A fictional battle based (loosely) on the Rossbach campaign. With (loosely) the same result.
The battlefield was selected, a few small hills dotting a flat plain of neat fields. Only one copse of trees. On the edge of a rocky outcrop, was significant enough to impede movement.
The Prussian army, sixteen 12-figure battalions, arrayed along one edge. Their serried ranks were broken only by four minor gaps for the battalion guns and a single 6-pounder battery. Opposite, the French deployed as well in a long double-line, with one “extra” battalion. Likewise, they had three battalion guns and a single six-pounder battery. Two battalions, the Garde Francaises, were big, 16 figures strong.
Purposefully, resolutely, the four lines, two on either side, were marched forward. The Prussians, being better trained, advanced slightly further, managing to reach the only significant terrain feature before the French – the small rocky outcrop and its copse, theatrically dubbed the Bois de Belleau – on the Prussian right flank.
Battle was joined, as these things are wont to do, by the artillery popping away before the muskets could be brought in range. Also, as usually happens, the infantry shrugged off the few hits and trudged closer, where the execution truly began.
On the Prussian left, where the best of both armies faced each other, the French took the worst from the start. Poor morale throws sent the front line scurrying back and then the pressure of the well-drilled Prussian musketry laid heaps of tick marks on the casualty papers. The morale of the French second line held but the pressure was immense – with the Garde and Grenadiers taking an aggregate 27 hits!
In the center, the French 6-pounder helped to keep things even for a while. But the Prince Henry fusiliers, aided by the untimely withdrawal of 1st Belzunce, managed to provide just enough weight to cause the collapse of the French Brigade de Rochefort. With the destruction of 1st Briqueville (9 hits out of 12) the brigade failed its morale and ended the game, after the 6th turn.
The Prussian right was a scene not often played out on the table for the period. Formed troops – Regiment von Bevern and Regiment von Wied - edged their way through the Bois de Belleau! As they tramped through, they engaged Regiment La Roche. In the end the two on one was too much for the battalion of French, though their place was filled by the Royal Italians.
Regiment von Markgraf Karl successfully held the far flank against a turning maneuver by the Battalions Bulkeley and Clare of the Royal Irish Brigade. The Irish fumbled about when, failing to maintain their fire discipline, although their battalion guns did fearful execution, having hand-pushed themselves to keep pace and blasting away at a bare 75 yards.
With the center caved and the right (Garde Francais and Grenadiers) shattered, the French beat a retreat. French losses totaled 60; while the Prussians lost 43. Not as decisive as the historical battle of Rossbach but clearly a victory for the blue-coated figures representing Frederick the Great’s vaunted machine.
Diatribes are simply often humorous recountings of the games played by the Long Island Irregulars. We play with toy soldiers and are unabashedly happy to have never lost this part of our childhoods..