Yea, so this is going to be a collection of one shots from Medieval: Total war, Empire: Total War and Napoleon: Total War.
Anyway, this first one is from Napoleon: Total War. I got the idea to write it after watching my friend's horribly outnumbered army destroy and rout a superior AI controlled Batavian Republic force. Enjoy!
Battle of Cleves-Mark
Private Fredrich Neitzen marched alongside his companions at a steady pace near the Prussian city of Cleves-Mark. It was 1806, and the Napoleonic wars were in full swing. However ,the army that was currently attacking Cleves-Mark was not French, but their Dutch allies of the Batavian Republic. At first, it looked as if the 600 plus strong Prussian garrison would easily repel or crush the single infantry regiment the Dutch had sent.
However, they had failed to see the 1200 strong army that was reinforcing the Dutch regiment, staying a fair distance behind so the Prussian scouting party did not spot them. It looked hopeless for the Prussians, they were outnumbered nearly 2 to 1. However, the Prussian General was adamant in staying and fighting, "Any man caught deserting," He had said. "Shall be executed." His intention was clear. They would either repel the Dutch, or die trying.
The Prussians had their orders, and truthfully, most of them thought that the General was mad. The Dutch army massively outnumbered them. However, as much as they doubted the sanity of their leader, they were also unwilling to let even an inch of their land fall into enemy hands. Nietzen's regiment, the 111th Infantry, was ordered to garrison a farmhouse on the outskirts of the city, along with the 70th Jäger regiment, the Prussians' only light infantry unit.
A lone artillery brigade that sat atop a hill, just off to the right of the farmhouse, had a perfect view of the battlefield. They were protected by two light cavalry units, one of them being a Russian unit that had just so happened to be passing by. The other three infantry units of the army were positioned towards the read, acting as a quick reaction force should the Dutch strike from the west rather than the east. The General positioned himself and his personal guard, the 1st Dragoons at the western flank to act as a forward watch.
Now that they were in position, they had to do the hardest part of the battleplan: Wait. Wilhelm Schütz had 'acquired' a naval telescope, usually used for spotting enemy ships at a distance. The artillery brigade commander had repurposed it to suit his needs. Peering through the scope, he scanned the area for any viable targets. He licked his lips as he focused on the small narrow path between two small ridges the Dutch would supposedly come from.
Another advantage of their position: A single well-placed shot could easily wipe out scores of men if they emerged from the small valley. He scanned the area in a left to right manner, slowly running his eye over every tree, every rock, every detail. Suddenly, he snapped back to the valley as he caught a glimpse of a horse. "Target sighted, make ready!" He shouted to his men and pointed to the general direction of the enemy. The men quickly got their guns ready, loading them and turning them to face the specified direction.
Schütz kept his eye on the enemy horsemen. Thankfully, there were no obstructions for them to hide behind, the battlefield being mainly flatlands. He approximated the distance, trying to be as accurate as possible. He wanted his shots to count. He waited till the horsemen cleared a small forest before ordering, "200 meters, fire!" The gun crews quickly did a final adjustment to the elevation of their cannons and fired.
Three booms rang out, and three cannonballs flew towards the enemy cavalrymen. Two of them found targets, smashing into the horsemen and throwing them off their steeds. The third fell short and crashed into the ground directly in front of the leading horse before bouncing up and crashing into a horse in the underbelly, smashing bones and rupturing organs. The animal went down, bring it's rider along with it and crushing the unfortunate man with it's dead weight. The rest of the horsemen decided not to continue and risk being annihilated by artillery fire and hastily retreated.
Schütz smiled as he saw the horses turn-tail and retreat. They were far from routing, but at least it was a small victory.
However, for the infantry, the sound of cannon fire was a bad sign. "Nietzen, Dieter, head downstairs. The Jägers are taking the top floors." The commander of the 111th infantry ordered. The infantrymen were filing down the stairs, where they were more useful in guarding the entrances to the building while the Jägers headed upstairs, putting their sniping prowess to good use.
"Yes sir," The two replied, acknowledging the order and followed the rest of their unit downstairs. The gripped their muskets tightly as they took positions at a square window. Nietzen and Dieter were at the right and left side of the window respectively, with one more soldier, a Ludwig Kessler in the center. They would take turns firing, allowing each other time to reload so that there would at least be one person firing at any time.
After receiving news that the Dutch were attacking from the east, the quick reaction force rushed to reinforce the eastern flank, in particular to protect the cannons.
"Fire!" Schütz shouted and the cannons roared once again. Ever since they opened fire on the enemy cavalry, they had been firing non-stop. The enemy infantrymen almost seemed eager to feed the trigger-happy sergeant's cannons, and he was happy to oblige, as long as he had enough cannonballs and gunpowder.
The Jägers crouched low beneath the windows, determined to remain hidden and out of sight for as long as possible, relying on the regular infantrymen at the lower levels to give them the cue to open fire. "Enemy line infantry, 100 meters," One of the line infantrymen called out. The commander of the 77th light infantry nodded.
"You heard him, ready up." He said in a hushed tone to his men. The Jägers stood up with slow and deliberate movements so as to not arouse enemy suspicion. They poked their muskets out of the windows and any opening there was. Unlike standard line infantry, which used massed musket fire without aiming to break the enemy, the Jägers selected and picked off their targets with deadly accuracy.
Their shots rang out one by one as the Jägers killed off their targets. The first three shots killed the unit commander, trumpeter and an unfortunate soldier fatally. That caused confusion among the ranks of the enemy regiment. Quickly, the Jägers placed the buttstock of their flintlock muskets between their feet. They removed a paper cartridge containing gunpowder from their pockets, tore them open with their teeth and poured it's contents down the barrel, followed by a ball bearing, and two quick thrusts of a ramrod to ensure the projectile was secure. They removed the ramrods and took aim once more.
All that happened in thirty seconds. In that time, three more Dutch infantry regiments moved up to reinforce the first, but they had made the wrong assumption that only Jägers were inhabiting the farmhouse and thus walked straight into the line of fire of the 111th and one of the three regiments of the quick reaction force, the 130th Infantry regiment. Musket fire rained down upon the Dutch from both the front and right flank, killing scores of men. Nietzen discharged his gun and immediately got to work reloading it. As a standard infantryman, whether his shot hit something or not was not his concern.
As he reloaded, Dieter opened fire and similarly got to work reloading, allowing Kessler to open fire. By that time, Nietzen had reloaded and was ready to fire, thus allowing for a constant stream of bullets from their window. This was the same for every available window on the first and second floors of the building, with some windows having more men than others.
The Dutch units took heavy losses and one of them decided that they had enough. Already they had lost more than half their number, so they broke ranks and fled, only to be shot in the back by the Prussians. The cannons fired again, using canister shots this time. The deadly giant shotgun shot wiped out a huge chunk of a Dutch regiment that got too close for comfort.
However, the Dutch had gotten wind of their failed offensive and before long, the bulk of their army, six infantry regiments numbering 120 men each advanced towards the Prussians, with most of them converging on the artillery brigade. Despite the seemingly grim circumstances, Schültz continued leading his unit, seemingly oblivious to the impending danger.
However, Vasily Vladikov, in charge of the Russian 32nd light cavalry regiment that was caught up in the battle, knew that without help, the cannons would be lost and essentially the battle as well. He moved to the front of his regiment and reared his horse while drawing his saber. "Charge, men! Charge!" He yelled at the top of his lungs, and along with the rest of his unit, charged headlong into the nearest Dutch infantry regiment.
The Batavian regiment had no time to react, no time to bring their bayonet-fixed muskets to bear on the horsemen. The Russians crashed into the Dutch formation from the side, trampling some of the Dutch soldiers to death while others were viciously attacked by the sabers of the cavalrymen. Some of the Dutch managed to react fast enough to fight back, stabbing and slashing with their improvised spears. Five of Vasily's men went down, but a third of the Dutch infantry regiment had been wiped out.
Light cavalry were never meant for an extended melee fight, so after a few minutes of combat, Vladikov gave the order to break off contact. The cavalrymen immediately stopped their assault and retreated back to the relative safety behind the three lines of infantry. At the same time, another light cavalry unit led by an Otto Holzer, charged into another Dutch infantry regiment.
"Give them our thanks, boys!" Schütz bellowed, a faint smile on his face. The men of his brigade were not at all shaken, despite having just had such a close brush with death. They calmly loaded the cannons and turned their guns to face a lone advancing Dutch regiment. The men lit the fuse and covered their ears as another canister shot tore into the enemy.
"Ha ha!" Dieter crowed as he saw scores of Dutchmen fall. "We'll wipe them out at this rate!" He cried out happily as he opened fire. Suddenly, as if to counter his cheer, a single bullet penetrated the thin wooden walls of the farmhouse and struck him in the shin. He collapsed with a shout, clutching his wounded limb.
"Fuck!" Nietzen swore, both in surprise and anger. He immediately crouched low over his friend to examine the wound. He was no medic, but he at least knew enough medical knowledge to roughly tell whether it was serious wound or not. "It's bad," He said. The bullet nearly shattered his friend's bone, but he was still bleeding heavily. "You need help, fast."
Dieter was too weak to object from the blood loss and allowed you other musketeers to carry him out of the building to the rear, where he could be treated by a professional physician. Nietzen cringed, stood up and readied his rifle, all thoughts of Dieter temporarily banished from his mind, focusing on the battle. Just as Kessler prepared to fire, a hail of bullets slammed into the farmhouse at an angle from the west. One of the projectiles struck Kessler fatally in the head. Almost immediately after he went down, another infantryman took his place. Nietzen didn't allow the death of his comrade rattle him. He was already used to it.
Shots rang out one by one as the Jägers struggled to suppress the enemy, but the Dutch were shooting at an angle where the Prussians couldn't bring all their guns to bear on them so they had the freedom to fire as they pleased while the Prussians couldn't return fire effectively. Another hail of bullets impacted on the building, killing several more men.
From the hilltop, Schültz could see infantry's problem, but his cannons could do little to help. The farmhouse was blocking both their view and line of fire. The three quick reaction regiments had taken positions and were already engaging the enemy, so they couldn't help either. The farmhouse was vital to their victory. Without it, the Dutch could easily encircle the Prussians and crush them. It looked as if the battle would be lost all because of the clever placement of a single infantry regiment.
However, Holzer, the commanding officer of the light cavalry unit that charged into the Dutch lines to enable Vasily to retreat, had other ideas. His regiment of forty-five had been reduced to twenty-seven from fierce melee fighting. They were hiding in a small grove of trees, where they could catch their breath before returning to the battle. Holzer could see the single Dutch regiment laying waste to the 111th and 70th. In between his horses and the regiment were two more Dutch infantry units. He had a plan, but it was extremely risky. Nevertheless, he rallied his men. "Brothers!" He shouted, getting their attention. "We are winning this battle! The cowardly Dutch are retreating!" He continued, and that was true. Most of the Dutch units had turned and fled. "But the fatherland requires your service once more, so we may purge these bastards from our lands. We have been called, and we shall answer!" He shouted and thrust his blade into the air. His men, who were never demoralized to begin with, were further galvanised by the short speech.
"With me!" Holzer yelled and led the charge into the first Dutch regiment in his way. The Dutch had thought that Holzer's unit had routed, and so weren't counting on a sudden cavalry charge on their flanks. The Prussians hacked and killed any Dutch soldier in their way. However, they never stopped moving to engage them. Rather, they simply cut a straight line threw the Dutch lines and continued onwards to the second regiment.
Vasily, seizing the opportunity, led his men into combat with the first Dutch regiment Holzer had already devastated to finish them off. His Russian horsemen showed no mercy to their enemies, ruthlessly hacking them to pieces and trampling them under the hooves of their steeds.
Just like before, the Prussian light cavalrymen took the second Dutch regiment by surprise, hitting them from the rear and cutting a path through straight towards their target. They smashed into the problematic Dutch infantrymen and began the massacre, cutting down the Dutchmen.
"Cease fire!" The Jäger commander ordered, not wanting to risk friendly fire. "Shift fire to the routing cowards!" He shouted and the light infantrymen quickly fired on the retreating Dutch units. The three other infantry units had suffered losses, but had begun to push the Batavians back. They caught two of the enemy regiments in a double-envelopment maneuver, with two units firing on the flanks and a central unit hitting them from the front.
Throughout the whole battle, the General had been moving his dragoon unit from the east to the west. Just as Holzer attacked, he reached the top of a small hill on the western side of the town. From there, he had a panoramic view of the battlefield. Though he hated to admit it, the only reason they were winning was because the Dutch had performed a series of mistakes. Firstly, they failed to deploy their own cannons, which were still slowly on their way to the battlefield. If the Dutch had deployed their cannons, the farmhouse the infantry were hiding in would have posed no threat. Secondly, the Dutch never launched any sort of offensive against Schültz, other than the half-hearted infantry rush. The fact that the Prussian guns could fire freely was probably the deciding factor of the battle.
Lastly, and probably the gravest mistake the Dutch had made was that they had underestimated the Prussians, thinking that they would be cowed by numerical strength alone. They never did account for Prussian tenacity. And that was their downfall. The General smiled as he saw the Prussian eagle waving proudly in the wind, while the Dutch tricolour was in tatters and heading back the way they came. Determined to not be an armchair general, he charged down the hill, saber out and pointed towards the Dutch general's own personal guard brigade. "Charge!" He roared and the dragoons rushed down the hill in a blur of silver, brown and orange.
The Dutch general counter-charged, closing the distance quickly. Within seconds, the two units made contact. The dragoons had the advantage of armor, but the Dutch horsemen had more experience in hand-to-hand combat. Steel crashed against steel as the two cavalry units struggled to gain superiority. Eventually, the Dutch were forced to retreat as their army was all but destroyed. The Batavians broke off and retreated back the way they came, along with their army. The Prussians did not give chase. That would be pushing their luck.
Discouraged, the rest of the Dutch army, including their single artillery brigade and two light cavalry units, retreated as well.
Three hours after the first cannon shots rang out, the battle was over. The Prussians made it out in better shape than the Dutch, having lost just over two hundred men, whereas the Dutch lost just slightly less than four hundred. Most of them died in the unorganized retreat as they were shot in the back by the Prussians. Bodies littered the battlefield, especially the area around the farmhouse. Some of them were in the dark blue uniform of the Prussian army, but majority were in the light blue attire of the Batavian army.
Nietzen exited the building unscathed. A day where he survived a battle was a good day by his standards, and so he found a reason to celebrate with the survivors of his unit later that day, during the night. He saluted the Prussian flag flying from the top of the farmhouse and left, a small grin on his face.
"Tell Blücher to move his army in. We cannot take another hit like this," The General said to a messenger and handed him a scroll. "Godspeed."
"Yes sir," The messenger said, saluted and mounted his horse. Then, he sped off in the direction of Brandenburg, the Prussian capital. At this point, Holzer, on foot, marched in four Dutch prisoners.
"We found these cowards hiding in the forests," The cavalry officer said with disgust. "What shall we do with them?"
The General looked deep in thought. On one hand, releasing them would improve their relationships with the other nations, in particular Austria. However, releasing the four would mean four more enemies to face in the future...He then decided on a medieval tactic. "Keep three of them, release one of them." He looked over the prisoners, then randomly pointed to one of them. Speaking in heavily accented Dutch, he said to the selected prisoner, "You will go back and tell your general we wish to release his men, on condition he forgets any plans of invasion. Do you understand?"
The Dutch soldier, not knowing how to speak the Germanic tongue of the Prussians, only nodded enthusiastically. "Good, now go." The General said in a commanding tone. The Dutchman didn't need telling twice. He ran off after his retreating army, stumbling over himself during the first few steps, but eventually able to head off at a steady pace.
Holzer shook his head. "With all due respect, they will never-"
"I know, captain." The General interrupted, much to Holzer's shock.
"An excuse," The general replied darkly. "It would look less damning in the history books. Tell Vasily we have another job for him."
Holzer nodded stiffly and led the remaining Dutch prisoners to the Russian captain.
The General sighed. There would be time later to worry about reputation. In fact, he would have years to do so. All that mattered to him now was to defeat the French and their allies, and restore order to the world, even if that meant utterly destroying the French nation.
After all, if the Prussians couldn't destroy them, who could?
So, how was it? I tried to be as descriptive as possible without boring you guys to death.