden was a hotly contested encounter with a hastily organised French force that was ultimately driven away. News of the breakthrough reached Allied headquarters much to the relief of the army commander Prince Ferdinand.

Building on this success he dispatched orders to the force commander, Major-General von Bischausen, that he should push his advantage and crush the retreating French forces thereby inflicting a moral blow to the disengaging troops and possibly even their army commander, Marshal Contades.”…keep them on the run before the could make a more organised stand…” he said. 

Fortuitously, a local farmer informed the Allied force commander (von Bischausen) that not too far distant was a bend in the river that had only three crossing locations, the last of such crossing points, for several miles above and below his line of march across the river. This presented the pursuing force an opportunity to trap the enemy and their wagon train before they could escape.

There was however a march through a large wooded forest to contend with that would slow down the pursuing forces. Nevertheless, von Bischausen immediately sent out orders to his commanders that they were to attack as quickly as was practicable before the enemy could seek shelter behind the river Elzbach.

 

(Note – this scenario is Battle Scenario #2 in the S&L Battle Scenarios – Three Fords.

In this game the Allies were the (attacking) Red forces and the French the Blue Forces.

.

.

.

.

 

The lower left corner was the entry point for the Allied army. The three blue areas define the defensive setup locations for the French forces.

 

.

.

.

.

 

This view shows the advantageous defensive terrain the French forces could avail themselves off. The main road the allies needed to advance down passed through the open woods atop a hill/ridge before open country more suited to steady lines of infantry and cavalry could be reached. 

On the opposite side of the river was a large hill that commanded the river area in front of it as well as the ‘flanking ford’ (at position B).

 

.

.

.

.

 

Before game start the Allied commander played a fortune card he received as a result of his victory at Gemunden – Mercenary Veterans. He used this card to upgrade his Hanoverian jagers and one regiment to superior status.

 

.

.

.

.

 

Initial deployment sees the difficult task ahead for the allied pursuing force. In the woods the French commander posted two units of Fischer chasseur light infantry. To their rear was a regiment of Apchon Dragoons (split into two units), whilst on the opposite side of the river were three battalions of infantry, two of which were veteran Swiss regiments just recently arrived joining the forces in the area.

 

.

.

.

.

 

A view of the flanking force of the Allied army. A unit of (upgraded to superior) Hanoverian infantry, regiment Kielmannsegg, supported by two squadrons of the 2nd Dragoons aka Scots Greys.

 

.

.

.

.

 


Initial forces deployed.

The Hanoverian jagers lead the push up the slope and try and drive off the enemy light troops. In support are a unit of dragoons, waiting their chance to break out into the open country beyond. Unfortunately, their brigade commander failed his command roll (poor) and the troops did not advance.

 

.

.

.

.

 

In the distance the Scots Greys and Battalion Kielmannsegg look to cross the ford as quickly as possible and establish themselves on the opposite river bank – not to be, their brigade commander to, failed his command roll (poor) – no movement.

This opportunity was pounced upon by the Swiss battalions who immediately advanced to contest the ford crossing.

 

.

.

.

.

 


 

Finally the jagers get going. A brisk firefight breaks out in the woods but the smaller jager unit is no contest for the large unit of Fischer chasseurs – they take a brutal 3 hits from the deadly accurate musket fire.

 

.

.

.

.

 


At the flanking ford crossing point the Swiss firmly establish themselves in a position of dominance. The Scots Greys, unable to charge across the bridge into the the steady Swiss musketeers, break away and head for the main body.

[Note – the rules state that cavalry cannot charge steady foot frontally so we did not allow the ‘do or die’ charge of the horsemen across the ford. – we almost ‘house ruled it” but decided to stick with the RAW…thoughts anyone?]

 

.

.

.

.

 


Whilst the initial skirmishing took place the French wagon train quickly made a bee-line for the ford crossing in their rear…making good their escape.

 

.

.

.

.

 


Things in the woods did not improve. More deadly fire from the French chasseurs saw the Hanoverian jagers rout and the supporting dragoons take 3 more hits…the French fire was deadly…consistently scoring 2-3 hits with each unit’s fire…ouch!

 

.

.

.

.

 

The wagon train, gaining the second of its double moves, rapidly moved to safety…

 

.

.

.

.

 

…ably covered by the Apchon Dragoons…

 

.

.

.

.

 

With the initial attack by the Hanoverian advance guard completely repulsed it was time to bring up the supporting brigade of infantry to drive off the enemy skirmishers. The initial attack was quite a disaster.

The infantry brigade, unfortunately, was commanded by a dithering leader and he required the constant presence of his General von Bischausen to keep his troops moving along…

 

.

.

.

.

 

Whilst the traffic jam in the woods was all chaos and confusion the brisk musketry exchange across the river between the Swiss and the Hanoverian musketeers gave von Bischausen’s men no respite. In one devastating volley, the Swiss broke the Kielmannsegg regiment and sent it fleeing…

 

.

.

.

.

 

(view from above in the woods…confusion reigns)

 

.

.

.

.

 

 

At this stage, turn 5, it was becoming quite apparent that the hasty assault on the retreating Frenchmen was proving futile through these choke points. The Allied force had already lost 2 or its allowed 4 break points and made no headway at all barely inflicting any loss on the enemy…

 

.

.

.

.

 

Once more into the breach, a battalion of Brunswick musketeers attempts to drive off the French chasseurs…once again, their chance to shoot came after having received crippling fire from the deadly enemy light troops…

 

.

.

.

.

 

Whilst a show of force was gathering on the main road, congestion was the real problem…there simple was little room to breakout of the woods and fight the enemy on anything like even terms…

 

.

.

.

.

 

 

With the advance guard dragoons withdrawn and the lead battalion in a shaky state (3 hits) the rear battalions shook out into line within the woods.

 

.

.

.

.

 

…meanwhile the French withdrawal to the rear continued unmolested, the Apchon dragoons handily covering any potential threat…

 

.

.

.

.

 

..yet more fire saw the brave but outgunned Brunswickers tumble back down the hill, routing past their brethren bringing up the rear…

 

.

.

.

.

 

The Allied army had now lost 3 of 4 break points and not made any impression on the French rearguard at all…a consummate defence by the French chasseurs, von Bischausen had to concede…

 

.

.

.

.

 

With the day almost done the French wagon train made it off the road and to safety…

 

.

.

.

.

 

alas…whilst the first of von Bischausen’s forces were ordered to withdraw…there would be no pursuit today…

 

.

.

.

.

 

…word now travelled down from a captain of chasseurs to inform the dragoon commander the Allied force was breaking off their attack. With that, the dragoons turned to the flank and began their withdrawal themselves.

 

.

.

.

.

 

 

In defiance, one unit of Hessian infantry held the line whilst the main body of the army withdrew…

 

.

.

.

.

 

…as the musket fire spluttered out the French made good their escape unscathed…vive la France!

 

General von Bischausen lamented at his terrible misfortune on this day and reluctantly ordered a whole sale retreat of his forces ending the engagement.

 

 

.

.

Ω

.

 

Postscript

What to say! It was our most lobsided encounter to date. By his own admission the valiant French player confessed to a red-hot run of damage, death and (deadly) dice rolling…brutal! That said, this is a particularly hard scenario for the attacker if he cannot break out of the woods and push on. The clock is definitely ticking to prevent the defender’s escape who need only withdraw over essentially open ground.

The opening turn of no movement at all really hurt the Allied forces as they could make no headway and critically could not cross the river to put pressure on the French rearguard defenders. On reflection, those two Swiss veteran units were going to be hard to shift no matter what if truth be known.

The bottom line was the small jager unit was not fit for purpose, neither were the supporting musketeers in the wooded in hill vs well placed light troops. The Fischer chasseurs were perfectly ensconced atop the ridge and with some hot firing, completely dominated proceedings and ended any chance of allied success.

Regardless, it was a most excellent game handily wrapped up in 90 minutes…on to the campaign.

 

.

.

.

.

 


Campaign Continues…

With the resounding French victory the Allies did not advance.

 

 

The French player drew a fortune card for his victory and rolled for his next move, slowly advancing forward…

 

.

.

.

.

 

The Allies rolled next and advanced with a long move (5-pips), pushing them along nicely…making up for lost ground from the battle defeat!

 

.

.

.

.

 

The French then rolled a 6 (ignore that die showing a 4),which placed them on the ‘forced march’ space and they advanced up one level avoiding the need to initiate a battle.

This was followed by an Allied roll of a final score of ‘1’, as the French player used his ‘Bad Weather’ card to slow the Allied advance (6-5=1). This did have the effect however of gaining them a useful fortune card.

.

 

.

.

.

 

The French rolled next scoring a ‘2’ which landed them on the ‘Card Reshuffle’ space and forced a reshuffle and re-deal of cards to both players…the Allied player lamented as he held two particularly good cards he was husbanding for the ‘end game’.

 

 

.

.

.

.

 

Lastly, the Allied player rolled and scored a 5, resulting in another battle to be fought with the Allies as the attacker. 

 

.

.

.

.

 

…rolling to determine the battle to play, the score was a ‘5’ giving a ‘River Defence’ scenario. 

As you can see by the campaign chart this will be an important one for the Allies to win as it will race the army marker forward the largest leap on the campaign track.

 

.

.

.

.

 

..so the scene is set for the next encounter.

This one has the forces getting bigger now as the campaign builds toward its mid to final stages. Red (Allies) are the attackers with 5 brigades, blue (French) with 4 brigades.

 

…see you next time 😉

 

One thought on “Pursuit at Drei Furten

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s