The Battle of Lowenfaht, May 1756
Wherein, the army of Saukopf-Bachscuttel under General Graff von Barry-Eylund encounters the Hesse-Rotenburg Grand Army, led by Furst Augustus Saxe-Peste.
The Seven Beers War begins! Furst Augustus attempts to seize the initiative with a daring thrust across Rotenburg’s western border into the Palatinate of Saukopf! After 20 minutes and four hundred yards, the Rotenburg army reaches the limit of its logistic lines of supply and halts at the Saukopf border town of Lowenfaht: here it hopes to rest and find the means to replenish its exhausted stocks of scones. Their disappointment at finding nothing but weevilly stollen is compounded by the arrival on the horizon of what is either the army of Saukopf-Bachscuttel, or a travelling circus (though if it is the latter, then it is acknowledged to be a very good one, with plenty of midgets, bearded ladies and so forth). The wind changes direction, bringing the unmistakable odour of the forces of Saukopf: wearily, and without the benefit of their afternoon tea, the Rotenburg forces form line of battle. Augustus arrays his troops in a strong defensive position: Lowenfaht is garrisoned and anchors the Rotenburg right wing; the small village of Furtpilau on their left is also garrisoned; the bulk of the remaining infantry is arrayed between them. The cavalry is deployed equally between the two wings, whilst both artillery batteries are hastily put into prepared positions supporting Lowenfaht.
Meanwhile, the army of Saukopf-Bachscuttel begins its own deployment. General Barry-Eylund has already decided that he will attack the Rotenburg army without further ado. His own troops are in poor condition and morale is low: the lamentable state of the Saukopf commissariat has led his troops to be equipped with the very hairiest of hessian britches, but no undergarments; the Palatinate’s stockpile of the latter is held at Lowenfaht. Now suffering from terrible chafing, the Saukopf army must take back its underpants or die trying. Barry-Eylund hopes to flank the Rotenburg artillery, pin the enemy cavalry behind it, and then roll up the Rotenburg line from left to right, For this desperate enterprise Barry-Eylund masses 6 battalions on his left, headed by both Saukopf Guard units. All four regiments of Saukopf cavalry are arrayed in the centre in column, awaiting developments. Two units of infantry are in column, ready to to be deployed against the Rotenburg centre. The rest of the army, four regiments of light troops, one of conscripts and three artillery batteries, hold the centre and right of the line (below).
With a limp ‘Huzzah!’, the Saukopf drums beat, the bayonets glitter in the afternoon sun, and the left wing regiments mince forward as fast as their chafed legs will allow. (Below)
The minutes pass, and the Saukopf regiments march resolutely forward. The two regiments in column (red and yellow flags) begin their movement into the centre in preparation for their deployment into line. Suddenly, to loud cheers from the Rotenburg troops, both Rotenburg batteries open up, first with ball, and then canister. Nevertheless, despite some losses, the Saukopf assault column tramps inexorably forwards. Soon, the lead elements approach Lowenfaht: here, Barry-Eylund intends that they should wheel right and flank the artillery. (Below)
Sadly, all does not go to plan - as the Milchfrau Liebgarde (white flag) approach Lowenfaht, the Rotenburg garrison begin a barrage of taunts and stale stollen more galling to the guard even than their hessian britches. With a roar, the guard charge Lowenfaht. After a predictable shoeing, the Liebgarde spend the rest of the battle halted in front of Lowenfaht engaged in an unprofitable musket duel.
Nevertheless, the Saukopf attack begins to have an effect. (Below) Wheeling right, the Hoffmeister-Bayer Grenadiers (red flag) seal off the flank of the Liebgarde (white flag) from the Rotenburg cavalry. Two fierce cavalry charges are driven off by the Hoffmeister regiment. The second line of the attack column (orange and light blue flags) cut down the Rotenburg artillery with some surprisingly accurate musketry.
Across the line, volleys are exchanged and casualties mount; the garrison of Lowenfaht, in particular, do great execution, testing the bovine endurance of the Saukopf guard regiments. Twice, Barry-Eylund himself is forced to rally the line and restore order. Augustus begins to try and move regiments across the stream from his left wing to strengthen his line. In the centre, the Saukopf artillery continue having a lovely snooze.
Gradually, however, the Rotenburg position begins to unravel. (Above) Augustus pushes forward his centre to bring the Saukopf march columns under fire; Rotenburg musketry drives them off (yellow and red flags). But in doing so, some Rotenburg troops expose their flank to the Saukopf centre, whilst others are left struggling in the stream. Barry-Eylund orders his cavalry into position for a grand charge.
Huzzah! (Above) Forward go two regiments of Saukopf horse! After a brief clash of arms, one Rotenburg regiment breaks and, with night approaching, Augustus grudgingly concedes the day, beginning a well-handled withdrawal back across the border. Without pausing even to put on their new underwear, the Saukopf troops flop down exhausted. A victory of sorts for Saukopf, but a far from convincing one.