Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Battle of Krondstadt - Part 3


Fire from across the bridge, from the hilltop battery, and from the reformed Guards , forced the two light cavalry regiments to pull back. They had done enough however to allow the Guard Cavalry Brigade to advance unopposed. The Guard De Korps and the Regiment de Pupiles charged into the Guards as they
attempted to cling to the bridge approach. Cutting down over half the defenders would not settle the affair as the remnants of the Guards rallied around the customs house as fire from the opposite bank again forced back the Katzian Cavalry.

Escorting prisoners to the rear.

Naval Brigade advances into the firestorm of cannister.

As the drama unfolded near the bridge, the Naval Brigade advanced on the opposite flank into the waiting line of infantry and guns. Ill served by the reformed Lancers and Hussars, the Didd line was no match for the three advancing regiments supported by guns and two regiments of cavalry. Forced into square by the threat of a cavalry charge, the 22nd Line Infantry were forced to surrender after a blast of canister from 200 paces. Meanwhile, the Marines held off a half-hearted charge by the Hussars and the Provisional Naval Battalion stormed the defending battery no longer supported by infantry or cavalry.

By this point in the battle, the Didd forces had suffered severe casualties, but had bought just enough time for the majority of the retreating troops to join the long line of baggage wagons and refugees in escaping across the bridge. MG Van Fleck's order to the field guns to not fire on the mass of humanity closing the bridge is a credit to his status as a gentleman, but reflects a lost opportunity for a total victory. Following the Guard Cavalry's charge, Van Fleck ordered a brigade to advance to bring the bridge under control. The Loyal Legion of Estranger's fired one volley into the stragglers crossing the bridge, and then all grew quiet. Lord Farqua, whohad stayed to organize the withdrawal to the bridge surrendered the remaining Didd forces south of the bridge...the only organized force being the Hussars.

After a small party was fired upon heading for the river bank, the hundred odd  survivors of the Guards, emerged from the smoldering customs house to surrender to the Legion. The prize of the day proved to be the twice wounded.

The Battle of Krondstadt and the liberation of the District of Doft had ended.

Mission Accomplished.

This was a fun battle that ended sooner than expected. I rolled dice to determain a few things up front...wether the Didd commander would bring over reinforcements but delay the escape of the trains, and if the Userper would try to escape early or fight honorably. He would, and the refugees had priority over reinforcements.

The battle at the chapel mount was VERY costly...1500 men from 5 regiments to throw out the single defending regiment. Combined with the rapid collapse of both flanks in which the defending militia were not supported by cavalry (die rolls again), made for a rapid advance.

The Katzian skirmishers were very effective against the enemy defending in line, and Van Fleck used his cavalry as a threat to keep the enemy infantry from moving forward to force the skirmishers into close combat. The sight of the retreating infantry was just too much for the Mamelukes so they surged forward and got carried away. I thought they would be roughly handled by the defending Guards, but the Guards could not get in a solid volley due to their own retreating troops. I was surprised at the Mamalukes second success as well, and the subsequent victory by the Cossacks over the Cuirassiers.

The Naval Brigade worked well with the Dragoons and Kurassier to put steady pressure on the East end of the Didd line. In hindsight, a rapid attack may have caught the tail of the baggage train, but casualties would have been much higher as the enemy had a Line battalion, two cavalry regiments, and a battery of guns protecting the road.

I thought the game was up for the Didd forces twice, when the Mamalukes almost reached the bridge and then when the Guard Cavalry Brigade defeated the last defenders. There was still about a third of the baggage train on the south side of the river. Both times, fire from the opposite bank (the two battalions that could not cross because the bridge was clogged, and the guns on the hill) caused enough casualties to force back the cavalry. It would take infantry to take the position.