Team für historische Simulationen
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Twighlight Over The Heselberg
A Thirty Years War Battle
- Nördlingen 1634 -

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Background

September 5th, 1634, early evening, the Heselberg near Nördlingen. Northern Europe is being devastated by a war that started over 25 years ago. What initially started as a religious schism between catholics and protestants has since the intervention of Gustav II Adolph grown to a full scale struggle for power between him and the Habsburgian emperor. The Swedish King’s and his antagonist’s Wallenstein deaths have not ended this conflict. The war continues and the theatre of operations increasingly shifts towards Southern Germany.
After deceiving the imperial army, the Swedes launch a surprise attack on the catholic forces besieging Nördlingen. A daring cavalry charge led by Duke Bernhard of Weimar has overwhelmed the outpost lines and panic is spreading throughout the imperial army. While Piccolomini attempts to rally the fleeing imperial forces, the Grand Prior of the Order of St.John, Aldobrandini is killed in a desperate defensive action.
On the way to the battlefield Imperial Musketeers on the Heselberg

The Duke of Weimar then gathers his troops for the decisive blow against the Heselberg south of Herkheim. The German, Spanish and Burgungian imperial musketeers fiercely defend the forested hill until the Swedes, reinforced by artillery and additional infantry finally manage to push the catholics back. Midnight sees the end of the fighting.
The Swedes are coming! Swedish Cuirassiers
Imperial Dragoons at Ederheim The Imperials leave Ederheim

It is now too late to attack the Allbuch that bestrides the landscape only a few hundred meters away. This important hill is the place where the imperials dig in over night. It is the failure to take this position on the 5th of November that presumably decided the battle of Nördlingen on the following day. The Swedish regiments were bled white during no fewer than 15 attempts at taking the earthworks of Allbuch, only overrunning them a few times temporarily.

Please note that the sources give varying names for the places mentioned (Häselberg = Heselberg, Albuch = Allbuch, Retzenbach = Rexenbach etc.)

Imperial mounted Aquebusiers Imperial Cavalry
"push of pikes" Musketeers versus pikemen
Cavalry reforming for a charge Battlements on the Allbuch
Swedisch Raiters The battlefield
Officer of the croats The tabletop-layout

Miniatures, terrain, rule-system

The game features 300 28mm miniatures, mainly from the companies The Assault Group and Bicorne, but also Foundry, Old Glory, Perry Miniatures, Redoubt, Renegade and Warlord Games.
The THS own variable modular boards serve as terrain, with all hand-made buildings by Dietmar Schmidt-Bartelt and forrest segments by Michael Immig. The Black Powder Rules System by Warlord Games was adapted for the necessities of the 30 year wars.

Sources

The battle of Nördlingen is very well documented in publications, eye-witness accounts and other sources. We warmly recommend the following:

We also recommend the flyer "Schwedenweg" supplied by Geopark Ries and website run by our der friend and battlefield-guide Axel Stolch (please click on the logo below).
Die Schweden auf dem Breitwang zu Bopfingen

The battlefield and the town of Nördlingen with its museums, well preserved buildings and fully intact town-wall are worth a visit.
The Stadtmuseum and the Museum Löpsinger Tor are simply a must. Its also worth of climbing endless stairs up to the top of the Daniel, the belltower of St. Georg the church right in the centre of the town, for a rewarding panoramic view over the town and its surroundings. Turning south on clear days, you can see the dominant hills of the actual battlefield. Later in the evening, you can listen to the call of the nightwatch stationed on the Daniel.
A tour on the battlefield following part of the Schwedenweg starting at the restaurant „Alte Bürg“ in Riesbürg will take several hours but is very rewarding.
The battlefield today as viewed from the South:
Ederheim in centre half hidden in the valley
in the far background from left to right
the Lachberg, the wooded Heselberg and the Allbuch

Additional Information

Handout for the game

Who is responsible?

This scenario was initially presented at Tactica 2010 in Hamburg. Due to additional information gathered in situ and the special needs of Crisis 2010 in Antwerp, terrain and game-system underwent minor changes. We are substantially indebted to Bernhard Hennen, who proposed, developed it and supplied most of the miniatures involved as well as Axel Stolch, our excellent battlefield-guide. The rest is Teamwork.

Last not least

We can not help but mention a local hero our local hero:
Johann von Werth (Jan van Werth, Jean de Weert) was born in 1590 in Büttgen near the city of Neuss and thus not to far away from our HQ. Starting his career as a humble foot-soldier he became a famous General of the Thirty Years War serving for the Spanish and since 1630 vor the Bavarians in the army of the League. He took a major role in defeating the Swedish army at Nördlingen. Here in the lower Rhineland, especially in Cologne, were he spent part of his youth, he is highly respected and an episode of his life is reenacted annualy.