Sunday 26 July 2015

The Combat at Moys 7 September 1757

This Saturday's game with Peter takes me back on track for my project to refight the main, i.e. in my case Prussians v the rest, delete as applicable, battles of the SYW, with the Austrian attack on Winterfeld's exposed corps on the right bank (or the wrong bank?) of the River Neisse at Moys, led by General Nadasdy.

The Prussians were outnumbered significantly but in the real battle managed to withdraw, though not without loss, after inflicting a bit of a bloody nose on the Austrians who did not exploit their victory.

The terrain was greatly simplified for the game, and the armies were very roughly represented on a 1 war-games unit to 2 historical units. This may have favoured the Prussians slightly but then I could always re-cycle the Austrian infantry if necessary. Infantry units are 36 figures and cavalry regiments 24, in two squadrons of 12. As always we used Black Powder and the LAoK supplement, suitably tweaked for the scenario.

Deployment for the Prussians was as follows:

CinC: Lt. General Hans Karl von Winterfeld (9) not on table at start of game. arrives T3
On the Jakelsberg, General Kursell (8) :  1 grenadier btn and 1 12pdr battery
In Moys (part of Kursell grenadier bde.): 1 grenadier btn
Centre, Major General Kannacher (8): 4 btns infantry
Right wing, (part of Kleist's bde) :  1 sqdn of hussars
Left wing, Major General Normann (8): 1 grenadier btn, 1 sqdn of cuirassiers, 1 sqdn of hussars, 1 regt of dragoons.

Total: 7 infantry btns, 1 rgt dragoons and 1 sqdn cuirassiers, 1 regt hussars, 1 battery

The Austrian forces were as follows:

CinC: General Franz Leopold von Nádasdy auf Fogaras (8)
Right flank: 
General Nostitz (8), 1 regt dragoons, 1 regt Saxon cavalry, 1 sqdn hussars, 1 sqdn horse grenadiers,2 btn Grenz,
General Weid (7): 4 line btns (T3)
General Esterhazy (7) 4 line btns (T4)
Left flank:
Lt General Arenburg (8): 4 btns grenadiers (T1)
Major General Pfalfy (7): 2 btn Grenz, 1 sqdn hussars

Artillery: 2 x 12pdr batteries

Total: 12  btns infantry, 2 btn Grenz, 1 regt hussars, 3 regts cavalry, 2 batteries

The Austrians started with one battery and the  troops of Arenberg and Pfalfy on the table. Nostitz's cavalry is just off table between Leopoldshayn and Hermsdorf, and would only appear if the Prussians under Normann move to support their comrades in the centre, or if the Austrians decided to employ them more aggressively than in the actual battle. The Grenz were occupying Leopoldshayn. The remaining Austrians would appear in column on the turn indicated.

As stated the command of Normann dared not move to help the troops in the centre or Nostitz's brigade would be released. If they were attacked by any other Austrians, or Nostitz decided to engage, they would of course react and they were free to attack Leoplodshayn in any case. Kannacher's brigade was only allowed to form up once the assault on the Jagerlsberg had begun. The battalion in Moys was able move to support the grenadiers in the earthworks  from T1.

Peter wanted to play the Austrians which was fine by me. 
 Above and below, the Prussians on the Jakelsberg stand to arms and await the Austrian attack.

 The Prussian main body under Kannacher took their time forming up but eventually managed to shake themselves into line.
 The Prussian main body was also wary of the mass of Austrian and Saxon cavalry that was just off table to their left. Pictured are the Saxon cheveauxleger regiments Prinz Albrecht and Prinz Karl.
 Grenzers occupying the village of Leopoldshayn.
 Three massive Austrian columns advancing towards the exposed Prussian entrenchment.
 The C.O. of the Prinz Albrecht cheveauxlegers ponders whether to ignore his orders and attack the Prussians to try and cut them off from the bridge.
 The Austrian Hessen-Darmstadt dragoons advance onto the table.
 Prussian dragoon regiment No. 3 Truchseß Graf zu Waldenburg poised to hold back the advancing Austrian and Saxon cavalry. They tried but were driven from the field. New unit, fought in two battles, broken in both battles! Mmmm?
 Above and below, the Grenzers begin taking pot shots at the Prussians and became such a nuisance that I ordered the grenadier battalion posted on the left flank in support of my cavalry to assault the village. They failed to dislodge the Grenzers and had to withdraw.

 The Austrian 'Palatinal' hussars.
 The Hessen-Darmstadt dragoons enter the fray and charge the Prussian cavalry while below, the second of the Austrian columns advances down the right flank, thankfully for me and the Prussians their progress was slow.

 Above and below; Austrian grenadiers of Arenberg's command assault the Prussians entrenched on the Jakelsberg, taking light casualties thanks to some rubbish throws from me and some good saves by Peter.

 Above and below, two battalions of Austrian grenadiers deploy in order to assault the earthworks from two directions, while below, my hussars eying up a nice juicy target. Sadly for them  Peter's hussars charged mine to try and save the grenadiers. His cavalry were defeated by the hard-fighting Prussian hussars who then swept forward into the flank of the Austrian grenadiers. These were made of sterner stuff and my hussars were unable to break into their formation and were forced to retire shaken.

 The Austrians made heavy going of their assault (in the rules its very hard to dislodge formed and unshaken entrenched troops, as it should be). One battalion was forced back but weight of numbers would surely tell?
 Above, the second Austrian column moves round the hill to try and cut off the Prussians. I'd managed to push the grenadier battalion from Moys into the entrenchments to strengthen the garrison.
 The third and final Austrian column arrives. Were they delayed by the Prussian cunningly placed wine glass?
 Finally the Austrians break into earthworks, destroying the gun and driving one battalion of grenadiers out of the works. I get to use my new vignette too.
 Above, Austrian dragoons clash with my Prussian cuirassiers. The latter managed to break to first squadron, and follow up into the second but they were unable to do much damage and were forced to retreat shaken.
 Peter deployed two of his battalions from the right-hand column (the Los Rios and de Ligne regiments). After a short exchange of musketry the Los Rios regiment charged the Prussian grenadiers (not the Garde for this game). The grenadiers forced them back after a sharp
 The battlefield as the Austrians capture the earthworks. Overwhelming numbers of Austrians are deploying menacingly (or whatever passes as menacing for Austrians). The Prussian main body has finally come up, although I was very wary of the Austrian cavalry entering the table on my flank. Peter tried to drive off the Prussians on the right of the picture with a series of bayonet charges but they failed to dislodge the Prussians.
 In their first outing in a game the Saxon cavalry charge the battalion of grenadiers on the Prussian left. Not a good idea and they were forced to take a break test. Peter threw low and the front rank (Prinz Albrecht) broke, as did their supports (Prinz Karl) when Peter managed another low throw! :-)

 My remaining squadron of hussars is charged by the surviving but damaged squadron of Austrian dragoons. Amazingly, although shaken in the process, the hussars were able to break the dragoons.
 As the battle closed the Prussians were able to retreat in the face of the advancing Austrians. With little cavalry left they were unable to prevent a safe Prussian withdrawal over the bridge.
The broken Saxon cavalry file past their commander in shame.

So, game over. The outcome was as expected and according to history, but I was very pleased with the Prussian's performance. Peter took a chance in bringing his cavalry on rather than just keeping them off table thus pinning my cavalry and it didn't really pay off, especially as we forgot to bring on one unit of combined horse grenadiers who might have made the difference! Then again, the brigade was quickly spent with over half of its units shaken or broken, therefore they would have had to withdraw.

The fight for the entrenchment held the Austrians up as they were unable to do much damage on the defenders by shooting at them (other than to cause disorder) so swamping the defenders with waves of grenadiers was probably the best course of action, and it did work after a couple of moves of hard fighting to break into the entrenchment, at which point it was time for the Prussian survivors to get out a.s.a.p! Historically the Prussians re-took the redoubt before loosing it a second time, and General Winterfelt was killed. In the game I didn't like the look of the odds so decided that as there was no chance of being cut off from the bridge if I withdrew there and then, so I legged it!

Thursday 23 July 2015

Battle of Mollwitz: How I lost the battle.......

Well, we played the long-awaited refight of Mollwitz this week. I cocked up a bit on the left flank and the Austrians lost one of the few chances they had of winning, albeit a slim one, and were crushed. FIN.

Seriously though, we diced for sides and Paul and I had the pleasure of taking the Austrians while John and Robbie had the Prussians. The roads, marshes and streams were there for show as the ground was covered in snow and frozen. We used 66% distances for everything to allow for the effects of the snow and weather. The orders of battle can be seen on the previous post so here's how the game played.

 The armies deployed prior to the commencement of the Prussian attack. 
 The Austrian centre deployed to the front of Mollwitz
 The Prussian left, and below the Austrian right

 My newest unit of Prussian dragoons set to do great things in their first game........not
 FML Neipperg samples a glass of brandy, accompanied by his manservant Curt and his mistress Countess Ingrid von Pitt.(ok showing my age)
 The cavalry on the Austrian left flank crash into the Prussian cavalry who will be completely shattered as a result by the end of the first move.
 The Prussian infantry in the centre advance.
 This was the point I bottled it. Having driven off most of the Prussian cavalry I should have tried to exploit my success, but I chose to regroup instead and the moment was lost.
 Robbie threw the final cavalry unit on the right straight into the Austrian cuirassiers, but, unsupported, they were destroyed.
 On their left the Prussians were slow to advance, but not as slow as the Austrians who refused to move.
 A large gap previously occupied by the Austrian Los Rios regiment. They were pounded by Prussian artillery and musketry and eventually broke under the pressure.
 Paul's cavalry on the Austrian right finally got moving after a slow start.
 They charged the Prussian cuirassiers who were unable to countercharge and drove them back. 
 Frederick on the 'Mollwitz Grey' just to the rear of the Prussian first line.
 The Prussian infantry advances closer and closer, apart from the rear two battalions that threw a blunder and retreated in the confusion.
 One of several attempts by the Austrian left wing to punch a hole through the Prussian line. 
 ...and another.
 ....and another. It so very nearly worked...
 The centre of the Austrian lines before it began to crumble under the incessant pressure from the Prussian advance.
 Almost the final chance for the Austrian cavalry to burst through the Prussian right flank. The target battalion was dangerously exposed, unsupported, and unloaded.....10 or less and I would get in, and I threw an 11 on my command roll so failed to charge!
Robbie, John and Paul all deep in thought.
 Looking down the battlefield from the Prussian right.
 Prussian IR 28 about to receive yet another Austrian cavalry charge (below)

 Above and below, Austrian hussars catch Prussian II/IR15 in the flank.
 The hussars failed to cause any damage and were forced to retire shaken
 The Austrian artillery had finally made it onto the battlefield. Out of shot, a 12pdr battery hit the grenadier battalion seen here and tipped them over the edge. Robbie failed their break test and they routed.
The loss of the grenadiers together with both cavalry brigades was enough for Frederick to have to roll on the 'Frederick leaves the field' table. He can be seen here leaving the battlefield having failed the test in the moment of victory as the Austrian army was shattered.

It was a good game despite the fact that I blew it! I was too timid in move 2 and should have exploited my success in destroying the Prussian right wing cavalry by sweeping round the open flank. One move later and the Prussians had plugged the gap so true to history the moment was lost forever and I spent the rest of the game battering my cuirassiers and dragoons against Robbie's infantry. 

By the close of the battle Paul's right wing cavalry had also managed to destroy John's cavalry on the opposite flank, but exhausted themselves in the process. Our infantry were no match for the Prussian automatons and although they did well in holding up the advance for quite some time, the outcome was never in doubt, especially thanks to the very late arrival of our artillery.

The new winter terrain mat looked good and only Robbie began to complain of snow blindness. Thankfully nobody ate the snow, yellow or otherwise.

Oh, and Black Powder (with suitable tweaks) worked really well; their unforgivingness was completely impartial.

The next big game will be Rossbach!