As discussed last time, we (i.e. Andy, Kirk and me) recently put on a refight of the Battle of Clostercamp for the club open day of one of our local wargame clubs, the Haverfordwest Gaming Club (HATS). I posted the scenario last time, so it’s time for the battle report! Please try to contain your excitement…
The rule set used for the refight, as always was Tricorn, being my conversion of Shako Napoleonic rules for 18th Century warfare. The models are from my own collection, being almost all Eureka 18mm figures, with a few Old Glory 15s and Blue Moon 15mm figures thrown in.
As it happens, I didn’t have a single one of the French regiments from the orbat in my collection, so I painted the Gendarmerie de France, as well as a few more grey-coated French infantry regiments, so I wouldn’t have to use my red-coated Swiss. On the Allied side, I already had most of the required units in my collection, though I needed to paint a few Hessian units, as well as some Highlanders. I haven’t yet painted the Prussian ‘Malachowski’ Hussars, so the ‘Möhring’ Hussars acted as proxies.
I should also thank Andy, who very kindly scratch-built a lovely canal to go along the northern edge of the table… Which I then completely failed to photograph…
Above: The bulk of the French army starts the game having just been alerted and in the process of forming up in its camping-grounds (Note to self: I must make some tent-lines…). The Gendarmerie de France are in the foreground, with the remainder of the French cavalry and d’Auvet’s infantry in the background.
Above: Ségur’s infantry, consisting of eight battalions from the Auvergne Regiment and the blue-coated Alsace Regiment (here represented by my German Brigade) are deployed in the straggling village and farmland of Rosenray, with a battery of heavy artillery to the rear.
Above: Historically, Ségur was very aggressive, throwing his infantry forward to meet the Allies at Kampenbrüch. However, on this occasion he’s happy to wait at Rosenray until Thiard de Bissy’s cavalry and d’Auvet’s infantry secure his left flank.
Above: D’Auvet’s division has ten battalions from the Normandie, La Tour-du-Pin and Briqueville Regiments. Aside from the aforementioned Gendarmerie de France, Thiard de Bissy’s cavalry consists of two brigades, each of four weak regiments (in game terms, two large (16-figure) units).
Above: Seeking a better view of the situation, de Castries takes up position on the high ground, next to the heavy guns.
Above: The French guns are presently facing north across the canal, covering the approaches to the bridge at Rosenray. However, they will soon be slewed left to engage the approaching Allies.
Above: Meanwhile in Kampenbrüch, the picked Highlanders of Keith’s 87th and Campbell’s 88th Regiments make short work of the French picquets.
Above: The Highlanders push forward into the village, passing an old redoubt left over from earlier wars.
Above: With the Highlanders making headway in Kampenbrüch, Waldegrave’s infantry swing right into the open ground south of the village. The division is led by a British brigade of three battalions; the 20th Foot (Kingsley’s), 25th Foot (Home’s) and 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers. A German Allied brigade forms the second line; the Hanoverian ‘Marschalk’ and ‘Reden’ Regiments and the Hessian ‘Erbprinz’ Regiment. The two British grenadier battalions, Maxwell’s and Lennox’s, are formed on the extreme right flank. The only artillery support is provided by a handful of battalion guns.
Above: Elliot’s cavalry brigade forms up to the rear of Waldegrave’s infantry. Elliot has two small British regiments; the 1st (Royal) Dragoons (Conway’s) and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons (Cholmondley’s), which for game purposes are massed into a single unit. On their right is a detachment of the Prussian ‘Malachowski’ Hussars; this theoretically small unit of only two squadrons has been reinforced to around 400-500 men, so I’ve represented it as a separate unit, rather than mass it with the dragoon brigade.
Note that we were very pushed for space, so I had to tape our game posters onto the table surface and some of the Allied troops were initially deployed on a poster!
Above: The Gendarmerie de France move forward, determined to dominate the southern flank of the battle and threaten any Allied advance on Rosenray.
Above: As Waldegrave’s infantry advance, Elliot’s cavalry take post on the right flank. However, Elliot is outnumbered and outclassed by the Gendarmerie and doesn’t fancy his chances!
Above: The Highlanders meanwhile, mop up the last French picquets in Kampenbrüch.
Above: At Rosenray, French battalion guns begin to open a long-range fire on the approaching lines of infantry.
Above: On the hill behind the village, Castries and his staff watch as the 12-pounders commence their bombardment of the approaching enemy force.
Above: As the two formations close with each other, Elliot seizes the initiative and orders the ‘Malachowski’ Hussars to charge! However, the leading squadrons of the Gendarmerie de France, their lineage and traditions going all the way back to the Hundred Years War, contemptuously repulse the Prussians with ease, sending them reeling back through the supporting British dragoons!
With the British dragoons disordered, the Gendarmes take advantage of the situation and immediately launch their own charge on the end of the line of British grenadiers. Despite their disordered state, the British dragoons now have no choice but to ride to the aid of the grenadiers and charge into the mêlée. As expected, the dragoons fail to make much headway against the Gendarmerie, but Maxwell’s grenadiers, being made of firmer stuff, manage by the skin of their teeth to beat off the French horse!
Above: Retiring from the combat with only light casualties, the Gendarmerie are sure to rally… Aren’t they…? However, the Gendarmerie have succumbed to la malédiction de la peinture fraîche and they aren’t going to stop for anyone! They break and flee past the rest of the French cavalry and d’Auvet’s infantry, who do their best poulet impersonations as they watch the cream of French cavalry run past in the general direction of ‘away’…
[Note the MDF arrow markers alongside the infantry. These indicate that the French infantry are in column formation, marching from right to left. Basing infantry battalions on single linear bases makes gameplay MUCH easier, but there are occasions when you need to form a column of march and these markers therefore come in very handy indeed. These were very kindly produced for me as a special order by Charlie Foxtrot Models, who I can highly recommend.]
Above: The British dragoons breathe a collective sigh of relief and reform their ranks alongside the grenadiers. The ‘Malachowski’ Hussars also failed to rally, but the Erbprinz considers this to be a fair swap; two squadrons of Prussian hussars for four squadrons of elite French heavy cavalry! The dragoons also don’t seem to be too bothered about the loss of their Prussian comrades, despite the mass of French cavalry building up to their front.
Above: Thankfully for Elliot, Harvey’s reserve cavalry division has crossed over the canal and is marching to deploy on Elliot’s exposed right flank, just in the nick of time. Leading Harvey’s column is a combined brigade formed from the British 10th Dragoons (Mordaunt’s) and a Hanoverian regiment of heavy horse, the Leibregiment. These are followed by the Hessian ‘Einsiedel’ and ‘Prüschenck’ Regiments of Horse.
Above: Bringing up the rear of Harvey’s column is the Hessian ‘Prince Frederick’ Dragoon Regiment, resplendent in their Prussian-style sky-blue coats.
Above: However, the remaining half of the Gendarmerie de France are très énervé…
Above: The cavalry clash once again as the Gendarmerie de France charge the combined British-Hanoverian brigade. Elliot’s British dragoons also get stuck in, but the Allied cavalry is thrown back by the vengeful Gendarmerie. The British-Hanoverian brigade manages to rally, but Elliot’s dragoons keep running, carrying Elliot along with them. A short while later, the brigade of Hessian horse also makes a charge, but too is defeated by the Gendarmerie! The situation is starting to look bleak for the Allied cavalry. In the meantime, the French Royal-Piémont cavalry brigade charges the right flank of the British grenadiers, but is beaten off and retires to rally behind the Royal-Étranger brigade.
Above: As the cavalry battle continues on the flank, Waldegrave’s infantry press on and are soon engaged in a sharp firefight on the southern edge of Rosenray, with elements of Ségur’s and d’Auvet’s divisions.
Unseen by the camera, a large group of Hanoverian volunteers under the command of one Captain Winzingerode have crossed the canal and along with the Highlanders, are making life miserable for the right flank of Ségur’s division at the northern end of Rosenray.
Above: Waldegreave’s confidence is soon shaken, as the French infantry are numerous and are closely supported by artillery. Allied casualties quickly mount.
Above: On the flank, the Allies have another crack at the Gendarmerie de France, again throwing in the British-Hanoverian brigade, as well as the fresh Hessian ‘Prince Frederick’ Dragoons. The Hessian Horse move up in support. This time the Gendarmerie are thrown back with heavy losses!
Meanwhile, the Royal-Étranger Brigade charges the British grenadiers, but are halted by fire before they can make contact. Things seem to be swinging back toward the Allies…
Above: However, Waldegrave’s Allied infantry are starting to suffer very heavy losses in this increasingly attritional battle. This style of battle suits the French, as they have a lot more men to throw in to the fight.
Above: At long last, Howard’s reserve infantry division has arrived at Kampenbrüch! This division consists of three British battalions; the 11th Foot (Bocland’s), 33rd Foot (Griffin’s) and 51st (Brudenell’s), as well as the Hessian 2nd Guards, Müller’s Hessian Militia Battalion, some battalion guns and a position battery of Hessian 6-pounders.
Above: But is Howard going to be thrown into the existing battle on the right? Or is he going to open up a new axis of attack against Rosenray on the left?
Above: The Highlanders continue to skirmish in front of Rosenray, but are only a minor irritation that would easily be swept away if Ségur decided to attack
Above: A slightly more serious threat to Ségur are Winzingerode’s Hanoverian volunteers, who have inflicted losses on the 1st Battalion of the Alsace Regiment, as well as the heavy battery on the hilltop.
Above: On the French left, Montbarrey’s division deploys to form a second line behind d’Auvet’s extreme left flank. He also pushes a 12-pounder battery forward to provide close support. In the foreground, the Normandie Regiment finally moves forward from its camp. The regiment has remained inexplicably motionless for much of the day until now, but finally lurches forward to form a second line extending south from Rosenray.
Above: With the Gendarmerie de France beaten off, the British-Hanoverian brigade exploits the situation, launching a desperate charge against the Royal-Étranger cavalry brigade, who had been disordered and halted by fire from the grenadiers.
The charge is a resounding success! The Royal-Étranger brigade are utterly broken and flee the field! However, this was something of a desperate move, as despite their success, the Allied cavalry are now left milling about in disorder, on blown horses, right in front of the Royal-Piémont cavalry brigade!
Above: Allied worries soon prove unfounded however, as Andy’s dice once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. With the loss of the Royal-Étranger brigade, Thiard de Bissy’s division has lost 50% of its fighting strength and now decides en masse to quit the field!
Above: With the French cavalry cleared away by Harvey, the threat to the Allied flank is removed.
Above: A short time later, the British grenadiers, with the Hanoverian Marschalk Regiment in support, have advanced to plug the gap between Waldegrave’s line and the southern woods. The Allied cavalry’s part in this phase of the battle is over and they form up to the rear.
Above: The infantry lines become more generally engaged. The Allies have the qualitative edge, but have taken more casualties. The French also have a lot more battalions in reserve and also now have a battery of 12-pounders right in the firing line! However, most of the French battalion guns have been knocked out by British musketry.
Above: The Thianges Dragoons arrived with Montbarrey’s division and now form up on the left flank, ready to pounce on any Allied breakthrough. With both flanks anchored and with stacks of reserve, the French seem set to win this battle of attrition, though Castries doesn’t look very happy about it!
Above: Meanwhile, the Erbprinz orders Howard to open up a new axis of attack on the left, where the French Alsace Regiment, defending the northern half of Rosenray, looks much weaker. However, Howard’s column has drawn the attention of the ever-present French 12-pounder battery on the hill.
Above: With the French slowly winning the battle of attrition in the centre, the Allies MUST do something to break the impasse!
Above: Waldegrave orders four battalions of his first line to charge! In the centre, the 20th Foot and Lennox’s Grenadier Battalion are halted by fire from the two battalions of the Briqueville Regiment, but the two flanking battalions (25th Foot and Maxwell’s Grenadier Battalion) make it into contact with two battalions of the La Tour-du-Pin Regiment.
Above: The British charge is a partial success; while the Briqueville Regiment stands firm in the centre, the two flanking battalions are smashed.
Above: French retribution is swift! The 1st Battalion of the Horion Regiment (on the left) and the 3rd Battalion of the Normandie Regiment (on the right) advance to plug the gaps and the French line charges the impudent Rosbifs!
Above: However, the French charge is something of a damp squib as 1st Horion are stopped by the fire of Maxwell’s grenadiers, while the 1st Briqueville and 3rd Normandie are repulsed by the 20th Foot and 25th Foot. The only successful French battalion is 2nd Briqueville, who throw back Lennox’s grenadiers, though only inflict light casualties.
Above: The situation as viewed from the southern flank. Lennox’s Grenadier Battalion has retreated, but manages to rally behind the cavalry.
Above: The situation as seen from behind French lines. The retreating battalions of the Briqueville and Normandie Regiments have managed to rally behind the second line.
Above: Another view from behind French lines. At present the French line appears rather ragged with two battalions destroyed and another two thrown back. Another British charge at this point might break d’Auvet’s first line altogether. However, the French still have sixteen battalions in this sector, nine of whom are completely fresh. By contrast, Waldegrave has eight battalions, all of whom have suffered losses, some of them dangerously so! Three of Waldegrave’s battalions are elite (so have a morale and combat grade one better than the French) and three are large units (so absorb an extra hit before breaking), but it’s unlikely to make a difference in the long term.
Above: However, Castries’ main cause for concern is now on his right wing.
Above: In front of Rosenray, Howard’s reserve division is advancing with grim determination against three battalions of the Alsace Regiment. The Alsace Regiment’s 1st Battalion is still pinned down, fending off Hanoverian and Highlander skirmishers near the canal.
Above: The Auvergne Regiment, deployed in the southern half of Rosenray, has been largely unengaged, aside from an indecisive firefight near the chapel with the 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers and Waldegrave’s battalion guns. The Erbprinz was terrified that these battalions might move to envelop Waldegrave’s left flank, but this for some reason hasn’t happened.
Above: Sadly, that was where we had to leave the Battle of Clostercamp! It was 3pm and the open day was winding down, with everyone else packing up to leave, so we thought we’d better do likewise… 🙁 As mentioned above, I blame myself, as Andy and I probably wasted FAR too much time talking to old friends (and a few new ones)… However, we had played through fourteen turns in around four hours, so it wasn’t too shabby! 🙂
In conclusion, I think Waldegrave’s attack, despite some tactical successes, would have eventually run out of steam due to attritional losses. Howard’s attack may have broken through, but at the end of play, Ségur’s division had not suffered any significant losses and was therefore a very long way from being broken. However, the defeat of the French cavalry was a very significant blow for Castries and if Waldegrave could find a way to push back the French first line, Harvey’s cavalry would be straight through the gap to cause havoc on the French left flank.
I think this is definitely therefore, a battle to revisit with a little more time and fewer distractions! My thanks again to Kirk French, Andy James and to the Haverfordwest Gaming Club for hosting us.
More Tricorn gaming coming soon: It’s been a while since I’ve visited my old mates at W.A.S.P., so I’m heading down there on 31st October. We have a refight of the Battle of Mollwitz 1741 lined up for that visit. Although I did a solo refight of Mollwitz during lockdown a couple of years ago, I’ve not posted the scenario here, so I’ll do that later in the week. Then on 18th November we have a refight of the Battle of Warburg 1760 at the Tenby Games Festival and I’ll post that scenario here soon.