Thursday, 28 October 2010

Hastenbeck 1757

June 1757 had gone well for the Austrians with their first victory over Frederick at Kolin. It was felt that a bit more effort from their French allies could bring a swift victory.

Surprisingly the French were ready and by July two armies had crossed the Rhine. One moved east to distract Frederick from Bohemia. The other quickly overran Westphalia and moved into Hanover where an alllied army, under the Duke Of Cumberland was still being assembled.

Heavily outumbered Cumberland found his army a half decent defensive position on a string of wooded hills at Hastenbeck with an escape route north back into Hanover through the village of Afferde. Before Afferde is a long stretch of stream and marshland

We used the scenario and army lists from the extremely useful Volley and Bayonet Page (although we had to replace the Hanoverians with British units) so have a look there if you want more detail of the set up.

Historically the battle was a bit of a farce for after an hour of bitter fighting Cumberland felt the battle slipping away from him whilst D'Estrees though the position too difficult to take. Both armies began to withdraw but as it became apparent what was happening it proved easier for the French to return to take the field and claim victory.

The resultant treaty led to the occupation of Hanover. Not surprisingly Cumberland was relieved of command.

Using volley and bayonet we tried to make decent game out of the "carry on" battle of the SYW.

The French centre begin their advance.

Allied heavy batteries in hastily erected redoubts await the enemy.

Historically Cumberlands southern flank was defended only by a small unit of Jaeger. A mistake repeated on table.

The French right wing advance through and between woods.

A number of attacks were required before the village was taken and the main infantry attack was replused.

In retrospect the battle was probably lost here for a well timed counter attack by Hussars and light dragoons on disordered french infantry could only be defeated by the throw of a six on their morale test. Of course a 6 was duly thrown, the cavalry defeated and the infantry rallied. The allied flank was broken.

The French advance on the centre was slow and methodical bringing up big batteries to within close range and proved more effective than the allied guns.

Taking a battering from cannister the allies charge down the hill!

... to disaster.

The French heavies charge through the resultant hole.

The allied left flank and centre were effectively smashed. On the right the French had struggled through marsh and emerged disordered to meet a devastating charge. The French left was destroyed allowing what was left of the allies to withdraw successfully into Hanover.

Today's cheese was Delice de Bourgogne - very probably the best yet.