Monday, 17 December 2012

Vimbuch 1703

The scenario this week was adapted from Vimbuch on the Legio website.  The forces were scaled down due to the size of my collection and to fit my 6 x 4 table.  The game represents a French attack on the Lines of Stollhofen.  Historically, the Marquis de Blainville led the French vanguard against the Allied troops led by General van Goor.  I thought it was a good opportunity for those old protagonists, the Comte de Salle Forde and General Graf von Grommitt to take to the field again.

The Comte had 8 line battalions, a unit of dismounted dragoons, three units of horse and one gun. He deployed his forces with a brigade of infantry (4 battalions) on each flank with the artillery and cavalry in the centre.  The dismounted dragoons were added to the brigade which would attack the village of Vimbuch, the other brigade attacking the enemy right which was strengthened by an emplaced battery.

Von Grommitt had 6 battalions of infantry, two of which were grenadiers, two guns and two units of Austrian cuirassiers. The grenadiers were placed in Vimbuch, supported by a battalion of line infantry.  The cuirassier were held in reserve and the stream line held by the remaining battalions and the artillery.  One of the Hessian infantry battalions had the advantage of some earthworks.

Complete victory for the French would be to break through the Allied forces and move formed units off the left rear table edge.  A partial victory would be to be in sole control of Vimbuch, which could then be used as a base for an advance by the main French force.  Allied success would be to deny the French either of these victory conditions.

With a feeling of confidence, the Comte ordered the Marquis de St Evremond to advance with his brigade and take the artillery position on the allied right.  He assured the Marquis that  he would receive support from the artillery and his flank would be covered by the French cavalry.  Turning to his other brigadier, Comte D'Anglers he ordered the attack on Vimbuch to begin.  As the lead battalion of St Evremond's brigade began their advance they came under fire from the Allied artillery.  Their discipline ensured that the advance continued but the officers began to wonder when the promised artillery support would make itself felt.  The delay was due to the artillery officer deploying his guns too far back.  Their preliminary shots were ineffective due to the long range and therefore the lengthy process of limbering and moving forward had to be undertaken.  Salle Forde was not impressed.  Nor were the Bavarians leading St Evremond's attack.  The colonel ordered them to halt and fire a volley at their tormentors, but apart from adding to the smoke on the battlefield, the volley seemed to have little effect.  Realising that a slow advance would only lead to heavy casualties the colonel ordered his men forward telling them to take the position with the bayonet.  Under cover of the smoke they reached the line of the stream, but as they crossed they were hit by a storm of grapeshot.  They had done all, or more, than could have been expected and the few survivors fell back towards their comrades.  Although costly, their advance had covered the deployment of the next wave and the battalions of Dampierre and Zurlaben now took up the advance.

On the French right D'Anglers had had more success.  He too had come under Allied artillery fire, but it had been far less effective.  The dismounted dragoons and the regiment Toulouse had engaged the Palatinate grenadiers in a fire fight and their greater numbers were beginning to tell.  Von Grommitt ordered forward the Hessian grenadiers and their fire forced D'Anglers to deploy regiment Languedoc to support the front line.  The fire from the Palatinate grenadiers did seem to be slackening so D'Anglers ordered the dragoons to charge.  As they reached Vimbuch the dragoons were dismayed to find that far from being finished, the defenders stood to their task manfully.  Indeed, as the battered remnants of the dragoons tumbled back in disorder, the grenadiers followed them. This indiscipline was to cost them dear, because, as they pursued their foes the grenadiers ran headlong into regiment Solre and a vicious melee began.

In the centre, the French artillery had eventually deployed in effective range of the enemy and began to fire on the Palatinate infantry supporting the artillery position on the Allied right.  Their fire, with the volleys from Zurlaben began to take its toll on the Palatinate troops.  As their numbers dwindled the remaining men began to edge backwards.  Quickly, Von Grommitt ordered Hessian regiment Wartenslaben forward to take their place in the line.  It was not a moment too soon.  Salle Forde had also seen the wavering in the Allied line and he ordered the Aubusson cavalry regiment to attack, if they could break through, the day would be his.  Unfortunately for Aubusson their advance had been spotted by the allied artillery and they suffered heavy losses in the advance.  Then, when they reached the Allied line they found a fresh regiment waiting for them (Wartenslaben), rather than the weakened one.  The Hessians' volley emptied yet more saddles  and the remaining troopers were reluctant to face the unbroken bayonets and therefore fell back.  Seeing the French advantage in cavalry reduced, Von Grommitt ordered forward one unit his cuirassiers; if they could prevail the French attack would be stalled.  The Herbestein Cuirassier trotted past Vimbuch and then charged the Spanish Horse in French service.  With their added weight and tight formation the Austrians had the initial advantage, but the Spaniards fought well and slowly redressed the balance.  Their staunch defence allowed time for a squadron of Vaillac to come to their aid and with these added numbers the fight moved in the French favour.  Slowly, but surely the Austrians were pushed back and eventually overwhelmed.

In front of Vimbuch the French were also successful.  The Palatinate grenadiers were unable to make progress against Solre and they too, like the cuirassiers were defeated by superior numbers.  As they ran back, Solre pursued them through the streets of Vimbuch and were only halted by Hessian regiment Erbprinz.  Behind them regiment Remaze began to enter Vimbuch and threaten the flank of the Hessian grenadiers who were still holding off regiments Toulouse and Languedoc.

On the French left regiments Dampierre and Zurlaben advanced.  Dampierre charged forward through grapeshot and took the artillery position, rewarded by the sight of the gunners running for the rear.  Zurlaben were taking on Wartenslaben and getting the worst of it.  They were only saved by St Evremond moving forward is reserve regiment, Rouergue.    As Dampierre reformed after taking the battery they faced Von Grommitt's last reserve, the Jung Hannover cuirassier regiment.  Waiting until the Austrian horsemen were in close range, the French infantry fired a devastating volley which stopped the attack in its tracks.

With his line outflanked and Vimbch all but lost Von Grommitt had no choice but to withdraw.  The day was Salle Forde's, but at a heavy cost.  


  1. Great report and nice looking troops!

  2. Hope von Grommitt gets to dish out revenge soon. Great report David.

  3. Great AAR, an overall picture of the table would help though.