Assault on Badluc Heights, 1757

With the repulse of the French army at the Crossing of the Lahn, attention turned to the French commander in chief to continue to prosecute the summer campaign. As a result of Contades’ reconnaissance’s his light cavalry reported an opening in Ferdinand’s defences. The initial reports were that a mountain pass was lightly held and an opportunity presented itself to turn the enemy’s flank and steal a march into his rear baggage train. Considering the chance to redeem himself after the last failure of French arms he seized his chance and instructed the brigade of General Fonsec to prepare for the attack. The light cavalry reports also indicated the enemy may be moving to shore up their position so speed was of the essence.

Wth no time to waste Fonsec organised his forces and advanced into the pass…

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Game 6 – S&L Honours of War campaign

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(Note – this scenario is Battle Scenario #3 in the S&L Battle Scenarios – High Ground. In this game the Allies were the (defending) Red forces and the French the Blue (attacking) forces.

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The initial deployment of forces.

The Allies are positioned on high ground along with their supporting artillery piece, and a flanking detachment to their left. One unit of jagers was also deployed in the church on the hillock to the right of the French battle line.

The French were arrayed opposite – cavalry to the right, infantry to the left, guns in the middle.

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After the deployment of troops the Allied commander played one of his events cards – Field Defences. This enabled D3 brigades to deploy field entrenchments in front of his forces…ouch!

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Behind the French line.

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A single regiment will be mounting the assault.

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Battle Commences…

The battle commenced with a failed activation by the French cavalry commander and some casualties inflicted by some accurate allied artillery fire.

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A more general artillery duel starts.

The French realised that the only way to force the pass was to neutralise the Allied guns as quickly as possible – as the near impregnable position the Allies had attained with the placement of their defences meant for the infantry to stand a chance the guns would need to be silenced.

In addition, the Allied commander quickly formed his flanking brigade into column and aimed to reinforce the main hill position – this being the principal objective of the French. To draw off the French, the lone jager battalion was sent into the woods, tasked with reinforcing the second jager unit in the church.

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The advance of the French horse did not go unnoticed by the Allied gunners and they continued to receive attention from artillery fire. Taking another hit they were now ‘battle affected’ with three hits. As the horse had barely crossed ‘the way’ things did not bode well for their looming attack.

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The Allied battalions make a bee-line for the safety of the ridge to reinforce the hill position. Unlike a previous battle fought in similar circumstances, the allied commander realised that two separate forces was not the way to use his limited resources.

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The Allied commander, looking to ensure that his redeploying brigade made it to the safety of the ridge, then played another event card – the second of two battle event cards he had. This resulted in the play of a ‘command dispute’ which penalised the command roll of an enemy selected brigade. In this case, the cavalry were subject to this event.

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The Command Dispute event prevented the cavalry from  moving – just what the Allied commander had hoped for! This placed the hapless horsemen at the mercy of the Allied gunner once again.

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…boom!…with a well directed fire, the enemy horse took two hits and were sent reeling under canister fire back from whence they came.

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…as the French horse retreated the infantry finally got moving, Taking some long range fire and suffering several hits as they closed the distance. They had failed their command roll at least twice up to this point resulting in an uncoordinated assault…things were not going well for General Fronsec today…

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Firmly ensconced on their ridge line the Allied troops let out a ‘hurrah!’ as the French cavalry withdrew…contemptuous of the enemy infantry as it advanced.

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Looking to maximise the impact of his assault Fronsec played a ‘Passage of Lines’ event card to enable his fresh rear-rank infantry to pass through and initiate the attack on the ridge.

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…by this time the Allied defensive line was well established on the ridge – seemingly impenetrable behind their defences on the high ground.

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…with the advance of the French infantry a general firefight broke out…

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…meanwhile the Hanoverian jagers, emboldened by the retreat of the French cavalry, moved aggressively into a nearby wood and commenced ‘a fire’…

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…the infantry duel was something of a one sided affair – the French being on the receiving end of some accurate Allied musketry.

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In support of the general advance Fronsec ordered his gun batteries and reserve infantry unit forward as well.

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…with little else to do but attack, Fronsec ordered the assault…no more firing…advance!

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…though brave, the lead French battalions suffered a withering fire. The left flank battalion broke before contact and their comrades retreated in disorder…

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…whilst the French cavalry continued their retreat away from the Allied cannon in an attempt to rally and reorder their ranks.

However the presence of the Hanoverian jagers caused a desperate charge to be ordered and the horsemen pulled up at the edge of the wood…their prey having escaped into the interior and away from any threat.

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…with the French first line of infantry in disarray the second line was flung forward…

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…the infantry lines were now fully engaged…

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…with a crisp volley the defending (left wing) Hanoverian battalion dispatched the French reserve battalion as it broke under a hail of fire…

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…things were now looking very grim for the French cause…

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…by turn 6 the French were in imminent danger of complete collapse…they had lost two of their four break points and made little impression on the Allied forces, with a number of already weakened units.

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…however, once more into the breach…in a last ditched attempt to turn defeat into victory…

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…but the day would not be their’s. Like their compatriots, the second line infantry assault was pulverised by enemy musketry. Both units broke from the deadly fusilade…

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sauve qui peut!…

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…to a man, the Allied line erupted in a victorious cheer for their commander…so ably and conscientiously had he placed his men that so few had fallen, there would be much to celebrate around the camp fire tonight…

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…the French gunners however, had one last parting shot before they limbered up and withdrew…putting down some effective canister fire…

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…one allied unit broke and retreated to the rear, the only allied loss of the day.

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…not to be outdone, the Hanoverian jagers (in the woods) peppered away at the French horse, forcing one unit to give up the fight and rout…

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With the entire French army in retreat, 5 units broken, Fronsec’s force ran from the field in rout…their mission incomplete.

The day belonged to the Allies.

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Postscript

The last battle was a lobsided victory but actually quite close…this battle however, the Battle of Badluc (Bad Luck in English) was most decidedly a lobsided affair. The Allied player had held his ‘command dispute’ and most importantly his field defences’ event card for a number of rounds of the campaign for just such a battle. In this scenario, they were the perfect cards to play…the scenario randomly selected as it was, the fortunes of war certainly favoured the Allied enemy force that had to assault a position on a hill…what better place than to deploy entrenchments!

…A quick game over in 90 mins…onto the post battle housekeeping…

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Campaign Continues…

Onto the next stage of the campaign.

With the devastating defeat of French at Badluc the French army marker remains in place. The Allies draw two cards for the battle win, then they roll 1d6, looking for that elusive die roll of ‘1’ to make it onto the’Final Battle’ stage of the campaign.

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No luck – the Allies remain in place with a die roll of’4′.

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The french then roll…

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Scoring a 4 – they land on a down arrow – ‘sickness in camp’…dropping them back down two levels…ouch!

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The Allies roll again – a ‘3’ means they remain in place.

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Then the French roll, scoring a 4 – they land on the Battle Space, triggering the next battle to be played.

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Rolling for the scenario type of the two that remain – Rearguard and Breakthrough – the French make a 50/50 roll resulting in the Breakthrough scenario. This is quite a large game so will be a large-ish battle.

With that, the battle lines are set for the next encounter…see you for the next battle in the campaign.

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2 thoughts on “Assault on Badluc Heights, 1757

    • Thanks Doug,

      …bugger for the Frenchies in this one…but better luck next time…😉

      Thanks for popping by and making comment.

      Cheers 👏🏻

      Like

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