Seeing as how it’s been six months since I played some Twilight of Divine Right I invited Cpt.Shandy for a game again.
Instead of using a scenario from the Thirty Years War scenario book (Europe’s Tragedy), I looked through a nice little book I got a few years ago:
I wrote a review on this book a while ago, which I’ll probably put up on here as well at some point. For now we’ll have to do with the external link. 😉
For a while I was looking at a few of the scenarios in there to use with Twilight of Divine Right, and finally decided to give scenario #4 (Encirclement or Breakout) a try. Nothing about the scenario was changed, I took it straight from the book.
An Imperial detachment (red) goes after a smaller Swedish force (2) into enemy territory. The commander forgoes proper recon and finds his detachment surrounded by enemy troops (1, 2, 3). Now it’s time to turn tail and get back to friendly lines unscathed!
Imperial / Catholic League Detachment (start facing towards 2):
Gen. Graf Felix von Reinach
- 4 Tercios (Breuner’s, Baden-Baden’s, Colloredo’s & Kehraus’)
- Piccolomini Harquebusiers
- Von Götz’ Cuirassiers (Small)
- 2 Gun batteries
Swedish / Protestant Force:
- 2 Regiments (Schleinitz’, Von Trott’s)
- Carberg Reiter
2 (start facing directly away from the Imp. Detachment):
- Gen. Bernhard von Sachsen-Weimar
- 2 Swedish Brigades (Yellow Guards & Aus dem Winckel’s Blue)
- Finnish Cavalry
- Västgöta Cavalry
- 2 Gun Batteries
- 3 Regiments (Goldstein’s, von Uslar’s, Erpach’s)
- 2 Gun Batteries
We set up the troops and rolled for who’s to play which side. Cpt.Shandy would take command of the Swedish and Protestant allies, I would take Graf Reinach’s role.
At the centre of the table we got the Imperial forces deployed in Column, hunting down the Swedish regiments.
Bernhard decides it’s time to order the Swedish force to halt and turn to counter-attack.
During the early phases of the game all the Protestant horse storm towards my troops to pin them down while the enemy infantry to my left move to my force’s rear to lock down the most obvious route of retreat off the table.
My unwieldy Tercio formations and massed cavalry have serious trouble getting into gear and after moments Swedish cavalry are all over them.
Then finally Kehraus’ and Colloredo’s regiments manage to march off to the rear. Unfortunately the rest of my frontline (hastily forming line) is caught up in skirmishes with the Swedish cavalry. This is where I make a decisive mistake by opening up a huge gap in my force.
Maybe they see an opportunity, maybe they would have just galloped head on into my tercio anyway – the Finnish horsemen, howling heathen curses, smash into Baden-Baden’s regiment. With the Saxon Reiters in their back, the formation crumbles instantly. Uh oh…
After having ridden down Baden-Baden’s men, the Finnish horsemen storm into von Götz’ cuirassiers. They too are thrown into disarray and retreat.
The hardy, odd-looking men drive their hardy, odd-looking horses on even further to pursue the fleeing cuirassiers, but smash into Kehraus’ Tercio.
The infantry finally manages to stop the onslaught of the Finns. They take a hit and retire back to their lines.
Meanwhile the Saxon Reiters and the Swedish Västgöta try the same trick they pulled on Baden-Baden’s regiment earlier:
The Swedish cavalry, with the Yellow Guards regiment as rear support, charge Breuner’s regiment of foot. To their backs they have the Saxon Reiters move up and start unloading pistols at the infantrymen.
Here’s an overview of the situation at that point:
There’s a lot of blue arrows, and just one red one (depicting involuntary movement). This alone illustrates the dynamics of the battle: My formations just don’t manage to gain any sort of initiative. This might prove deadly, as the cordon around my troops is tightening each turn.
At least Breuner’s regiment holds for now. The cannons (who just managed to avoid getting overrun by Swedish cavalry early on) unlimber and commence support fire for Breuner’s regiment. Thus they get rid of the Swedish cavalry (for now).
Menacingly the Yellow Guards overview the situation and make ready to strike.
Now even my Piccolomini Harquebusiers (who thus far did nothing all game) start moving, and get into the hair of the Saxon Reiters in Breuner’s rear. Maybe things aren’t lost just yet.
Nope, there the Hessians arrive. It’s Protestant force #3 who, bored with just cutting off my path of retreat, arrive at the scene now.
Just as Von Götz’ cuirassiers rally from the shock the Finns caused them, Erpach’s foot regiment arrive to shoot them to bits. Their officer’s last words quote the regiment’s Inhaber’s ancestor.
The other Hessian regiment (Von Uslar’s) move straight up into the rear of my regiment Kehraus, as they make ready to crush the Protestant cavalry to Breuner’s rear.
In the following phases I manage to destroy some Swedish cavalry, and rund down a Protestant infantry regiment, but Kehraus’ tercio is ground up between Aus dem Winckel’s Swedish Brigade and Von Uslar’s Hessians. Breuner’s Tercio also finally folds, which leaves me with very, very little to work with and I’m forced to forfeit.
It’s a Swedish-Protestant Victory!
Oh well. that was interesting. My guys didn’t get moving at all. My dice rolling was abysmal, but what actually broke my back was the enormous mistake of opening up a huge gap for the enemy Reiters to slip in and do horrendous damage throughout the game.
When early on my opponent sent annoying, but brittle cavalry to pin me down, I was hoping I could pick them off and then destroy the infantry one by one or just walk off the table. To get this done of course I should have bascially formed a huge square of pikes, let the cavalry bounce off or get shot up. Oh well.
Afterwards we had a chat about the scenario and how it might have played out if the roles were reversed.
Either way, it’s a very interesting scenario. The usual battle lines are entirely broken up, and the forces involved are generally a bit smaller than in the battles from the Thirty Years War scenario book (some of which are epic in proportions). Very interesting and fun to play though.
Same goes for the Twilight of Divine Right rules in general of course. I’ll have to give Baroque another go and should try Tilly’s Bad Day, but currently, ToDR is my favourite rules set for the period.
Thanks for reading, thanks to Cpt.Shandy (visit his blog!) for playing, and I hope that you enjoyed this battle report!