Saturday, December 3, 2011

Battle of the Bridges

Control of the vital road junction of Dreibrücken is a critical step in a successful advance by Bravantois forces against the Landgaviate of Stutz-Berkatz.

Today, the armies of the Duke of Bravant, under the command of the duke himself advised by Marshall MacDuff attempted to seize the bridges.   They were opposed by the combined field forces of the Landgave and the Archduke of Drakenburg.

The Allied avaunt-guard stole an early march on the enemy, and began to secure the left bank.  The famed Darkenburg Hussars were backed up by the Fenwick Light Dragoons, the Drakenburg Croats, the Fenwick Fusiliers, and every battalion gun that could be pried from the Drakenburg army.

In passing, we note that the Fenwickers do not consider themselves to be mercenaries, preferring instead to think of their lord as a nobleman with a fixed loyalty to profit.

A short while later, the first brigade of Branvantois horse made their way on to the right bank.

Soon thereafter, the Drakenburg horse on the extreme allied right met the second Branvatois cavalry brigade on the Branvantois left.

While the Stutz-Berkatz horse deployed to face the waiting enemy in the centre.

Seeing their chance, the Drakenburg horse got "stuck-in" and began the destruction of the Bravantois cavalry.
A decision fulfilled by the charge of the Stutz-Berkatz horse in the centre, leaving Marshall MacDuff struggling to rescue his shattered regiments.

But the tramp of marching feet was soon heard, as the cavalry preliminaries were concluded and the main bodies of infantry began to enter on both sides.  The Bravantois cavalry had been driven from the field; the Stutz-Berkatz cavalry had suffered in the engagement and fell back in the centre effectively spent.  The Drakenburg cavalry, victorious but exhausted, deployed to threaten the Bravantois left.

The Branavtois avaunt-guard held the right bank of the bridge nearest its entry point, matched and engaged in a long range fire-fight with their Allied opposite number.  In the centre a strong brigade of infantry backed by heavy guns threatened the middle bridge facing a weak Stutz-Berkatz brigade and supported by a brigade composed of the Bravantois Guarde backed up by French-supplied Swiss and Scots.

The Bravanois forces shook out into line and began to advance.  Long range fire from the battalion guns forced the exhausted Stutz cavalry to retire.

The Drakanburg contingent, meanwhile, has occupied a position in a large farm complex on the right and established a battery to bombard the enemy centre.  The Branavtois infantry on their left are likewise holed up, but with a single battalion gun are as good as neutralized far from the objectives.

The Branvatois try a strong two-brigade push in the centre, but it all goes horribly wrong.  First, in a surprise success so rapid it is almost missed the Berkatz "double-blue" freikorps send a Branvois brigade packing with losses; only a second attack drives it back.  Then the much-vaunted guarde refused to advance.  This unit is amazingly consistent in its behavior. Marshall MacDuff attests that they have failed him in every engagement in which he has employed them,and believes they should be rated as a militia regiment for spoiled noblemen's distaff offspring.

Meanwhile, the Stutz-Berkatz first brigade arrived on the left bank, and secured the left bank of all the bridges.

With the centre brigades broken or compromised, night falling, and a frech Drakenburg force advancing, Marshall MacDuff realized that he could neither secure both banks of any bridge, nor even force a draw, and so elected to withdraw from the field.  With their cavalry blown and one enemy brigade untouched, the Allies elected not to push the pursuit.

The game was played  using Ross's (MacDuff's) Hearts of Tin rules, the latest version of which can be found from his Battlegame of the Month blog.  In the past we have translated inched to centimeters since Ross's rules were originally designed with 20-40mm figures in mind.  Today we used inches straight up; so foot was moving 9" in line and horse 18"; guns reached out 36".  These are bloody rules, since battalion level morale results are simply rolled into losses.  Fast movement, long ranges and bloody combat makes a fast decisive game with a short cycle from decision to combat to result.  This was not a small game - something like 20 or so units on each side - and came to a sold conclusion in 12 turns over about 4 hours (leaving out the coffee and lunch breaks).

And the Brantois Guarde  really is that consistent.

All figures are Pendraken.


  1. Solid ATB report. Nicely illustrated with photos. The figures are great looking, and I really like the view the scale gives to the maneuver of the units over the battlefield.

  2. Thanks Rob! It was also a heck of a lot of fun; wish you could have been there.

  3. I enjoyed the game. My head was sitting too well on my body anyway, having it detached and handed to me on a plate was doubtless what it needed.

    I have now made the rule tweaks to match what we played, fixed some more language and found a rule we missed about defensive fire vs charges that might have helped me stave off defeat by 1 turn :)
    I'm going to steal a picture for my blog to attract attention towards your report.

  4. Thief Ross succeeded as he has me checking out your report - Excellent!