Friday 19 June 2015

The Battle of Kolin, 18 June 1757

Yesterday was the anniversary of Waterloo. It was also the 258th anniversary of the battle of Kolin, Frederick the Great's first defeat. It was also the next game in my "can we fight the major battles and combats of the Seven Years War in less than seven years and in sequence?" project. I'm focussing largely on the Central and Eastern theatres and will probably not play some of the very small actions, e.g. 1st combat at Landshut unless solo....we shall see, although they may be done out of sequence.

So Robbie, John R and John the Red arrived at the appointed time and were allowed a brief glance at the table before deciding who would be playing who. I felt I had to be the Austrians in order to better control the arrival of their much-needed reinforcements. Robbie had brought a few Austrians up to fill the gaps in my growing army and seems to like being an Austrian, so we paired off against the two Johns. John the Red was volunteered to be Frederick. I was Marshall Daun, commanding the Austrians and in charge of refreshments, lunch and my three dogs.

PRUSSIAN ARMY: Commander in Chief King Frederick II of Prussia (9)
Second in command: General of Infantry Moritz Furst von Anhalt-Dessau (10)*

Advance Guard: General Leutnant Hans Joachim von Zieten (9) (far left facing Austrian hussars)
2 x regiments of hussars (4 x 12)               

General Major Dietrich von Hulsen (9)on road deployed to assault Kreczor)
1 x line battalion
2 x grenadier battalions
1 x squadron dragoons
1 x 6pdr battery (1 x medium gun) limbered
1 x 3pdr battery (1 x light gun) deployed

General Major Joachim Friedrich von Tresckow (8) (on road march column)
3 x line battalions
1 x 12pdr battery (1 heavy gun) limbered

General Leutnant Herzog Braunschweig-Luneberg-Bevern (8)** (entering table on road in column T2)
3 x line battalions
1 x Leibgarde battalion
1 x 12pdr battery (1 x heavy gun) limbered

General Leutnant Peter Ernst von Pennavaire (8) (entering table off road to right T2)
1 x regiment cuirassiers (2 x 12)

General Major Christian Siegfried von Krogsigk (7) (left of Hulsen)
1 x regiment cuirassiers (2 x 12)
1 x squadron dragoons (1 x 12)

General Major George Philipp von Schonaich (8) (off table enters on road T3)
1 regiment cuirassiers (2 x 12)

General Major Karl Ludwig von Norman (9) (in column at the inn)
1 regiment dragoons (2 x 12)

* if Frederick killed comes back as Anhalt-Desau
** blunders on any double or a 12. Re-roll results if a 1 or 2 thrown. All movement must be in a 180 degree arc forward.

AUSTRIAN ARMY: Commander in Chief Leopold Graf von Daun (8)

2 ½  x regiments Grenz infantry (5 x 12) (in Chotzemitz, Krecozr & Kutlir)
1 x 3pdr battery (1 x light gun) (Kreczor)

General of Cavalry Franz Graf Nadasty (8) (extreme right on main road)
1 x regiment hussars (2 x 12)

Feld-Marshall Leutnant von Hadik (left of Nadasty)
1 x regiment hussars (2 x 12)

General Major Nostitz (9) Behind Oak Wood, elites on right)
2 squadrons Saxon cavalry (2 x 12)
1 x squadron converged elite companies (1x12)

General der Kavellerie Baptiste Graf Serbelloni (8) (On Kreczor hill)
1 x regiment cuirassiers (2 x 12)
1 x regiment dragoons (2 x 12)

General der Kavellerie Graf Stampach (8) (left flank behind Chocenitz)
1 x regiment cuirassiers (2 x 12)
1 x regiment dragoons (2 x 12)

Feldzugmeister Ernst Dietrich Freiherr von Marshall (8) (extreme left move right  from T4)
4 x line battalions
1 x 12pdr battery (1 x heavy gun)

Feldzugmeister von Collordo (8)  (extreme left can move right from T5)
4 x line battalions

Feldmarshall Leutnant  Graf zu Wied (7) (in column L/ctre marching right)
3 x line battalions
1 x regiment cuirassiers (2 x 12)
1 x Howitzer battery (1 x medium howitzer)
2 x 6pdr batteries (2 x medium guns)

Oberst Fiorenza (8) (in column left centre marching right in front of Weid)
1 x grenadier battalion
1 x 3pdr battery (1 x light gun)

Frederick's plan was to march around the right of the Austrians and fall on their flank, rolling them up   as he had done a few weeks earlier at Prague. This time the Austrians weren't caught napping as their position gave them excellent visibility and they were aware of Frederick's movements from quite early in the day, indeed Marshall Daun is said to have remarked "I think the King will loose today." He ordered the occupation of the village of Kreczow and Kreczow Hill while repositioning his main body in order to head off the anticipated Prussian flank attack. By 13:30 Frederick's advance guard and leading elements of the army were on the Kaiserstrasse poised to assault Kreczow. It was here that we began the game.
 Above and below, in the far distance Zeiten's hussars have driven off their Austrian counterparts under Nadasdy, von Hulsen's division is deploying to attack Kreczow (with the church) and Tresckow's division is in column of march with the Austrians on the heights to their right. Norman's dragoons (left foreground) and Krosigk's cuirassiers are also on the march. The rest of the army (and Frederick) is still off table. 

 Above, the right wing of the main Austrian army occupying the heights. Below, Serbollini's cuirassier and dragoon division occupying Krezcow Hill while the combined grenadiers rush to reinforce the open right flank. Hidden behind the Oak Wood are the Saxon cheveaulegers and combined elite companies.

 Above, what the Prussians couldn't see when they were making their plans, Weid's reserve division and von Stampach's cavalry from the Austrian left wing are just on the table. 
 Above, Hulsen's assault gets off to a slow start in the distance while von Tresckow's infantry launch their attack towards Krezcow Hill. John the Red with what might be a bottle of schnapps!
 Above, the Austrian combined grenadiers reach Kreczow, occupied by a battalion of Croats.
 Above: Tresckow's advance continues, while below, the Austrian and Prussian hussars begin a furious battle of their own that was to last all afternoon.

 Above, my new Austrian Palatinal Hussars regiment. Old Hinchlife one piece castings on their first outing. They did quite well against the Prussian hussars but eventually were broken.
 Above, Prussian grenadiers assault Kreczow and after a sharp melee bundled the defending Croats out. Below, von Norman's dragoons supporting Tresckow's assault on the heights.

 Above, General Penevaire's cuirassiers in the background as the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern leads his infantry into the battle.
 Above and below, on the Austrian left a battalion of infantry had swung round to enfilade the Prussian assault seen in the background. Sadly in a big gamble by John they were hit in the flank by Prussian cuirassiers (they had less than 1" to spare on their move!). They in turn were hit in the flank by a squadron of the Jung-Modena dragoons. Both cavalry regiments had to withdraw but the infantry had to take a break test and fled the field.

 In the centre Serbollini's cavalry remained stationary for much of the game as Robbie kept failing his command rolls. I had to feed Weid's infantry through the cavalry in order to counter the Prussian infantry assault.
 On the left Bevern's massed Prussian infantry advance towards the weakened Austrian left flank.
 On the Austrian right the cavalry battle continues although the appearance of a battalion of grenadiers tipped the balance in favour of the Prussians for a while. 
 Above, Croats defending the churchyard just before they joined their comrades in flight from the other half of the village. 
 Above, Prussian cuirassiers in the process of crushing a regiment of Austrian hussars, while below their grenadiers drive the Croats out of the village of Kutlire In the background the Saxon cavalry are making heavy going of driving off the Prussian hussars.

 Above, more Austrian reinforcements arrive just in time while below the Austrians have driven off Tresckow's assault and advanced, even Serbellini managed to get his cavalry to advance!

 Opposing grenadiers face each other in the streets of Kreczow.
 The Austrian de Ligne regiment in a firefight with the Prussian Liebegarde.

 Frederick decides enough is enough and orders a retreat.
 Frederick's escort from I/15 Leibgarde btn. standing firm.
 Braunschweig-Bevern with his staff and hounds.
Marshall Schwerin. I did this piece for our refight of Prague but hadn't quite finished it by the time we   fought the battle. In our refight he survived despite the best efforts of both sides to get him killed, so he was present as a bit of eye candy during this game.

So how did it go? On the Prussian left, a cavalry battle developed that lasted all day. One Austrian brigade was broken but the arrival of the Saxons more or less stopped the Prussian hussars on the line of the stream. Kutlire fell to the Prussian grenadiers but these troops would have been better used in the centre supporting the assault on Kreczow.

On the Prussian right there was little movement early in the game except for the flanking charge by John's cuirassiers on an exposed battalion of infantry. The infantry  actually held for a while thanks to the intervention of Austrian dragoons but broke in the end. The Prussian infantry attack that followed later in the day didn't make much progress as  by now the Austrian reinforcements had arrived in overwhelming numbers. John's cuirassiers had withdraw in the face of the Austrian advance off the hill and the infantry attack was faltering under increasing pressure from the Austrians on the heights.

In the centre the Prussians under John the Red captured Kreczow village and the churchyard, but were unable to develop their attack any further due to the timely arrival of the Austrian grenadiers who bottled them up in the village. Robbie's cavalry failed to move for much of the game, allowing John to get Tresckow's brigade into action. They broke one Austrian battalion but soon after one then a second of their battalions broke and the survivors of the division forced to retire. Robbie finally got Serbollini's cavalry to move into the gap in the Prussian centre. They were charged by Norman's dragoon brigade but they drove them off then charged a battery of guns deployed on the road. The whole of Serbellini's division was committed to the attack and were able to destroy the remains of Norman's dragoons before they were then caught by frontal and rear attacks by Prussian cavalry from both flanks which had been rushed in to try and seal the massive gap in their centre. The Austrian cavalry were shattered but the Prussians were in no position to continue their attack. Frederick reluctantly gave the order to withdraw. The Prussians had tried to be strong everywhere but didn't have the troops to make it work.

We normally aim to finish our games around 4pm but were so engrossed in this battle that we unknowingly carried on until well after 5pm, having fought since 11am or thereabouts. I reckon we were having a good time. Again, Black Powder provided a useful framework for a very large game. We used the LAoK amendments with one of our own, i.e. cavalry countercharges were not automatic but units charged had to pass a normal command roll in order to countercharge. This worked really well and proved quite annoying at times for both sides adding a little bit of uncertainty.

Next big battle will be Gross Jagersdorf. We've already done it but I wasn't happy with the scenario so will give it another go before THE biggie of Rossbach!

Tuesday 2 June 2015

The army parades past the King on their return

The Prussians did well holding of the French at Partizan on Sunday and made an orderly withdrawal to avoid being outflanked.

On their return the army marched past the King who saluted their efforts from the walls of the capitol.  Leading the parade were the heroes of the day, the dragoons of the von Kleist Freikorps.

von Kleist Frei-Dragoon regiment.

15 battalions of infantry led by I/IR 15, IR6 and III/IR 15 

 Frederick watches the march past

The infantry pass in review, followed by the cavalry under von Seydlitz 

 Schaumberg-Lippe-Buckerberg Carabiniers, DR 1 von Norman and CR2 Prinz von Preussen
 Bringing up the rear, HR5 von Reusch

The troops are now all back in barracks awaiting the next campaign and further chances of glory or an opportunity to redeem themselves.

A Military Gentleman Partizan game

We got back from Parizan yesterday bringing to a close what can only be described as a truly inspiring and enjoyable weekend.  The game was visually stunning and Graham had pulled out all the stops to ensure that the game ran as well as it was planned. Katherine (aka the boss) couldn't believe that with few exceptions most of us had never met before, let alone gamed together.  We were fighting the twin battles of Ligny and Quatre Bras but with the clock turned back to the mid-18th century.

The cast and crew, members of the A Military Gentleman forum.

The Prussians await the massed French onslaught at the start of the day on the 'Ligny' table.

The Prussian left flank - my gallant Prussians!
Above and below, thousands of French on the move!

Above and below, the 'Quatre Bras' table.

The French assault on Ligny village.
Damned Arquebusiers de Grassin! They disrupted the Prussian front rank and made a complete nuisance of themselves until cut down by a blast of canister down their flank. 
The Prussian-held salient in the centre under pressure.

Prussian cavalry on the left flank.

The French assault led by the Grenadiers de France. They also led the retreat of the French first line, what was left of it!

John Ray's outstanding Prussian dragoons

The Prussian left gave way slightly but held in the end
Man of the match went to the Freikorps von Kleist dragoons who held off everything the French could chuck at them and sent them reeling back across the brook.

The fight for Ligney village intensifies but the French are held.
Above and below, the French fail to make much headway against the English forces holding Quatre Bras. 

In the end the French were held at Quatre Bras and at Ligny but the arrival of d'Erlon's corps on the Prussian flank resulted in the Prussians having to make an orderly withdrawal.

I didn't get to look round the rest of the show much but it seemed very busy. I can't comment on any of the other games but nothing looked as good as ours (of course). It was great to meet John Ray, John D, Mark, Phil, Gary, Charles, Jim, Dave and Neil to name but a few. Thanks to Graham for organising the game and everyone who took part in such a gentlemanly way, and especially for making my better half so welcome. Roll on 2016! In the meantime I am on the hunt for some teddy bear fur.