Sunday, 31 December 2017

Mollwitz 2017

As reported in my previous post, Peter from up the road came for one of our very occasional games last night. I had decided to have a go at Mollwitz again as it was a scenario Peter hadn’t played before.

We diced for sides, with the highest being rewarded with the command of the Austrians. That dubious honour fell to me. My plan was simple. Launch both cavalry wings at the Prussian flanks in order to drive off their numerically inferior horse, hopefully leaving enough of each command in good enough order to turn on the flanks of the Prussian infantry in the centre. My poor bloody infantry would just have to hang on in there in the centre long enough for the cavalry to do its work, hopefully reinforced by my heavy artillery which was off table at the start and would only arrive after a successful but heavily adjusted command roll from the Austrian Commander in Chief. My plan would rely on speed and decisive and successful command rolls to work. With all movement at half rate due to the deep snow I wouldn’t be racing across the battlefield especially fast but the snow would also work to my advantage as well of course.

I didn't take many photos as I was a little distracted by the game but here they are.

The battle at the start of turn 1.

The Austrian defenders waiting for the inevitable Prussian attack. The poor unfortunate hussars were feeling very exposed.

On the Austrian left Peter pushed his cavalry forward as far as they could go and collided with my massed ranks of cuirassiers and dragoons. In the first clash honours were pretty even but as the Prussians were outnumbered 2:1 they were soon in trouble as they had no reserves.

The Prussians only advanced into musket range and then let rip a series of deadly volleys, which even at long range  threw the Austrian front line into disarray. The exposed hussars were driven off shaken.
The Prussian front rank closed the gap with the Austrians but their supports were very slow in coming up thanks to some poor command rolls and a blunder which sent them backwards a move at a time when they really could have done with going forward!
Back on the left the Prussians have withdrawn, leaving their grenadier battalion to cover them while they tried to reform. I threw caution to the wind and charged the grenadiers. Miraculously (thanks to being obscured by swirling snow perhaps) they survived the closing fire and charged home. In the ensuing melee the grenadiers fought like demons and threw the cuirassiers back with ease.
So I tried again, with the same result. At least I was occupying the grenadiers' attention and didn't actually loose any cavalry off the table, even though they were mauled severely. Meanwhile my remaining squadrons can be seen clattering into the two squadrons of rallying Prussians who were broken. Hooray!

The detritus of war. Clearly the Austrians' choice of beer was better than the Prussians'.

Back in the centre two battalions of Prussian infantry failed their break tests and fled the field. The Austrians had  stepped their rear rank through the battered front line at just the right moment and caught the Prussians on the hop, leaving a rather large gap in the Prussian centre.
Typically the Austrians were unable to capitalise on the rout of the Prussian centre, and the gap was filled quickly by elements of the supporting line. Both Prussian lines were now hopelessly intermingled, making it tough for Peter to maintain control over them. The Austrian artillery also chose this move to make an appearance, and were to deploy to the left of the two battalions in the centre foreground. 

On the Austrian right, after an early clash the Prussians had withdrawn in front of the Austrian horsemen rather than risk getting overwhelmed. The Austrians finally caught up with the Prussians and broke their brigade, not without loss, and were positioning themselves to roll up the Prussian line. One Prussian battalion was charged by Austrian infantry from the front then hit in the flank by Austrian dragoons with predictable results.

By now, with both cavalry wings and the leading infantry brigade broken the Prussians army was broken (thats three out of four brigades) and withdrew from the field of battle. An unexpected victory for the Austrians mainly due to the slowness or nervousness of the Prussian infantry who with a bit more aggression should have been able to shake off casualties from the Austrians and get into point blank range as quickly as possible to blast the enemy away with a few deadly volleys. 

Nevertheless, it was a tough game as the Prussians did well on the flanks, holding my cavalry at bay, but in the end the game was going to be decided by the Prussian infantry, i.e. could they destroy their Austrian counterparts before their flanks collapsed. This time the answer was no they couldn't.

So there ends the report of my last game of 2017. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and have a very happy, healthy and productive 2018!

6 comments:

  1. Looks like a great way to send out the Old Year. Happy 2018!

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  2. Agreed! And the variety of Austrian infantry standards was a nice treat to peruse too.

    Happy New Year's Eve,

    Stokes

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  3. Great game and nice to see an Austrian win. Happy New Year to you and yours for 2018.

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  4. I wonder what impact the battle will have on Prussian attempts to seize Silesia?

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  5. Fine looking game, Colin!

    As Austrian commander, I would have prescribed the same course of action as you. In my recent game of Mollwitz, even though the Prussian cavalry wings were crushed, the Austrians could not stop the Prussian infantry from advancing on Mollwitz and destroying the White Menace in total.

    Mollwitz is an interesting battle and one we want to try again.

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  6. A grand way to end the year and no mistake, boosted by a win of course!

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