Thursday, 7 December 2017

Leuthen 260th Anniversary: The game.

Conrad, Dave and Paul came up for the game yesterday. For once I decided to play. Dave reprised his role from the last time he fought this game as Frederick, while I was von Zeithen. Conrad (Charles of Lorraine) and Paul (Serbellini) were the Austro-Imperial army, vainly (I hoped) rushing to stem the Prussian onslaught.

It started well, with the Austrians miraculously winning the initiative in turn 1. This enabled the Reichsarmee contingent to withdraw in front of the Prussian right wing cavalry and the infantry of the advance guard. In previous games the Austrians have normally used the Reichs troops as a series of speed bumps to wear down the Prussians before the Austrian cavalry arrived to counter attack. Not this time thankfully.

The Prussian advance guard, two battalions of grenadiers and a 12pdr battery.  They advanced obliquely to the right in order to make space for the rest of the Prussian infantry.
The Reichs brigade has pulled back and the Prussian advance guard is closing  in on them.
The Reichs battalions were mostly carrying casualties from earlier fighting that forced their withdrawal. Paul found it impossible to get far enough away from the Prussians to rally any of these off.
Prussian grenadiers advancing on Rot Wurzberg holding the iconic churchyard.
The Reichs troops were slowed down by the edge of Leuthen allowing the Prussians to  start taking a few ineffective pot shots with their cannon. 
Anhalt-Dessau's command on the right with the final Prussian command under Forcade de Baix on the left. Both units of Prussian hussars were trying to avoid long range fire from Austrian guns on Windmill Hill.
Zeithen's wing of cavalry, five regiments of cuirassiers, three of dragoons and two of hussars begins their advance. Cavalry combat is quite bloody in Honours of War, and when the two sides clashed several Prussian and Austrian regiments were destroyed or forced to retreat. The Prussians got the better of it though.
Shooting was pretty ineffective against the troops in the church so I rashly charged, surviving closing fire but being broken in the melee.
The remains of the Prussian right wing have driven the surviving Austrian cavalry to the table's edge. The Austrian dragoons had been hemmed in by retreating Reichsarmee troops so had been unable to engage, and were now angled back to face the reformed Prussians. The Austrians weren't helped by two of their commanders (those of the dragoon brigade and the Reichsarmee) being killed in the same turn when Dave threw two double sixes in succession!
The Prussian centre and right, with columns of Austrian cavalry looming menacingly in the distance.
The view along the Prussian line.
Paul's dragoons were boxed on at the table edge and under fire from Prussian artillery.
The predicament of the Austrian dragoons is clear. The Reichsarmee battalions have taken a battering and been ejected from the edge of the town, which is now occupied by a battalion of Prussian grenadiers.
The Prussian Guard face the Rot Wurtzbergers in the church but are forced to withdraw under heavy fire.
A seething mass of infantry log jammed in the village.
Conrad's cavalry on the Austrian right.

The Austrian hussars were very effective at soaking up the attention the Prussian artillery. One regiment was eventually forced to retreat and the other was driven off by the Prussian hussars.
The second climactic cavalry melee on the Prussian right saw Paul's Austrians overwhelmed.

The remnants of the Austrian left with the flank of the infantry hanging dangerously in the air. Dave three another double six, killing the Austrian commander of the garrison of Leuthen.
Dave's reserve cavalry hiding on our left emerged from behind the hills and engaged Conrad's cuirassiers. They gained the upper hand and despite loosing a couple of units that were driven off broke or pushed back several Austrians and Reichsarmee cuirassiers and dragoons.
The final turn saw the Prussian hussars hit the exposed Reichsarmee battalion in the flank and destroy them. They pursued down the main street and were poised to hit the Austrian battalions in the flank when we called it  a day.


At this point the Austrians conceded defeat. Their left was gone and the right was crumbling but just about hanging on. The centre was in serious danger of being rolled up as the Prussians were in a position to shift their infantry quickly and exploit the success of the cavalry.

So, a Prussian victory in what was a very hard game. For once the Prussians were able to use the superior qualities of their infantry to good effect. Their cavalry also did far better than I had expected especially as they were outclassed and outnumbered by the Austrians. The Prussian artillery, while quite effective, did not dominate the battlefield as much as in several previous games. The poor Reichsarmee contingent was more of a hindrance than a help in this refight. They might have been better used to slow down the Prussian cavalry by forcing them to charge in order to clear them out of the way. As it was they were unable to rally off any hits and got in the way of the eight regiments of Austrian cuirassiers and dragoons that appeared behind them on turns two and three.

A great game with excellent company who played the period rather than the rules. Thank you. 

11 comments:

  1. Looks great, love the backdrop.
    Cheers
    Peter

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  2. A great looking game, indeed! HoW is a bloody affair both for foot and horse. As you noted, casualties are especially nasty in cavalry melee.

    Excellent battle recap.

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  3. I imagine that Frederick will be handing out a Pour le Merite and a promotion to Dave. Well done Prussians! 😎

    I like your Winter backdrop.

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    1. Thanks Jim. Dave was Frederick so he will have to give it to himself ;-)

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  4. Superb looking game and sounds like a great deal of fun

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  5. Fantastic post Colin, great shots.
    Good to see Dave win for a change😃

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  6. Great looking game. I played a Reichsarmee force a year or so ago, and once those hits start accumulating, it is nigh on impossible to rally them off. Much better as a speed bump IMHO.

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  7. As ever a fine report backed up by photos carrying you into the action.

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  8. What a superb looking game Colin! I love the winter terrain.

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  9. Nice report Colin. Looks like you got your wish for a decent Prussian victory
    Chris

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