Cumberland Meeting 13 April

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Pz. Ferdinand
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Cumberland Meeting 13 April

Post by Pz. Ferdinand » Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:00 am

The Cardinal suggested I say a few words about one of the games for the next meeting............

At 3.30am on the morning of 8 September,1759 Master-General of Ordnance Friederich St. Andre deployed his 12,200 man detachment of the Army of Execution of the Empire on high ground before the Prussian held fortress of Torgau in Saxony.
He had done the same for the past two days and summonsed the garrison to surrender without success, now he would attack.
On his left flank, he pushed forward Grenadiers and Pandours into the suburbs who seized the feature of the Rats Weinberg.
On the hill about him, the troops of the Empire must have made a brave appearance- white coated troops from Mainz,the Saxon Duchies,and Trier; blue coated men from Wurttemberg, the Palatine, Hesse-Darmstadt and the Rhineland.On the right flank, on the far side of the Rohrgraben watercourse stood an imposing mass of Imperial and Royal Horse.
Unfortunately for St. Andre, his delay in bringing matters to a head (a common failing of Reichsarmee commanders) meant Maj -Gen Johann Wunsch was now, unbeknownst to St Andre, in the town with a total of ten Prussian battalions, not two as was expected.
Wunsch attacked. His men first ejected the Pandours and Imperial Grenadiers from the Rats Weinberg and established a heavy gun battery on the hill which thereafter punished the Imperialists in their main position.
He then came straight at St Andre`s army. He was heavily outnumbered and so precautions were necessary to conceal his weaknesses, even against 'the Romans'. To conceal his lack of numbers, he attacked with the infantry in a single line of battalions,each in only two ranks and doubled the intervals between his few cavalry squadrons.He utilised the oblique order of attack so that contact would occur on the Imperial left flank where half of his own Freikorps and a grenadier battalion would impact.
St Andre had made a grievous error in not garrisoning the village of Zinna which could have secured his left. Instead Prussian Hussars and Dragoons rode around it and threatened the left flank whilst Wunsch`s infantry closed from the front.
The weakness of St Andre`s position now revealed itself. Despite being possessed of a massive cavalry superiority (29 sqn to eight), the Royal and Imperial Horse were on the wrong side of the battlefield and separated from the point of danger by the Rohrgraben.The intervening area was broken up by minor terrain features which rendered an advance difficult.Further,it might be said that the Imperial and Royal Cavalry also displayed a certain lack of ardour on this day?
In any event, a move by St Andre`s cavalry failed to arrive at the threatened point in a timely fashion, the Prussians had the Imperial flank and the Imperial infantry started backing away to avoid being simultaneously hit from flank and front.
On the Imperial right, a timely move by Austrian and Imperial cuirassiers against the Prussian left flank failed against a mere three sqn of Prussian Dragoons supported by the heavy artillery battery.
At this point, the contest became something of a non-battle with St Andre soon determining that he could only maintain control of his army by keeping it moving backwards.
Of the Prussian infantry, only the grenadiers attacking the enemy left came close enough to loose off a volley.
The Imperialists lost few killed and wounded but about 600 captured, 8 regt.guns and more significantly, their campsite,"By losing his equipment,a soldier is rendered useless in the field".
The Prussian losses were 35 killed and 163 wounded.
Wunsch went on to fight more battles for his King, St Andre was recalled and investigated and the Reichsarmee once again lived up to its reputation ("If the security of the Capital [Dresden] depends upon the Prince von Zweybrucken [St Andre`s superior] with the Army of the Empire, I am firmly convinced that it is without defence"-Saxon War Minister Bruhl).

This is the game we will replay with the Reichsarmee hopefully being in more of a fighting mood than in the original battle.The Imperial cavalry numbers will be scaled back so as to allow their use without swamping the smaller numbers of Prussian horse.Hence, 13 bn, 15 sqn and 6 guns of Reichsarmee with detachments of Grenadiers and Pandours will take on 8 bn,a jaeger company, 8sqn and 7 guns of Prussians.

I thought this would be an emminently suitable battle for a wargame given its relatively small numbers and the ability to replicate the opposing battalions one for one - not something I would relish doing for a Leuthen or Second Torgau!

My information on First Torgau comes from a 1931 text by Artur Brabant translated into English by Sharman-Lange- Cogswell and published only last year under the title '1759- The Empire at War' .

I`ll let you know how it goes..........
Last edited by Pz. Ferdinand on Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:53 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Cumberland Meeting 13 April

Post by greatwhitezulu » Sun Mar 16, 2008 3:22 pm

Pz. Ferdinand wrote:The Cardinal suggested I say a few words about one of the games for the next meeting............
I thought you said a few words :wink:

Seriously, sounds interesting. Will try and drop in to watch.

Cardinal Biggles

Post by Cardinal Biggles » Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:14 am

yes looks definately interesting..

Phantom Agent

Post by Phantom Agent » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:34 pm

I'm looking forward to it...

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