Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ulrichstein Campaign: Battle of Zaltpig, Part 3.

Whilst the Electoral forces seemed to be carrying all before them to the west of Zaltpig town, the lonely Pandour company garrisoning Stumpy, far to the north, was coming under increasing pressure in its own private battle. During the course of the day, the Pandours would face up to six times its own numbers.  With nearest friends at least half a mile off, their sense of isolation was complete.

The village of Stumpy.  The Pandour garrison in firefight
with the rebel 7th Jagers.  Tenth battalion moving up
prepare to storm across the bridge.
Getting the worse of the firefight against this garrison, the Jagers' call for help was answered by a column of 10th Battalion, which dashed over the bridge and into the hamlet. At once the roar of battle intensified, as the rebel column, narrowed owing to the defile through which it had to pass was met in  the barricaded village street by a half-company of Pandours. 
The village of Stumpy.  The 10th Battalion assault.

Having reinforced the attack on Stumpy, General Arnim of 3rd Brigade directed the other two battalions, 5th and 6th, to swing to their right to join 2nd Brigade's 9th Battalion in enveloping the right flank of the main Electoral army. However, Marshal Noailles felt the moment propitious to countermand the order to 6th Battalion, and directed that unit also towards Stumpy. Time would tell if that decision was a wise one.  
The Rebel left.   In the distance the fight against Pandour
skirmishers and Winterfeldt Infantry.
  Ninth Battalion of 2nd Brigade, and  5th Bn or 3rd Brigade
move up to envelop the Electoral flank.  In the foreground,
6th Battalion has been diverted towards Stumpy.

What led the Rebel commander to it?  His right and centre were still under intense pressure, losses had vastly exceeded his opponent's, the enemy was gaining ground, albeit slowly; yet he gave an air of confidence that assuaged the agitated anxiety of his largely civilian staff.
The rebel centre.  The Electoral forces make
slow progress, but are advancing yet.  But Winterfeldt
in particular is beginning to look very tired.  Standing on
the hill near the gun battery, Marshal Noailles found this
The fact was, the Electoral army was showing signs of tiring.  The smaller fighter, it was running out of stamina.  Having driven back 11th battalion, and almost destroyed the 8th that took 11th's place; having helped see off the gun battery to its left front, Winterfeldt still found itself beset by two battalions from the Rebels' 2nd Brigade and the return of the 11th.  The Pandour Company, too, was feeling the gunfire to its right.  And not far off the last battalion of 2nd Brigade (the 9th) could be seen drawing closer.

The rebel centre.  The remains of 1st Battery making off
with its guns.  The electoral infantry are doing well enough,
but are becoming aware of the approach of  fresh
enemy troops on their right.
To the south, Diericke Fusiliers had just about destroyed the enemy's 1st Battalion, and saw off the counter-attack by 2nd Battalion in almost as brusque a fashion.  Yet it seemed to the Electoral troops that their efforts to advance were being stymied by numberless hordes of armed rebels coming the other way. The cavalry were even more frustrated. At last the 1st Squadron of Prittwitz Cavalry was forced to give way. As the heavies fell back to the river, the lead squadron of the Black Hussars surged up the slope hoping to catch the rebel troopers still disordered. In this they were not quite successful...
The rebel right.  The unequal firefight between Diericke Fusiliers
and 2nd battalion ends with the rout of the latter.  Meanwhile the
cavalry fight rages on undecided.

In the circumstance, Marshal Noailles thought it very desirable that Stumpy hamlet be taken, lest the enemy, breaking off the action, established himself firmly on the far bank of the Binge.  There he might remain a menace to the rebel cause sufficient to induce him to leave behind a force to contain him when he set off to try conclusions with the Imperialists.  If he could, he was going to take his whole army.  That meant having to eliminate from the reckoning, at least for the time being, this whole Electoral corps.
Stumpy village.  The hand-to-hand fight in the street.
 The garrison see off their assailants, but are themselves
forced to abandon the village.
It was as well 6th Battalion was marching to support the 10th. The latter unit stormed across the bridge whilst the Jager poured in a supporting musketry. In rushing the bridge, the 10th lost some 40 men (2 figures), not enough to stop them closing right up to the barricades. Yet the half-company detailed to defend the barricades had little difficulty in seeing off the enemy. Though giving as good as good as they received in the hand-to-hand struggle (20 men, or 1 figure each), the rebel morale cracked (having lost 60 men overall in the encounter), and 10th Battalion fled back to the west bank.

Stumpy village.  As the Jagers swarm through, 6th battalion
follow up.  There will be no recapture of the place.
For the Pandours, however, it was all too much. Having themselves lost 40 men (2 figures) to the Jagers' supporting fire and a further 20 (1 figure) the fight in the street - a third of the 180 men they began with, the Pandours incontinently abandoned the village. At once the Jagers could been seen swarming through the main street, the enemy 6th Battalion not far behind.
Stumpy village. Though forced out of the hamlet,
  the Pandours remain perky enough to present a bold front to
the superior enemy numbers.

Although the fall of Stumpy was no serious matter - indeed, General Plodt had counted upon the enemy's devoting a considerable proportion of his strength in carrying the place - nevertheless it seemed to signal a change in the fortune of battle. For all the damage wreaked upon the rebel battalions, more and fresh troops were coming up and taking the fight to the Electoral forces. Themselves weakened by earlier encounters, the latter were finding it harder each time to fling them back so peremptorily. Under gun and musketry fire, their right flank in the air and approached by strong enemy forces, the decimated Pandour company fell back to the river line. Few rallied to the trumpet call at the end of the day.
The view from the east bank of the Binge.  The situation
does not look very encouraging for General Plodt.  
The Pandour company has fallen back to the river
with terrible losses (80%).
Despite the enfilading gunfire from across the stream, 9th Battalion  is
pushing resolutely forward to engage the Winterfeldt right flank.
Yet, further to the south (just out of the picture at left) 2nd battalion went the way of the 1st, and for the moment it seemed that perhaps the Electoral troops were on the verge of destroying the rebel right, and securing a famous victory. Although the survivors of 11th Battalion had rallied betimes and were once more in the fight against Winterfeldt, they were pretty much all that was left amid the wreckage of 1st Brigade.  As for the rebel Horse, they were down to their last reserves, and had not only the Electoral cavalry still to face, but also the victorious Diericke Fusiliers...

To be concluded...


  1. Excellent read your Highness, and as always the photos are brilliant.

    Though things look a tad awkward for the rebels, many of us are looking upon them with hope and admiration.

    Your have a rare writing talent there my friend and I look forward to reading more over xmas and New Year.

    So get plotting.

    Merry exmas to you and yours.

  2. Thanks Barry -
    The final instalment on this action will be out shortly. I didn't anticipate it would take more than two, but I did take a LOT of pictures. It was very hard to cull many out.

    Meanwhile I'm looking forward to your account of the action at Hister, and into just how much hot water King Konstantin has landed himself...

    All the best for the Season, Barry

  3. Viva la revouliccion
    viva la gente
    viva la verdad
    viva la guerra

    Ok enough rebel talk... I am shure I spelt the spanish word for war wrong.

    Anyway this is so interesting and increadible. your story telling is brilliant! and to top it off this battle is increadible, however with more to some I am amazed that this story ever came to be as its the wargaming equivilant of a novel and they are hard to make. Know your highness that as the Archduke if you should fall in the field agaist the rebel hords that a 21 gun salute in Oronegro will come. and perhaps my support for the duchy is the form of goods, sadly not troops unless the family goes on a surprise holiday

    1. Thank you for your kind remarks in re my prose, Gowan. What I lack in verbosity I make up for in prolixity. But seriously, I have quite a bit of fun with this side of things. I just hope that readers find my style sufficiently engaging and my delivery sufficiently entertaining.
      Cheer for Christmas and New year,