About that stream

About that stream

I keep worrying at  the various bits of the battle of Blenheim. It’s a big battle, and there’s lots written about it. The trouble is that the accounts don’t make entire sense when you try to put them on a wargames table. Allied to which it really does look like Marlborough and Eugene only won because the French cavalry had glanders and the French/Bavarian commanders were monumentally incompetent on the day. No wargamer is going to keep shoving infantry into Blenheim village, surely? 

And what is it about letting the Allies cross the Nebel stream unopposed? For this downscaled tabletop musing on these conundrums we have the Allies to the left, being run by Chris and Richard ,with Phil online, and the Frenchies being run by Ian and Tim. 

I started the game set up with the British in the Nebel, just about to exit. The French were set well back.

Chris immediately pushed his cavalry ahead of his screening infantry, which were commanded by Phil. He succeeded in masking the artillery which was being brought up as well.

Having given Ian an overlap to trouble Chris and even up the numbers a bit, he duly turned his men in to enable a frontal charge. He was also worried about being outnumbered, so he galloped off to talk to the CinC to get the reserve infantry released to his command.

The command conference lasted a couple of turns. Ian didn’t get any luck (he needed to out dice the CinC to convince him, and failed to do so).

The Allies continue their full line press. Chris has brought all of his cavalry through the infantry to set up a confrontation with the French.

Ian charges in, despite being faced by enemy with supports. He takes a bit of a beating.

Chris rallies back one of his victorious units to enable them to reform.

Tim goes all in with his cavalry, charging both Chris‘ horse, and Richard’s foot. Ian sends a fresh unit of horse into Chris‘ horse who were rallying.

Ian’s charge breaks Chris‘ first rank, but his supports hold.

Richard’s infantry fail with their defensive fire, lose the subsequent melee, fail their morale test, break and flee. Their brigadier gets killed in the process.
[Slight photo gap  here. Richard shoots into the rear of the melee, and Disorders the support troops.]

Tim pursues the infantry into the stream, trampling the corpse of the brigadier.

Phil brings his artillery into play, and then Chris charges home, breaking the lead French cavalry.. 

Ian’s brave boys pile in and rough up one of Chris‘ cavalry units.

Richard advanced to the village, and opened fire. He decided not to follow up and close with the defenders, who then counter attacked. The right hand unit refused to charge, but the others stormed out, bundling Richard’s men backwards.

Tim charges the other German foot, whose defensive fire once more fails to do the trick. As before they lose the melee etc, etc, 

Ian routs the cavalry he was fighting in the centre, but their supports hold firm. Ian collides into them during the pursuit.

The second line of German foot is a bit more robust, and Tim’s breakthrough charge is halted.

Chris has rallied back most of his cavalry behind Phil’s infantry, and also managed to rally some of his routing units too. His one unit out front has broken their opponents. Then we had to stop.

Phew! It was all a bit pell-mell and breathless, with loads going on and me losing track of a lot of it. Bags of action and the occasional wild outcome kept the whole thing moving along. As ever, I picked up some useful bits and pieces for the purposes of rules development, so an evening well spent.

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Autor: Trebian / Wargaming for Grown-ups

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