Thursday 3 May 2018

261st Anniversary of the Battle of Prague, 6 May 1757

As the title of this post suggests, Sunday is the anniversary of Frederick the Great’s victory over the Austrians outside Prague. What better excuse for a game is there? Conrad, Dave and Paul S came up today (yesterday)  to test out my new now extended table in ‘The Burrow ‘.  I decided that we would use Honours of War for the game rather than Black Powder, mainly as I fought the battle with Robbie and John some years ago using BP  but for a while now I've thought I wouldn't want to use them again for the Seven Years War. They don't float my boat any more. HoW are not perfect but they're kiddie proof and pretty straightforward.

We are into the second year of the war, and Frederick is facing a large Austrian army in a very strong and seemingly unassailable position  outside Prague. Frederick orders his army to march around the Austrian army and hit them in their right flank, rolling them up in the process. Marshall Maximillain Ulysses von Browne, the Austrian de facto commander in chief (Charles of Lorraine was technically the CinC but he was not safe to be let out on his own!) could see what the Prussians were doing and frantically began to reposition his army in order to meet the Prussians. His right and left wing cavalry together with horsemen from the reserve were able to quickly redeploy facing the Prussians, and artillery and grenadiers were marching as fast as they could to fill the gap between the cavalry and the Austrian right. More troops from the Austrian centre are on their way behind the grenadiers ordered to turn the Prussians back. Some Austrians were slow to respond as one commander in particular refused to move unless personally ordered to by Charles, despite the obvious (maybe not to him) threat.

The Prussians were slowed greatly by the terrain (they were having to negotiate a series of boggy streams) with few crossing places for guns which resulted in their artillery being held up along with a significant portion of the infantry which were not in position when battle commenced. The Prussian cavalry and Prince Henri of Prussia’s division were ready to attack and although slowed by the streams began their advance in the hope of defeating the Austrians before they were reinforced. We threw for sides and Dave and I had the pleasure of commanding the Austrians (Dave being the CinC, while I was von Browne). Paul was Frederick and Conrad took all the Prussian cavalry. As usual I will let the photos and attached captions tell the story.

The battlefield. Prussians entering from the left.Austrians desperately trying to reposition their troops to counter the enemy outflanking manoeuvre. 

The field of battle from the other end of the table.

The Austrian cavalry advance. Six regiments of cuirassiers, two or dragoons and two of hussars.
Things have yet to start to get going but it won't be long.....

The Prussian first line under Prince Henri of Prussia (in this game at least) cross the bog stream and move towards the Austrians.

The Austrian cavalry on their right. They charged the Prussians but were  badly mauled, three of the four front line units being broken thanks to my usual duff dice scores. Hey ho, c'est la guerre. On the plus side the Prussian front line wasn't in a much better state so next turn I launched another attack with fresh regiments and pushed back a couple of Prussian dragoon regiments. The cavalry battle was to last a number of turns and swallow up almost all the horsemen of both sides.

The Austrians begin to deploy their leading troops, supported by two batteries of cannon.

More Austrians arrive, taking advantage of Prussian inactivity in the centre.

The last Austrian reserve, two regiments of hussars. The one on the right represents a Grenz Hussar regiment, equipped with lances of all things. 

Austrian and Prussian horsemen before they crash into each other and destroy each other.

The Austrians on the hill have formed a nice neat battle line.

Chaos on the flank. Prussian hussars have crossed the stream.

The long thin line of Prince Henri of Prussia's division begins its advance, right into the teeth of the Austrian cannon.

Prussian reinforcements, including artillery have arrived.

Casualties are mounting up in the Prussian first line but the biggest blow was as a result of the opening barrage by the Austrian guns which killed not only Prince Henri of Prussia but also Marshal von Schwerin who was standing right next to him!
Frederick looks on from the safety of the swamp as his artillery advances. Fred spent much of the battle  in his swamp, only emerging when further casualties among his officer corps demanded it. Prince Henri and Schwerin's 'replacements' were also hit by Austrian cannon and rendered hors de combat. 

Austrian hussars in the process of destroying the Zeithen hussars.

The destruction of yet another Austrian regiment.

Whats left of the Austrian horse begins to pull back. The Prussians are too shattered to pursue without taking time to rally.

Yet more Austrian reserves arrive (top right)

The second Prussian infantry brigade advances.

In the background the final Prussian brigade makes an appearance.

My remaining cuirassier regiment charges to Prussian Guard  in an attempt to stem the enemy advance. The Guard were weakened already having taken three hits from the Austrian grenadiers in the village. My cavalry survived closing fire and managed to get a hit on the Prussians, forcing them to withdraw. The cuirassiers were unable to pursue and withdrew.

The Austrian grenadiers half off several Prussian battalions during the course of the battle.

Three lines of Prussians advancing on the Austrian position.

The Grenz hussars threatened the flank of Conrad's grenadiers, who were forced to retreat back over the stream. In the centre Prussian battalions were being destroyed or forced to retreat. On the Austrian left, several battalions were also broken when they were caught by the now deployed Prussian artillery.

This is as close as the Prussians got to the Austrian line before being blown away by canister.
In turn 12 or 13 the carnage continued and both armies simultaneously reached their break point. We declared the game a draw which was a pretty fair outcome as both armies had fought well. The Austrians would be able to retire unmolested as the Prussians were in no fit state to pursue. The Austrians did do better than in real life and some of the events of the original battle were repeated in our game, like the repulse of the first Prussian attack and the flanking attack of their hussars during the cavalry melee.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable yet tough game and a great first game for my new room. The rules worked well (except where I forgot important bits of them, being very rusty). I think everyone else had an enjoyable game too.


  1. Wonderful report and beautiful pictures. A model of an AAR. The new game room is incredible.

  2. Your new game room is wonderful. How long was your extended table?

    1. Thanks
      Jim. It’s 6 foot wide by 13’6” wide with the drop down flap. 12’ without. It looks so much bigger as it’s in a bigger room and all four sides can be accessed.

  3. A great looking game in a splendid game room, love the grenadiers, cavalry and guns...

  4. Looks wonderful Colin, the room, the table, the troops and the game! Love your casualty markers - they look like cinnamon hearts in the photos!

    1. Thanks Peter they do look rather sweet. They’re just little buttons.

  5. Hi Colin, Very impressive layout. Like you I sometimes go off Black Powder. I find HoW and also Rank & File give a reasonable game. The one thing I like about HoW is you get more cavalry regiments on the field. I normally run 16 figure regiments so they quite nicely convert 2 regiments in HoW. Happy gaming. Cheers Greg

    1. Thanks Greg. Not a fan of Rank and File. I would normally have much bigger cavalry regiments (24-36) in 'squadrons' of 12.

  6. Fabolous looking game, Colin. And the room is superb!

  7. wonderful to see the games room up and running. Superb looking game!

  8. I'll echo all of the previous comments. A lovely game, and a splendiferous space!

    Best Regards,


  9. Smashing looking game Colin and an excellent report. Always enjoy your posts.
    Neil W

  10. Splendid looking game on the new table.....really quite LARGE 😀 nice

  11. Sorry it has taken me till now to absorb this due to being away at the weekend, but it was well worth the wait. A great report on a battle I'd like to refight one day so it is good to see HoW still pleases you for a big game. Great looking room with plenty of space for players, figures , terrain, art work and everything a wargamer needs. Hope you enjoy many, many more games there.