Had a pleasant game again tonight. Bavarians and Russians contesting a crossroads in 1813. It was supposed to be a double mismatch with Wrede binging eight big brigades against Sievers' six while Neubronn with only three Wurttemberg brigades faced Borosdin's corps of six more Russians.
In the end it was Sievers who originally pushed back Wrede, though numbers eventually told and the Bavarians won back some of the ground lost, but not, by the end of the game, the crossroads! On the other side Borosdin never did get his assault going and the gap between the Russian corps was exploited.
In the end, though Sievers occupied the crossroads, Russian losses had been severe, over 20%, with three brigades smashed beyond usefulness. German losses were less - about 10% - and Neubronn still held the high ground.
We use Fire and Fury Napoleonic variant and 15mm.
With apologies to Marshal Marmont and General Leutnant Klenau
20 May 1809. Camp outside Klein Clausterthal, Austrian Empire.
To: The Duke of Portland, No 10 Downing Street
I have the pleasure to report to Your Excellency that the Austrians showed a bit of fight this day, battling the corps of Marshals Soult and Marmont for eight hours. They will be forced to retire on the morrow – news has arrived in camp that Davout threatens to interpose between us and Vienna, but it was a glorious action!
Prinz Hohenzollern, showing unusual energy for an Austrian, aroused his III Korps in the early morning hours and advanced on the exposed corps of Marshal Soult at the small crossroads of Klein Clausterthal. Despite several couriers, General Leutnant von Klenau was delayed in rousing his VI Korps and thus the Prinz was forced to start the action alone.
Marshal Soult, upon seeing the approach of the Prinz and being warned that von Klenau was nearby, dispatched riders to call up Marshal Marmont’s corps to his aid and launched General de Division Morand in an all-out attack from the French right. Morand, his troops well in hand, was soon fully engaged with the Prinz’s left-hand division under General Leutnant von Schwartzenburg. Meanwhile, General de Brigade Lasalle advanced his outnumbered French hussars to engage Major General Brady’s hussar brigade in advance of Klenau.
Prinz Hohenzollern, unperturbed by Morand’s attack, pressed forward with Hohenfeld’s division as well as General Leutnant Hesse-Homburg’s grenadier division and Major General Nostitz’s Grenzer division. However, without Schwarzenburg’s division, Soult launched another spoiling attack, sending the 3rd Swiss into Hohenfeld’s flank. With Lasalle and Brady fully engaged and Klenau not yet up, Soult also made a spoiling attack on his left (north) with the 105th Line.
Schwartzenburg bent but he did not break. The French surged ahead with their usual intensity and elan. Over the course of the entire day’s fighting both Infantry Regiment Number 14 Oranien and Infantry Regiment Number 24 Strauch were forced to retire. But both rallied and, eventually, returned to the fray. In a death match Infantry Regiment Number 38 Wurttemberg destroyed the 48th Line, literally grinding it out of existence and capturing its eagle. At one point the 10th Legere captured the 3rd Reserve Battery but, again, by day’s end, the Austrians had recaptured and recrewed their 4 undamaged guns.
Lasalle and Brady surged back and forth, first one squadron sweeping forward only to retire before the sabers of its foe and then repeating, but in reverse. In triumph, well past midday, Lasalle forced the Austrian hussars to quit the field, only to succumb to the fresh horses of Nostitz’s uhlan brigade. By then, however, the sun was sinking low, and Marshal Marmont’s corps was well up. There would be no horsemen thundering over panicked infantry.
At Klein Clausterthal, brute force won the day. The 105th Line succeeded in chasing away a cavalry battery during its spoiling attack, and then forced the Peterwardiner Grenzers back. However, a third opponent was too much. As Lasalle’s hussars were retiring, blown, and the 48th’s eagle was finally falling, the 3rd Converged Grenadiers forced the 105th to retire on Marmont, clearing the north face of the village.
On the south face, the Swiss drove off Infantry Regiment Number 22 Lacy and then, after much desperate fighting, Infantry Regiment Number 9 Clerfayt. The 13th Legere was fed into the fight by General de Division St Cyr and they defeated the 2nd Converged Grenadiers and then fought the resurgent Warasdiner Grenzers (see below) to a standstill. However, these two French regiments’ reward was to end the day virtually surrounded by Hesse-Homburg, Hohenfeld, and Nostitz, suffering over 200 men captured before they could recover their own lines.
At the crossroads all honor went to Infantry Regiment Number 29 Wallis. Ignoring the Swiss, who were causing so much havoc to the rest of their division, Wallis surged forward when the bugle sounded and routed the 111th Line regiment. Then, pivoting, smashed into the 30th Line and forced them to retire. This placed them to the rear of the village where they faced Molitor’s entire division in Marmont’s advance as night began to creep over the battlefield.
In the village itself, the boys of Warasdiner Grenz Regiment were repulsed by the 108th Line. Hesse-Homburg then gave the order for the 4th Converged Grenadiers, and they stormed into the village. The French line troops were forced, grudgingly, out of the village. They prudently retired out of the range of Wallis’ muskets, leaving the village, smoldering, in the arms of the grenadiers.
Von Klenau, when he came up, did come with a rush, swinging wide to the north of and simultaneously through a copse of woods to engage Marmont. General de Division Friant’s division was fully engaged with General Leutnant von Ulm’s division on the far northern end of the battle when darkness brought an end to the slaughter.
Losses were extremely heavy. From official reports coming into this headquarters, Klenau suffered about 900 casualties. Marmont, it is said, 600 with another 300 stragglers. Soult, from sources, including a young staff officer captured after dark, has 5000 men who will not fight tomorrow. Finally, Prinz Hohenzollern, he of the unusual energy for an Austrian, has suffered 6000 casualties, or over 22%.
Honors to the French 10th Legere who captured one color and, for a time, 6 cannon. The 3rd Swiss who took two colors. The 48th Line, who fought to the death. The 13th Legere who took 1 color. The 105th Line who repulsed three attacks and, again temporarily, took 6 guns. And, finally, to General de Brigade Lasalle and the French Hussars who fought almost the entire day, outnumbered, and triumphed over the Austrian Hussars.
Honors to the Austrian Infantry Regiment Number 38 Wurttemberg who destroyed the 48th Line. To the 3rd Converged Grenadiers who took the north edge of the village. To the 4th Converged Grenadiers, the honor of taking the village. But highest honor to Infantry Regiment Number 29 Wallis, who captured two eagles and made the furthest contested advance of any Austrian unit.
Your Excellency, Prime Minister, we may yet have a worthy ally in the Austrians.
Major Douglas Heresy, Special Observer for the Crown
Major General Samuel G French had been ordered to cut the Federal supply line at Allatoona Gap, Georgia. He did not hesitate to deploy his brigades in heavy attack columns immediately upon his arrival. Above, the Federals bristled in a thin line stretching almost a mile and a half from the railroad gap to the edge of the ridge.
French, sensing his numerical advantage, sent a message to the Federal commander,
“I have placed the forces under my command in such positions that you are surrounded, and to avoid a needless effusion of blood I call on you to surrender your forces at once, and unconditionally.
“Five minutes will be allowed you to decide. Should you accede to this, you will be treated in the most honorable manner as prisoners of war.”
Brigadier General Robert Corse, having just arrived with reinforcements, allowing him a second line, which were in defilade and invisible to French, replied, defiantly,
“Your communication demanding surrender of my command I acknowledge receipt of, and respectfully reply that we are prepared for the "needless effusion of blood" whenever it is agreeable to you.”
French found it agreeable immediately. At a range of about 1000 yards the Federal guns began to boom from the heights as French’s columns moved forward smartly. He massed two batteries of Napoleons between Chalmers’ right-hand brigade and the center brigade of Jones Withers. The guns began to bang away at the 11th Michigan in their earthworks about 500 yards away.
Chalmers advanced behind a double line of skirmishers - the 21st Alabama and 5th Mississippi – on a narrow front up the steepest part of the Federal line. Crowning the Federal left was the 19th Illinois and the Battery M, 1st Ohio Artillery. The Ohioans had had an early success when a shell hit one of J. H. Kolb’s cannon and completely destroyed it. However, as the skirmishers pushed up the hill, the guns switched targets, spraying canister like angry, lethal, bees, downslope.
Withers attacked on a wider front, with the 26th Alabama on the left and the CGRB on the right. He applied pressure to Battery G, 1st Ohio Artillery, and their supporting infantry, the 78th Pennsylvania. The 26th soon got into an uneven firefight with the Federal guns.
On French’s left, at the end of the ridge, Brigadier General J K Jackson sent forward Wheat’s Battalion and the 5th Kentucky. Supported by Bouchaud’s battery of rifled guns, they were soon pressing Brigadier General J Beatty’s brigade. Wheat and Bouchaud directed their attention against the 37th Indiana while the Kentuckians threatened the far flank.
Battle was intense all along the line with the lead Confederate units gradually worn away and the Federal units at the schwerpunkts also being battered. After two hours French sensed the Federal line cracking and ordered a full assault. The lines of butternut and gray surged the last hundred yards.
Corse, too, had seen his front line begin to waver and determined the time was right to maneuver those reserves heretofore unseen to French. The veteran 42nd Indiana ascended a small rise to the left of the decimated 37th. Greeted warmly by Bouchaud, they delivered a devastating volley to stop the 25th Alabama and plug the gap where Battery G was fighting sponge stave to bayonet over the gabions.
Likewise, on the right, the 11th Michigan finally gave way but forward into the gap marched the 18th and 74th Ohio to thwart the surge of the 1st Louisiana and 10th Mississippi.
A rider galloped up to French with a note that Federal columns were on the move on the road from Atlanta and he called of the attack, even as its momentum died at the lip of the fortifications on the anvil of the fresh reserves and their concentrated volleys.
Corse suffered casualties of almost 25%. French, with a considerably larger force, though at a decided tactical disadvantage in terms of altitude and dirt, lost almost 30%.
We use Mr. Lincoln's War rules and 15mm figures.
The country is in flames! Smoke rises high above the forest spurring on Major Lathrop and his small supply column. Flour, freshly ground at the Hadley Mill, critical for surviving the long winter ahead. But the natives had risen in anger and devastation had touched the Connecticut Valley even as the amber, crimson, and gold leaves fell from the trees and the first cold winds swirled down from the north. Villages, towns, and isolated houses all along the great river, from its mouth to where white habitation lagged in the mountains of western Massachusetts, had been struck. Residents had died in their fields, on their stoops, and down the trails.
Lathrop had thought the natives might strike the mill or his wagon and haulers and so had stripped Springfield of its militia. A single platoon was left with instructions to retreat to the blockhouse if attacked. From the pall on the horizon, he hoped to God! they had made it to the blockhouse. He also hoped Major Pynchon had gotten his message and was hurrying to catch up.
The major had lived the past fifteen years on the frontier and had scouts deployed to both flanks as he rode behind the creaking wagon and the few bearers. Yet the command was still surprised when the three bands suddenly rose form the undergrowth and poured lead balls and ash arrow shafts tipped with sharpened flint.
Captains Moseley on the left and Treat on the right steadied their men and got them firing. As always the natives proved elusive. Shot after shot would thunder from the militia muskets only to be met with unremitting and unslowed. Not so the militiamen. Lathrop saw them one after another be struck by missiles from the unseen enemy. A man with a musket ball through his elbow, the arm hanging limply unusable as blood poured from the severed artery. Another foaming from an arrow lodged in his chest, lung pierces, gasping for breath.
After less than five minutes the whoops came from the left. Lathrop pulled his pistol and braced with the wagoneers as a band of warriors, painted, screaming, and brandishing tomahawks emerged from the forest and struck Moseley’s depleted company. Lathrop watched Moseley stop a tomahawk with the butt of his musket but then have his skull split in two by a second warrior.
And then, the warriors were upon Lathrop and the wagoneers. The pistol misfired and Lathrop went down, the light fading from his eyes.
Two days later he woke, in a straw bed, Captain Marshfield nursing a bottle of rotgut in the chair nearby. Marshfield, in his perpetually slurred speech, related the rest of the battle. The natives, being led overall by Mettawump and with the bands of Nonotuck in the front of the trail and Pocotuc on the right, had followed Mettawump’s charge and converged on the wagons. Only a handful of Captain Treat’s company survived, racing back down the trail to find Major Pynchon advancing.
Lathrop had survived because he fell under the wagon which the natives soon set ablaze. None ventured underneath the flames to scalp the unconscious officer, leaving him to the fire. Once the wagons were fully engulfed they pulled out, the barrel of rum and the militiamen’s muskets their only spoils – and 42 locks of hair.
By the time Pynchon’s force cautiously advanced there was nothing to do but pull the major to safety and hurry on to Springfield. There they found the Widow Morgan leading the survivors in a spirited defense of the blockhouse and the 67 souls who had crowded in. Five unfortunates had been caught on the street. 22 houses, five barns, and a dozen other buildings had been destroyed in part or whole.
It would be a long winter.
1 March 1944
A sequential raid of Japanese aircraft and heavy cruisers at the Army’s landings on Manus Island in the Admiralties was beaten back.
So said the official report from Rear Admiral William Fechteler to General Douglas MacArthur.
In actuality, it was a near disaster.
The day before Fechteler had landed elements of the First Cavalry on the island and they had made good progress. That morning more troops were being landed from three APDs and supplies were being ferried ashore at a frantic pace. Two DDs were on station providing gunfire support to the cavalrymen. Radar picked up an incoming swarm from Rabaul.
Fighter control aboard USS San Diego vectored the 16 P-40s flying cover from New Guinea to intercept. Poor coordination between the Army Air Force flyers and the Navy gunners proved catastrophic. Fifteen Warhawks were shot down, five by “friendly” AA fire.
However, the Japanese displayed their deteriorating pilot skill as well. Twenty-seven Betty bombers and a dozen Zero fighters swooped in on the packed harbor. Heavy, accurate AA fire and the doomed Warhawks shot down 11 Zeroes and 9 Bettys. The survivors dropped 20 bombs and 13 torpedoes and succeeded in getting only a single hit. It was a spectacular hit, however, penetrating three decks on the seaplane tender Curtiss to land in the depth charge magazine and rip the ship to tiny pieces.
As the surviving planes swept over the land and out of sight, USS Barton signalled “Unidentified ships, 30,000 yards and closing!”
They turned out to be IJN Tone and IJN Myoko who had crept up on the landing by using the shore to mask themselves from radar.
Left with no choice, Admiral Fechteler ordered his covering force to charge the Japanese heavy cruisers, whose 8-inch main guns easily outranged the 5-inchers of the Americans.
The ensuing gun battle saw the volume of American fire smother the two heavy cruisers. While the 8-inchers hit much harder, the rapid-fire 5-inchers hit exponentially more often, eventually turning both Japanese ships into infernos.
The heavy fire did claim San Diego, sinking with no less than 10 heavy caliber hits and six hits by smaller guns. Four destroyers were also hit, two seriously, but gunnery honors went to USS Barton, the ship who gave first warning, which scored an unbelievable 21 hits on Myoko and 4 more on Tone.
The landing was saved but McArthur was forced to divert USS Phoenix and two destroyers from protecting coastal traffic in New Guinea to replacing the losses sustained by Fechteler. As for the Japanese, they had thrown their last roll of the dice to support the infantry now doomed to destruction on Manus.
Tsar Ivan’s scouts had returned with a message that Tigranes would soon arrive to break the siege of Dyrrhachium. Facing a choice he broke his army into three parties and ordered an immediate storming of the castle.
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..