Saturday, May 18, 2013

Battle in the snow (1)

El Bruc, 8th December 1713

At dawn, all regiments were already in position behind the trench. The Queen Catherine English volunteers stood in the middle of the line, with the girls of Fiona McGregor Regiment just at their left. Both regiments blocked side by side the winding path of the road toward Barcelona. That would be the primary target of the enemy, no doubt.

Nervous, young Foix de Rovellats looked all around. The girls of her regiment were also visibly nervous, but still steady. To their right, those hardened English veterans were phlegmatically awaiting the battle start, motionless as statues in red. Only some sporadic smoke cloud flowed up at regular intervals from a pipe.

With the daylight, some movement down in the snowy valley could be perceived. Foix trembled: the enemy was already formed too, in a huge line of 3 battalions deep. "What are they expecting?", she asked to herself.

She was soon given an abrupt response, under form of cannon roar. Guns! The Spaniards had deployed on the hills ahead up to three field batteries, as well as some huge siege cannons --that now started firing all at once. The projectiles hissed and beat the Catalan defenses at so an endless cadence, that she believed would get stunned. "Hold your positions!" --someone shouted, she herself perhaps. In spite of the call, she would gladly be the first one to panick and run away.

Bombing continued endlessly for over an hour until, suddenly, a deafening lucky impact opened a gap in the positions of the Englishmen, so that projectiles begun impacting among their ranks --but those hardened men held position nevertheless. Encouraged, Foix shouted again to her girls: "Stay! Stay and keep the line!"

Then a terrible explosion threw her to ground, along with all the girls around. A gap! Those enemy damned guns had opened another gap, now at their own position!

Between one explosion and the next one, Foix happened to glimpse the snowy plain stretching ahead. The enemy had already covered half the distance to their trenches, and had begun to climb the slope --at least three battalions strong. When she was finally able to distinguish their flags, Foix nearly fainted: Guards! Two battalions of the Spanish Guard were advancing straightly toward them, followed by McAuliff's Irishmen!

Suddenly pale, Foix de Rovellats whispered: "Fix bayonets". Miraculously, the girls heard that.


Francis Lee said...

Interesting batrep, good read!

abdul666 said...

Courage !

Phil said...

Nice batrep, and nice map!!

Soldadets said...

This AAR isn't finished yet --this is why I've just re-titled it wih a number "1"...

This first report reflects the point of view of the entrenched defending line, heavily bombed while the enemy tide approaches. The next two reports will gradually approach us to the battle climax and aftermath.

The battle was actually gamed on last weekend, myself as the Spanish player and Jordi leading the Catalans, and Herr Rittmeister Krefeld (Stephan) as witness, reporter and international adviser to the Catalan side (grrr). Quite a lot of fun, wish we can repeat such events more often!

Archduke Piccolo said...

Methinks if the ladies are pissed off enough to form a regiment, they would hear the 'Fixed bayonets' order even if it merely crossed Foix de Rovellats's mind!