Monday, 12 September 2011

Saxony versus Pappenheim

THis week we are in central Europe during the Thirty Years War. A Saxon army is trying to halt the march northwards of a force commanded by Pappenheim. The latter is not surprisingly strong in cavalry, particularly cuirassier, but lacks artillery and has only two units of infantry. The Saxons have six units of infantry and two field guns, but are weak in cavalry. On their left is a church on a hill, held by a unit of commanded shot. In their centre two hasty artillery positions with five infantry units and a unit of mounted arquebusier. The right is held by the remaining three units of cavalry, one of reiter and two of cuirassier.

Pappenheim decided to use one of his infantry units to pin the Saxon centre whilst the second one attacked the church, supported by a dragoon regiment. His cuirassier would attack the flanks of the Saxons, with the main attack being on the Saxon right.

As the Pappenheimers advanced the Saxon artillery began to find the range. The blocks of cuirassier began to take casualties and edged further out towards the flanks, this left the central infantry unit, Blankhardt, as the main target and it began to take real punishment. A bad day for Blankhardt became even worse once they got into musket range of the Saxon infantry who added their volleys to the hail of shot hitting the Imperialists.
Meanwhile the Saxon commander was shuffling his units to meet Pappenheim's flank attacks. Originally he had ordered his right wing cavalry forward to cover the flank of his infantry, but seeing the masses of cuirassiers coming his way the Saxon cavalry commander decided to fall back and use the infantry to support his troops. The mounted arquebusier of regiment Tauber moved to the right flank to counter the Imperialist dragoons. The Yellow infantry regiment took up position behind the hill on the Saxon left supported by a regiment of reiter.
Whilst the Imperialist attack on the Saxon centre stalled, the attack on the church continued to advance in spite of the galling fire of the commanded shot.

The attempt by the Saxon right wing to draw their opponents onto the waiting infantry supports did not succeed. The Imperialist cavalry commander saw the trap and ordered one squadron to attack the Saxon infantry whilst the bulk of his men continued forward against the cavalry. This 'soak off' attack not only meant that the Pappenheimers charged their opponents unscathed, but also still preparing to advance themselves. In the ensuing melee the Saxon cuirassiers were totally outclassed by their opponents, both units routing from the field. The only saving grace for the Saxon commander was that half of the enemy cavalry chased off the field in pursuit.

Meanwhile in the centre, the plight of Blankhardt meant that Papenheim committed one of his right wing cuirassier blocks to attacking the Saxon artillery. Lumbering forward the armoured horsemen presented an awesome sight which unnerved the gunners who ran for the protection of nearby infantry

The Saxon commander ordered his infantry line to fall back from the threat of the cuirassier and this deprived the commanded shot of support just as the Imperialist infantry closedon the church wall. To add to the woes of the defenders the Imperialist dragoons moved around their flank and dismounted, ready to clear the curchyard. On the Saxon left the reiter bravely charged their heavier opponents and for a time held their own, but numbers told in the end and they were swept from the field. ON the opposite flank regiment Tauber were enjoying some success against the cuirassier they were meleeing. Against the odds they held their position and gave the right wing infantry time to fall back.

The day was lost for the Saxons, the infantry centre had held, but the artillery crews had run from the threat of the enemy cuirassier. With few cavalry remaining they could not hold off the Imperialists any longer and so he ordered his men to retreat and hope to regroup to fight another day.


  1. Good report. Great photos. I really like the flag in the last picture. where did you get it?

  2. Great report and nice figures too!!!

  3. Enjoyed the report. Really nice photos too.

  4. Thanks for the comments chaps. The figures aren't part of my collection; but I think that the flags you mean is homemade.