Monday, April 29, 2013

The 1st assault is Repulsed

The First Melee
The Confederation 12th, 13th and 94th battalion charged the hedge-line defended by the Royalist 36th Foot. All three attacking battalions were already showing signs of weakening cohesion, none the less they scrambled up to and onto the hedge- line with considerable impetus.
It was all the 36th could do to hold them on the hedgerow, it was literally every man for himself as they threw themselves at each other. In some places Confederation troops would make it across the hedgerow only to be killed on the other side, in other places the Royalists would themselves climb over the hedge in the madness to get at the enemy. There was no doubt however the higher morale of the defending troops was telling against the Confederate soldiers who were tired and not a little demoralised with the many losses they suffered in the advance

Confederation Infantry charge the Royalist 36th Foot.

The melee lasted for about 15 minutes and in that time though the 36th remained at the hedgerow, they literally ceased to exist as a fighting force, in the maddening frenzy of the fight for the hedgerow, the 36th lost 558 men, 167 dead, 235 wounded and 156 missing. For the Confederates despite attacking through a hail of musketry and attacking a defended position the units suffered less in casualties than the Royalists, however it was their low morale that decided the issue and they broke fleeing to the rear of the Confederation lines. There was no doubt they would reassemble, recover and perhaps return to the fray. Their losses in the advance and the melee for the hedgerow had been 101 dead, 141 wounded and 94 taken prisoner.
Closer to the road the 111th had come to a halt, refusing to advance it was all they could do to stand and fire at an enemy in the woods, an enemy they could not see, apart from the musket flashes and smoke from their muskets. On seeing their 3 sister battalions retreating for the rear they themselves fled, their total losses
25, dead 36 wounded and 24 prisoners.
All 4 confederate battalions had severe cohesion issues that would take several hours to recover from.

Already the next confederate brigade was moving forward to replace the unfortunate 2nd, it was the 3rd Brigade on loan from the Duke of Warwick's army.
The 3rd's commander Major General Sir Edward Saunders merely scoffed at the 2nd Brigade as its battalions fled past his 3rd, riding high on his horse he lambasted the 2nd for being cowards, he urged his own men not to learn anything from people who were born and bred in Norfolk,
“, they dont make real soldiers in Norfolk, more like good fisher folk and dung gatherers; so we have to show them how to behave as real soldiers.”

He ordered his 13th Light Infantry out front, he wasn’t going to make the same mistake that damned cocky General Clinton of the 2nd made....
“never heard the like of it,” he mused to himself, “advancing without his light troops, good god the man deserved a good trouncing.”

It would take his brigade at least 15 minutes to cover its position in the reserve area to the front line and be in a position where he could attack the hedge-line, as he advanced he noticed to his rear someone had finally the sense to send some artillery forward with him.

Meanwhile on the other flank the 12th Light Battalion was closing on the Light troops in the woods as well as spreading out before the battery. They had already engaged the battery with musketry but the fire was quite ineffective at long range so therefore the Light infantry darted and weaved their way forward, all the while being fired on by the Royalist troops in the woods the right of the battery, and as they closed on the guns they saw the gunners were finally alive to the threat closing in on them, the guns were pointing straight at the 12th, many men dove for the ground, others continued as they were trained.
The Brigade commander of the 6th brigade was pleased the way his Light Battalion had behaved, he had now decided that he needed to clear those woods beside the guns, so he sent his 35th Battalion forward in line, at least this way it would minimize his losses to fire and give his own men a greater fire effect when they let lose.

The 2nd Assault is about to begin.

The Royalist Position

General Preston was both horrified and proud of his 36th battalion, they had fought like lions and as they withdrew from the hedge row they crossed over the Claudia stream pushing ahead of them a large gathering of prisoners , the general rode up to them, cheering them on.
Damned good fight men, damned good fight, now take your selves back to the rear and rest up”.
He then noticed the Battalion commander riding up to him, Colonel Ramsey looked exhausted, covered in cuts,scrapes and with blood oozing from several small wounds.
Colonel, you and men behaved magnificently, you deserve a rest so take yourselves to the rear, we will not need your services any more this day.”
Colonel Ramsey looked own at his men as they straggled by, exhausted, wounded but each walking with obvious pride.
He turned to General Preston,
Rest be damned, we mauled those bastards that’s for sure, but they will be back and when they do, me and my lads will be there to meet the little cretins”.

General Preston nodded, “But Colonel your Battalion is no more, you have done very well and your men certainly do not need to prove anything to anyone”.

Look General Preston, my men will still be in the fight if you have to strap us to the bloody fence posts, now sir you can piss on your rest, just give us some food and more ammunition and I will bring my men back where they belong, in the fight”.

General Preston nodded, smiling to himself, he could not be more proud of his army than he was at this moment, but as he looked towards the enemy he saw a new Brigade marching towards them, and whoever was commanding them was not making the same mistake as the earlier commander, he had light troops out front and they could be a problem to his remaining battalion on the left, the 33rd Foot. What is more they were bringing up artillery and cavalry, this attack was going to be a totally different ball game, that was for sure.
He looked anxiously to the rear, hoping to see sight of General Graham and his men, but still no sign of them.
All he could do is wait and pray, pray that his men would hold and pray General Graham arrived soon.

The 2nd Assault on his line was about to begin.

1 comment:

  1. what a brave bunch the 36th was, let us see how they fare against the second attack, but certainly if the rest of the royalists are as brave as the 36th was then they might be able to hold back this second wave.

    this may be the calm before an even greater storm.