Thursday 16 August 2018

The Battle of Kaiserslautern, 28-30 November 1793

Following on from last week's game I thought I'd stage one final big FRW game (for the time being) as fellow Gentlemen of Leisure Conrad, Paul Stevenson, Jim and Nigel were coming for a game. I had planned to refight the Battle of Leignitz in 1760 but just couldn't face it. I had already refought it before a few years ago and it wasn't calling to me to have another attempt even though 15 August was the 258th anniversary of the battle.

Kaiserslautern was fought over much the same ground that saw the Prussians destroy the army of Napoleon III in 1870, e.g. Froeschweiller, Worth, so I thought a bit of subterfuge might be fun, for me at least. For an account of the real battle in 1793 see

The battlefield. The French will be deployed on the left and the Prussians will enter from the right.
I issued the players with a photo of the tabletop (above) rather than a map and explained we were fighting Prussians against the French in Alsace. I just happened to have my 19th century French kepi and Prussian pickelhaube in the conservatory where the briefing took place to 'suggest' we were going to do Franco-Prussian War. I left the French (Paul and Jim) to plan their attack and took the others into The Burrow to spring (quietly) the not that dramatic surprise that they were indeed fighting over Alsace and they were indeed Prussians with some attached Saxons and Bavarians, but they were in 1793 and not 1870. I left the Prussians to draw up their battle plan and points of entry on their map and returned to the French with their order of battle and instructions.

Both sides had orders to attack and drive the other off the table so a bit of action was promised. The French would already be deployed on the table and the Prussians would enter (hopefully) at their designated locations on turn 1 or later. My rationale was that the French might get the jump on the Prussians and bound halfway across the table before the Prussians could (a) get on the table and, (b) form up in some semblance of a battle line with their superior numbers. Well, that plan went up in smoke from turn 1!

The Prussians(!) got the initiative and in turn one squeezed almost all their army into  one half of their base line. There wasn't actually room to get everyone on. My idea that they'd struggle to get enough troops on the table in the early moves went down the pan. Almost all of their ADCs activated and all their brigades obeyed orders. They were very congested however.
The French advance but not very quickly. Their horse artillery did push forward onto the rise  overlooking the Prussian  positions and the infantry brigade seen around the windmill was able to pull off a 'forwards' move and get across the cornfields and deploy their artillery but faced with rank upon rank of Prussians it didn't feel like it'd be enough.
Jim's advance in the distance got bogged down while Paul's troops were quickly engaged .
The French right looked pretty promising at this stage, with the horse artillery deployed ready to enfilade the Prussians if they advanced, the infantry skirmishers doing their thing and the heavy cavalry covering the flank. 
Sadly like all great plans it didn't survive first contact with the enemy as in turn 2 the Prussian cavalry arrived right on cue. They lost no time in charging Paul's outnumbered French heavy cavalry, routing one unit (the 23rd Cavalry) after a brief melee. That meant the French cavalry brigade became faltering. 
The Prussian cuirassiers followed up, the French horse artillery escaping by the skin of their teeth!
They then clashed with Paul's remaining cavalry, which had jupassed its faltering brigade test, beating them and causing the brigade to falter again.
The Prussian cavalry brigade commander leading from the front.
With the departure of the French cavalry the French centre was left with its flank in the air and ripe for the plucking by the Prussian cavalry. The very next turn the exposed flank of the French line was charged by cavalry from the flank and infantry from the front. The infantry managed to form a square but were unformed. Thankfully the Prussian cavalry were unable to press home their attack, nor were the infantry as they were halted by close range canister fire from the French 12pdr battery.

Over towards the centre Nigel had deployed his artillery right in front of Jim's advancing French infantry.  Jim did manager to drive off a battalion of Prussian infantry supporting the cannon but were badly knocked about in the process.
Paul's attack stalled as his first round of charges by his infantry columns were all repulsed  after which his brigade became hesitant. Not a good place to choose.
Back on the Prussian right Jim was still making very slow progress giving the Saxon brigade time to deploy.
However, Jim did get his elite light infantry into action, braving flanking fire from Prussian fusiliers lurking in the village, they charged the Saxon cannon and forced them to retreat.
The French reserve cavalry made a gallant attempt to halt the Prussian cuirassiers but were pushed back.  Thankfully for the French the Prussians also withdrew, but under orders.

The French dragoons recovering from their combat.
Conrad's Prussians didn't seem to be making much progress, particularly as they were still very congested and couldn't make their numbers tell.
Suddenly the French in the centre lost a battalion and the entire brigade became 'faltering'. Paul predictably threw badly and the entire brigade was forced to withdraw.

Saxon hussars avoiding all contact with the enemy.
Utter confusion in the centre, with Paul's troops pulling back and Jim's advancing, while the Prussians still handy given themselves space to manoeuvre.
Jim's very tardy division finally began to exchange shots with the Saxons, just in time to cover the army's  withdrawal.

There was now a large gap in the centre where Paul's battalions had been, which the Prussians were gleefully filling.
Madame Guillotine will be busy tonight (I think the French commanders Paul and Jim will see just how busy), under the ever watchful eye of the 'representative  en mission'. In reality 17 French generals were guillotined in 1793, usually for failing to win, which is why the Directory had trouble finding anyone willing to take command of the Army of the Rhine and others for a while. No wonder really!
 So, and finally, a Prussian victory. Everything that could have gone badly for the French did, so none of the short term advantages I'd planned on actually came to anything. C'est la guerre I guess. The game was a bit slower than the previous ones but that is probably down to it being a multi-player game and to me making a few mistakes with the rules yet again. Anyway, I am looking forward to another game or several using GdA in a couple of weeks time. Thanks to the guys for coming to be guinea pigs with GdA. I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

Its the Other Partizan on Sunday and am looking forward to it if I'm recovered enough from the game to go.


  1. Great looking game Colin. I may give GdA a look see. Di your time warp catch anyone out? No one asking where their Mitraillous was?

  2. Splendid stuff, like your little subterfuge for the players. Hope you are OK for Sunday, looks like another good 'un is on the cards.

  3. Great looking game....and well done the prussians for a change 😀

  4. Marvelous looking game, Colin. For figures, the Saxon cavalry take top honors as most handsome especially since they managed to not soil their pretty uniforms.

  5. Wonderful stuff Colin! Hope to see you Sunday at TOP.