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Saturday, March 30, 2013

The report on the Battle of Bukersdorf



A Summary of events that lead to the Batlle of Bukersdorf.

The Battle that was to become known as the THE BATTLE OF BUKERSDORF was to be the climatic battle that would hopefully bring an end to the war that has been on going between the Herzogtum von Rechburg and the Duchy of Bergatonia.

It was a war that had begun with a surprise attack on the Rechurg by the Forces of Bergatonia led personally by Duke Rupert, who was also known internationally as the “Mad Duke”. The initial attack was beaten back by Rechburg Milita supported by Rechburg Regular Cavalry. After the initial attacks and their comprehensive defeats Duke Rupert withdrew from Rechburg and placed his forces in “Winter Quarters”.

For the Rechburgians however they were forced into another onflict this time in a winter war in Ulrichstein, a small Bishopric on their Western Borders. A rebellion had broken out by the protestants of Ulrichstein after their Catholic Imperial ruler Bishop der Plonk instigated a series of repressive actions against the protestants of his small realm. The protestants pleaded to Herzog Constantine the ruler of Rechburg and a strong supporter of the protestant movement.
The Herzog responded by sending his regular army both units that had been involved just a month before against Bergatonia as well as units that were preparing for “Winter Quarters” in Rechburg itself.
The Imperial Hapburgian Emperor was forced to send a force to support Bishop der Plonk hence the War of Ulrichstein commenced.

The Battles of the war in Ulrichstein have been recorded elsewhere in these chronicles, but suffice to say Rechburg emerged victorious in Ulrichstein mainly due to the fact that a rebellion broke out within the Imperial Hapburgian Empire. Distracted by this rebellion the Emperor decided it was prudent to settle the Ulrichstein issue even if it was ended with what amounted to a surrender of the Ulrichstein, so great was the threat of the rebellion that was growing against his Imperial rule.
(See the story of the Hapburgian-Wartenburg Rebellion which is still on going on in these chronicles.)

Having settled the Ulrichstein issue the Rechburgian forces were rushed back to the Bergatonia border in the expectation that the Mad Duke may be tempted to strike once again while Rechburg was distarcted in Ulrichstein.

Meanwhile in Bergatonia the Duke Rupert had issues of his own, with both the Franconian and the Iberian Empires both trying to convince the Duke to join their own factions. The Duke was inclined to align with the Iberians who had supported him from the beginning of his reign, but they were isolated from his lands by Franconia. Thus in the end it was agreed that Franconia would support Bergatonia and they sent an expeditionary force to join Duke Rupert.
The Iberians not content to become second fiddle in the Imperial politics decided to launch a naval landing against Rechburg or one of its allies, this Iberian maritime initiative was thwarted in a naval action fought mainly by the fleets of the Britannic navy and the Iberian Navy, the result was a defeat to the Iberians who fled into Franconian ports for shelter. The Iberian troops on board were landed in Franconia and after some heated discussions it was decided that once they were reorganised they could join in the War against Rechburg.
However King Jean I of Franconia was determined that it would be his forces who would strike first in Bergatonia, thus once his army was victorious Duke Rupert would be convinced one way or another to become a Franconian “puppet” state.
Thus the Franconian Force under General Alexis Schnellendorf was assembled and began marching to Bergatonia.

Meanwhile back in Rechburg the diplomatic machinations of Franconia and Iberia had not gone unnoticed, the Herzog realised that if he didnt strike immediately he would eventually face attack on his own lands, not only by Bergatonian forces but also by either or both Franconian or Iberian armies as well.

One event that had occurred that greatly eased the situation for Rechburg was the Duchy of Neider that was once an ally to the Iberian Empire had deserted the Iberians and became allied to Britannia and Rechburg.
There had been concerns which were later confirmed that the Iberian force that had been forced to land prematurely in Franconia due to their defeat at sea, would now march on Neider and “liberate” their former ally.
This decision had two immediate effects, first it meant the Iberian army would not be marching on Rechburg and secondly it brought Britannia firmly into the land war.
The Britannic Government reluctantly decided to send a force to Neider, if it wasnt required there it would march and join the Rechburgians.
Since the Britannic forces arrived in the Duchy of Neider the Iberians had still not moved from the point where they disembarked, much to the annoyance of both the Franconians who were forced to supply them while they slowly reformed and the Bergatonians who still hoped they would march to assist them.

Herzog Constantine decided that with all these forces moving and concentrating on his southern borders that it would not be wise to wait for them and fight on Rechburgian territory. He therefore ordered both his sons Prince Wilhelm and Prince Leopold to take the Rechburg Army into Bergatonia and try and defeat the Bergatonians before the Franconians arrived.
The first battle between the invading Rechburg army and the Bergatonians was fought near Ostawald, the Bergatonians were defeated but not before inflicting considerable losses on the Rechburgians.

The Bergatonian army fled back to their capital of New Madrid, just as the Franconian army was arriving in the city at the same time.
Meanwhile back at Ostawald the Rechburgians were forced to reform before they commenced their march on New Madrid. They received intelligence reports that the Franconian army had just arrived in the Bergatonian capital and it was not a pleasing prospect to Prince Wilhelm the Rechburg commander that he may soon face a joint Bergatonian-Franconian army, a prospect he had hoped to avoid.
However Prince Wilhelm was not aware that following the battle of Ostawald that most of the Bergatonian army had disintegrated and at most there were only two Infantry brigades that were effective at this time and one of them was only newly raised militia.
He was informed however that the Britannic army had crossed into Bergatonia from Neider, the Brittanic general suggested they both march and join at New Madrid where they would face the Bergatonians and Franconians either in open battle or a siege of the city.

The Franconian General Alexis Schellendorf had meanwhile decided that he would march out of the capital and do battle with the Rechburgians, he convinced Duke Rupert to remain in New Madrid and reorganise and recruit a new army. Fatefully he was not aware that the Britannic army was marching on New Madrid even as he left the city to face the Rechburgians. He was not aquainted with this fact until two days later just as he was about to face the Rechburgians. Now General Schellendorf realised he had no or little choice, he must defeat the Rechburgians and then race back to join Duke Rupert in New Madrid before the britannic army arrived there.





The Battle.

The Battle began with the Franconian army marching onto the field of battle on the secondary road that ran down the western side of the battlefield, that is the road that ran from Long Ridge down to the road junction south of Belinka Hill.

General Scnellendorf positioned himself on the southern edge of Long Ridge and waited for his army to march on behind him. Just in front of him the two Franconian medium artillery battalions were unlimbering.

He had ordered the 12th Brigade to march east behind Long ridge, they were to move towards Bukersdorf Hamlet, placing that village on their right flank before moving south to attack West Belinda wood, they would have support of the Bergatonian Heavy cavalry which included a Veteran Cuirassier regiment.

The 10th Brigade would move over Long ridge through Gustov orchards and attack East Belinda woods.

The 11th Brigade would march south down the secondary road, it would assist the 10th brigade by protecting the 10th's western flank but it primary duty was to hold the western flank, it would have the support of Franconian Light cavalry brigade and two artillery Batteries.

In reserve was the one Bergatonian Guard battalion rated as veteran.

Prince Wilhelm commander of the Rechburg Army positioned himself on Dupont ridge almost directly oppositie his opponent on Long ridge.
Though the Rechburg army consisted of only two brigades they were in effect two very strong units, each the equivalent of two Franconian Brigades.

The 3rd Brigade would hold the Rechburgian left flank which included both Belinda woods while the 4th Brigade pushed up the Rechburgian centre and right flank.
Though the 3rd Brigade which had the Elite Jager Battalion attached was under the command of General Wilhelm Hebelstreight it and the 2nd Light cavalry Brigade with the Horse Artillery attached would be under the overall command of Prince Leopold.

While the 4th Brigade was under the command of old but reliable General Thadden it and the 3rd Light cavalry Brigade would be under the control of Prince Wilhelm who also held the Rechburgian reserve of two veteran battalions. Also under command of Prince Leopold and in position on Dupont ridge were the two Medium artillery Batteries.

The Battle



The battle started with artillery fire, the Franconian batteries began firing at extreme range on the 25th Battalion as it moved over Dupont ridge (15th Regt, 4th brigade), despite the range the fire was effective and damaging the, by the time the battalion was back on the valley floor in front of Dupont ridge it had lost over 100 men in combined and sustained artillery fire.

The Begatonian Heavy Cavalry were moving around the east side of Bayonne Orchards with the Brecker ridge on their right flank., in the distance in front of them they had their first view of the enemy as the Rechburgian Leopold Uhlans emerged on the road that ran between the Belinda woods, however at this stage they were simply too far away to engage.

Of more immediate concern to the Franconians was the Rechburgian Mohein Dragoon Regiment (400) which was in front of Dupont ridge. The Franconian 17th Light dragoons (700) launched an immediate attack on them and in the ensuring melee inflicted almost 200 casualties to 100 of their own, the Rechburg Dragoons were forced back in disorder, the Franconian Regiment quickly withdrew as well as it began to attract fire from nearby Rechburgian infantry as well as the artillery.

Meanwhile back mear Belinda woods the Rechberg Uhlans finally had emerged from the road between the woods and formed line as the rest of the cavalry brigade formed up behind them.
Also emerging from the road between the woods was the first of the infantry, led by the Elite Guard Jagers who were making directly for Gustov Orchards.

The Bergatonian Cuirassiers (700) having now moved into range charged the Uhlans (600) but the melee was a draw both regiments losing almost 100 men and both withdrew apart in good order, still facing each other.
The 2nd Bergatonian heavy cavlary Regiment (400) attacked the Leeds Hussars (700)but were driven back after losing around 100 men to 50 casualties suffered by the Hussars.

At this point there was a short lull as the infantry of both armies were still marching into position, after the initial cavalry engagements the cavalry drew apart and the artillery on both sides settled into a counter battery duel, the Rechburgians soon gaining an early advantage inflicting serious losses on one of the Bergatonian batteries.

Rechburg Infantry (left) advance on Long Ridge


However it was not to long before the infantry of both sides began to become engaged, the first engagements would be around the area of east Belinda woods and the Gustov Orchards.
The Rechburg Guard Jagers ran into the Franconian Jagers who were in position in the orchard, a sharp exchange of fire (though initially ineffective for both sides) started what was to be a long day for the Guard jagers.
The Rechburg 29th jagers (700) were coming around the western edge of West belinda Woods, they were screening the leading elements of the adancing 3rd Brigade.
They came under fire from the Franconian 13th battalion (700) (10th bde), in the firefight the 29th jagers lost over 100 men, the 13th lost 50.
The Franconian 11th battalion (700) (10th bde) also initiated a firefight in the same region, their targets were the 40th Rechburg battalion, this battalion had intended to skirt around the eastern flank of East belinda woods to avoid the traffic jam on the road that ran through those woods, instead in moved into the fore front of the Franconian attack of 10th brigade. The 40th Battalion lost 150 men in next to no time, the Franconian Battalion lost just under 100 men. The 40th stopped in position in some disorder, sudden stop was to cause considerable confusion amongst the following battalions of 4th brigade.

General Schnellendorf observing the check in the Rechburg advance sent dispatch riders down to the units on the valley floor ordering them to push forward with more urgency.

Meanwhile just south of Gustov orchards the Rechburg Guard Jagers were finally starting to make way against the Franconian 17th Jager battalion which were still defending the orchard.
In the on going firefight the Rechburg Jagers had inflicted a further 200 casualties on the 17th, and 50 on the supporting 14th battalion (700 ) (11th bde). Remarkably despite the heavy losses the 17th Franconian Jagers held on determinably in the orchard.
Just a few hundred yards to the west of the Guard Jagers another cavalry engagement was about to occur. The Bergatonian Cuirasiers once more determined to charge the Rechburg Uhlans, the Rechburgians had not had a great time in Bergatonia having suffered in the battle near Ostawald and now they were determined to show they were worthy of the title Leopolds Uhlans.
The ensuring charge and melee saw the Cuirassiers soundly beaten in the charge, there were a number of contributing factors to their defeat including losses from the Rechburg Horse Battery which had conviently just deployed on Belinda peak and fired its initial salvo at the charging cuirassiers.

Following the Melee the Cuirassiers lost 150 men and were routed, while the Leopold Uhlans had lost 50 men and remained victorious, the cheering from the lancers could be heard over the rattling of nearby musketry.
The Cuirassier rout unnerved the already shaken Franconian 17th Jagers and they also fled from the orchard which they had so valiantly been defending, their rout in turn unneerved the 11th battalion which was forming up behind the jagers in the orchard, they in turn became quite disordered and required considerable effort to reorganise.
Meanwhile pressure was building on both flanks, it was pressure from opposing sides. In the West the Rechburg Cavalry were now dominant, having seen both Bergatonian cavalry Regiments routed from the field of battle and being supported by the Horse artillery one could be forgiven to expect the Franconian right flank to collapse. In fact the reverse occurred, the Franconian infantry of the 10th brigade displayed no fear of the Rechburg Cavalry in fact their behaviour was soon to become almost contemptous of the enemy cavalry, equally they seemed to ignore the ineffectual artillery fire from the Horse battery, they simply continued to advance in perfect order.
Major General Lavellette commander of the 10th Franconian bBigade had honed his Brigade's training to a fine point, there was no greater time to show the result of those months he had spent preparing his men, it was with great pride as he watched them adavance on the Rechburg cavalry, who even made several attempts to intimidate with with feigned charges, despite this they still advanced and the Rechburg cavalry started taking losses from the musketry fire from the 10th battalions.
The Uhlans attempted a charge on a square of the 12th battalion but were defeated and forced back in disorder.

This unexpected aggression on behalf of the Franconian 10th brigade now checked the Rechburg cavalry dominance, Prince Leopold was forced to draw infantry from the attack on Gustov orchards to screen his left flank.

Meanwhile on the western outskirts of West Belinda woods we left the Rechburg 40th battlion in some disorder after a firefight with the Franconians. As already mentioned General Schellendorf
having seen this check and the resulting compacting of Rechburg units following behind the 40th ordered greater efforts of the 10th and 11th brigades.
The Franconian 17th light Dragoons advanced from the shelter of Long ridge and threatened the right flank of the Rechburg advance. The 9th Battalion (700) (3rd Bde) formed square expecting to receive a charge, but much to their delight the Rechburg Mohain Dragoons had returned to the fight and thundered past the 9th as they launched themselves at the 17th.

The two cavalry Regiments crashed into each other just in front of the 9th battalion's square however despite the ferociousness of the melee neither side gained an advantage and eventually both withdrew in disorder, both having equal losses of approximately 50 men.

The Rechburg Infantry having seen the Franconian cavalry pushed back now advanced on Long ridge. Elements of the Franconian 10th brigade which was also responsible for holding Gustov Orchards were by now in great disorder having lost one Battalion to rout, another was severly shaken and now a third battalion became shaken from fire from Rechburg infantry and artillery fire. The sister regiment to the Mohain dragoons, the Van hessen Dragoons (600) now made an appearance on the field of battle. They had been on the southern outskirts of West Belinda woods and having seen the Mohain regiment forced back they were ordered to advance and replace them. Their manouvres through the tightly compacted Rechburg regiments finally brought them out in front of the shaken Franconian 13th battalion, they charged and broke the 13th, but they in turn suffered severe losses when they were fired on with canister from the Franconian artillery on the Long Ridge behind the 13th. The Van Hessens had been in battle for about 20 minutes in which they routed one enemy battalion and then routed themselves with 300 casualties from the Franconian artillery fire.

The Rechburg artillery now had a significant breakthrough in the duel with the Franconian artillery, they completely disabled one battery and started inflicting losses on the remaining one, despite this the Franconian gunners continued to fight their guns

The Rechburg battalions of the 4th Brigade now advanced directly on Long ridge, as they neared the ridge General Schellendorf ordered his reserve the Bergatonian Guard battalion to adavance down the ridge to stop the advance, they were supported by the 16th battalion and the 14th battalion which had been moved over from Gustov orchards.
There was now a climatic series of charges and counter charges on the valley floor below Long Ridge. The Bergatonian guards were initially succesful, but it was in their success that they finally saw their undoing as they advanced too deeply into the Rechburg line. The supporting Franconian battalions were unable to move forward and as a result the Bergatonians became isolated , they were eventully forced back in great disorder having suffered 400 casualties. It should be noted that in their maddened charge into the Rechburg ranks the Bergatonian guard inflicted severe losses on several Rechburg battalions including 150 men on the veteran Rechburg 7th battalion which was forced back in disorder.
The Franconian advance in this area now faltered, as their were no reserves to reknew the attacks and the battalions that remained were exhausted and depleted.

Over on the Franconian Right flank fate or luck also began to take a sudden and fatal turn against the Franconians.

The Franconian 13th battalion moved into Bukersdorf hamlet, but was suffering from artillery fire from the Horse Battery which had moved down from Belinda Peak. The 20th Franconian battalion then advanced on the Rechburg HA battery which limbered and moved out of reach, the 20th were instead counter charged by the Rechburg 26th battalion, the 26th attack was unsuccessful and they were repulsed after suffering 150 casualties while the Franconian battalion suffered less than 50 men.
The 19th battalion now moved up to support the 20th and it was this brazen move in front of the Rechburg Uhlans which was their undoing.
In discussians following the battle it was determined that the battalions of the 10th brigade were becoming over confident, even contemptous in their regard for the performance of the Rechburg cavalry (not totally unwarrented), however this over confidence was the undoing of the 19th battalion. As they moved forward they were charged by the Uhlans, the 19th Battalion decided to face the Uhlans in line and see them off with musketry fire, sadly for the 19th their musketry was less than effective and in an instant they lost 300 men as the Lancers rode over them, the 19th routed from the field. The 20th were caught up in this rout and they too fled the field, thus the Franconian right flank was in tatters, the 13th Battalion was isolated on Bukesdorf hamlet, the Gustov orchards were now under control of the Rechurgians.

General Schnellenburg finally faced the inevitable his right flank had collapsed and his central attack was exhausted thus there was little left to do but withdraw the Rechburgian army was too depleted and exhausted to mount an effective pursuit.

Observations
One of the reasons why Franconia suffered 50% casualties in its infantry was the determination that they would fight to the end and in fact that is very much how the battle ended. The Franconian army fought until it was not able to hold its positions, merely because so many of its units were so low in strength and morale that the slightest bad event near them would send one or two units racing to the rear.
The Franconians could have withdrawn at anytime up until towards the very end, but General Schellendorf was not going to let go.
The saga of the Franconian 10th brigade caused a few moments of laughter as it pushed back the Rechburg cavalry, one of its battalions eb\eb tried to pursue a Horse artillery battery as it fled,  however as we saw the moments of Franconian martial joy were eclipsed by the over exhuberance of some of the Battalions.
There were so many charges and counter charges between battalions to the west of Belinda woods I could only touch on the whole generally and highlighted the contacts that had some sort of flow on effect. All infantry in this battle fought magnificently, the Rechburg Guard Jager suffered more casualties in this battle than it has done in the two previous engagments. The VBranconian Jagers held on in the orchard despite a gruelling fire from the Rechburg jagers and other units.

The Bergatonian Guard battalion seemed to live a charmed life as it hacked its way into the Rechburg attack, sadly the supporting Franconian battalions were already too weak to assist it, but despite losing 400 men and being repulsed, at the end it was still standing as a rear guard.

Special mention should also be paid to the Rechburg artillery, they were totally effective in this battle, unlike their performances in previous battles. They destroyed 1 battery and inflicted severe damage on another, they were also largely responsible for stoppong the Bergatonian guard as it counter charged the Rechburg advance.

What will happen following this battle will take some sorting out, first I will be doing some national morale checks as it is now the end of the campaign month, I am guessing Bergatonia is going to go very close to the Fiasco zone which could very well mean revolts against Duke Rupert and the Franconians.
One thing is certain despite the heavy losses suffered by rechburg in this campaign, its national morale will be soaring having won 3 major engagements as well as a host of positive diplomatic events in the last two months.

So much will depend on (a) will the people continue to support the Duke and the Franconians, and if so are the Franconians willing or even able to continue in the defense of Bergatonia, especially given that the Britannic army which is fresh and a totally veteran army will be present at the next battle.

Casualty Statistics

Franconian/Bergatonian Losses
Infantry = 1580 POW, 1260 Wounded, 1260 Dead
Light Cavalry = 30 POW, 60 Wounded, 60 dead
Heavy Cavalry = 150 POW, 300 Wounded, 300 Dead.
Artillery = 9 Guns.

Rechburg Losses
Infantry = 550 POW,1100 Wounded, 1100 Dead.
Cavalry = 120 POW, 240 Wounded, 240 Dead
Artillery = Negligible losses.- Wounded only

2 comments:

  1. I seem to have missed this, Barry. Possibly it dropped off the radar during a particularly busy day. At any rate, I've now caught up. I'll have to update my Blog List, that's clear.

    Still interested in seeing how that the rebellion against the Empire is going... :-)
    Cheers,
    Ion

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  2. Yeah I am keen to get the revolt going again, I have held off in the hope Paul would be back in, but I may have to take over his role.

    Sadly because of the time the Lyndhurst blog has taken I haven't caught up on this, in particular the post battle politics and diplomacy, but will soon; I hope.

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