Saturday, May 28, 2011

Battle of Sawmill Village - Part 1

Many imagi-nation and old school gamers have used Charles Grant's Sawmill battle over the years.  One of the more recent was Stokes Schwartz on his Grand Duchy of Stollen blog.  I had a game scheduled for last Saturday (May 21) which was originally to be another playtest of my Bayou Wars convention game (see previous post for battle report).  But the initial playtest went so well that I needed something else to do that involved tricornes and muskets.  While flipping through my copy of Grant's Scenarios for Wargames, I ran across the "Chance Encounter" battle on page 99.  And I had an "AHA!!" moment.  Did I have enought individually based troops to do such a scenario?  Well, almost.  I had to use some cavalry that were mounted two to a base, but all the infantry were individually mounted.  And so we have Kampf der Saegerwerkdorf (or the Battle of Sawmill Village), using Bill Protz's Batailles de l'Ancien Regime rules.

Photographs were taken by Ed S. and Jim P.  Please click on them to view a larger image.

The Saegerwerk Tal (Sawmill Valley), with the sawmill to the left (gray stone building), the owner's house, and then Saegerwerkdorf.  The Electoral force would enter along the road behind the hill (upper left) while the Imperial forces would enter from the lower right.

Generalmajor Baron von Habenbier of the Carpanian army was chosen to command a detachment of light troops, light cavalry, and regular infantry from the Electorische Armee Thueringen.  His mission was to advance into the Saegerwektal and capture the saegerwerk and Saegerwerkdorf.  His command would enter in column and couldn't deploy until his lead elements sighted any enemy forces.  Then he could issue his orders to his subordinate commanders.  His force consisted of (in order of march):

Oberst-leutnant Freiherr Hans von Stuppe (Travis M.) -- Britannian Ranger/Light Infantry battalion, Freikorps Warsteiner, and a converged Britannian light dragoon squadron.

Oberst von Valkenhayn (Jay S.) -- Carpanian Jaeger Korps Staffelduenkel, Carpanian militia battalion, and a light gun.

Leftenant Colonel Stevens (Charles C.) -- Britannian 15th Foot and 60th Foot and a light gun.

Generalmajor von Habenbier (Bill H.) -- Hesse-Bomburg infantry battalion and Hesse-Coburg infantry battalion.

The Electoral force was 5 mounted officers, 196 infantry, 16 light cavalry, and 2 light guns.

Another view of the Saegerwerktal.

Major-General Count Sergei Alexandrovski of the Courland army was chosen to lead the Reichsarmeeabteilung Obere-Sachsen forces into the Saegerwerktal.  His mission and instructions were similar to that of the Electoral forces.  His force consisted of (in order of march):

Oberst Ignace Alleshazy (Jim P.) -- Courland Pandur Battalion Tamnii Narod, Courland Cossack Pulk Timofievich, and a Kreis Obere-Sachsen militia battalion.

Oberst-leutnant von Markberg (Sean P.)-- Imperial infantry battalion, Kreis Obere-Sachsen infantry battalion, and one light gun.

Major-General Alexandrovski (Ed S.) -- Saxe-Gotha infantry battalion and Saxe-Gotha light dragoon squadron.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles, Sieur de Beaujolais -- Gallian detachment of picquets and one light gun.

The Imperial force was 5 mounted officers, 185 infantry, 22 light cavalry, and 2 guns.

Another view of the Saegerwerktal.  The Imperial troops advanced from the road in the foreground while the Electoral troops advanced from the road in the background with the dark arrow.

The initial elements of the Electoral column with two companies of Britannian rangers and light infantry followed by a company of Carpanian Freikorps, and a converged squadron of Britannian light dragoons advance toward the saegerwerk.
 The initial elements of the Imperial column with the Courland Timofievich Cossacks leading three companies of Courland Pandur Battalion Tamnii Narod also advance toward the saegerwerk.

Once the enemy forces sighted each other (at the end of the second turn), the commanders could issue their deployment orders.  
Generalmajor von Habenbier instructed Oberst-leutnant von Stuppe to take and hold the saegerwerk; Oberst von Valkenhayn to cross the bridge and occupy Saegerwerkdorf and the hills beyond it; Leftenant Colonel Stevens to march around the west side of the woods and advance towards Saegerwerkdorf; while he would suport von Stuppe with the column reserve and advance as needed.

Major-General Alexandrovski instructed Oberst Alleshazy to continue to advance toward the saegerwerk and deploy as he saw fit; to Oberst-leutnant von Markberg to follow and support Alleshazy; to Lieutenant Colonel Beaujolais to deploy through Saegerwerkdorf and attack the enemy left flank; while he would also deploy through the village and attack the enemy left flank.

Oberst Alleshazy’s Courland Cossacks and Pandurs lead the Imperial advance toward 
Sägerwerkdorf and the sägerwerk.
 As the lead infantry from both columns deploy towards the sawmill, the Electoral force continues its advance, led by the Carpanian Jager Korps Staffeldünkel and a light gun.  On the far right, the Britannian light dragoons have ridden around the hill to provide support for their light infantry.
The Electoral advanced guard was quickly in possession of the sawmill with some “imported” Britannian light infantry and rangers, supported by a company of Carpanian freikorps.  Oberts-leutnant von Stuppe, in his yellow hussar uniform, can be seen encouraging his troops forward.  In the background, Oberst von Valkenhayn’s Carpanian jagers and militia advance around the north side of the village.
Von Stuppe’s Britannian light dragoons lead Leftenant Colonel Stevens’ Britannian battalions 
around the woods to the west of the sawmill.
A closer view of von Valkenhayn’s jagers as they advance along the road leading towards the village.

 The Britannian rangers and light infantry, supported by the Carpanian freikorps, occupy the sawmill grounds.  In front of them, the Courland Cossacks ride behind the ridge, hoping to catch the Britannians from the outer flank at a future, more opportune time.  The Pandurs and the Kreis Obere-Sachsen militia advance around the sawmill owner’s house as they approach the sawmill.

More Imperial troops flow into the valley.  In the distance, the Kreis Obere-Sachsen infantry battalion begins to enter the Sawmill village while the Imperial infantry battalion marches down the road behind them.  In the foreground the Saxe-Gotha light dragoons ride ahead of the column commander while the Saxe-Gotha infantry battalion follows the command group.
 Another view of von Markberg’s Obere-Sachsen infantry entering the village, followed by the Imperial infantry battalion.
This is where, I believe, the Imperial battle plan began to break down.  Von Markberg was supposed to follow my force as I advanced to take the saegerwerk.  But he began to put the Obere-Sachseners into the village.  This bottled up the two commands following him.  As we will see in later images, they both initially moved around the east side of the village.  Now, back to the action.

The Pandurs of Oberst Alleshazy deploy to contest control of the sawmill with the Britannian and Carpanian light troops.  In the near background, the Britannian light dragoons are riding around behind their light troops, evidently in a hurry to get somewhere quickly.  In the far background, Oberst von Valkenhayn’s Carpanian jagers and militia continue their trek down the road toward the Sawmill village. 

The Pandurs engage the Britannian and Carpanian forces around the sawmill.   
One Pandur company has already been shot up fairly badly.
 And here we can see why the Britannian light dragoons were in such a hurry.  The wily Carpanian von Stuppe slyly withdrew his ranger company that was between the sawmill and the stream, exposing the opposing Pandur company to a charge by the light dragoons.  The other Britannian light/ranger company has withdrawn into the shelter of the woods, being opposed by two other Pandur companies.  In the right rear, the Electoral reserve, a battalion of Hesse-Bomburg infantry (red coats) and a battalion of Hesse-Coburg infantry (blue coats), enter the Sawmill valley.  In the left background, the Britannian 15th and 60th Foot continue their advance along the far side of the woods.
Another view of the action around the sawmill between the Courland Pandurs, reinforced by a company of Obere-Sachsen militia, and the Britannian and Carpanian light troops and light dragoons.
But can the Pandur company stand against this surprise charge from the Britannian light cavalry?  Unfortunately they were caught in open order and the cavalry advanced too quickly to allow the Pandurs to scatter.  A few of the Pandurs were killed in the initial melee, but the rest quickly fled to the rear, pursued by the light cavalry. 

 The long column of Britannian infantry advance against the Courland Cossacks and quickly come into very close musket range.  The ensuing Britannian volley will surely be devastating.

The Britannian infantry fire their muskets, but luckily only one Cossack falls.  The rest will quickly ride away.  They aren’t foolish enough to tangle with steady Britannian infantry with bayonets fixed! 

 END OF PART 1.  Actually Blogger is being sooooo slooooow today that I am getting frustrated and feel that I should stop now before I do something terrible to my computer!  More will be posted later, maybe on Monday as tomorrow (Sunday) I'll be watching the Indianapolis 500 followed by the Coca-Cola 600.

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