Friday, 19 January 2018

Nap Campaign: Map Moves 11th - nightfall 12th March

When I move on to the regional maps I will also include the moves on 10th March as a refresher. You will then be able to scroll through 3 days of moves to see more clearly what is happening.

The overall situation by nightfall 11th March 1808:
There were no actions on 12th March so we will progress to 
The overall situation by nightfall 12th March:
I will break this down to regions for a closer examination of the moves that took place over these 2 days and also the previous day (10th March).


North West (Holland):
10th March

11th March

12th March
In the north west the Prince of Orange (orange 1) has continued to retreat with the intention of joining forces with the Prussian 1st Corps before making another attempt at forcing the French out of Holland and Hanover. 

For Grouchy (blue 11) he had a similar problem in that to continue pursuing the Prince of Orange he risked being drawn into Holland and then defeated by a much larger force. He knew reinforcements were on the way and decided it would be prudent to wait for their arrival before making further progress. He recalled Durutte with Pegot's brigade (blue 15) and instructed Marcognet (blue 13) to cease the pursuit of Col Best (orange 2) and hold his position.

A combined Dutch and British fleet (red N5) approach the Dutch port of Gorizia (5A2) to disembark the first of the British Expeditionary Force.




 North East (Prussia and Nassau):
10th March

11th March
Reille with the 6th Division and 3rd Cavalry Corps (blue 3) pursued the Prussian 2nd Corps (green 1) but due to the terrain was unable to position themselves between that and Blucher's force. Realising that the opportunity to destroy the Prussians in detail was rapidly passing, Reille saw an easy target in the Nassauers pursued by Foy (blue 8) and the 9th Division. 

Saxe-Weimar (light green 1) was faced by Reille blocking his escape route in the north and Foy behind him. He had run out of options and facing certain destruction he surrendered the Nassau 2nd Brigade to the French. 

Losthin's Prussian 15th Brigade (green 4) continued retreating towards Blucher pursued by Bachelu's 5th Division (blue 6).

12th March
Napoleon (blue 1) falls back in order to re-unify his forces before he challenges Blucher once again. Blucher (green 2), for his part, now rallied his troops on the capital and, reinforced, contemplated another attempt at removing the French from Prussian soil.





South West:
10th March
11th March

12th March
The Spanish commander, Morillo (grey 1) prepares a final defence of Spain. Lobau's 6th Corps (blue 10) makes camp overnight and the following morning engages Morillo in The Battle of Croxley-Valle.

A British transport fleet (red N1) prepares to disembark the first of the British Expeditionary Force.




France:

A brief look at the situation in France with two forces making their way to reinforce Napoleon and Grouchy. In the east, the 3rd Corps (blue 9) is making steady progress and should be with Napoleon within a few days. In the west, the Young Guard with the 7th Division (blue 7), are a little further away from Grouchy but also making steady progress.

NEXT: The Battle of Croxley-Valle (Spain)


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Kingmaker Campaign: Prelude to the Battle of Milford Haven

I have now completed painting the Wars of the Roses figures (6mm) for the first battle in the Kingmaker campaign, the Battle of Milford Haven. As soon as Jack (my son) is free the battle will be fought but in the meantime here are the forces involved:

Stafford Duke of Buckingham (Jack) with Hasting Earl of Worcester gathers the troops:

Buckingham's Battle (right), Worcester's Battle (left)





Meanwhile, Neville Earl of Warwick (me) with Nobles Clifford, Scrope and Cromwell march through Wales:

Warwick leads with his mounted men-at-arms in front.


Welsh Spearmen and Longbowmen followed by the Noble Clifford and his troops.

Clifford

Clifford's Battle which includes Scottish archers.

Scrope follows Clifford in the line of march.

Cromwell's small command makes up the rear following Scrope's Saxon Pikemen




Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Nap Campaign: Naval Battle of Watervall Bay

I apologise for the lack of photos. Unfortunately I took very few at the time. This will therefore, be mainly a text based AAR.

THE BATTLE OF WATERVALL BAY (NAVAL)

British v French

Royal Navy: 1 x Ship of the Line (74); 2 x Cutters (8)

French: 1 Ship of the Line (74); 1 x Frigate (36)

Model Scale = 1/2400

11th March 1808

The Location of the Battle N3 v N3

ORDER OF BATTLE

British
French

The 74 gun Ship of the Line, HMS Royal Oak, accompanied by the Cutters HMS Piercer and HMS Bellwort were transporting the 43rd Light Infantry to Portugal when they received orders to intercept a French force that was threatening the shipping lane between Britain and Portugal. Soon after midday on 11th March HMS Piercer signalled she had sighted sail off the port quarter. As the distance closed a masthead lookout on the Royal Oak identified a Ship of the Line and a Frigate. 

It was soon confirmed that they were flying the French flag. Piercer and Bellwort were instructed to sail away to safety and their faster speed soon put distance between them.

Bellwort and Piercer head for safety as Royal Oak closes on the French.

British

French

The Royal Oak had the weather gauge and turned to intercept the French ships. Concorde pealed away from the Hercule with the intention of gaining the weather gauge but it proved to be a costly error. The Royal Oak bore down on the Hercule before the Concorde had a chance to turn and join the fray. 

Having the advantage of the weather gauge and the superior gunnery of the Royal Navy proved to be devastating. The opening salvo swept away the mainmast and killed several crew. The Hercule could not respond quickly enough as the Royal Oak glided past her stern. The second broadside raked the Hercule causing devastation below decks. The Hercule was not beaten yet however, and her opening broadside caused damage to the rigging of the Royal Oak. 

More salvos from the Royal Oak dismasted the Hercule and took away her rudder. The rapidly weakening broadsides from the Hercule could only do more damage to the rigging but not sufficient to cause any serious difficulty for the Royal Oak. Smoke could be seen rising from the hatches of the Hercule as the crew desperately fought to contain 2 fires that had broken out. 

The Hercule signalled the Concorde to break away as there was nothing they could do now to alter the outcome. France could not afford to needlessly lose another ship.

With the Hercule barely able to respond to the Royal Oak's broadsides she struck her colours. The crew of the Hercule had managed to extinguish the fires but by now the ship was a floating wreck. The British decided to scuttle the Hercule rather than take her as a prize. It was unlikely she would stay afloat even in the smallest of squals.

With the survivors of the Hercule added to the already packed Royal Oak, she continued on her way to Portugal.

As you have probably gathered this was a very quick action. Hence the lack of photos. As for the men of the 43rd Light Infantry, their role in the action would only have been in the event of the ship being boarded. It was possible that they could have suffered casualties but luckily for them none was caused.

Although the British did not know it yet, this signalled the end of the French naval presence on the western seaboard of the continent. They were hoping to build their fleet on the eastern seaboard before challenging the Royal Navy in any meaningful way.

Result: British victory.

NEXT: MAP MOVES



Sunday, 14 January 2018

Nap Campaign: The Battle of Appleace Part 2

As and aid to identifying units in the photos I am experimenting providing captions to explain what is being seen. I would appreciate any comments as to whether this is helping or not. I do not want to get bogged down in too much text so will keep it as brief as possible. On to the battle:

Middle top between house and hill, Bruno's Brigade. bottom middle, Gobrecht's Brigade. Ghigny's Dutch/Belgian light cavalry brigade middle left with 8th Belgian Hussars in melee with 7th Hussars.
On the French left, Jacquinot's 1st Cavalry Division begins to engage the allied right. Bruno's Brigade targets the area between the hill and the house in the photo. The 7th Hussars charges the 8th Belgian Hussars who falter in the face of the attack. The Belgians recover from their initial shock and fight back hard. The confidence of the troopers of the 7th Hussars evaporated as they realised they were losing the fight with many of their men falling. They retreat in disorder pursued by the Belgians.

Top melee 8th Belgian Hussars v 7th Fr Hussars. Coming up behind 8th B Hussars is 3rd Chasseurs.
Bottom melee - 4th Dutch Lt Dragoons v Gobrecht's brigade of Lancers 
The 7th Hussars fighting the Belgian Hussars as they retreated found new reserves of courage and fought back. Both sides were now a swirling mass of cavalry fighting to gain the upper hand. During the uncontrolled pursuit, the Belgians had travelled past the 3rd Chasseurs who were now in their rear. Bruno about faced the Chasseurs ready to charge the rear of the Belgian Hussars. 

Ghighy ordered the 4th Dutch Light Dragoons to charge Gobrecht's Brigade. As they crested the hill, Gobrecht lead the counter-charge of the lancers. Both sides clashed at the foot of the hill with neither getting the upper hand. The lancers had now lost the advantage of the lance as the melee continued. (It is fairly unusual under these rules for melees to last more than one turn, but now we had two continuing into second rounds of melee on this flank).

As Bruno prepared his Chasseurs to make a devastating charge, he heard a low rumble towards his rear. Shouts of alarm came from his rear ranks. In the distance he saw a mass of Dutch cavalry galloping towards him. This was the Dutch 6th Hussars who outnumbered the Chasseurs by almost 2:1. Merlen was making his intervention in support of Ghigny. Bruno ordered his Chasseurs to make an abrupt about turn and launched them into a counter-charge. Both sides clashed with the Chasseurs rocked by the shear weight of the Dutch numbers. 

As the 5th Belgian Light Dragoons (green unit bottom right of photo) crested the hill, a French Horse Artillery battery gave them a blast with minimal effect before hurriedly limbering and evading to the rear. 

The melee between Gobrecht's Lancers and the 4th Dutch Light Dragoons now entered an incredible 3rd turn. Casualties were mounting on both sides with neither side seemingly getting the upper hand. Then, as the Dutch continued to cut and slash at their enemy, they suddenly found nobody to fight. The Lancers were retreating! The ecstatic Dutch launched themselves into a pursuit of the Lancers.

While all the drama was being played out between the light cavalry brigades, the two Dutch Militia battalions that had been holding the hill were ordered further to the rear along with the artillery.

Top of photo on road is 7th French Hussars. Pursuit of Lancers by 4th D Lt Dragoons middle right. Melee between 6th D Hussars and 3rd Chasseurs bottom left. 5th B Lt Dragoons middle bottom. 8th B Hussars bottom right.
An overview of the situation now on the French left flank. The 8th Belgian Hussars finally got the better of the French 7th Hussars who retreated to the rear. The Belgian horses were blown and had to retire to their own lines to reform. 

Turning first to the melee between the 6th Dutch Hussars and the 3rd Chasseurs. As the numbers dwindled on both sides attrition affected the French significantly more than the Dutch. There were simply fewer of them. Finally the 3rd Chasseurs broke and there was little Bruno could do to stop them. The Dutch Hussars were in no position to pursue them with blown horses and retired to their own lines to reform. 

The epic battle between Gobrecht's Lancers and the pursuing 4th Dutch Light Dragoons was also coming to a head. The Lancers were firmly on the back foot as the Dragoons triumphantly hacked away at the hapless French. The entire French brigade routed. The sight of 3 French cavalry regiments routing from the field was enough for the French 7th Hussars who also broke. The whole of Jacquinot's 1st Cavalry Division had now routed leaving Brue exposed to the allied cavalry.

The 4th Dutch Light Dragoons had not finished yet. As they pursued after the Lancers they caught sight of Jacquinot's horse artillery battery limbered and attempting to keep pace with the routing cavalry. It was too much of a gift and they adjusted their pursuit to swarm over the battery slaughtering the crews (top right). Brue hurriedly adjusted his brigade forming squares with artillery deployed to add further protection to the infantry (top left).

The Dutch/Belgian cavalry were justifiably elated by their achievement. All they needed now was for their infantry to join them and they could easily roll up the French left flank. Where the hell were the infantry?

You may recall that we left the French right flank and the main attack with the 7th Cuirassiers, having butchered the routing Gifhorn Landwehr, now with blown horses in front of the Dutch 3rd Carabiniers. The question was, did the 3rd Carabiniers take the opportunity to charge?

The answer is yes! Not only that but all 3 conscript regiments of the Dutch/Belgian heavy cavalry brigade successfully charged the Cuirassiers regiments opposing them.

The three cavalry melees from top Dubois leading 4th Cuirassiers v 2nd Belgian Carabiniers, middle - 12th Cuirassiers v Trip leading 1st Dutch Carabiniers, bottom - Travers with unformed 7th Cuirassiers v Dutch 3rd Carabiniers.
A close up of the action. The retreat of Kielmansegge's brigade left a large gap in the allied line which Trip's Dutch/Belgian heavy cavalry brigade sought to fill. The Cuirassiers of the 13th Cavalry Division move to counter the Dutch/Belgians. Trip saw the opportunity of his moment of glory and for his brigade to cement their place in history. The 7th Cuirassiers was about to retire to their own lines to reform and other Cuirassier regiments were moving towards his brigade. He immediately sounded the charge and the entire brigade surged forward. The 3rd Carabiniers charged into the mass of disorganised 7th Cuirassiers. The other two Carabiniers regiments counter-charged the 4th and 12th Cuirassiers. 

The 3rd Carabiniers quickly overcame the 7th Cuirassiers who found themselves unable to respond effectively to the Dutch charge. The fell back in a disordered retreat leaving the Dutch victorious.

Trip with his 1st Dutch Carabiniers was even more dramatic. After the initial clash, the Dutch fired up by Trip's enthusiasm, excelled themselves in the subsequent melee. The 12th Cuirassiers on the other hand, having been confidently expecting and easy victory, were stunned by the ferocity of the Dutch charge. As Cuirassiers fell to Dutch Sabres, their confidence evaporated and they too retreated in disorder. Neither Dutch regiment fell to the temptation to pursue.

For the 2nd Belgian Carabiniers all did not go so well. The excellent Dubois lead the 4th Cuirassiers in a determined charged which bowled over the Belgians. In no short order they routed from the field.

The loss of the Belgians was a blow for Trip but took consolation in what they had achieved overall.

Top left - Fanine's cuirassier brigade with 5th leading the 10th. Right - Cramm with the Brunswick cavalry brigade. Bottom left -  Schmitz and Aulard's brigades from French 2nd Div. Bottom - Halkett's brigade. 
Out on the extreme allied left, Halkett's brigade were doing a superb job of holding up the advance of the French 2nd Division. A new threat emerged as the fresh French 14th Cavalry Division moved up alongside the 2nd Division. The Duke of Brunswick, alert to this threat, sent forward Cramm with the Brunswick cavalry to support Halkett.

Bylandt alerted The Prince of Orange to the danger that was looming. That, if the main French attack could not be held, which now appeared extremely likely, his brigade and other allied units would be cut off from their only line of retreat. The Prince of Orange reluctantly agreed and ordered for Appleace to be abandoned. The aim was not to keep open the north road for as long as possible to allow for all units to escape to fight another day.


An overview of the battlefield demonstrating Bylandt's concern. The melees between the Dutch/Belgian heavy cavalry and cuirassiers are in full flow in the centre of the photo. 

The French once again attempted to force their way through the allied left flank. The 2nd Division charged Halkett's brigade. With just 2 of his battalions able to face the 2nd Division it was a one-sided affair. The Saltzgitter however, held their ground and repelled the first attack. The Quackenbrook were not so fortunate and routed but with the presence of the determined Halkett was not a lost cause. The Bremervorde Landwehr, who had been in square, retreated before the charging French could make contact. 

To the right of Halkett's brigade the 5th Cuirassiers charged the Brunswick 2nd Hussars who counter-charged. After a brief but bloody melee the Hussars were pushed back pursued by the Cuirassiers.

The French now poured into the gap left by Kielmansegge and move towards the north road in an attempt to cut off Bylandt.

Bylandt's brigade now formed up and moving out of Appleace. The troops occupying the church form a rearguard and continue to engage the French.


Here we see the 4th Cuirassiers charge into the unformed 1st Dutch Carabiniers (middle right) and the 10th Cuirassiers charge into the 3rd Dutch Carabiniers (middle bottom). This time there was no doubt with either melees. The Conscript Dutch cavalry were only ever going to last so long against the Cuirassiers. And so this proved. The 1st Dutch were routed with the 4th Cuirassiers having a superb handling result on the subsequent test and elected to remain in position. The 3rd Dutch were thrown into a disordered retreat with the 10th Cuirassiers pursuing and maintaining contact.

Fanine leading the 5th Cuirassiers pursued the Brunswick Hussars who fought back valiantly. The squadron of Brunswick Uhlans had a glorious opportunity to pile into the rear of the 5th Cuirassiers. Not only would it in all likelihood save the Hussars, but they could also crush the Cuirassiers. Much to the utter frustration of the Duke of Brunswick the Uhlans would not budge (they failed their charge morale test!). As a result the Hussars were defeated and they retreated back to the main Brunswick line. The superb handling of the 5th Cuirassiers allowed them to about face to deal with the Uhlans.

The Saltzgitter Landwehr had been so absorbed holding back the French they failed to notice they were becoming isolated. The 2nd and 3rd battalions of the French 13th Light Infantry saw their opportunity. As the 3/13th charged the front of Saltzgitter, the 2/13th charged directly into their flank. It is fair to say the Saltzgitter got minced in no short order. The survivors routed from the field.

Halkett was now down to 2 battalions who he had to rally with one retreating and one routing.

Bylandt's brigade make steady progress evacuating Appleace.

You may recall the 2 victorious Dutch/Belgian light cavalry brigades on their right flank were wondering where the infantry were to roll up the French. Now you know! A messenger arrived from the Prince of Orange. They were to retreat with all haste along the north road and await further orders.

At the top of the photo the 10th Cuirassiers caused numerous casualties among the retreating 3rd Dutch Carabiniers. As the Dutch continued their disorderly retreat the Cuirassiers ceased their pursuit for fear of becoming isolated.

At the bottom of the photo the 5th Cuirassiers charged the Brunswick Uhlans who disappointingly faltered in the face of the charge. They became an easy target for the Cuirassiers who decimated them. The survivors routed from the field and coincidentally, the Brunswick Hussars failed their rally test and also routed. 

On overview of the situation. The French are now preparing to make an assault on the north road having completely broken through the allied left flank.

Bottom middle of the photo shows Halkett attempting to rally the Quackenbrook Landwehr. To his right the Bremervorde Landwehr has formed a line adjoining the farm which has been occupied by the Brunswick Vanguard battalion.

Between the farm and north road there are 2 Brunswick battalions in square with the 3rd battalion in column on the road itself. Behind the Brunswick squares is the last of the Dutch/Belgian heavy cavalry brigade. The much reduced 3rd Dutch Carabiniers with Trip. The rest of the brigade having routed from the field. It is testament to the Trip's charisma, outstanding leadership qualities, and all round good egg, that his entire brigade has not dispersed (lucky dice throw!).

Moving around to the north road towards Appleace, we see the remnants of Kielmansegge's brigade, 1 light battalion and the Jaegers, between the Brunswick battalion and the Dutch/Belgians.

Towards Appleace, several Dutch/Belgian battalions have formed line on the road to protect their comrades in column formation making their way to safety.

Halkett has succeeded in rallying the Quanckenbrook and now prepares for Schmitz to launch yet another assault on his tiring troops.

It is a race against time as the Dutch/Belgian columns continue to make their way north. Top left is the returning light cavalry brigades.

Schmitz finally defeats Halkett with his charging columns. His last battalions were simply too worn out to take any more and routed from the field. The French 2nd Division can now turn its attention on the Brunswickers (bottom middle and right).

It takes the French too long to organise themselves with commanders reluctant to launch individual battalions into attacks pell mell. They have already suffered significant losses and doubt that anything less than brigade level attacks would be successful. The result is they see an opportunity slipping away as more allied units approach safety. Vial's patience snaps and he charges a Brunswick square with a Cuirassier regiment (middle right). The Brunswickers confidently hold their formation and the Cuirassiers attack is repulsed.

The French 1st Division prepares to charge the Dutch/Belgians on the road.

Schmitz launches his attack on the Brunswick Vanguard Battalion holding the farm. 3 French battalions simultaneously assault the stone wall enclosures but the Brunwickers defend with tenacity. The first attack is comprehensively repulsed.

As allied troops arrived at the rear positions they formed a new line to defend their escape route.

Bourgeiois' brigade charges the 7th Belgian Line and the 5th Dutch Militia hoping that the cover of a small copse would shield them until the last moment. A volley from both battalions was enough to repel the attack on the 5th Militia who held their ground. The charge on the 7th Belgian Line was enough for them to rout before contact was made.

The Brunswick Vanguard battalion were proving to be a pesky nuisance. Not only did several attacks fail to dislodge them but they were pouring fire on the French columns preparing to assault the main body of allied troops.

Brue's brigade, who had so stoutly held the French left flank without touching a drop in the Inn had now reformed and with the artillery advanced in the wake of the allied retreat. Walthier followed up with a Cuirassiers brigade.

Another attack goes in on the Brunswick Vanguard and still they hold on preventing the French from crossing the stone walls. Schmitz gets a direct order from Donzelot, "Stop fannying about and deal with the buggers", or words to that effect!

This is a poor quality photo but an important one as it shows the brave 5th Dutch Militia who had stood their ground pay the price for becoming isolated. As they were hit in the flank they were routed removing the last of the allied resistance near to Appleace.

Schmitz threw everything into one last desperate attempt at removing the Brunswick Vanguard from the farm. As fighting broke out along the length of the walled enclosure the French were finding once again that the Brunswickers had no intention of giving up their farm despite dwindling numbers. As they fell back Schmitz was given the order to cease fire.

The final photo as a cease fire was ordered along the French line. With darkness approaching it was clear to Grouchy that any further attempt on the allies would only result in more casualties for little gain. Ultimately he had won the battle but nothing like as comprehensively as he would have liked.

Had it not been for the steadfastness of Halkett's Brigade the French 2nd Division would have been free to advance on the north road that much earlier potentially trapping Bylandt's brigade and the Dutch/Belgian light cavalry brigades.

CASUALTIES:






The situation by nightfall:


RESULT - A FRENCH VICTORY
(I did not class this as decisive as the Allied army retreated from the field in good order)

NEXT - Action on the High Seas