Saturday, 20 February 2016
Liegnitz 15 August 1760
On Friday we fought our next SYW game. My previous post describes the background to the battle and the game so I won't repeat myself. Robbie and John the Red joined me for the game, which looked like it'd be a tough one for both armies. We threw for sides and John ended up playing Frederick, leaving Robbie and I as the Austrians.
Austrian Order of Battle:
Commander: FM Ernst Gideon Baron Louden (DASHING)
Cavalry, Left Wing: (DEPENDABLE)
Dragoons/Cheveauxlegers x 2
Infantry, Centre: (DEPENDABLE)
Musketeers battalions x 5 (one unit *)
6pdr battery x 1* medium gun
Cavalry, Right Wing: (DEPENDABLE)
Cuirassiers x 1*
Dragoons/Cheveauxlegers x 3*
Cavalry, Left Wing: (DASHING)
Cuirassiers x 1*
Cheveauxlegers x 1*
Infantry, Centre: (DITHERING)
Musketeer Battalions x 5
6pdr battery x 1* Medium gun
Cavalry Right Wing: INDEPENDENT UNIT
Cuirassiers x 1*
Light troops: GM von Nauendorf (DITHERING)
Hussars x 3**
Grenz x 3** No battalion guns
3pdr battery x 1* light gun
Reserve: FML Baron Muffling (DEPENDABLE)
Grenadier Battalions x 3* No battalion guns
Combined Horse Grenadiers/Carabiniers x 1*
12pdr battery x 1* heavy gun
Howitzer battery x 1* medium howitzer
(The right wing of the Army. The left is off table under Zeithen facing FM Daun)
Left Wing: GL von Buelow (Dependable)
Musketeers battalions x 2
12pdr battery x 1
Centre: GL Wied (Dashing)
Grenadier battalions x 1*
Musketeer battalions x 1
12pdr battery x 1
Right Wing: GM Saldern (Dependable)
Grendiers (Garde) x 1*
Garde x 1*
12pdr batteries x 1
Reserve: GL von Finkenstein (Dependable)
Grenadier battalion x 1*
Musketeer battalion x 1
Fusilier battalion x 1
12pdr battery x 1
Cavalry, Left wing: GM Krockoew (Dependable)
Hussars x 2
Dragoons x 1
Cavalry, Reserve: GL Holstein (Dashing)
Cuirassier x 4*
As usual * denotes superior units and ** inferior ones. I decided to make the Grenz inferior otherwise they might have had a greater impact on the game than they did in the actual battle. I also tend to make all Austrian battle cavalry superior. We were using the post-1760 abilities table for the Prussians, so they weren't quite the lean mean killing machine of the early part of the war due to their high losses.
The Austrians were not all on the table to start but would be by the end of turn 2. So, to battle.
The table on turn 1. The Austrians in the distance have just appeared but the 3 battalions of grenadiers in the centre are yet to move.
The Prussian left.
FML Louden at the head of his grenadiers as they prepare to attack the Prussian right.
The Austrian Sachsen-Gotha dragoons ride through the village of Platten.
Austrian grenadiers marching into the face of Prussian 12pdrs and musketry from the Guard in a calculated plan to start wearing down the Prussian right.
The Austrian centre slowly advances.
Croats in the distance skirmishing with Prussian hussars while Robbie's leading infantry start to take heavy casualties from Prussian artillery.
In the foreground the Austrian grenadiers have been forced to retire. One battalion was also broken. Meanwhile John and Robbie are exchanging fire and banter in the background.
The Austrian reserve artillery rarely managed to score any hits on the Prussians, but when they did it was critical in slowly grinding the Prussians down.
The commander of the Austrians in the middle ground was a ditherer, and consequently their advance was punctuated by frequent stops to dress the lines.
The Prussian IR6 Grenadier Garde standing stoically on the Prussian right.
After the Grenadiers had been bloodily repulsed I threw caution to the wind and charged the Prussian line. IR II/15 were the target. The dragoons survived the closing fire (just) and crashed into the Prussians, but were thrown back immediately. However, they did inflict damage on the Garde, which was to be crucial later in the game.
A view along the Prussian line on their right flank as for the moment they are under no pressure from the Austrians.
Taken from behind the Prussian left, John had committed his cuirassier reserve.
The object of John's attention was this brigade of Austrian cavalry advancing on his line.
This time the view from behind the Prussian centre looking out towards the Austrian left and the village of Platten.
The much weakened Prussian IR II/15 was charged again, this time by Austrian cuirassiers. The cuirassiers weathered the closing fire but were broken in the melee, but so too were the Garde!
On the Austrian right the opposing cavalry begin a marathon series of charges and counter charges over the same patch of ground with neither side gaining any advantage and both having units broken or shattered.
The Austrian de Ligne regiment (in pink; everyone has this unit in their Austrian armies) closing with the Prussians and about to take some very short range canister fire. In the background the clash of the opposing heavy horsemen continues.
In the centre I finally got my infantry into range and despite considerable losses managed to engage the attention of these Prussian grenadiers.
Now rallied, the Austrian grenadiers try again, this time advancing on one of John's reserve battalions, IR40 which had moved up to cover the rallying IR6 (again, everyone with Prussians has this distinctive unit). John's reserve was nicknamed the 'pink brigade' as it contained IR40 and IR18, both with pink elements to their uniform, and a combined grenadier battalion where half were from IR18.
The cavalry fight on the Austrian right continues.
The leading battalion of Austrian grenadiers is shattered by close range musketry from the now rallied IR6 and canister from one of John's 12pdrs.
The final encounter of Prussian and Austrian cuirassiers on the Austrian right.
It was at this point that John conceded defeat. We'd played from 11 through till 4 with about half an hour for lunch and got a good result. The Prussians had done well in terms of blunting numerous Austrian attacks but we managed to co-ordinate our attacks far better than FML Louden did on the day. As the war progressed Frederick increased the number of guns in his army to compensate for the lesser quality of troops under his command, which explains why in many of our re-fights the Prussians have a high gun:unit ratio and often outgun the enemy. At Liegnitz he had 70 heavy guns available, of which 40 were with his half of the army. This why when I bathtub the armies, we get 4 gun models as I represent 10 real guns with 1 model. In the same way, I represent 5 squadrons with 1 cavalry unit and in this game 3 battalions are represented by 1 on the table. With a bit of rounding up/down as appropriate.
In the game, John's guns certainly earned their pay, as they helped considerably in breaking up every attack in the centre. The battle was decided on the flanks. On the Austrian right, weight of numbers was beginning to tell as the Prussians had in my view been too cautious and should have committed their cuirassier reserve much earlier in the game and forced the Austrians on the back foot. But that is just my untested opinion. On the Austrian left the Prussians beat back two assaults by my grenadiers and held off my cavalry for a while but they were worn down by the Austrian reserve artillery and the casualties lost as a result of holding their ground. When the Garde were broken they had already suffered heavy losses and were on the brink of being forced to withdraw, so the result was I think reasonable, as was the reciprocal damage my cavalry suffered which took them out of the game as well.
Losses among generals were higher than normal. Frederick survived but our hearts stopped momentarily when Robbie threw a 10 (11 or 12 is a hit). Similarly Louden escaped unscathed, unlike two of his commanders. The Prussians lost 3 generals in the game. I like to randomise the rating of replacement generals rather than make them one level lower, which adds to the fun. In one case the 'dependable' commander of John's right wing brigade was killed but his replacement was 'dashing'.
Again, the rules worked really well and are easy to learn and flow well. The Prussians could have won it, and being more aggressive might have done the trick. We shall never know.