Monday, February 20, 2017
Battle of Froeschwiller 1870 part 2
The continuation of this game was played on February 25, 2016.
Last week the Corlears Hook Fencibles started a game of the 1870 battle of Froeschwiller using the Bloody Big Battles rules. We played 6 turns of this 10 turn game. Yesterday we returned to the fray. The brave Turcos who had been holding out in a village to the right front of Froeschwiller went under, swamped by Prussians. Even then they managed a tie before going down, keeping the Prussians from exploiting the hole immediately. The battered Zouaves in the town shifted to their right in an attempt to close the gap. One of my last artillery battalions moved up in support.
On my left, the valiant 8th Bavarian Brigade was hit in rear and front at the same time and drove my troops back. They had wiped out a French brigade in the first half of the game. They are contenders for a battle honor – finials added to their flag.
Prussian infantry surged into the town, going low on ammo as they poured a storm of bullets ahead of them. The Zouaves still had a toehold on the southern edge of town. If they could stay through the turn, the Prussians would be denied a point for taking the town before turn 9.
It was not to be. On my half of the turn, heavy fire (they rolled 12 on 2D6) terminated the Zouaves with extreme prejudice. The Germans had sole possession of the town just before turn 9.
The lone French artillery battalion kept the mass of shot up German infantry at bay.
On my left, the cavalry and infantry hit the Bavarians front and back again. This time they managed to force the stubborn Germans back.
My center was looking rather porous. French cavalry came up, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice.
My right flank artillery was silenced. It limbered up to pull out when a hail of shells came in.
My movement dice lit up. Both French brigades that had been thrown out of town rallied and made full moves. They went into town formed deep and absolutely thumped the lead Prussian brigade, which was disrupted, low on ammo and spent. They then exploited into the next Prussian unit and just managed to get them out of the town. If I could hold the town for another turn it would be a technical French victory.
Rick’s move dice went cold and none of his units would attack. I thought I had it made. One of Bill’s units got up and charged. My feeble defensive fire didn’t stop him from closing. Three brigades of Germans and a battalion of Krupp guns at point blank range wiped out one of the two French units. Bill’s 20th Brigade stormed back into the town.
A unit on my right flank was being fired on from 3 sides by two brigades and a couple battalions of Krupp guns. A decent roll might see the unit wiped out, which would reduce me to 4 infantry brigades (of 10) and give the Germans another point. Bill rolled ordinary dice on both fire phases in the turn and the unit survived. This is what kept me from ordering another counter-attack on the town. There were a lot of weapons aimed at it. Instead, the brigade hid behind the town, taking some desultory fire from the disrupted 20th Brigade.
My remaining artillery was silenced by German infantry. As they limbered up, the French cavalry charged to cover their withdrawal and managed to force the lead German brigade to fall back.
The game was over and we had a technical tie. I’d done better than MacMahon in the actual fight. But my corps was so shot up we would have to withdraw under cover of darkness.
Losses were extremely high. French losses were some 20 - 24,000 infantry and 96 guns. German losses were some 19 – 20,000 infantry and 24 guns. Bavarian II Corps CO von der Tann had his horse shot from under him late in the battle.
We had taken 3 hours and 40 minutes to play the last 4 turns, though they were very active. With three players all events had to be resolved one at a time.
My critique: the Germans made little or no attempt to flank me, basically making a heavy frontal attack. They were shot down in droves by the superior French rifles, while their Krupp guns made life short and brutish for the French. Both sides need work on using artillery but it is a stronger part of the German arsenal.
This makes two ties in two battles. In both the French would have to withdraw so the strategic situation would remain much the same as in the actual campaign. The next battle will be Borny/Colombey if I can make a decent stab at the rather complex terrain. It wont be until mid or late March, depending on when the Prussian CO can next show, hopefully with two other Fencibles.