Thursday 27 August 2015

Leuthen 5 December 1757 refight

Robbie, John and Paul came up yesterday to refight the next game in my Seven Years War 'journey', the Battle of Leuthen. This was another chance to make use of my roofing felt snow terrain and the first opportunity to put my marvellous Leuthen Church model on the table.

Robbie wanted to be Austrian and I was allowed to be Frederick (there were a couple of events in the scenario that only the Prussians knew about). Paul and John diced for sides; Paul joined me on the Prussian side as von Seydlitz and John was Austrian. I used the scenario as described in Charles S Grant's Wargaming in History Vol 4, but we only played the second part of the battle as I didn't feel like 'rolling' the terrain several times and people had homes to go to. The troops used were largely dictated by what I own, which is lots and was more than enough for the game although I had to use my Saxons and lone Swabian Btn in the role of the Bavarian and Wurtemburg contingents.

Prussian Army

C-in-C: Frederick II King of Prussia (9) Aggressive/Decisive

Right Wing Cavalry:
GL  von Zieten (8) Aggressive/Head strong
Cuirassiers                 4 x 12
GM Czettritz (8) Irresponsible
Dragoons                    2 x 12
Hussars                      1 x 12
Left Wing Cavalry:
GL von Driesen (8) Decisive
Cuirassiers                 2 x 12
Dragoons                    2 x 12

Infantry Centre:
Advance Guard: GL Prinz von Wurtemburg (8) Decisive
Hussars                      2 x 12
Grenadier Btn            1 x 36
12pdr Battery           1 x heavy guns
1st Line:  GderI Prinz Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau (9) Decisive/Headstrong
Guard Btn**                           1 x 36
Grenadier Btn                        1 x 36
Musketeer Btns**                  3 x 36            
2nd Line: GL Frederick William Quirin de Forcade de Biaix (8) Decisive
Musketeer Btns**                  2 x 36
Grenadier Btns                      1 x 36

Artillery: Colonel Moller (9):
12pdr battery           3 x heavy guns
Howitzer battery       1 x medium howitzer
Fortress battery        1 x super heavy ‘Brummer' fortress gun

All line and the Guard battalions had battalion guns and the heavy artillery was able to move to new positions after the battle commenced, as happened in the actual battle. The ‘Brummers’ were fortress guns. I treated them as heavy artillery but with greater range and they were not permitted to move and fire. All troops except the advance guard and some of Zeithen's cavalry were off the table but would enter on turns 1, 2 and 3. Driesen’s cavalry was off table in the SW corner, lurking in some dead ground to cover the exposed Prussian left flank from any Austrian cavalry attempts to roll them up. They would enter any time after Lucchesi's troops arrived, subject to the usual command rolls.

Austro-Imperial Army
C-in-C:  Prince Charles of Lorraine (7) Hesitant

Gen der Kav Lucchesi (8) Aggressive/Irresponsible
Cuirassiers                                        2 x 12
Imperial Cuirassiers                         2 x 12
GM Esterhazy (8) Headstrong
Imperial Dragoons                             2 x 12

Right Wing Infantry: FzM Kheul (7) OFF TABLE TURN D3
Infantry btns                                     4 x 36

Left Wing Infantry: FzM Colloredo (8) Hesitant    ON TABLE IN LEUTHEN
Hussars                                              1 x 12
Infantry btns                                     3 x 36
Grenadier btns                                  1 x 36
Artillery battery                                2 x 12pdrs

Reichsarmee Bavarians/Wurtembergers from Nadazdy’s Corps:  Marshal Spitnatz (7)Timid  ON TABLE RETREATING FROM THE PRUSSIANS
Infantry btns                                     5 x 36

Left Wing Cavalry: Gen der Kav Serbellini (8) Headstrong   OFF TABLE NE CORNER ENTER ON TURN D3
Cuirassiers                                         2 x 12
Dragoons                                            2 x 12
Marshal O’Donnell (8) Hesitant     OFF TABLE NE ENTER ON TURN D3
Dragoons                                            2 x 12

Infantry not deployed on the table entered from the North behind Leuthen in column of march. The infantry did not have battalion guns attached as in the accounts I have read these were unable to keep up with their units in the scramble to turn south and face the Prussians. For the same reason the Austrians were not well served with field artillery and had a single battery of two models. The Reichsarmee infantry were classed as ‘untested’ as they had just been bundled back a mile by the Prussians about 30 minutes prior to this part of the battle.

This was going to be a very tough one for the Austrians, but despite their inferiority in artillery they outnumbered the Prussians in infantry and were pretty even in numbers if not in quality with the cavalry.

 The Prussian advance guard on the table at the start of the game. 
 The next move the main line of Prussian infantry arrived, supported by their considerable artillery train. In the far distance Seydlitz's cuirassiers have pushed forward to keep the Reishsarmee battalions on the move. Leuthen church is garrisoned by the Rot Wurtzberg regiment.
 Robbie deciding what to do with Serbollini's cavalry as it enters the table.   The Reichsarmee battalions are slowly pulling back in the face of the Prussian advance.
 Paul charged Robbie's cuirassiers with his cuirassiers but was defeated. The lead squadron was broken and the following squadron forced to retreat. I put this down to the fact that my Austrians are Front Rank figures and so much chunkier than my venerable RSM Prussians! It suddenly looked like the Prussian left might collapse from the pressure of the Austrian attack but thankfully the line stabilised and the Austrians pulled back as more Prussian cavalry arrived.
 On the Austrian left, Lucchesi's cavalry appeared quite early in the game and made their presence felt very quickly. They got the better of the Prussian von Reusch hussars and almost broke through the disordered IR16 von Dohna, but the latter held and the Austrian cuirassiers had to fall back.
 Robbie was still trying to get his Reichsarmee units back. One battalion stood firm to try and slow the Prussians while his cavalry regrouped after getting the better of the Prussians.
 The full weight of the Prussian centre was now moving towards Leuthen, with the artillery rolling forward and causing considerable casualties and disorder, especially to the withdrawing Reichsarmee units.
 Once Lucchesi's cavalry appeared the Prussians were free to release von Dreisen's hidden cuirassiers and dragoons in an attempt to catch the Austrians in the flank.
 The Austrians were quicker to react than in the real battle and initially got the better of the first clash.
 The Prussian hussars were thrown into the path of the advancing Austro/Imperial cavalry to try and hold them. Both units were defeated; one broke and fled while the other withdrew shaken and disordered.

 Back on the right Seydlitz's cuirassiers again got the worse of the fight with the Austrians and the brigade was broken and what was left forced to withdraw. Thankfully the reserves of dragoons and hussars were there to plug the gap.
 A Saxon grenadier battalion playing the part of the Wurtemburg grenadiers being shot to pieces by Prussian artillery and musket fire.
 The victorious Austrian dragoons consolidate having driven the Prussian cuirassiers off. Their commander Serbollini was however killed.
 Back on the left flank the Austro/Imperial cavalry are still threatening the Prussian centre and preventing them from advancing.
 The Prussian cavalry finally start to take the upper hand, but it is painfully slow.
 Austrian hussars just before they were hit in the rear. Prussian dragoons had forced one unit of Austrians to retire thus exposing the hussars' rear, which was too tempting a target to ignore.
 In the centre the Prussian artillery continued to trundle forward, repeating the tactics of Frederick's artillery on the day. The Reichsarmee troops had been pushed back to the outskirts of Leuthen or destroyed.
 The assault on the church, led fittingly by the Grenadiers of Frederick's guard. The garrison, the Rott Wurtzberg regiment held on valiantly for a few turns but eventually weight of fire forced them to retreat from the walls into the church itself.
 The end of the Reichsarmee (Saxons and Swabians).
 The Austrian Jung Modena dragoons on the Prussian right. Paul had thrown a blunder, resulting in one his units having to charge. The Austrians countercharged, survived riding past Prussian artillery but were soundly defeated in the melee and broken. Paul's accidental charge and subsequent victory meant that the entire Austrian left flank was broken and forced to retreat.
 A view from behind the Austrian lines of the Prussians advancing on Leuthen.
 The final cavalry combat on the left saw the Austrian cuirassiers of General Lucchesi broken and forced to retreat. This meant that the Austrians had lost half of their army, i.e. both wings, broken and in full retreat.
 The Prussian 'Brummer' didn't really have much impact on the battle, mainly as I kept masking it's line of sight. It did however manage to take a few long-range pot shots at the Austrian guns and their cavalry, causing a little disorder.
As the battle game to a close the Prussians are poised to capture the churchyard on the heels of the retreating Rott Wurtzberg regiment.

This was a game I was really looking forward to doing, and had done lots of prep including getting the iconic church built as well as the snow terrain. However, whilst it wasn't actually going to be walkover for the Prussians (and it wasn't) it was really tough for the Austrians to win. However, they did very well on both flanks and there were moments, more than one, where I thought they might just pull it off and make it impossible for the Prussian centre to assault the town. The poor Austrians were faced with the Prussian army at its peak (no apologies, it was IMHO bloody good at this time in the war) but the quality will soon start to drop off as the war continues. Black Powder worked really well with the usual tweaks to accommodate the scenario. We got a really big game to a conclusion in about five hours, including stops for tea, lunch and the toilet (we are all of a certain age). The advancing Prussian artillery and the fragility of the Reichsarmee contingent made parts of the game unpleasant for Robbie and John although both did great things with their cavalry. The Prussian victory was really down to them defeating both of the Austrian flanks, thus negating the need to actually assault Leuthen as the centre was left exposed and would be forced to retreat.

Thanks to the guys for coming up for the day. Next time (unless I go off piste for a game or two) it'll be very different as we shall be refighting Zordorff. Better dust my Russians off.

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Leuthen in the morning!

We're refighting Leuthen in the morning. It should be a great game, especially as I get to use my Leuthen church built by my mate Stuart of Captain Jack's Locker and my snow mat gets another outing.

Friday 14 August 2015

Rossbach 5 November 1757, refought.

Robbie, John and Dave Jarvis game up on Thursday for our long-awaited Rossbach refight. We used my Prussians and Robbie kindly supplied his gorgeously painted French (the Irish were masquerading as Swiss for this game). Specially for the game I had repainted some 'retired' Prussian dragoons, cuirassiers and a spare infantry battalion as Reischsarmee units. I used a re-flagged Austrian unit as the Blau Wurtzburg regiment and a Saxon battalion as the final infantry unit. 

Robbie wanted to be French (Soubise) and as I hadn't played Prussians for quite some time in a major battle I got to be Fred. Dave and John diced and John joined me as von Seydlitz while Dave took the role of  von Saxe-Hildberghaussen.

The Allied army were strung out on column of march in an attempt to catch the Prussians by surprise in the flank. The latter were not in the least surprised and rapidly redeployed to counter the Allied attack. An account of the battle can be found here.

I adapted the scenario in Charles S. Grant's Wargaming in History for the game. We also  fought down the length of my table.

C-in-C: Frederick II King of Prussia (9) Aggressive/Decisive (ME)
2-in-C: FM The Hon James Keith (9) Aggressive/Headstrong

Cavalry: GM Freidrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz (8) Aggressive (JOHN)
Cuirassiers                 1 x 12
Dragoons                    2 x 12
Hussars                      1 x 12
GM Freiherr von Schonach (8)
Cuirassiers                 4 x 12

Infantry Right Wing:
1st Line: GdI Moritz Furst von Anhalt-Dessau (9) Decisive/Headstrong
Guard Btn                               1 x 36
Grenadier Btn                        1 x 36
2nd Line: GL Frederick William Quirin de Forcade de Biaix (8) Decisive
Musketeer Btns                    2 x 36

Infantry Left Wing:
GL Heinrich Prinz von Preussen (8) Aggressive
Grenadier Btn                        1 x 36
Musketeer Btns                     2 x 36
Artillery: Colonel Moller (9):
12pdr battery 2 x heavy guns

If any Prussian commander, incl Frederick, was killed or wounded then Keith would take over with the stats etc shown. All line and the Guard battalions had battalion guns. To represent the fact that the Prussian guns redeployed in the battle, the heavy artillery could be moved to a new position once after the battle commences.

Both cavalry brigades and the artillery were visible and on the table with the exception of the hussars who were off table to the north. They would enter at the end of T3. All the Prussian infantry was deployed out of sight behind the ridge and would be free to move from T3.

Joint C-in-C:
FM Joseph Frederick Prinz von Saxe-Hildburghausen (6) Hesitant (DAVE)
Gen Prince de Soubise (8) (ROBBIE)

1st Column: GM Ludwig Freiherr von Brettlach (7) Aggressive
Austrian Cuirassiers             1 x 12
Austrian Hussars                   1 x 12
Reichsarmee ‘Cuirassiers’    1 x 12
Reichsarmee Dragoons         1 x 12
2nd Column:  GM Prinz von Hohenzollern (6) Hesitant
Austrian Cuirassiers             1 x 12
Reichsarmee ‘Cuirassiers’    1 x 12
Reichsarmee Dragoons         1 x 12
3rd Column: M. le Duc de Broglie (8) Hesitant
French Horse                         2 x 12
4th Column: M. le Duc de Mailly (7) Hesitant
French Horse                         2 x 12

1st Column: M. le Comte de Montbossier (6) Irresponsible
French btns                           3 x 36 (incl 1 Swiss)
French artillery                     1 x 12pdr
2nd Column: M. le  Comte de Lorges (7) Decisive
French btns                           2 x 36
French artillery                     1 x 6pdr
3rd Column: M. le Comte Bauer (8) Aggressive
French Btns                           2 x 36 (both Swiss)
French artillery                     1 x 6pdr
4th Column: GL Prinz von Hessen-Darmstadt (7) Timid/Hesitant
Reichsarmee btns                 3 x 36
Reichsarmee artillery           1 x 12pdr

The cavalry started on the table in columns of march. The heads of the infantry brigades started on the table (for convenience) in columns of march but could not move until T4. The artillery was at the rear of the columns. To reflect the overall tardiness of the allied army, Infantry/artillery were unable to deploy into line until within 24” of the enemy.
Infantry did not have battalion guns attached. The role of CinC alternated between the two joint commanders.

The Prussians were still almost all very good troops at this stage of the war so benefited from this by the application of few appropriate characteristics from the rules. The Austrian cavalry were pretty good, the French troops were just average and the Reichsarmee units were pretty awful, or worse! For fun I gave some of the commanders personal traits out of the rulebook, which in some cases was to prove very frustrating, mainly for the Allies. As usual we used Black Powder with the LAoK supplement together with some minor house rules and appropriate amendments for the game. So without further ado, here is the account of the game.

 The Austrian and Reichsarmee cavalry columns strung out on the march. To their rear are the French cavalry and in the far distance the allied infantry. Robbie, Dave and John look on, poised to start the game.
 The Prussian cavalry in position ready to attack the allied cavalry. Colonel Moller's guns are deployed on the Janus Hill while the infantry are out of sight behind the ridge.
 Two columns of allied cavalry, lead by squadrons of the Franconia Bayreuth cuirassiers. 
 Way back in the distance is the mass of the allied infantry in four columns, with a brigade of French horse which had blundered enthusiastically backwards at the start of the game.
In turn 1 John launched von Seydlitz's cuirassiers and dragoons into the allied cavalry who were unable to deploy into line. Both the leading squadrons were defeated, one being broken completely while the other was pushed back.
 Seydlitz's cavalry ploughed on into the mass of allied horse.
 Meanwhile the allied infantry were still nowhere to be seen.
The allied rear units were able to shake out into line but the Prussians were undeterred.
 On the left of the picture the Swabian Wurttemberg Dragoons charge the Prussian von Kyau cuirassiers while the Austrian Brettlach cuirassiers face Prussian dragoon regiment Graf zu Waldenberg. To the rear can be seen the surviving shaken squadron of the Bayreuth cuirassiers and the Franconia Ansbach dragoons.
 Austrian hussars try to escape the whirling cavalry melee and find some space to deploy.
 Guess what? The hussars were hit in the flank by waiting Prussian cuirassiers and pushed back to the top of the ridge, but they weren't broken.
 The Prussian cavalry reform having seen off the Austrian and Reichsarmee troops. In the distance the French horse deploy into line.
 Meanwhile, the Prussian infantry begin their advance. The leading brigade led by Anhalt-Dessau was slow to move but that of GM Forcade de Baix sped ahead of the rest in an attempt to gain the ridgeline before the French could get there.
 Saxe-Hildberghausen caught wondering what to do. There would probably be just enough time to do something before the rest of the Prussians caught up!
 The Prussian second line about to advance.
 de Mailley's French horse get moving and climb onto the ridge.
 Seydlitz crashes into the remains of the Reichsarmee cuirassiers and drives them off broken. The Austrian cuirassiers to the left were forced to withdraw.
 A last the allied infantry is getting closer while French horse and Austrian hussars occupy the ridge.
 The bulk of the Prussian infantry advances menacingly but a bit too slowly towards the allied line.
 GM Forcade's brigade reaches the ridge held by French horse.
 Prinz von Anhalt-Dessau's and Prinz Henri von Preusens's brigades move slowly forward.
 French infantry deploy while in the rear the Reichsarmee brigade is still on the march.
 The Allied commanders paused deep in thought. Will they get their troops deployed before the Prussians are on the ridge?
 French and Prussian cavalry clash. The French are driven off.
 The Prussian IR19 Markgraf Karl enfilades the ranks of French horse on the ridge, but without much immediate effect. The French horse did however retire to avoid another volley.
 French infantry moving up.
 French and Reichsarmee infantry deploy ready to face the Prussian attack.
 One of my Saxon battalion doing duty as a Reichsarmee unit for the day.
 The Prussian infantry mount the crest with no opposition other than some distant French infantry.

 Von Schonach's cuirassiers drive off the battered Austrian hussars and a regiment of French horse, thus clearing the ridge of all allied cavalry.
 Prussian and French (Irish masquerading as Swiss) lines face each other at point blank range. Both sides take heavy losses.
 Robbie decided he wouldn't win a musketry duel with the Prussians so ordered a Swiss battalion to charge the Prussian line. After a protracted melee the Swiss were broken taking one of their supporting units with them (the one on the left of the picture). Meanwhile, John had charged a French battery which was still limbered up and destroyed it. Disaster for the allies!
 Robbie then hurled a regiment of French cavalry against a battalion of Prussian grenadiers. The cavalry weathered the closing fire but although they scored seven hits on the Prussians, they were all saved! The French lost the combat and fled.
The French centre now had a massive hole in it and as the army had lost half of its brigades broken or spent they were forced to admit defeat. 

So, did it meet my expectations? Yes. The French started the game in a very bad position but their cavalry did well in slowing the Prussian advance, albeit at the cost of two entire cavalry brigades. The French cavalry bought some time for their infantry to move up and deploy, but  they were no match for the Prussian infantry once the latter had completed their march down 8 feet of table. At this stage of the war its fair to give the Prussians an advantage in musketry, certainly against the French and Reichsarmee. Being outnumbered almost 2:1 they needed it but we shall never know if they would have been able to defeat the remaining allied battalions. Interestingly neither side's artillery, with the exception of the Prussian battalion guns who's effect is more moral than lethal, was at all effective. The Prussian heavy guns never really caught up with the advance of the rest of the army and the allied artillery never even unlimbered!

The Prussian cavalry were almost intact and although one battalion was knocked about the rest were unscathed, so the task of extracting their army would have been a difficult one for Soubise and Saxe-Hildburghausen. The allied line was going to struggle in the face of fresh Prussian units and the menacing cuirassiers just waiting for a weakness to exploit,especially as the three Reichsarmee battalions were very brittle and would be unable to stand toe to toe with the Prussians. Overall though it was a tough one for both sides and it certainly wasn't the crushing walkover that was the outcome of the real battle. Still an impressive victory for the Prussians though. The rules worked really well. I know Black Powder as a set are bit like Marmite, you either like them or hate them, but when used by us at least produce a lively and not unrealistic game.