Sunday, 1 July 2012

Melee at Markendorf

I'm getting the feeling that no matter how much effort you make to design a campaign that rewards strategic thinking, nothing deters the inate desire of wargamers to create another battle just because they can.  Our latest encounter is a prime example of this with both sides making some very odd decisions in an attempt to contact the enemy. 

The local area of the recent fighting.

For instance having defeated the Saxphalian forces at Osnabruck and forcing them back Southwards the Hanenburg commander has decided to march his troops East towards Minden.  An area which he knows to be held by at least two enemy infantry divisions and a large force of cavalry.  Therefore he is not only marching to engage a potentially larger force but he has left Osnabruck with a very small garrison in the full knowledge that it is being observed by enemy cavalry which is backed up by an entire infantry division.  The loss of Osnabruck would leave his forces with no line of supply and he would be caught between two enemy forces.  There was a chance to redeem the situation when his lead troops bumped into an enemy cavalry force on the Osnabruck road, but rather than withdraw to Osnabruck he brought up the rest of his command and lined out to give battle the next morning.  The Saxphalian forces did likewise and so we now have a battle at Markendorf.  The Hanenburgers are heavily outnumbered with only 11,000 men against the Saxphalians 17,000. 

Saxphalians forces advance against the thin line of Hanenburg troops.

Of course the Saxphalians are also not immune to this strange behaviour.  Their commander having taken Minden without a fight sent cavalry recces out towards the Northwest at Uchte but neglected to verify what if any enemy forces were in Hanover.  Despite this lack of information he then set off Westwards towards Osnabruck leaving behind two battalions of militia.  These were both captured by the large Hanenburg force which arrived at Minden from, you guessed it... Hanover shortly after his main force had left .  The Saxphalian troops fighting the battle of Markendorf are now out of supply and were they to lose the battle, which in truth seems unlikely they would have little choice other than to surrender or escape South across the mountains.  Either option would of course lead to enormous loss of men and equipment and would force Saxphalia to sue for peace.  Things are actually worse than they appear at the moment for the Saxphalians but I can't say precisely how as this could affect decisions which are still to be made.

The Saxphalian centre pushes forward past Markendorf.

So as I reported earlier we now have a battle to fight at Markendorf.  The battlefield is on an East - West axis with the Saxphalians approaching from the West with their centre on the village of Markendorf and the Hanenburgers holding a line centred on the village of Buer.  The Hanenburgers are heavily outnumbered in both cavalry and infantry and the early moves have shown that the Saxphalians are determined to press their advantage knowing that there is another large enemy force in their rear.

Corsican troops forming part of the Saxphalian right wing.

The main assault has come against the Hanenburg right flank where Saxphalian infantry supported by two batteries and heavy cavalry have forced back the defenders from their original positions and are in the process of outflanking them.  It's now decision time for the Hanenburg commander and he'll have to weigh up the pro's and cons of standing and fighting or attempting to withdraw. 

The Saxphalian main assault having ejected the defenders is now manouvering to finish them off.

There was no continuation of the game this week as our dog Barney sadly passed away on the same day we were due to meet.  I thought it best for my other half not to have the hassle of lots of strange (and I use the word advisedly) men popping in and out of the house so we cancelled.  However we will be meeting up next week and I'll be reporting on how the Markendorf fight went, personally I can't see it lasting for too many more turns as the sides are so unevenly balanced.  Normally I wouldn't have played the battle and just carried out an adjudication, but the strategic implications are too far reaching for that and it would have been unfair on both sides.

The battle of Lutzen, The allies have pushed Neys' two outlying divisions back and are forming a defensive line to counter the newly arriving French.

Finally, five of us from the garage made the journey up to the WHC last weekend to refight the battle of Leutzen.  It was probably one of the best games I've ever played at the the centre either at its new location or when it was up in Scarborough.  All of us enjoyed ourselves immensely and Mark, one of our number who was making his first trip to the place was beaming from ear to ear all the way home.

Some of my very favourite figures from the Centre, Young Guard infantry from Connoiseur painted by Doug Mason.

The game was judged an Allied victory but to be honest it didn't matter as both sides had an excellent time and it was great to see Mark Freeth again.

Dom and Julian discuss  how best to use the Old Guard.  In the background Neil and Eric fight their own battle for the Allied left flank.

Next year we're going up for Erics' 50th birthday and as an unashamed Austrophile he's keen to do Aspern-Essling. 


Ravenfeeder said...

"judged an allied victory" HA!
You had an untouched French Corps unopposed behind your left flank and not enough reserves to cope with that and the threat to the right flank.
(OK maybe you won the actual fighting, but you kept on saying look at it from the campaign point o view :) )

Noel said...

"The game was judged an Allied victory but to be honest it didn't matter as both sides had an excellent time".
Hmm, looks like it did matter :)

warpaintjj said...

Lutzen is one of my faves too, lots of stuff including Guards arriving from all directions. Still haven't got anywhere near WHC but are playing a Lutzen inspired game over the next four weeks.
Hope you enjoy the campaign,

Paulalba said...

2 reports in 1 great!!!

Unknown said...


scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.

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