As mentioned last week in my Review of 2023, during ‘Chrimbo Limbo’ we played my Battle of Warburg 1760 scenario at the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire (W.A.S.P.) in Pembroke Dock. We had originally planned to do this at a local tabletop game show in November, but sickness stopped play on that occasion. Sadly, my mate Andy pulled another sickie on this occasion (I think he must have become allergic to me), which meant that we didn’t have him or his walled town model for the game, but we cracked on anyway.
A good crowd turned up for the game: Al Broughton, Kirk French and Dave Llewellyn took the Allies, while Bruce Castle, his son Tane and brother Mark joined me in fighting for King Louis. So while we didn’t have a walled town, we did have a load of Castles…
I thangyou, I’m here all week, try the veal…
While we didn’t have quite enough space for the full 12-foot table, as per the map above, we did manage to get a 10-foot table and didn’t have to compress the map too much (in the scenario I provided an alternative ‘compressed’ 8-foot version of the map).
One slight change to the scenario was that I allowed the French to re-deploy Castries’ brigade of massed grenadiers and chasseur companies to a position roughly to the rear of the La Tour-du-Pin Regiment. Otherwise, it would be almost impossible for Castries to get involved in the fight for the Hein-Berg, as he was historically. I will add this, along with some other scenario-balancing options to the original scenario later.
Above: A view of the, table oriented the same as the scenario map. In the right-foreground is Bülow’s Légion Britannique, on the high ground, facing Warburg. You’ll note that my lovely printed terrain-cloth is only 8 feet long, so I had to dig out my old green parachute silk for this end of the table! It’s not all that obvious in the photos, but the hills are underneath the cloth for this game. I also didn’t put the full array of roads on the table, as I simply don’t have enough roads!
Above: David Morfitt very kindly re-drew his sheet of hypothetical Légion Britannique flags to include orange and light blue regimental colours for the 3rd and 4th Battalions, so I carefully removed the old flags and replaced them with the new designs in time for their first game… Which of course with this lot is just like casting pearls before swine! Dave Llewellyn immediately deployed the whole lot in skirmish order and consigned the formed troops and those lovely flags back to the toolbox for the rest of the game! 🙁
Above: The Chasseur à Pied Companies of the Chasseurs de Fischer prepare to defend the crumbling walls of Warburg. I frantically painted these in the days before the game, along with Fischer himself (who can just be seen hiding behind a house at the back), the Marquis de Castries and the massed grenadiers and chasseurs (who can be seen at the top-right of the photo).
Above: Maupeou’s infantry division consists of eight battalions and forms the right wing of du Muy’s army.
Above: The French centre is formed by four cavalry brigades (each of which is treated as a regiment for game purposes, as French cavalry regiments were absolutely tiny) and two dragoon regiments. To their rear is a small reserve, consisting of a single infantry brigade of four battalions. To the left of the cavalry is d’Amenzaga’s Swiss infantry division of eight battalions and on the far left are another eight battalions under the Marquis de Ségur, forming a ‘fish-hook’ around the end of the ridge.
Above: The Allied advanced guard (Colonel Beckwith with the two British grenadier battalions and two Highland battalions) makes a bee-line for the Hein-Berg, which dominates the French bridges over the River Diemel. On Beckwith’s left is General Spörcken, with three Hanoverian grenadier battalions and five Hanoverian infantry regiments. However, I must confess that I’ve only painted one battalion each of British and Hanoverian grenadiers, so I used the 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Hanoverian Fußgarde as proxies.
Above: In support of Spörcken’s division is a mass of Hanoverian dragoons, British dragoons and Hessian regiments of horse under General Hardenberg. These move forward to cover the Hanoverian left flank.
Above: The Allied commanding general, the Hereditary Prince (Erbprinz) observes the French position from one of the Allied battery positions on the Fürsten-Berg. On his left, Zastrow’s division (three Brunswick grenadier battalions, three Hessian grenadier battalions and three Hessian infantry regiments) begin its attack as Bork’s Hanoverian cavalry watch the left flank.
Above: On the ridge, the French artillery opens fire on the approaching Allied lines. General du Muy knows that he’s onto a sticky wicket. Although numbers are similar, his flank has already been turned and his only hope is to capture and hold the Hein-Berg feature, to keep his line of retreat open. He’s already called de Castries’ elite corps and Maupeou’s division back from the right flank and has turned half of Ségur’s division (the Bourbonnais Regiment), to face the approaching threat, but that won’t be enough! He therefore orders Travers’ reserve brigade and d’Amenzaga’s Swiss to pull out of the line and extend the left flank.
Above: With all the French infantry marching to the left flank, the French cavalry and dragoons are now charged with guarding du Muy’s right flank. Du Muy still doesn’t know where the main part of the Allied army is.
Above: Beckwith’s British grenadiers and Highlanders march up the steep slopes of the Hein-Berg. This hill was actually topped by a mediaeval watch-tower, but we sadly don’t own a model of one of those!
Above: Spörcken’s Hanoverians advance on the French left flank, climbing the northern end of the Haum-Berg and pinning the Bourbonnais Regiment in place, thus preventing the French infantry from moving south to block Beckwith’s advance on the Hein-Berg.
Above: The range is long, but British, Hessian and Hanoverian heavy artillery positioned on the Fürsten-Berg hammers the French left flank. The French heavy artillery replies, but is remarkably ineffective.
Above: As Zastrow’s Brunswicker and Hessian grenadiers advance, Bork’s Hanoverian cavalry remain stationary on the left.
Above: Zastrow’s first line, formed by the three Brunswick grenadier battalions and the Hessian 4. Garde-Regiment, start to climb the ridge to get to grips with the French. The French artillery switches to canister, but still seems unable to hit anything! Perhaps their elevated position on the ridge is making them fire too high?
Behind Ségur’s line, d’Amenzaga’s Swiss can be seen pulling back and marching to cover Ségur’s left flank.
Above: The French cavalry swings left to cover the gap left by the Swiss. Behind them, Travers’ reserve marches up the road toward the left flank, followed in the distance by de Castries’ elite corps and Maupeou’s division.
Above: With the French line already softened up at long range by the Allied heavy artillery and battalion guns, Spörcken wastes no time on a firefight and instead gets stuck straight in with the bayonet! However, the Bourbonnais Regiment stands firm and halts the first charge through firepower.
Above: However, the Allies have achieved a massive concentration of force against this point on the battlefield; Ségur’s eight battalions face seventeen Allied battalions (many of whom are elite grenadiers) and the Allies also have a massive superiority in artillery and cavalry massed at this point.
Above: Nevertheless, the Allied artillery has now been masked by their own advancing infantry and their cavalry won’t be able to achieve a great deal until the French line has been disrupted by the Allied infantry.
Above: The Erbprinz confidently watches his attack go in. However, seeing the French cavalry begin to threaten Zastrow’s left, he sends orders to General Bork, requesting that he move his cavalry forward to counter the French horse.
Above: As Zastrow’s division commences a firefight with the French line, he splits his third line (the Hessian grenadier brigade) in order to extend his flanks.
Above: Another view of the battle for the flank. As can be seen by the many casualty and disorder markers behind the Bourbonnais Regiment, the French line might have halted Spörcken’s first charge, but they have been badly hurt and might not be able to stand for long.
Above: In the French rear, Travers’ reserve brigade has arrived and is now ordered by du Muy to drive between the Haum-Berg and Hein-Berg, then swing right to turn Spörcken’s right flank. This manoeuvre will expose Travers to flanking fire from Beckwith’s brigade on the Hein-Berg, but de Castries will soon arrive to (hopefully) deal with that threat. D’Amenzaga’s red-coated Swiss meanwhile, will attack into the gap between Travers and Ségur.
Above: The situation is now getting desperate for Ségur, as his infantry is now fully engaged and is taking heavy losses. The worst-hit part of the line is the ‘angle’, where the right flank (1st Bn) of the Bourbonnais Regiment meets the left flank (2nd Bn) of the d’Aumont Regiment. These two battalions have been hit especially hard by artillery and the Hessian horse seem poised to exploit their weakness.
Above: The view from behind the French left flank; d’Amenzaga’s Swiss continue their march to the left flank, but at this rate Ségur’s front line may well break before they get there! Nevertheless, the French show they still have teeth, as the Hanoverian Post Regiment, on the left of Spörcken’s line and the Hessian 4. Garde-Regiment, on the right flank of Zastrow’s first line, shredded by a sudden storm of canister and musketry, suddenly break and run from the fight! Nevertheless, despite this small victory, the French infantry know that this is only going to end one way…
Above: However, help is on the way for the beleaguered French infantry! Maupeou’s division is almost in place to form a new line behind Ségur.
On the left of the photo, de Castries’ massed grenadier companies have formed a large column à la Ordre Profonde and are advancing on the Hein-Berg, preceded by a mass of chasseurs in skirmish order… If this works, the idea might catch on…
Above: Beckwith’s grenadiers and Highlanders feel secure in their position atop the Hein-Berg, but now start to be stung by fire from de Castries’ chasseur companies and a section of battalion guns firing from the Haum-Berg.
Above: Ignoring the fire from Beckwith’s battalion guns, Travers redeploys his reserve brigade into two lines (Rohan-Rochefort Regiment in front and Rouergue Regiment to the rear) and swings his line to the right. In response, Spörcken refuses his right flank, wheeling the Wersabé Grenadiers back through 90 degrees to face the new threat. But it’s to no avail, as the Swiss throw back both Wersabé’s and Bock’s Grenadiers and Travers advances over the crest of the Haum-Berg! Thankfully, both Hanoverian grenadier battalions quickly rally and form up at right-angles to Spörcken’s second line.
Above: Ignoring the emerging crisis on the Haum-Berg, Spörcken’s Hanoverians charge again, this time in concert with Hardenberg’s cavalry and Zastrow’s Brunswick grenadiers on their left. After a valiant stand, the 2nd Battalion of the Bourbonnais Regiment is finally broken by the Hanoverian Estorff Regiment, while the entire d’Aumont Regiment is crushed by the Hessian horse and the Brunswick Witdorf Grenadiers. Nevertheless, the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the Bourbonnais Regiment stand their ground and the 1st Battalion manages by the skin of its teeth to beat off an opportunity charge by the Hessian horse! On Ségur’s right flank, the La Couronne Regiment is also managing to cling on, despite heavy casualties.
Above: To their rear, Maupeou deploys his infantry into line. Ségur’s line may be crumbling, but the injection of this fresh division, along with the attack on the Hanoverian flank, might be enough to save the day…
Above: A groan ripples along the French line as a new formation appears over the horizon…
Above: The Marquess of Granby has arrived! Galloping across the battlefield at the head of a great mass of British cavalry (three squadrons of Royal Horse Guards, four squadrons of Horse, seven squadrons of Dragoon Guards and four squadrons of Dragoons), Granby makes a bee-line for the long line of French cavalry arrayed along the ridge. As he gallops forward, his hat and wig fly off. The sun shining off his bald head make an excellent marker for the British cavalry to follow!
Above: In the meantime, Ségur’s division goes down fighting! The La Couronne Regiment is at last overwhelmed by Zastrow’s Brunswick and Hessian grenadiers, while the 1st Battalion of the Bourbonnais Regiment finally succumbs to a combined attack by the Brunswick Witdorf Grenadiers and Hardenberg’s cavalry.
Above: On the French left flank, the 3rd & 4th Battalions of the Bourbonnais Regiment manage to crush two of Spörcken’s Hanoverian regiments, before they too are overwhelmed. However, Travers’ reserve brigade and d’Amenzaga’s Swiss are steadily crushing the Hanoverian right flank. With losses rapidly mounting, Spörcken suffers a crisis of confidence! [In game terms, Spörcken’s command is now Demoralised]
Above: Another view of Ségur’s last stand.
Above: With Ségur’s infantry cleared away, Zastrow now turns his guns on the left flank of the French dragoons… With devastating results.
Above: The great mass of British cavalry continues to thunder toward the ridge. The French cavalry nervously hold their ground, hoping that the slope will give them some advantage in the coming melee.
Above: Bounding alongside the British cavalry are two batteries of British artillery, commanded by the noted artillerist, Count William of Schaumburg-Lippe. He has ordered the gunners to be mounted on every available horse and limber; even on the guns themselves! They gallop onto the battlefield alongside the British horse and now pour a deadly fire into the waiting French horsemen.
Above: Almost forgotten on the far flank of the battlefield, the ruffians of the Légion Britannique advance, crossing the ground previously held by the French right wing. Du Muy had hoped that Fischer’s corps of chasseurs (particularly the Chasseurs à Cheval) would hold these marauders at bay, but the legion’s dragoon squadrons made short work of Fischer’s Chasseurs à Cheval and are now keeping the Chasseurs à Pied penned up within the walls of Warburg.
Above: Meanwhile, on the extreme western flank of the battle, the Marquis de Castries has finally reached the foot of the Hein-Berg. With his chasseurs already keeping the British grenadiers pinned down, he launches his massed column of grenadiers up the steep slope!
Above: Travers continues his assault on the Hanoverian right flank, though resistance is stiffening as Travers’ charge is halted by fire from Bock’s grenadier battalion and one of the Swiss battalions is repulsed. However, the Swiss manage to outflank and destroy the Hanoverian Scheither Regiment.
Above: At last, the two great masses of cavalry clash on the ridge! However, the French Royal Dragoons, on the left flank of the French horse, have already been routed by fire from Zastrow’s infantry and artillery.
Above: On the Hein-Berg, the French grenadiers charge home on Maxwell’s grenadier battalion! The French chasseurs have done their job, as the British grenadiers are already disordered by fire.
Above: Against all odds, the French grenadiers smash through Maxwell’s battalion and established a foothold on the crest of the Hein-Berg!
Above: In the centre, Maupeou has established a new line in the nick of time and masses a large concentration of artillery, who now rip great holes in Zastrow’s ranks. Witdorf’s Brunswicker grenadier battalion, standing on the right flank of Zastrow’s first line, comes in for particular attention and is quickly broken up by canister fire.
Hardenberg’s British dragoon brigade meanwhile, spots an opportunity in the gap between the d’Amenzaga’s Swiss and Zastrow’s division; the advancing Swiss have left a section of battalion guns isolated and unprotected! The dragoons charge through the gap, but astonishingly, are beaten off by the gunners! The British dragoons retreat with the jeers of both their enemies and allies ringing in their ears!
Above: Travers continues his assault on the Hanoverian right flank, but just can’t break the Hanoverian grenadiers! To add to his woes, Spörcken has brought his heavy artillery forward and is now pummeling the French battalions exposed on the forward slope of the Haum-Berg.
Above: Zastrow’s division pushes forward against Maupeou’s division, in the face of intense canister fire. On the right, Mirbach’s Hessian grenadier battalion moves forward to take the place of the broken Brunswickers.
Above: Despite having the advantage of the high ground, the cavalry battle is a near-total disaster for the French. The Bourbon Brigade is destroyed outright, while the Royal-Piémont Brigade is thrown back. However, the La Reine and Royal-Étranger Brigades on the French right flank manage to gang up on the British 3rd & 4th Regiments of Horse and throw them back.
Above: Having defeated the British 3rd & 4th Horse, the La Reine Brigade sadly run into the Royal Horse Guards and are in turn defeated… Whereupon the retreating French cavalrymen have the misfortune of running into the cutthroats of the Légion Britannique…
Above: The Royal-Étranger Brigade however, have rather better luck and charge on, successfully sabering one of Schaumburg-Lippe’s ‘flying’ batteries! This idea of mounting gunners on horseback is clearly a silly concept that will never catch on…
Above: Having weathered the storm of shot and canister, Zastrow’s grenadiers finally charge home on Maupeou’s infantry and are joined on the flank by some British dragoons. The result is a complete disaster for Maupeou as four of his eight battalions, along with most of his heavy artillery, are immediately overwhelmed!
Above: At last, Travers’ reserve brigade and d’Amenzaga’s Swiss finally destroy the last of the Hanoverian grenadiers, though on d’Amenzaga’s right flank, the Hanoverian Breydenbach Dragoons charge once again.
Above: The Breydenbach Dragoons break the right-flanking Swiss battalion, along with the battery that had earlier repulsed the British dragoons. Flushed with success, the Breydenbach Dragoons charge on into the La Tour-du-Pin Regiment of Maupeou’s division!
Above: By some miracle, the French infantry manage once again too beat off the Allied cavalry in this sector. Hardenberg’s cavalry have had very little tactical success, but they keep on rallying and keep coming back!
Above: Meanwhile back at Warburg… The Chasseurs de Fischer are wondering what all the noise is over the hill and decide to wander out to take a look…
Above: However, Hattorf’s Amazing Technicolour Dragoon Regiment is watching from the heights and would LOVE for them to come out into the open ground…
Above: A final charge by Zastrow’s grenadiers and Hardenberg’s brigade of Hessian Horse finally ends Maupeou’s brief stand on the ridge. Du Muy’s headquarters is almost overrun, but he and his staff successfully break out for the Diemel bridge, escorted by the Thiange Dragoons.
Above: On the Hein-Berg meanwhile, Beckwith’s grenadiers and Highlanders mount a counter-attack against de Castries’ French grenadiers. Daulhat’s British grenadier battalion suffers very heavy casualties due to supporting fire from the chasseur companies and artillery and flees the field, though the 87th and 88th Highlanders press home their attack and successfully drive back the French grenadiers!
The loss of their toe-hold on the Hein-Berg is potentially disastrous for French morale, though Beckwith has now suffered 50% casualties… By some miracle, Beckwith manages to maintain control of his men, the Highlanders remain in control of the hill and then proceed to make extremely rude gestures at the Frenchmen below…
Above: Spörcken meanwhile, has lost all but two of his eight battalions (plus his two supporting batteries of heavy artillery) and finally breaks. However, this small victory is cold comfort to the French, as their entire army is crumbling.
Above: The French cavalry meanwhile, having taken catastrophic losses in their first clash with Granby’s British cavalry, now break and run for the Diemel crossings. This is all too much for the French army, which is now in total collapse!
So a decisive victory to the Allies!
Du Muys makes a note in his campaign diary… “Merde…”
All in all, a great game, despite the catastrophic hoofing inflicted on our side! My thanks to Al, Gareth, Kirk, Dave, Bruce, Mark and Tane for an excellent game in excellent company!
Scenario Balancing Options
As might perhaps be clear from the above account, this is a VERY difficult scenario for the French to win and I offer the following suggestions in order to make it a better game:
1. Allow the Marquis de Castries to alter his deployment position from that shown on the map to a position roughly to the rear of Maupeou’s division. This will allow him to intervene in the battle for the Hein-Berg, as he did historically. We actually invoked this rule for the game, but it’s not mentioned in the original scenario.
2. Class all Swiss infantry battalions as Elite (Morale Rating 5). They often are in many wargames rules, but in this scenario I only rated the Jenner Regiment as Elite (along with the French Bourbonnais and La Couronne Regiments).
3. Remove the ‘Poor’ rating from all French cavalry and dragoon regiments, which means that they will be MR 6 and MR 5 respectively.
4. Historically there was a race between the Bourbonnais Regiment and Beckwith’s grenadiers to the crest of the Hein-Berg. However, this isn’t really possible given the starting positions shown on the map (which is based on the Prussian Grossergeneralstab map). I therefore suggest pushing Spörcken’s and Zastrow’s starting positions back by 12 inches and shift the Bourbonnais Regiment to the left until is is in a position (in column of battalion lines) where it has exactly the same distance to reach the crest of the Hein-Berg as Beckwith’s brigade.
I think that’s enough to be going on with.
More soon. I’ve currently got several Tricorn scenarios on the go for the War of Austrian Succession (Chotusitz, Hohenfriedburg, Soor and Kesselsdorf), as well as some old favourites of ours; namely rather large Napoleon’s Battles scenarios for the Battles of Lützen and Bautzen in 1813, so we’ll see what turns up first…