Monday 2 December 2013

The Battle of Freiburg 1762

The Battle of Freiburg 1762
This is a report of our latest wargames action in Swindon at Del's place. We used Volley and Bayonet rules.

Messieurs Pomeroy and Pomeroy known at Court as "les Freres Hereuses" had conspired to put together a Seven Years War scenario based on the battle of Freiberg in eastern Saxony. They were using the orders of battle of the French and Allied armies at Minden.
To that end we relocated Freiberg into Freiburg, on the German border in the County of Breisgau.

The dastardly French were commanded by the handsome and dashing Charles-Eugène-Gabriel, Maréchal de Castries (Andy), favourite of the Queen herself ;-)

and had succeeded his rival the starchy and vengeful Louis Georges Érasme de Contades (Dave), after the latter's lamentable performance at the Battle of Minden.

the left flank was commanded by the venerable if cautious Herzog von Broglie (Al)

myself in Command of the Army of Observation in the guise of Charles William Ferdinand of Brunswick, with two assistant generals in the shape of (the arrogant know-it-all and toady to the King) August Friedrich von Spörcken (Kev) and (the irascible but loyal) General von Wangenheim (Del) 
Finding the French full of smug self satisfaction after their earlier (admittedly minor) victories, Brunswick resolved to bring them to book before the year's end to further the Alliance's cause and make the french think twice about their much vaunted plan to invade Germany the following year.
The French were on their way to the well stocked and fortified town of Freiburg to set up winter quarters, when news reached them of the rapid advance of the Allies to their rear!  
Promptly de Castries deployed the army into battle formation, this was too good to be true, the Hanoverians had overreached themselves this time. The old warhorse Broglie would command the left flank with a large corps of French and Swiss. 
The disgraced de Contades would deploy to the right and guard the road to Freiburg, whilst de Castries himself would command the defended hills and the Guard cavalry which should sweep away the attackers....
Brunswick's plan was simple, the bulk of the Army would be lead by Wangenheim ordered to press ahead along the Klein Waltersdorf road sweeping away the enemy right flank and press on to threaten their right and rear (Freiburg) 
Meanwhile von Spörcken was to invest the orchards of Spittalwald astride the main Freiburg turnpike pinning the enemy centre and refuse the right flank to v. Broglie, who was known to be cautious in his manouvering.....
The battle started well enough with Wangenheim speeding up the road, unfortunately he recieved a severe check from the defenders at Klein Waltersdorf, and before they were removed many grenadiers lay dead in the outskirts of the town. Luckily he responded to my urging and pressed ahead, heedless of losses and pushed Contades back on Lossnitz.

Meanwhile the cream of the infantry, our plucky Hanoverians under von Spörcken strayed too far to the right of the turnpike and disturbed old Broglie into action..

Much to the Allies's chagrin the french and swiss guards came on apace and looked like rolling up our entire force! Thank God for the discipline of our redcoats. Time and again they poured withering fire into the huge French command of Horse and Foot, ably supported by the attached artillery that did great execution among them.
Just when we thought that they had saved the day the cocksure Castries unleashed the finest cavalry in europe upon our centre, falling upon the foot and guns, just in time Brunswick ordered forward the British cavalry reserve under Sackville and Granby....
It was touch and go, but suddenly the French Household lost their nerve and were driven back with great loss. Sackville's cavalry (true to form) pursuing them hotly, right up onto the heights commanding Freiburg, only to be repulsed by the shocked french infantry who just about held onto their composure.
Then the plan came to fruition as the weary troops under Wangenheim set about storming the flank of the hill and, surprise of surprises unleashed the entire Hannoverian cavalry corps on the wavering  french lines who had so recently repulsed the British horse.
It was the last straw as brigade after brigade of exhausted french were driven back pell mell, abandoning their entrenchments running for the safety of the City. At that moment de Castries rode up to rally the retreating infantry and led them in a vain counterattack, alas the Glorious Hero fell under the hooves of the charging cavalry and the Battle was lost to the French. 
They all fled away back into their mother country.

As I write this missive to Yr Royal Highness, I commend the actions of my Generals and can safely invest the City of Freiburg for my Winter Quarters, as it will serve well for a base of operations in the Spring.

BRUNSWICK captaingeneral of his royal highness's Army of observation 1762

This battle is dedicated to Del's faithful old dog and steady companion SamBones who sadly passed just recently.

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