The two Saxe-Märchen regiments gathered and made for the village of H.....dorf, where the Brigade command was billeted with the guns and the cavalry, and where they were to be joined by the other two battalions in their brigade, the KreisRegiment Mosel and the Swiss Batalion Valais, also force marching from their billet villages . No sooner had they arrived, however, than a large force of enemy cavalry was seen moving rapidly across the plain in their direction, with light infantry close behind. Clearly this was an attempt to seize the village, no doubt to then move some much larger force through it.
(A bit of history, if you read the blog, you will see that the Corps du Vin is part of Soubise's French and Imperial army, and is watching out for the Disappearing Prussians and covering Soubise's left flank. And on the far left flank of the Corps is the Reichs Brigade of the Corps, strung out over a number of river crossing villages in the French occupied lands, watching the comings and goings along the Riverfor what they could see in the Various Hesse-Hatlands).
The two attached cavalry units, the Saxe-Märchen Leib-Dragoons and the Sarkozy Hussars, as well as the light troops of the Arqubusiers de Bergerac continuously patrolled the areas between the villages and had been skirmishing for months as part of the Petit Guerre.
The dry season had come long this year, and somehow an enemy force had forded the lowered river levels in the early morning between two of the villages. The hussars who spotted this force saw it was far bigger than the usual raider force, at least two brigades in size, and raised the alarm up and down the river.
So here it was...action at last. The Comte de Syrah, OC of the Brigade, placed his telescope to his eye, watching from the top floor of his HQ, an inn on the village outskirts.
The Reichs Brigade formed up between the village on their right flank, with their guns in the village, and a wood on their left flank, with the Arquebusiers holding it. Owing to staggered arrival times, the inexperienced Saxe-Märchen battalions were in the front line, while the experienced Swiss and the inexperienced Mosel were in the rear line. To give the infantry time to form up, the cavalry moved forward but were instantly charged by 4 regiments of red coated and blue coated enemy cavalry.
"Who the hell are those?" asked the Comte, The answer was they were a lot heavier than the Reichs cavalry and smashed through the Sarkozy Hussars, also forcing back the Leib Dragoons. A sharp salvo from the brigade guns persuaded them to retire fortunately - however, as they retired, formed infantry behind the skirmishers could be seen coming up.
"Now or Never" yelled the Comte, and ordered the Mosel to swing out into gap left by the cavalry, and the signalled for Duke Leopold to let the whole brigade rush forward so the enemy cavalry could not reform. Leopold gulped, crossed himself, clenched his bowels and ordered the advance. The Sarkozy Hussars were completely shattered, but the Leib Dragoons were rallied by the Graf von Malthus and swung around onto the left flank, round the woods the Arquebusiers were holding. Pays to know your ground (and throw a 3 x move in Black Powder) thought the Graf
The Saxe-Märchen contingent's first action. Regiments Wahlheim. (blue Saxe-Märchen flag) and KreisRegiment Mosel (yellow Kreis flag, near) are charged by enemy cavalry. On the far flank enemy infantry in white coats are menaced by regiment Driebrucken.(yellow Saxe-Märchen flag, far distance), the Saxe-Märchen Leib Dragoons and the Arquebuiers de Bergerac (out of picture). Duke Leoppold is bravely holding the far rear (left of picture)
The Saxe-Märchen and Mosel units' first volleys crashed out, with impeccable drill - discomfiting the enemy cavalry. Clearly the rookies had learned something in all this long time marching up and down the River, thought the Comte. Then the enemy infantry moved up, but were also caught by a crashing volley from the Saxe-Märchen Driebrucken regiment, throwing them into disorder.
The enemy cavalry then charged, but the Mosel and Wahlheim regiments somehow held their nerve and two more volleys were given in perfect sequence, disordering the enemy cavalry so they did not press the attack. When the Saxe-Märchen Leib Dragoons appeared on the other flank the enemy infantry started to fall back, screened by their cavalry and lights.
With the Sarkozy Hussars still re-forming and the enemy cavalry still outnumbering the Saxe-Märchen Leib Dragoons 4 - 1, and with everyone nursing casualties, the Reich forces let them go, except for the Leib Dragoons and Arqubusiers de Bergerac keeping in contact with them and nipping at their heels as the re-crossed the river.
Back at the HQ, Young Werther had been given the task of finding out who exactly it was they had faced. He was riflling through the Observer's Book of Army Regiments and eventually worked out what he thought it was - "Saxon foot, Brunswicker and Prussian cavalry I think, Sir" he blurted enthusiastically.
"That must be a part of a Prussian army", mused the Comte de Syrah, realising that like his force, it was probaby an allied contingent, but of the Prussians. "It's a probing force, I'll bet they were trying to seize bridgeheads for a main force crossing - and I'l bet those Prussian cavalry were there to keep the others in line!".
"Send riders to the Corps HQ and tell that old windbag Pinotage (The honourable Duc de Pinotage, Lieutenant General of France, OC Corps du Vin - Ed) what we saw - the Prussians may make other sorties too!.Werther - you go - grab some of those miserable Hussars and set off at full gallop - oh, and tell him your Saxe-Märchen forces acquitted themselves very well - even Leopold kept his pants dry!"
"Yes Sir!" said Werther, and bounded down the stairs......
(Black Powder rules, Saxe-Märchen forces counted as inexperienced so we had to dice for them in first contact - they all came out very well!)