Thursday, December 18, 2008

AAR Napoleonics at Shane's 16 December 2008

AAR of French Aide de Camp Major Maxwell

My arrival on the battlefield was just at the right moment. The battle had been joined an hour ago and General Devries was issuing orders to whoever caught his eye. I was one such soul. With orders to hold off the English advance for as long as we could, Gen Devries had positioned his artillery and most of his infantry forward with his position focused on the small village to the east of the only bridge for miles that crossed the river. The river ran north to south and a shallow fjord was located miles to the south but that would take the English hours to get to and our French lines stood in their way.

Devries guessed their ultimate goal was to reach the large hills to our south on the western side of the river. He placed a single battalion in line on the hill with 2 legere battalions to the north on the west bank of the river near the village. He gave me the command of those 2 battalions with orders to hold the position as long as I could before withdrawing south. He hoped he could draw a majority of the English in a stuggle for the village and therefore inflict a bloody nose while I protected his left flank with 1500 elite light soldiers.

When I arrived to my position between the 2 formations I noted 1 battalion was in full skirmish order in light woods on the extreme left of our line while the other was formed into line and was located behind a solid stone wall immediately to the left of the bridge at the village. On my left, I had 3 squadrons of enemy Dragoons threatening the light woods while an enemy battalion was skirmishing with my skirmishers. On my right, 3 enemy line battalions were advancing in columns towards the solid rock wall. In between both was a horse battery of 6 guns on the move. A considerable force to try to hold back but I was confident I would give my general the time he needed to send this English force reeling back from where it came.

The situation when I arrived to take my command. My skirmishers holding the light woods on the left engaged with an English skirmish line. My 2nd battalion in line behind a solid rock wall on my right with 3 english columns to their front. More English are seen swarming on the other side of the river to the heights to the north of the village.

My skirmishers holding the woods on the left flank.

General Devries men holding the village on the east side of the river.

English infantry swarming from the heights to the north of the village

My infantry defending the woods

My infantry defending the solid rock wall

My skirmishers on my left were embroiled in a tight and constant exchange with the enemy skirmishers and although the enemy commander attempted to charge his dragoon repeatedly, I held the position for a number of hours until losses started to shaken my men, and the dragoons finally unleashed themselves into the woods. My men could not stand against 240 cavalrymen and routed to the small hills behind our position. Throughout the morning, the battalion had lost around 300 men and inflicted about the same on the enemy.

The legere battalion from the woods running with the enemy dragoons in pursuit

On my right, my line battalion held the wall for about the same duration of time taking massive casualties in the process. It faired well against the advancing columns until the enemy managed to deploy his horse artillery on the flank of the line at point blank range and started firing with full enfilade. The skirmishers from that battalion relocated to screen the flank but that only delayed the inevitable and eventually the battalion was forced to withdraw under heavy musket and artillery fire.

The enemy artillery on the flank of my battalion on the right.

All in all we held the west side of the river for 4 to 5 hours but the enemy had managed to push our forces on the east side back as well but with heavy losses to himself.

I rejoined General Devries at the fjord and we pulled the remants of his force together and withdraw from the area to rest and rally and resupply.

The men had fought hard and had inflicted heavy losses on the enemy but we had also lost a lot of good men ourselves. Tomorrow is another day and a good meal and a few hours sleep will see us back in the field.

A few more pics:

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