Over the weekend I visited Mick up in the borders of Northumberland, to have a run through of the rules in readiness of the Ramillies re-fight in July. As I said I was taking up my Imperialist troops Mick decided to use his Ottomans as they were a historical match up. Mick even came up with a cracking scenario. I had to defend two river crossings, one on each flank. My units had to be marked on a map as due to the undulating terrain they would be out of sight of the advancing Ottomans. However the Ottomans had the choice of two roads to advance along and only needed to capture one bridge to win the game.
The quandary was, as the table is so large I couldn't cover all of the line between the two bridges. I decided to defend each crossing with a brigade of infantry, the other 4 brigades would be held in the centre and moved to whichever bridge was most in need. For the cavalry I made a judgement call and weighted my left flank as this had the most open terrain and would allow the Ottomans to advance with less chance of blundering into hidden troops. So with both Cuirassier brigades and the Hussars hidden behind the ridge I place the Dragoons on my right flank.
Mick began by leading out a mix of light horse and the feared Sipahis, keeping to the right most road. They quickly began their advance towards the bridge on my left flank. With the light horse screening the advance, the Sipahis were followed on by the elite Janissary's, then Azabs and finally some rabble infantry of dubious quality.
|Imperialist artillery come into view|
The Ottoman light horse eventually revealed two Imperialist batteries which promptly gave fire sending the light cavalry scurrying back to their lines. But still more Ottoman troops began to arrive and still they slowly moved against my left flank and center, spotting my Hussars and the garrison in the town.
|Ottoman infantry led by the Janissary's|
|Here they come|
|Ottoman battle line forms|
It was at this point the rearmost division of Ottoman infantry swung to their left and began to advance towards the other bridge. At this point I moved my dragoons forward to threaten the Ottoman centres flank. Mick then countered this by detaching some of his Sipahis to face my dragoons.. I was beginning to realise that as the ottoman advance slowed that their real objective was the bridge on my right flank and the majority of my force was now out of position.
|Two centers face off|
With the pressure building my dragoons committed themselves against the Sipahis and wished they hadn't, only the Bayreuth dragoons overcame their opponents with the other threes regiments fleeing the field with their enemy in pursuit. Now with Janissary's getting into position they advanced towards the bridge to be met with stiff resistance from the Imperialist foot.
|Dragoons prepare to charge|
|The ottomans attack|
I then detached a brigade of infantry from the center to engage the Janissary's and was given a bloody nose with them all forced to fall back. Things were not looking good. Over on my left flank the Hussars did their best to harass the Ottoman horse slowly bring them forward. But with time starting to run out for my right flank I needed to throw the Ottomans off balance. Now I revealed my Cuirassiers who advance with infantry support towards the Sipahis. In the ensuing melee they got the better of their opponents routing many of them from the field. Now I began a general advance across my left and center to force back the Ottomans.
|Cuirassiers begin to drive back the Ottomans|
At this point Mick began to slowly withdraw his right flank and center towards my right flank. It was now a race. back in the town my infantry awaited the assault. At first things did not go too well with 2 of the 5 battalions fleeing before the enemy. However the others began to put up some stiff resistance. By now my hussars had ridden across the battlefield and engaged the rear of the Janissary's routing one unit and relieving some of the pressure.
|Battle for the bridge|
|Hussars to the rescue|
But still the Janissary's attacked another battalion broke and fled. Mick ow sent another detachment of infantry over the river at a discovered ford to attack from the other side. Here the were met by the 2nd battalion of the Markgraf von Brandenberg regiment and a ferocious struggle began. Each time the Ottomans thought the were in the town the Imperialist rallied and repulsed them. Eventually a unit of Janissary's managed to force there way into the town routing the other remaining battalion. The 2nd were on their own, the Janissary's charged over the bridge to be met with cold steel and they like others before them were repulsed by the 2nd.
As the 2nd battalion held on the battle had swung on a revolving door with my Imperialist troops pressing the Ottomans looking for a weakness. At this point Mick committed his remaining fresh troops against my advancing lines. They burst through only to be met with solid musketry from a second line and put to flight.
|View from the town of the advancing Imperialists.|
With his infantry line shattered, Mick made one more attempt to take the town and once again the 2nd repulsed them, though they themselves were on the point of breaking. My hussars were then in amongst the broken infantry to cause carnage. At this point we called it a day. The assault on the bridge had been a brutal affair and casualties had been high on both sides. But still both bridges remained in Imperialist hands, well just.
We were both very pleased with how our revised rules for built up areas worked. Showing how difficult it was to defeat entrench infantry and the importance of such positions on a battlefield.