Saturday, December 1, 2012

THe Battle of Ostwald AAR


(Fought – week 1 March 1785 outside the village of Ostwald in Northern Bergatonia)

Army Orbats and casualties. at bottom of the report

The Battle of Ostwald



Fought on the 5th March 1785, the opponents were a Rechburgian Army of 8,500 Inf, 4,200 Cavalry & 18 Guns commanded by Prince Wilhelm and a Bergatonian Army of 9,000 Inf, 2,000 Cavalry and 18 Guns commanded by Prince Rupert.

Duke Rupert had just been told hours before the battle commenced that his new ally the Duchy of Neider had already betrayed him. Despite being only a few miles from the battlefield the Neider Army had suddenly turned around and returned to Neider, leaving Rupert’s Bergatonian Army to face the Rechburgians.
Though Rupert held a small numerical advantage in infantry the quality of the armies was quite different, almost 3,000 of his 9,000 infantry men were raw recruits.
Rupert had 2 veteran Battalions, those being his Guard Battalions to the Rechburgian 6 Veteran and 1 Elite units. The best Rupert could take from this was a rather pessimistic view that at least his army was this time defending, and what is more the men were defending their homeland.

Preparations
Prince Rupert placed his 1st Infantry Brigade on the reserve slopes of Pieper Ridge just to the left of the artillery battery which was on the right hand side of the ridge line.
His 2nd Brigade was on Strawmans Ridge approximately centre but again on the reverse slope, the 3rd Brigade’s Jager Bn was attached to the 2nd brigade for the duration of the battle. Both the 1st and 2nd Brigades had their Jager Battalions deployed forward on the more exposed front of the ridge line.

Bergatonian reverse slope of left end of Piepers Ridge. The 1st Heavy Cavalry Regiment on
the left routed the two Rechburg Light Cav Regiments seen moving between woods and Hill.

The 3rd Brigade his weakest Brigade consisted of the conscripts was place around and in Strawmans and Ostwald Woods. The 1st heavy Cavalry brigade was behind Pieper Ridge, the 2nd Light Cavalry Brigade was behind Strawmans Ridge but at the right end.

The 3 artillery Batteries were placed on both ridge lines, 1 on Pieper Ridge and 2 on Strawmans Ridge.

Prince Wilhelm he did not have time for finesse in this battle, though the Neider Army which  had been marching towards him, seems to have withdrawn he could not be sure it was taking a wider route behind his flanks, as a precaution he had already detached the Guard cavalry Brigade to watch his right flank and rear.

On the Rechburgian right flank Wilhelm placed the 2nd Light Cavalry Brigade to the right hand side of Corinth ridge. Then the 4th Infantry Brigade was placed on Corinth Hill itself. Next to that was the 1st Guards Infantry Brigade on Sadler’s Ridge.

There was a very weak centre only covered by the 1st Uhlan Regiment of the 3rd Light Cavalry Brigade, the bulk of the 3rd LC Bde was positioned behind Longmans Ridge.
The 3rd Infantry Brigade is positioned some distance behind Longman’s Ridge as was a 9pdr Medium artillery Battery. The HA Battery supported the Ist Uhlans in the centre.

The Opening Phase.

The battle opened on the flanks. The 4th Infantry Bde advanced with the 2nd Light Cavalry on its right flank and the Guards Brigade on its left.
Out on the far Rechburgian left flank the 3rd Brigade advanced towards Longmans Ridge with the medium Battery in support and the 3rd Light cav Bde ( - detached 1st Uhlan Regiment) advancing up the Road that ran past Longmans ridge.

                                    Rechburg view of Piepers ridge in  distance

The Bergatonian artillery opened up immediately by firing on the 1st Uhlans in the centre, they had mistakenly wandered into range and suffered from very accurate artillery fire from Strawmans Ridge.
The battery on Pieper Ridge also inflicted losses on the Guard Jagers as they advanced towards them.

Prince Rupert immediately saw the main weight of the Rechburg was to fall on his left flank, that is pieper ridge, he immediately ordered the Heavy cavalry Brigade to take up position on the reverse slope of Pieper ridge and he moved the Guards Brigade to the same reverse slope but at the end of the ridge line.

Out on the Bergatonian Right flank the conscript Jagers made a dash for Kyler’s woods which was a dense easily defended place.

The Rechburgian 3rd Infantry brigade climbed and began to descend Longmans ridge, the 7th Battalion began to suffer moderate losses in the prolonged barrage directed at it.

Out on the Bergatonian Left flank events also began to unfold, The Rechburg 9pdr Battery on Corinth Hill became involved in a heavy counter battery duel with the Bergatonian Battery on the crest of Piepers Ridge. Out on the extreme Bergatonian left the Rechburgian 2nd Light Cav brigade sent two regiments in support of the 4th Infantry Brigade, as it approached Piepers Ridge, the Newstadl Hussars of the same Cavalry Brigade moved in support of the Guards brigade.
The 4th brigades line of approach was taking it to the Bergatonian left hand end of Piepers ridge while the Guards Brigade was aiming for the centre and right end.


               The right end of Piepers Ridge, the Rechburgian Guard Jager approach

The Bergatonian commander of the Heavy Cavalry Brigade   General Vendome sitting on the crest of the ridge noted the approach of the two Rechburg Regiments down below him, ordering his 1st Heavy cavalry regiment to charge the Uhlans which was leading cavalry Regiment in support of the 4th Infantry Brigade.
The Uhlans seeing the Bergatonian Heavy Cavalry advancing on them down the slopes of Pieper ridge immediately counter charged. The right hand battalion (27th) being close to the point of contact between the two Cavalry Regiments formed square, the remaining battalions continued their advance on Pieper ridge.
The two opposing cavalry units clashed heavily and the Bergatonian Heavy cavalry with the impetuous of the downhill charge and the weight of their mounts literally over turned the Uhlans and broke them. In the excitement of the quick victory Bergatonian commander then lost control of his Regiment as it pursued the routing lancers and seeing another Rechburg Light Cavalry regiment before them (Leeds Hussars) charged them and broke them as well.
In the mad helter skelter attack of the 1st Heavy Cavalry Regiment they broke two Rechburgian Light Cavalry regiments, scattered the 4th brigades Jager battalion  and suffered only 50 casualties in total while inflicting 250 on the enemy. Both Light Rechburg cavalry regiments routed towards the rear, running faster than the pursuing cavalry. Eventually the Bergatonian cavalry regained control and order, however by this time they were behind Corinth Hill and the Rechburg lines.

Meanwhile back on Piepers the long infantry struggle for the ridge line was about to commence.

                         The first of many charges and counter charges over Pieper Ridge

The battalions of the Rechburg 4th Infantry brigade got over the shock of seeing their Uhlan Regiment out on the right flank be overrun by the Bergatonian Heavy cavalry, at least one Battalion (The closest to the Cavalry action) stopped to form square, The 4th Jager battalion (29th) was now reforming behind the line infantry having been swept aside by the cavalry attacks, the other Battalion commanders deciding it was better to  advance than stopping and being pounded by the Bergatonian artillery battery up on Piepers crest. So far all the Rechburgians had seen of the Bergatonian army were the artillery batteries on the two main ridges and now of course the Heavy Cavalry.

The Guards Infantry brigade advancing on Piepers ridge parallel to the Ostwald road was in perfect formation. Their Elite Jager battalion was far out in advance and closing on the battery, the Jagers because of their open formation had only taken light losses in crossing the valley floor, now as they ascended the ridge they began to engage the battery up on the ridgeline with musketry fire, behind them the Guard line battalions started their advance up on the hill.
Similarly out to the Rechburgian Right the 4th Infantry Brigade had continued their advance (Minus the 27th still in square and Jagers reforming) they two began the laborious climb up the slopes of Pieper ridge.

All of a sudden the crest line in front of the 4th brigade was covered by a battalion of Bergatonian Infantry (2nd Bn) as it advanced down on the leading Rechburg battalion (26th). The two battalions collided on the forward slopes and immediately became involved in a melee; the results were inconclusive as they both simultaneously withdrew in some disorder. The Bergatonions now advanced their 2nd Jager in column formation, they were met by the Rechburg 27th battalion as it passed through the disordered 26th. That 27th Battalion was forced back losing a 100 men in the melee with the Jagers, but the Jagers in turn were pushed back over the ridge line by the next Rechburg Battalion the 28th.

While this monumental tussle was taking place on the left side of Piepers ridge similarly another was taking place on the Right end of the same ridge line. Here the Bergatonian 3rd battalion charged down the slopes pushing the Rechburg Guard jager aside they collided with the Rechburg Princess Caroline Guard Battalion, the melee was particularly vicious but eventually the Bergatonions 3rd Battalion was pushed back with considerable losses, the Rechburg losses though light were severe in that their commander General Sagen was severely wounded and was carried from the field.
Prince Rupert ordered the 1st Guard battalion to advance against the Princess Caroline and the two battalions met on the crest of the ridge, the Princess Caroline being pushed back but still maintaining good order.

While the two Infantry melees were taking place at either end of Piepers ridge the Bergatonian commander of the 2nd Heavy cavalry regiment looking down from the crest line saw the Rechburg Newstadt hussars moving up the hill between the two infantry melees, he ordered his Regiment to counter attack them, so at this stage there were three distinct battles being fought along the slopes of Piepers ridge.

On the left of the ridge line the battle between advancing Rechburg 28th were met by the reformed 2nd Bergatonian Battalion, they both rebounded from the melee in some disorder, though suffering only light losses.
In the centre of the ridge the two cavalry Regiments collided and rebounded, they two withdrew in some disorder and on the right end of the ridge Bergatonian 1st guard battalion now being lead by Prince Rupert himself was repulsed by the Rechburg Prince Wilhelm Guard Battalion.
For a brief moment the only unit left on all of Piepers Ridge was the Prince William Battalion and that was only for the briefest moment as Prince Rupert raced back to the 1st Guard battalion which was reforming at the base of the hill.

Now would be an appropriate time to take a look at the action at the other extreme of the battlefield, the actions around the right end of Strawmans ridge.
Here the action was far less intense, the main reason for this was the Rechburg 3rd Infantry Brigade had deployed to far from the enemy held ridge, so while the intense struggle on Piepers ridge was taking place on Strawmans ridge most of the action had been between artillery batteries.
Two of the Bergatonian batteries concentrated their fire on the 1st Uhlan Regiment, it suffered heavy losses before retiring out of artillery range, the Bergatonian guns were then turned on the 3rd Brigade as it crossed Longmans ridge. The 7th Rechburg battalion (3rd Bde) suffered most from this concentrate fire and before the day was out would lose 150 men to artillery fire.
In an attempt to silence the batteries the commander of the 3rd Light Cavalry brigade ordered his two Cavalry Regiments forward (the 3rd Uhlans was in the centre), 2nd Dragoon regiment lead the charge while the 1st Dragoons advanced on its left least one of the Bergatonia Cavalry regiments tried to save the battery.
The 1st dragons were repulsed wit effective long range artillery fire and canister at point blank, the regiment lost 400 men in the needless charge and routed.
The Bergatonian 4th dragoon regiment then counter attacked the remaining Rechburg Cavalry regiment the 1st Dragoons. The Bergatonian Dragoons were defeated and routed losing 200 men. Several of the Bergatonian conscript battalions though untouched started to waver having seen their cavalry rout from the field.  By this time the 3rd Infantry brigade was finally climbing Strawmans Ridge, the Bergatonian Artillery decided to limber up and move off the ridge in an effort to save the guns.

For Duke Rupert things were looking desperate, though his right flank looked shakey the Conscripts still remained and most of the 2nd Brigade had not been engaged.
He ordered the 4th Bn (2nd  Bde) to engage the Rechburg Guard Jagers who were trying to move through the gap between Piersons Ridge and Strawmans Ridge.
He also decided on another counter attack back up Piersons ridge, this time using his 2nd Guard battalion on the right and the reformed Jager Battalion  and the reformed 1st Guard battalion.
Once more these three battalions struck the Rechburg Brigades as they too had reformed and were moving up the opposite side of the hill.

After a period of more melees along Pierson’s finally the 3 Bergatonian Battalions were forced to retreat from the ridge. Duke Rupert fell back with his 2nd Guards, he was near exhausted having been involved in three melees without a scratch on him. He knew it was time to withdraw, the remaining untouched Rechburg Battalions  on this end of the line were starting to finally climb the slopes, having been prevented from doing so earlier by the tight press of men already fighting on the ridge line. The Rechburgians were also now moving around the right flank of the ridge, having pushed back the 4th Bn (2nd Bde) Rupert could see two more Rechburg guard Battalions moving around the flank.

He still had a battered but viable force, his last hope was in the defence of his capital, he turned to his staff to begin organising the rear guard and withdrawal; he was very much surprised to see an old child hood friend having just arrived, what’s more he was in the uniform of a Franconian General.

Rupert smiled
“Alexis old Friend you have picked a hell of a bad time for a social friend, and look at you, a General”.
General Alexis Schnellendorf was a big bear of man, his smile was considerable and his eyes still had the mischievous glint he knew from their childhood.

“Aye sire just shows how desperate his majesty King Juan is when they make men like me Generals ehhh.”

“So what the hell are you doing here, don’t tell me you heard there was a battle in the offering and you just happened to be in the neighbourhood.”

“Well sire the funny thing is that is exactly what happened, you see you have a new friend, King Juan he is mightily pissed at the Rechburgians that he said Alexis old chap why don’t you wander on over there and teach that popinjay Bergatonian Prince a thing or two on how to fight, so here I am.”

“Ok old friend its good to see you but I have to get my bloody army out of here, it looks like you may have arrived just in time to witness the last desperate defence of my Capital, and I am not hopeful. My army has done well today but they are simply out classed and now they are ruined, at least for a few days.”

Alexis stood up in his stirrups easing his bottom,
“Well sire that’s the thing, I didn’t come alone, I brought some friends to fight in that last battle, and what a doozey it will be eh”

“Friends, what sort of friends, how many?” Rupert asked puzzled

“Well my usual sort, you know military types, and how many, oh around 10,000 of them”.

Rupert stopped looked at Alexis, he was totally stunned,
“10,000, bloody hell Alexis since when did you have 10 friends, let alone 10,000, and what do I have to do to get them, promise my soul to Juan”.

“Well that’s not for me to say sire, I have a Franconian Infantry Division which will be at this moment be finishing a forced march to your capital.”

“Are you telling me Juan is marching to help me, the man he has virtually ignored all these years, in fact has even conspired against, are you saying almost overnight for no apparent reason he has become my savior.”

“Oh Sire I would have thought the reason was obvious, the enemies of my enemy are my friends and all that rubbish, you have demonstrated you enmity against Rechburg more than any other lord in Europia, right now you are one of his newest protégées, and sire I best suggest you take advantage of it. “

“Oh don’t worry Alexis, I may be the mad Duke as some brainless wits would have me known, but I am not the stupid Duke, I will pull my army back, at least what’s left of it; and then march back to New Madrid. Together my old friend we will teach those bloody Rechburgians how to fight ehh.”

“Indeed sire, now I have one remaining task; may I bother you for a flag of truce?”

“Err yes why” asked Rupert.

“Well sire the other part of the reason for my being here is I must deliver a message to those “pups” as you call them, basically King Juan wishes me to chastise them and tell them to go away, or I will spank them; very hard.”

“Oh my god Alexis if only I could be there to see that, but alas I have too much to do here”.




###/### = Pre battle/Post Battle Strengths.


Bergatonian Military
Commander Duke Rupert: “Good”
1st Guard Regiment
1st Guard Grenadier Battalion - 700 – Vet  =700/450
2nd Guard Grenadier Battalion - 700 – Vet =700/450

1st Infantry Brigade (General Werden- Average)
2nd Battalion - 700 – Exp = 700/550
3rd Battalion - 700 – Exp = 700/500
1st Jager Battalion - 600 – Exp = 600/550
2nd Medium Batt

2nd Infantry Brigade (General Fagel – Good)
4th Battalion - 700 – Exp = 700/500
5th Battalion - 700 – Exp =700/650
6th Battalion - 700 – Exp = 700/650
7th Battalion - 700 – Exp = 700/650
3rd Medium Batt

3rd Infantry Brigade (General Tincey – Average)
8th Battalion - 700 – Conscript = 700
9th Battalion - 700 – Conscript = 700
10th Battalion - 700 – Conscript =700
2nd Jager Battalion - 600 – Conscript 700/0 (entire Bn Captured)

1st Heavy Cavalry Brigade (General Vendome – Average)
1st Heavy cavalry regiment - 700 – Exp = 700/350 Now promoted to Veteran.
2nd Heavy Cavalry regiment - 700 – Exp = 700/650

2nd Light Cavalry Brigade (General Rantzau – Good)
3rd Dragoon regiment - 700 – Exp = 700/500
4th Dragoon Regiment - 700 – Exp = 700/450
3rd HA Batt.

 

Bergatonian Losses:
Infantry – 1250
Cavalry 850
No Guns – 150 Gunners


The Rechburg Army

Commander Prince Wilhelm - "Excellent"
2nd in Command Prince Leopold  - "Excellent"
3rd Infantry Brigade - Gen Wilhelm Hebelstreight (Good) (4,200 men)
4th Infantry Regiment “Hirzel” ( 2 battalions) 7th & 8th] – Veteran 7th Bn-700/550, 8th Bn 700/700
 5th Infantry Regiment (2 battalion, 40th & 41st) – Experienced – no losses
6th Infantry Regiment (2 battalions, 9th & 10th) – Experienced - 700 ea reserve no losses
2nd Line battery – 6 x 9pdr, 2 x 5.5 How


4th Infantry Brigade – Gen Thadden (Average) 
15th Infantry Regiment (2 battalions -25th & 26th battalion) – 25th Bn = 700, 26th Bn = 600.
16th Infantry Regiment (2 Battalions 27th & 28th Battalions) – Experienced – 27th Bn =650, 28th Bn=600
29th Jager Battalion – Experienced.= 700
3rd Battery – 6x9pdr,2 x 5.5 how.

2nd Light Cavalry Brigade - Major General Robert Hawkesbury (Good)(2100 sabres)
Leopold Uhlan Regiment” (4 squadron) (Lancer) – 700/600
Newstadtal Hussar Regiment, (4 squadrons) – 700/700
Leeds Hussar Regiment, (4 squadron) – 700/700
Attached Temporarily - 1st Albany Uhlan Regiment 700/300
3rd Light Cavalry Brigade - Major General Hans von Walmoden (Average)(1,400 sabres)
Dragoon Regiment “Van Hessen-Cassel” – 700/600
Dragoon Regiment “Mohein (this Regt has only 400 sabres is being rebuilt after the Ulrichstein campaign)400/0
1st Albany Uhlan Regiment (Independent Regiment)
2nd Horse Artillery Battery (6 x 6pdr)


1st Garde Infantry Brigade – General August Sagen (Good)(4,500)
Foot Guards Regiment(Princess Caroline Battalion & Prince Wilhelm Battalion) Veteran) Princess Caroline 700/650, Prince Wilhelm no losses.
Grenadier Guard Regiment (Grenadier) (2 battalions (1st & 2nd) (Veteran) No losses
Guard Jager battalion (1 battalion - 1st) (Elite) 700/600.
Rechburg Losses
Infantry – 450
Cavalry – 950
No Guns lost – 100 artillery man.

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