Sunday 28 December 2014

The Battle of Paltzig 23 July 1759

I managed to squeeze in yet another game this week before Christmas. Robbie and John came up on Tuesday lunchtime and we were joined by my friend Clive (Vintage Wargaming). I'm really back 'into' the Seven Years War at the moment and am furiously painting and basing up stacks of stuff that has risen to the top of the lead mountain.

As readers will know I only have Russian and Prussian forces and I wanted to stage a refight of an historical action. I happened across my old copy of 'Der Kreigskunst' rules, in the back of which is a scenario for the Battle of Paltzig. This, together with the information on the internet, including the splendid Kronoskaf Seven Years War website, which you can find here: ,

was enough for me to convert the orders of battle to accommodate our rules of choice, Black Powder. I used what troops I had available, which was more than enough Prussians and just about enough Russians. In reality the battle was a hard fought slog and a defeat for the aggressive and seriously outnumbered and outgunned Prussians, but there was every chance that they could do much better, or worse, in the refight.

We diced for sides and Clive and I got the Russians. That was great for me because as the host I could keep the tea coming while the Prussian tide broke on my Russian bayonets. Rob wasn't too happy having to command the hated Prussians but at least he'd be in charge of some real soldiers for a change!

Russian Order of Battle: 
CinC 6 or 8 (we diced at the start to see how good/bad he was and got an 8)
Cavalry Bde (off table on Russian right flank, Command 7): 2 regts each of Cuirassiers and Horse Grenadiers
Cavalry bde (also off table, Command 7): 2 regts of Hussars
Infantry bde (Command 6): 2 Grenadier btns, 1 line btn, 1 medium gun
Infantry bde (Command 8): 2 Line btns, 1 Grenadier btn, 1 light gun
Infantry bde (Command 7): 2 Line btns, 1 Grenadier btn, 1 medium gun
Infantry bde (Command 6): 3 Line btns, 1 light gun
Artillery reserve: 1 heavy gun, 1 heavy howitzer
Independent: 2 regts Cossacks

The Russian infantry were all classed as 'Stubborn'. All the artillery was protected by earthworks.

Prussian Order of Battle: 
CinC Command 9
Infantry Bde (Command 9): 4 'Crack' Line btns
Infantry Bde (Command 8): 4 Line btns
Infantry Bde (Command 8): 1 Garrison btn, 1 Combined Grenadier btn, 2 Fusilier btns
Cavalry Bde (Command 9): 4 Cuirassier regts
Cavalry Bde (Command 8): 2 Hussar regts, 3 Dragoon regts
Artillery: 2 Heavy guns

The Prussian infantry were a mixed bunch. The best were those designated as 'Crack' and the worst were the Fusilier btns and the untested Garrison btn.

The game started with the Russians deployed on the table (less the cavalry). In turn 1the Prussian Cuirassiers and the 'crack' infantry brigade would enter on the left, using some dead ground provided by a ravine to get closer to the Russian line. In turn 2 the remainder of the army would enter in the centre. The Russian heavy cavalry would enter the table on the far right flank the turn after the Prussian Cuirassiers emerged from the ravine.

The Prussian right closes with the Russian line in a rather impetuous move by Rob who ordered them to "go as far as they can towards the enemy". He threw a low command score so they got three moves, right up into close range! 
John's Prussians on the left emerge from the ravine, Cuirassiers leading with four infantry battalions behind.

The Prussian right flank; four regiments of infantry supported  by Dragoons and Hussars.

The Russian cavalry arrived on the table, prompted by the emergence of the Prussians from the ravine. Two regiments each of Cuirassiers, Horse Grenadiers and Hussars. One regiment of Prussian Cuirassiers charged and beat the counter-charging Russian cavalry. As a result the defeated Russians had to take a break test......and they broke! All their supporting units then had to test and all bar one had to retreat (off the table and therefore lost to the game). The Prussians continued their charge and hit the stationary Russian Hussars, breaking them and their supporting unit. So in one move, a single Prussian Cuirassier regiment managed to drive off six regiments of Russian cavalry. It was unfortunate that they were caught too close to the table edge but these things happen and it did open things up and give the Prussians a decided advantage all of a sudden! Oh bugger I thought, and poor Clive was probably in a state of shock for the rest of the afternoon! Black Powder can be very brutal and unforgiving but it was a smart move by John that paid off and enabled his attack to go in without fear of being interrupted by Russian cavalry on their flank.

The Prussian attack on the Russian right centre. Not their best troops (John had those), just two btns of Fusiliers and a btn of Garrison infantry bolstered by a combined grenadier btn. The Garrison btn was classed as 'untested' therefore the first time it was shot at its stamina was randomised by the throw of a dice, resulting in them having a rather poor stamina of 2 at which point they failed their saves and became shaken at once. New unit, therefore to be expected.....

The Prussian right flank had attacked the Russians vigorously but were beaten back by sheer weight of fire and the infantry brigade was broken, shattered even, especially after Rob launched his cavalry brigade of Dragoons and Hussars in desperate frontal attacks to try and disrupt the Russian line. It didn't help that these Prussian attacks were directed at our best units, i.e. Grenadier battalions, who as well as being stubborn (and therefore getting to re-roll a failed saving throw every turn), also had much better morale and stamina.

The Russians took advantage of the collapse of the Prussian right and centre to advance but were enfiladed by the Prussian heavy artillery on the hill and suffered significant casualties. In the centre and on the other flank the Prussians were pressing forward hard and making some progress in wearing down the stubborn Russian infantry. In fact the Prussians did seem to have a plan, pinning the entire Russian line while the strong left rolled it up from the flank. And it so nearly worked.

The Prussian assault on the Russian right. With their cavalry driven off the Russians struggled to hold the enemy back, but they grimly held on despite severe losses.
The largely ineffective Prussian artillery. It was only once the Russian left began its counter attack that they finally found the range and broke one battalion and stopped the counter attack in its tracks. 
The Prussian left flank is rejoined by the battalion (represented by the Guard) which had blundered backwards and was then stuck for several turns before it passed a command roll and was able to move again!
Russian Observation Corps Grenadiers
The only surviving Russian mounted troops were these Cossacks who managed to lurk around the fringe of the game and avoid getting shot at or drawn into combat. 

Prussians massing to attack the Russian battery having just driven off a battalion of infantry.

The victorious Prussian Cuirassiers threatening to envelop the Russian right flank. Thankfully they were unable to exploit the gap created after breaking a disordered Russian battalion as they too were disordered and therefore unable to move.

By the time we had to finish both armies had taken quite a battering. Each had two broken brigades with a number of others on the brink of being broken. The Prussians had however failed to beat the Russians, although they had a pretty good attempt at it. The Russians were unlucky to loose all their cavalry but their infantry put up a stubborn resistance despite having largely useless commanders. It was a great game and whilst not an 100% accurate representation of the battle it worked well as a scenario.


  1. Great stuff, lovely looking game. What make are the figs?


    1. Hi, the makes are as follows:
      All the Russians are Foundry except the Cossacks which are Eagle Figures
      Prussian infantry are Foundry, Minden, RSM and Black Hussar
      Prussian Cuirassiers are Hinchliffe and RSM
      Prussian Dragoons are Foundry and RSm and the Hussars are Old Glory.

  2. Very nice game and excellent recap.

  3. A fine looking game, as ever! Happy New Year!