09 February 2016

The Battle of Saxenhausen*** 24 July 1760 – again a ‘near’ historical scenario – or the story of general ‘Leonidas’ Waldgrave’s Day of Glory.

30 December our group played once more a ‘near-historical’ battle based on the 1760 Summer Campaign in the Western Theatre of the Seven Years' War. It is the third battle scenario I generated out of the historic operations of the 1760 Summer Campaign in Lower Hessen. I called it the battle of ‘Saxenhausen’ [sic.]. It was the French attack on Ferdinand’s Allied Army encamped on the high grounds around Sachsenhausen behind a Stream named Werbe. All is based on the historic situation of 24 July of which there is more original historic material to be found further below. The Allies were found heavily entrenched behind works – the fruit of finest British field engineering, I must say. I have never made much use of field works, and as a result, had little idea how ‘strong’ such a position could be. I learned my lesson that day as ‘My French Army’ suffered about its most disastrous defeat I recall in my record of wargaming.
At first, lets have a look at some images of the drama suffered by the French. That day was to be a day of Glory for the Allies.
View across the Allied army deployed in front of their camp. You see the walled town of Saxenhausen in the upper left background.
The Allies right wing moves into its defense positions. Its the division of mylord Waldgrave, with Granby's English cavalry of the right in support. 

View of Allied centre grand field work, occupied by Hannoverian artillerie. This old skratch built model of mine had been reanimated to be used in game for the very first time since using Volley & Bayonet rules. Some troops you see here are only recently purchased flats of my gaming opponent M***. His cannon seen here is really a flat model. Behind are the Hannoverian Gardes (white flag) and another of M***'s regiments, that I would now identify as the 27th Inniskilling's, really. That day, they were labeled as Hannoverians by mistake. In the lower left foreground you see his command stand representing mylord ‘Leonidas’ Waldgrave. This man decided the day. His division alone knocked out about half the French army.
View of the Allied left with my newly painted Brunswickers commanded by general Wutginau. None of them exchanged fire with the French that day, except their artillerie.
View on the centre of My doomed French. Below see a sketch of my terrain set-up as well as the Ordre de Bataille of the two opposing armies for this scenario.

The card icons seen on my army roster sheets were needed for an alternative method of turn sequence, that I borrowed from another rule set. Testwise, we dropped the alternate turn sequence of V&B but instead adopted a card driven sequence. Each division was allocated a game card, Hearts for the French and Spades for the Allies. The sequence of turns became entirely random in the event. It was real good fun, but will need more fine-tuning. I guess we had too many cards in the game. Any concerted action by neighbouring divisions became entirely impossible. It created a lot of Fog Of War.
General Rougé's 3rd centre division gives it a try and prepares to attack, only to be completely shattered about two turns later.
All the while French light troops – my Volontaires de Clermont – skirmished along the Werbe Stream on the French right while awaiting the arrival of Lusace's Corps de Reserve. They had some heavy cavalry in support – just to play it save.
Close view of the gallant Hessian hussars which was all needed to keep those Clermont Volontaires in due distance.
The English crack brigade on the far left under overall command of the Erbprinz.
Close view of the Hessian rifle armed Jagers.
View out of a Hannoverian field work. The image tells the entire story of the French progress in the centre. As soon as the brave lads crossed the Werbe Stream, they were welcomed with about the most deadly artillerie cross fire I can think of. All French were massacred within rather short.
View of a most determined line of French infantry in the centre. Soon later, they were no more.
The French now launched a violent assault on the Allies right. We see Ferdinand at the right place at the right time. You see the English heavy artillerie of capt. Macbean in the foreground defending the works.
View of the French assault of the English field work on the Allies right. The Irish really managed to knock out Macbean's heavy batterie – one of the rare successful French attacks that day. Moreoften we simply could not make an impression. The crisis on the Allied side now eveolved as St. Pern's Grenadier Reserve – by approaching along the unguarded ‘goat trail’ – attacked into the Allies undefended flank. HAH.
For a short period, the French really seemed to crush the Allies right, taking two of their works and hoisting the colours of the French king on Watchtower Hill. But not for long. In came Waldegraves violent counterstrike supported by the only now arriving reenforcements of general Kielmannsegg. No one would pass ‘Leonidas Spartan’ English division that day. Supported by a number of smart timed and well directed charges of the English cavalry, all French gains were lost within a rather short span of time. VICTORIA to the arms of Sa Majesté, le Roi d'Angleterre. P.S.: If this serries of sucesses of the Allies continues, my French Parisienne gossipers will fall short of finding proper nicknames for Homer's Allied Heros.
Now leaving the realm of fiction and turning to the true historic background
My scenario concentrated on a hypothetical clash of the two Armies principal forces supported by its immediate neighbouring forces on either flank. The situation is illustrated with the below sketch.

Historically, Broglie engaged Ferdinand’s Army at Sachsenhausen in a feint attack that day, in order to tie as many of Ferdinand’s force, while the real attack operations were directed simultaneously to Ferdinand’s flanks at Volkmarsen in the north and the Eder River between Waldeck and Fritzlar to the south. I thought, the French numerical superiority was fine enough to alter Broglie’s rather elegant plan and make him take the bull by the horns instead. Sure this was to become a bloody affair. Broglie's plan wasn't so bad – certainly much wiser then my somewhat dashy all out attack. Yeah guys… all my fault, I must confess. The official French campaign journal made the following assessment of the situation: On passait le temps aux camps de Corbach & de Saxenhausen, à s'observer réciproquement, les Ennemies avait retranché le leur, & ils ne paraît pas le devoir quitter de sitôt. D'ailleurs on n'aurait pas pu les en faire sortir de vive force sans se résoudre à perdre infiniment de monde.
While I was arranging My Scenario’s Armies and terrain set-up, I also took the effort to research the whereabouts of all other troops. 24 July was really a very busy day for the entire French army. Everybody was on the move. It was the result of some excellent staff work, I should say. I’m not aware the Austrians ever managed to launch anything at this scale without half the army being delayed or getting lost (the somewhat screwed Hochkirch and Liegnitz operations pop up in my mind here). The gentlemen from the Department of Military History of the German Great Generalstaff entitled such sort of operations as ‘Rococo Warfare In Perfection’ – but in a rather disparaging way (see vol. 12 pp. 270 ff.). They rejected the sort of operations where the light troops did all the work, while the bulk of the line remanied behind watching their progress as mere spectators with arms grounded. But, Broglie archieved his objective. A win. It was bloodshed enough. Several hundred got killed that day and a rather pressing pursuit during the next two days caused a many more casualties. Namely the comte de Broglies clash with Spörcken's Arriergarde around Viesebeck July 25 (about half way between Volkmarsen and Wolfhagen) were the roughnecks of de Vair's Volontaires got badly mauled by the mounted elements of the Legion Britannique and the sabers of the Black Carabiniers under major Monckewitz. About 800 men killed only here in a mater of a few hours on both sides.  

I decided to have a very close look at the operation in its entirety. It provides the material for even more good games.

Disposition of Ferdinand’s Allied Army
A- Prince Ferdinands' Main Force
left with 48 bats, 51 esc, artillerie
B- Corps Kielmansegg
14 bats & 6 esc, artillerie (based on 25 July figures): 9 position guns
C- Corps Wangenheim
5 bats & 4 esc, artillerie
D- Corps Oheim 

(under overall command of Wangenheim)
8 bats & 6 esc, artillerie
E- Corps Spörcken
14 bats & 18 esc, approx. 20 position guns, Légion Britannique (5 bats, 5 esc.), Hessian hussars, & Buckebourg Carabiniers noirs
F- Corps Howard & Gilsa 

(under overall command of the Erbprinz)
8 bats & 6 esc, artillerie
G- Corps prince d'Anhalt 

(under overall command of the Erbprinz)
6 bats & 4 esc, artillerie
H- Bronsvic Grenadier brigade 

(under overall command of the Erbprinz)
3 bats
J- Corps Luckner 

(under overall command of the Erbprinz)
The bulk of the Allies light troops

Below find the detailed breakdown for the entire Allied Army July 24 with an original record provided the Paris Archive at the Château Vincennes. The manuscript is easy enough to read, so I did not bother to do a transcription. Note the dispositions recorded here should be the situation in the afternoon 24 July. The Corps Kielmannsegg is now found encamped much closer to Ferdinands Main Force.
Also Wangenheim and Oheim are now both found encamped at Freienhagen behind Ferdinands right wing. By dawn 24 July, Kielmannsegg was located at Ober- and Nieder-Waroldern, Oheim with all the Hessian troops was in Landau, and Wangenheim with the Hannoverians was in Volkardingshausen to Kielmannseggs close support. The sheet showing the line-up of Ferdinands Sachsenhausen camp is incomplete. The generals are missing. Possibly, the author's desk got smashed by a French cannon ball leaving the poor man so shell shocked that he could not complete his work. 

Disposition of Broglie’s French Army
A- Broglies' Main Force
left with 49 bats, 73 esc, artillerie
B- Corps St. Pern
brigade Grenadiers de France, plus one unknown inf. brigade (La Marck? or possibly Alsace from Du Muy's Corps), & several mixed detachments of the army.
Also encamped here around Bernsdorf and Mühlhausen but not part of Saint Pern’s force for the 24 July attack operation was la brigade des Gardes and the Grenadiers Royaux. Possibly also the cavalry brigade Royal of the Army’s left wing cavalry.
C- Corps Lusace
approx. 18 bats & 26 esc, artillerie
D- Corps Stainville
principal forces: 2 regts of dragoons (du Roy & Feronnaye), Bercheny hussars, Légion Royale
E- Corps Du Muy (formally St. Germain)
approx. 34 bats, 24 esc, artillerie
F- Corps baron de Clauzen
Inf brigade Royal-Suédois & several mixed detachments of the army, artillerie
G- Corps comte de Broglie (the Maréchal's brother)
Inf. brigades Belzunce & Swiss Castellas, cav. brigade Orléans, 2 regts of dragoons (Beuffremont & Apchon), Volontaires de Flande, & Volontaires de Vair, artillerie
H- Corps Chabot
2 regts of dragoons (Royal & Thianges), Turpin hussars incl. attached Chasseurs, Fischer Corps, Volontaires de Dauphiné & d'Austrasie, also some artillerie from Du Muy's Corps (?)
J- Corps Wurmser
Royal Nassau hussars & mixed detachement of infantry
K- Corps Caraman
2 regts of dragoons (Caraman & Orléans)
The basis for the composition of all troops remains the general Ordre de Bataille of June 1760. I have included the sheets once more further below. A number of troops had been employed guarding the French communications to Frankenberg and Margurg in the rear, or as garrison of these places. It included the regt. Boullion, the remains of the brigade d'Anhalt that had been shattered at Emsdorf, and possibly some others more. All were under the command of Stainville, but did not take part in the 24 July attack operation, to my understanding. Furthermore, the Volontaires de Clermont as well as a detachment of the Bercheny hussars along with this regiments associated Chasseurs d'Origny were operating along the Diemel River and probing into the direction of Paderborn in Westphalia at that time. 
Note: Interesting is the French use of its dragoons here. You see them exclusively employed as light troops. None served with the cavalry wings of the Army. Really, they do the same service as the hussars did with the Austrians or Prussians.

03 February 2016

My SYW Saxon 6-pounder Quick Firer battalion gun

I'd like to share my latest skratch built gun model to be added to my SYW Saxon corps serving alongside my French SYW troops. Eventually, I did a model of this rather eccentric Saxon 1756 fielded 6-pdr ‘Quick Firer’ battalion gun, based on my earlier research. Please see my initial article under "Saxon SYW Artillery" in my Blog. It has the entire story to it, so I won't bother to repeat it all here. I LOVE IT. Its my master piece. Let's simply have a look at the result of it all.

Here it is in ‘firing position’ with the barrel locked in this distinctive iron machine case. Next comes My Model with unlocked or released barrel in ‘loading position’.
Now, isn't that smart looking?. Below are some more shots.
With its released barrel, it really looks like some sort of ‘too early’ AA gun – possibly meant to fight those Vatican sent worrisome ‘Spy Pigeons’.
I should note that all of these guns became the booty of the Prussians with the surrender of the Saxon army at Pirna in 1756. None were fielded later on. The Saxons instead fielded the French ‘Swedish type’ 4-pounder model. But I don't care. This piece is just too special to be ignored. My Saxons in French servive will continue to field their own invented so special guns.
My model isn't entirely skratch built, really. It should be more rightly called a conversion. I used a very nice cast 28mm range model fom Foundry Miniatures. They trade it as a SYW Russian ‘medium gun’ (SYWR009).This model really makes a rather smart match.
It is very well done. Great details, and really a great model to represent much more than just Russian ordnance. I'd make it also my Hannoverian guns. Fine enough, and so much better than using Prussian or Austrian models.
I converted this Foundry model with the help of my Proxxon micro driller and some wire, nails, sheet brass, and a left over copper chain that came with an old Hinchliffe gun model I purchased back in the 1980's. Really, with my new Saxon gun model I arrive at full circle, as I have loved the dress and this self confident pose of this Saxon Cannonier I know so well from my very first book on uniforms when I was a teenager and only started collecting miniatures.
I always loved the pose of this Saxon Cannonier. The gun model is done now. Next will follow the gunners. They have already been selected, and primed. Can't wait to see them serving the piece in my next game.

04 January 2016

Prussian SYW Artillery Scale Drawings – part 4 – A Spectacular New Source

A truly spectacular new source filled with 18th century military material has been digitalized and made available online. It is the extensive encyclopedic collection of the former Wuerttemberg general Ferdinand Friedrich von Nicolai (*1730 +1814). It belongs to the archive of the Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart – or the ‘Wuerttemberg State Library’ in English. It includes several folders on artillery with about the biggest collection of scale drawings I have ever seen. Simply overwhelming it all is. The bulk of the material should originate from the hands of the Zeugmeister or ‘Masters of Ordnance’ of the once so famous Nuermberg Arsenal, but it is also including many drafts illustrating other European Armies guns and other material. Most is of the period around 1700 – and somewhat earlier – to around 1750 or 1760. It does include awsome and most bizzare constructions, such as the one below:
Source: copyright restricted
Digital Collection
Württembergische Landesbibliothek.
It is published here for purely academic use without any commercial intention.
The upper draft is a breech loading ‘Quick Firer’ Geschwind-Stück dated 1750 as per this sheets caption on the lower right. But I just love the sheets lower construction.
I consider to quit my present job, and start a new business selling the ‘Ultimate Mole Terminator Solution’. I'll tour all the US golf courses and turn a millionaire within short.
The frustrating part of the story, though, is the fact that only but few sheets give any information apart from foot and/or calibre scales and other measurements. No dating is found, and moreoften no information of what armies ordnance you are looking at. It is for that reason, I was told, this material has never really been employed with accademic research, so far. 
Given my years of studying the subject and the countless illustrations I have done myself during the past years, I can say that I have arrived at a sharpend eye-ball, which now enables me to identify at least some of the material with considerable ease. Browsing the pages of all this fantastic material you suddenly drop on a page with the below content:
Source: copyright restricted
Digital Collection
Württembergische Landesbibliothek.
It is published here for purely academic use without any commercial intention.
Now – That could be Prussian! – I thought. And really, the unfolded sheet disclosed a most beautiful looking draft of a Prussian 3-pounder cannon.
Source: copyright restricted
Digital Collection
Württembergische Landesbibliothek.
It is published here for purely academic use without any commercial intention.
The sheets caption identifies it as a ‘Prussian 3-pdr battalion gun, 16 calibres or 4 feet long, and weighing 4.5 centner’. Now, what piece is it we are looking at? With all the details provided with my extensivly employed principal source on Prussian gun construction by Malinowsky & Bonin (M&B), it can be identified as Holtzmann's revised M1738 construction dating to around 1747. It should be noted that all the pencil drawn markings and notes found on this sheet were certainly done or added by a ‘Non-Prussian’. We don't know the foot scale employed here for arriving at the authors' ‘4 foot’ length. Its certainly not the Berlin Fuss. The ink drawn parts of this draft should have been done by another earlier author. This earlier authors' draft makes a rather dead-on match with all the figures and dimensions recorded in M&B, such as the widened chamber of the conic bore in order to hold a charge 0.5 the weight of its shot, rather then 1/3 with his initial 1738 master construction. The pieces principal proportions are found by dividing the barrel into 7 parts. The axis was placed into the 3/7, as with the Holtzmann designs of this range in 1738. Hotzmanns' revised 1747 design had added trunnion shoulders, it is said in M&B – and that's precisely what we see here. Also the pieces received gun sights in 1747, which are all neatly added with pencil with this illustration. Another volume of the collection even has a draft of Holtzmanns' 1747 introduced Richtmaschine. Again, despite this sheets little information, with the help of M&B, the 1747 Holtzmann construction can easily be identified. 
The entire collection includes a wealth of ‘Prussian’ drafts, that may either be original Prussian, or copies of original Prussian material. A total of 5 barrel constructions, including the afore Holtzmann 3-pdr are found. Two 6-pdr designs that should be identified as the Dieskau M1754 conic chamber design, a short barrel 12-pdr, 14 calibres long, which is most obviously oncemore a Dieskau M1754 conic chamber design. I'll have investigated this one in detail. Since I have done an earlier tentative reconstruction of this piece in my below article ‘Prussian SYW Artillery scale drawings – part 3’, this one is my ‘revised’ illustration:
The original Nicolai Collection draft is the one seen below.
Source: copyright restricted
Digital Collection
Württembergische Landesbibliothek.
It is published here for purely academic use without any commercial intention.
Finally, it also includes a draft of this bizarre ‘super light’ 24-pdr field gun M1744. All figures and dimensions that can be extracted from this draft leave no doubt to its identity. I have presented a tentative reconstruction in my earlier article ‘Prussian SYW Artillery scale drawings – part 2’. I will need to present a revised draft with the new information found in the Nicolai Collection material. Below see a draft of the barrel found here. It is most fantastic, for I thought I'll never manage to ever find an illustration of this piece. Oncemore, I did a closer investigation.
The original Nicolai Collection draft of this 24-pdr is the one seen below.
Source: copyright restricted
Digital Collection
Württembergische Landesbibliothek.
It is published here for purely academic use without any commercial intention.
We even find a draft for the carriages bracket cheek for this piece. Very exciting this is to me. 
Source: copyright restricted
Digital Collection
Württembergische Landesbibliothek.
It is published here for purely academic use without any commercial intention.
Without doubt, this is the carriage bracket cheek for this piece. Some details provided in M&B make a good match, while some others don't. Especially the manner of the metal fittings do cause me some embarassement, for the time being. Apart from all this spectacular new material available, the collection also includes drafts of the entire Linger M1717 system providing the dimensions for the guns, as well as for the carriages and wheels and furthermore the Linger light 18-pdr howitzer along with the drafts of the Linger M1717 50-pdr mortars. The below sheet is one of three found here.
Source: copyright restricted
Digital Collection
Württembergische Landesbibliothek.
It is published here for purely academic use without any commercial intention.
It illustrates the 3- and 6- pdr dimensions, as well as Linger's two 1717 Mortar designs. Also the small cast iron 4-pdr mortar is found here. A forerunner of the later 54 mm infantry heavy weapons light mortar, so to say. 
The Prussian Linger system M1717 range howitzers are also found with another neat illustration.
Source: copyright restricted
Digital Collection
Württembergische Landesbibliothek.
It is published here for purely academic use without any commercial intention.
The two left hand drafts I have done earlier based on drafts gathered from elsewhere. These Nicolai collection ones make a fine match. To the right you also see a so entitled ‘Swedish cast iron 16-pdr howitzer’. This piece was apparently also fielded during the period 1717 to 1740. I must confess that I did not bother to have a closer look at the cast iron ordnance of Prussia of this period, as it was almost exclusively guns for fortress armament. Obviously, this cast iron model (imported from Sweden? – hence the name?) had also been fielded.
As you can see, I need to do some more reading and engage in a closer investigation on all this new material. 
By the way, the content of the entire Collection Nicolai can be found here – Link: http://digital.wlb-stuttgart.de/sammlungen/sammlungsliste/werksansicht/?no_cache=1&tx_dlf[id]=3116&tx_dlf[page]=1
Turn to the side bar on the left. All folders here are found in French language

The article will be continued…

21 November 2015

My SYW Personality Commanding Generals No IV

Below see some images of a newly remastered SYW command stand of mine. Its the Erbprinz, awestruck nicknamed "Achilles" by his French opponets. I have redone the laces of his coat making a better match to the Brunswick Leib-Regiment officers dress. The Kassel Museums Collection has a portrait of him dated 1763 where he looks just this way including the popular black hunting dress breeches. The saddlecloth is my own guess work. The portrait shows him along with his family “dismounted” missing the horse.

His entourage is made up or a newly painted officer of the Hannoverian Jägers (green dress). He may be Winzigerode or captain Friedrichs, adding the so much needed intelligence to his staff. He certainly does have the bigger spy-glass.

The two black uniformed blokes are his personal Garde d'Honneur. Its a troop of the Buckebourg Black Carabiniers. I painted them many years ago. Make no mistake – if you should ever make it to the gates of Walhalla, those very two gentlemen will receive you, for they'll be the Gate Guards. No doubt. You better know the Parole or watchword. If you miss it, you will not pass. They'll show you the short-cut way straight to hell, instead.