Sunday 17 June 2018

Kolin refight

As readers will know from the previous couple of posts, on Saturday we refought Kolin (18 June 1757), and a right old hum-dinger of a game it was too. There was quite a gathering in the Burrow. The Prussians were commanded by Dave Jarvis, 'der Jung Fritz', ably assisted by John the Red and my friend Paul from the Grimsby Club. The Austrians were commanded by Conrad, supported by Shaun, Paul Stevenson and my friend Mark Cook from Adelaide, who had engineered a family holiday to the UK around a game at my place. We used Black Powder, which I wouldn't normally use for the Seven Years War but are better than Honours of War for big multi-player games.

In reality the battle started in the early afternoon and went on till gone 9pm, so the Prussians had 14 turns or thereabouts before darkness would fall. The game played out over 15 turns in the end and resulted in a Hapsburg victory. Just. It was the closest the Prussians have ever got to winning the battle, but for them NOT winning meant they failed to achieve their sole victory condition, and lost. But with honour. Interestingly, not one brigade reached break point in either army, although some were very close.

Here are lots of pictures to take you through the game. I will put the orders of battle at the end of the post.

The commanders of both sides confer.

The Austrians got to move first. Their cavalry all moved to the right wing and the grenadiers marched as fast as they could towards Kreczor. Paul declared a charge with his dragoons and hit the column in the flank. In the melee he only managed two hits, one of which was saved. The grenadiers still lost the combat and took a break test, managing to throw a '6' and retire a move disordered. The dragoons were disgusted with themselves and withdrew in a right old huff!
A little peace and quiet after the dragoons failed to destroy the Austrian grenadiers.  The former had decided that a sweeping advance in the face of eight regiments of Austrian cavalry might just not be a good idea.

The grenadiers rally while in the background Saxon and Austrian cavalry sweep round on the right wing.

Paul's grenadiers assault Kreczor and the Swedish earthworks. The Prussians took a bit of a battering getting to grips with the defenders, who put up a stout defence of the village. The first grenadier battalion failed to capture the village and withdrew to rally while their supporting battalion charged in and drove the Croats from their defences. The other grenadier battalion stormed the Swedish earthworks and destroyed the Croat defenders. It was quite a fight and critically it bought the Austrians time to complete their deployment.
The main Austrian army was given time to deploy thanks to the stubborn defence of Kreczor.  The Prussians also drove the defenders of Bristw in the centre of the battlefield, giving them space to deploy and attack the Austrians.
On the Prussian left four regiments of hussars were facing four of Austrian hussars and a  regiment of combined horse grenadiers. The defenders of Chotzemitz were able to cause a few casualties on the Prussians.
The hussars on the Prussian left were charged by the Austrians. The Prussians  were driven back relentlessly by the  horse grenadiers.
Shaun reinforced his right wing with three regiments of Saxon cavalry. It looked like they would overwhelm the Prussian hussars. Paul did a sterling job in holding them back, feeding in reinforcements as and when they arrived.
The Austrian left was not permitted to move unless directly attacked by the Prussians. They were still able to batter the Prussians opposite them as they marched along the Kaiserstrasse.
Croat skirmishers on the Austrian left.

More Croats in the centre. They weren't as effective as they could have been, but were still annoying.
Austrian Croat snipers lurking in the cornfield. On a score of a 6 on a D6 they would disorder their target or wound a commander. Thankfully for the Prussians they never hit anything!
As the Prussian cavalry began to march along the road Mark pushed his Croats forward .

Back on the Austrian right the cavalry battle was escalating, and the Prussians were being steadily pushed back.

Paul's dragoons hit the horse grenadiers in the flank, but the latter were permitted to turn to face. This allowed the Prussian hussars to hit them in the flank at the same time. Somehow the horse grenadiers shrugged off this two-pronged attack, drew the melee and forced the dragoons to take a break test as they were shaken! The horse grenadiers were also shaken and compelled to retreat but what a bummer for the Prussians. Nothing was going right for Paul and his hard-pressed cavalry.
The Austrian cavalry on their right wing was struggling to make any further headway. The  horse grenadiers and a regiment of Saxons were shaken and rallying, but the Prussians were finally holding their own. For the present at least.... 
The Prussians were by now safely in possession of Kreczor and the old Swedish earthworks and ready to push forward.
The Prussians massing in the centre for their attack.
Serbelloni's (Paul S) cavalry to the right of the Oak Wood. They were soon to move back to the centre having spent several turns moving here from the centre.

The Prussians surged forward (I think they blundered and threw a 6) and crash into the Austrian cavalry that had just moved forward to cover the (still) rallying grenadiers.

The centre of the battlefield with the Prussian infantry under John and Paul massing to attack. Just out of sight on the right is the Austrian artillery that was pulverising Prussian battalions one after another.

The cavalry fight in the centre continues.

The Prussian Guard moving forward.

The Austrian centre, supported by rather a lot of artillery.

Prussian cuirassiers wending their way along the Kaiserstrasse under harassing fire from the Croats.

Back on the Prussian left the cavalry of both sides are still at it hammer and tongs, with the Austrians slowly gaining the edge.
Meanwhile, the Prussians threw a blunder and their right wing cavalry swung towards the Austrian left under Mark, thus allowing him to advance against the Prussians.
The Austrians launched a cavalry attack on the advancing Prussians in the centre. The first wave was beaten back.
The cavalry combat in the centre carries on, its each side feeding in more troops.
The Prussians finally saw off the dragoons facing them and in a sweeping advance pounced on the hapless Austrian grenadier battalion again, breaking them.

The Prussian infantry are struggling to make any headway in the face of concentrated artillery fire.
Shaun is obviously happy about something.
With their centre about to collapse Conrad launched his reserve cavalry into the flank of the Prussians, ultimately breaking two battalions of infantry and a regiment of dragoons.
Birds-eye view of the battle.
The threat to the Austrian centre is gone following Conrad's master stroke.
The Prussian infantry attack fizzles out although their cavalry was still besting their Austrian opponents.
By now we'd had at least 15 turns (I think). The scenario allowed for at least 14 turns but as in game terms it was now 9.30 in the evening and the Prussians had failed to break the Austrians so the game was over.  It was a very close-run thing however, and if Conrad hadn't thrown such a low score for his cavalry counter attack the Austrian centre would in all likelihood have collapsed under the relentless pressure. Dave's cuirassiers spent a good half dozen moves in the rear and when they finally did move  and tried to halt Marks advance on the Prussian left were beaten off. The Prussian right was starting to fold under pressure and the centre had run out of steam. Clearly the Prussians had almost pulled it off, but almost is not good enough, so it was an Austrian victory. I don't really know what the Prussians could have done differently, but more aggression from the six regiments of cuirassiers on their right wing may have been handy, even if just to cover the flank of the infantry in the centre from the Austrian artillery to give them chance to close to point blank range and blow the enemy infantry away..hopefully.

So an excellent game with a fair and hard won result. Everyone had a great time and I for one am keen to try the game again using a different rule set.  I am a great fan of Black Powder but this time they just didn't do it for me.

As promised at the start of the post, here are the orders of battle.

AUSTRIAN ARMY: FM Leopold Graf von Daun (8)

Grenz infantry (6 x 12) (Chotzemitz 1, Krecozr 2, Bristwitz1, Brezan 1, Kutlire 1) 1 x 3pdr battery (v light battalion gun) (Kreczor),

General der Kavellerie Franz Graf Nadasty (extreme right) (8)
Hussars 2 x 12

Feld-Marshall Leutnant von Hadik (7)
Hussars 2 x 12

General Major Nostitz (Behind Oak Wood, elites on right) (8)
Saxon cavalry 3 x 12
Converged elite companies 1x12

General der Kavellerie Baptiste Graf Serbelloni (On Kreczor hill) (8)
Cuirassiers 2 x 12
Dragoons 2 x 12

General der Kavellerie Graf Stampach (left rear behind Chocenitz) (7)
Cuirassiers 2 x 12
Dragoons 2 x 12


Feldzugmeister Ernst Dietrich Freiherr Marshall von Burgholzhausen (7)

4 x line battalions
6pdr battery - 2 x medium guns

General Major Franz Joseph Baron Andlau (7)
4 x line battalions


Feldmarshall Leutnant Graf zu Wied (8)
3 x line battalions
Cuirassiers 2 x 12
Dragoons 2 x 12
12pdr battery #1– 2 x heavy guns (Deployed)
12pdr battery #2 – 1 x heavy guns (Limbered), 1 x medium howitzer (Limbered)

Oberst Fiorenzo (8)
Grenadier battalion x 1 (SW of Krecozr)
3pdr battery battalion guns (extra dice)

Grenadiers: 1, Musketeers: 11, Grenz: 6, Cuirassiers: 6, Dragoons: 6, Elites: 1, Hussars: 4, Saxons:3, Artillery: 7

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

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

General Major Dietrich von Hulsen on road deployed to assault Kreczor (9)
Grenadier battalions x 2
Line battalions x 1
6pdr battery - 1 x medium gun (limbered)
3pdr battery - 1 x light gun (deployed)

GM von Norman (on table behind Hulsen) (8)
Dragoons 2 x 12
General Major Joachim Friedrich von Tresckow (on road march column)(8)
line battalions x 3
fusilier battalions x1
12pdr battery - 1 heavy gun (limbered)

General Leutnant Herzog Braunschweig-Luneberg-Bevern (entering table on road in column T2) (8) RASH
line battalions x 2
fusilier battalions x 1
Leibgarde battalion x 1
12pdr battery -1 x heavy gun (limbered)

General Leutnant Peter Ernst von Pennavaire off road to left T5 (8) RASH
Cuirassiers 4 x 12

General Major Christian Siegfried von Krogsigk (off table, enters T1 left of Hulsen) (7)
Cuirassiers 2 x 12

General Major von Meinicke (off table enters on road T4)(8)
Cuirassiers 2 x 12
Dragoons 2 x 12

Infantry: 5, Fusiliers 2, Guard/Grenadiers: 3, Cuirassiers: 8, Dragoons: 4, Hussars: 4, Artillery: 4


  1. Sounds like all involved had a great time and as always, a superb looking game. I agree that BP just doesn't work for the SYW and much prefer HoW, even for multiplayer games.

  2. A spectacular and beautiful report, what a great looking game with splendid units (love the Croat skirmishers) and buildings...

  3. Colin, it was a cracking game and I had a really really good time. Next time I’ll remember to check that at least some of my dice have one side with six spots.

  4. Great game, Colin. Your review is spot-on. I think I should have completely abandoned our (Prussian) right flank, and hurled every single cavalryman at Conrad's artillery. It would have allowed some respite for our infantry.
    Who knows, I might have broken-in...

  5. Excellent report Colin and a magnificent spectacle. So, the hunt for the "perfect set" goes on .....

  6. Now that's a wargame, splendid Sir, splendid.

  7. Good summary of a hard days gaming. We just could nt quite mass our infantry in sufficient numbers to blast our way up the hill. Continual cavalry charges and the massed artillery kept us in check. BP gave us a fast moving game with some house rules to keep it working as a multi player game.


  8. Colin,
    Great report and a most impressive looking game. It was a pity I could only stop for an hour but it was long enough to see Paul's poor dice throwing get off to an abysmal start 🤣

  9. What a great looking, epic game - congratulations - you guys must have had a very enjoyable day, especially your "cobber" from Oz

  10. What a fabulous game Colin! Great to see the burrow hosting such a grand event.

    1. Thanks Mark. I enjoy planning and hosting big games. The bigger the better! I must be bonkers 😜😜😜😜😜

  11. A visual feast of wargaming at its best! Almost too much to take in, but worth the effort!

  12. Looks absolutely fantastic Colin. Was this game significantly bigger than your Leuthen at Kenilworth 2017? I thought HoW worked very well that day with 3 players per side and it seemed like a big multiplayer game to me.

    1. Thanks Chris. It was a little bit bigger than Leuthen. The main reason for BP over HoW was a few players’ unfamiliarity with the latter and BP are I find a little faster in multi player games. Less of a headache for me to umpire as well.

  13. Great looking game Colin. Size equals spectacle!

    1. Thanks Stuart. I am very fortunate to have this set up.

  14. Impressive game using the full scale of the set up you have 😀

  15. Great looking game and an equally interesting game report. It looks like the Prussian infantry could never deploy all btns in a single line of attack due to the tight space.

    1. Thanks Jim. There was plenty of space but it kept filling with Austrian cavalry!