Sunday 30 September 2018

Lobositz anniversary refight.

As readers will know, Saturday saw us refight the Battle of Lobositz, 1 October 1756, so almost on its  262nd anniversary. I was joined by Conrad, Steve and Paul, who played the Austrians, and Dave J and John the Red who took the Prussians. Conrad was von Browne, Steve was Kollowrat and Paul Lacy. Dave traditionally has to be Frederick in my games while John (who famously had Frederick wounded and captured in our refight of Hockirck a couple of years ago) was Prinz Henri of Prussia. I umpired (more like just keeping people in check due to their enthusiasm) and provided the usual catering services, apart from Steve who brought a ton of freshly baked scones with home made jam and real Devon clotted cream! 

For some reason, whenever I use my iPad to take pictures of games, somewhere between 'airdropping' the photos onto my Mac for editing and then uploading onto blogger they get jumbled up and out of sequence. Hopefully I've managed to load them here in more or less the right order, or at least a sensible order. As usual this post is photo heavy, and I will let them tell the story. However, the game was played in several quite distinct phases, so, for example, the fighting on the Lobosch Berg went on throughout the game without impacting on anything else, and the massive cavalry scrum that developed in the centre before the infantry or Steve's Austrians on the left could engage. You will hopefully see what I mean..... Oh! You need to imagine an early morning fog covering the battlefield for the first half a dozen turns or so, which reduced visibility. We used Black Powder.

The start of the battle. Kollowrat (Steve) clearly had a late night while Frederick (Dave) decides what to do about his cavalry.
The Austrian centre held by Grenadiers and Grenzers in the sunken road and musketeers in the town.

This and the following photos will cover the entire battle for the control of the Lobosch Berg. I didn't allow the Prussians to ignore the hill and were forced to attack throughout the game as ordered by Frederick. John tried an immediate bayonet attack with his grenadier battalion which was thrown back by the resolute defence and good shooting of the Grenzers. John continued putting on the pressure and forced the first line back through the vineyards and woods.

A second battalion was thrown in but it too failed to dislodge the Grenzers. The Prussians were forced to operate in skirmish order due to the terrain and I didn't give them the same save modifiers as the Grenzers as they weren't used to skirmishing. It made the Grenz a difficult nut to crack, and try as he might John couldn't get his troops into contact.
The Grenz recover and resume their sniping at the oncoming Prussians, supported by a little 1pdr Amusette (top right). Paul (Lacy) was also able to bring a couple of regular battalions to support the Grenz.
And this is pretty much how things stayed for the entire battle. A fair bit of dashing backwards and forwards among the vines but without any advantage being gained by the Prussians.
The second phase of the battle was to become quite exciting. I'd made it a requirement that the Prussian cavalry on the right (in the far distance under Pennevaire) would have to advance towards the sunken road as they did in the real battle. I also factored in a good chance that Gessler with the other Prussian cavalry would then launch an all out attack in support of Pennevaire, who went hurtling for three moves (54") across the battlefield into units of Austrian hussars, Horse Grenadiers and Carabiniers. These last two units were made deliberately tough and they made mincemeat of Dave's cuirassiers and dragoons. Both Austrian hussar units were driven off however, and the elite Austrian units were forced back over the sunken road to rally, but only after they'd broken one Prussian cuirassier regiment and damaged others.
Gessler's cavalry pounding towards the Austrians (the elite Carabiniers). In doing so they attracted the attention of the main Austrian artillery battery outside Lobositz and took heavy losses from well directed canister fire. 
Another view of the swirling and to be frank confusing yet highly entertaining cavalry battle. Gessler's  command are about to ride over some Austrian hussars while in the background the combined horse grenadiers can be seen about to destroy their opponent and ride on to throw back the following units.
More cavalry action in the centre.
Yet more. This is was the end of the cavalry battle in the centre for the time being as the Austrians were all about to retreat back over the sunken road and the Prussians withdrew to reform behind their infantry and lick their wounds. Conrad's brigade needed time to rally, while the Prussians had definitely had the worst of the fighting. Pennevaire's brigade was close to breaking and to top it all, Marshall Gessler was killed at the head of his men.
Lobositz, defended by several Austrian battalions including grenadiers and a battery of 12pdr cannon. 
The next distinct phase of the game saw Steve activate Kollowrat's infantry and Luccesi's cavalry across the Morelenbach. His artillery had already been in action, and were taking pot shots at the Prussians. One such pot shot killed Colonel Moller the Prussian artillery commander.
Prince Henri of Prussia began to push his infantry slowly forward in the centre.
The Prussians certainly had guts as they advanced in the teeth of artillery and musket fire that was thinning their ranks quickly. Conrad chose this moment to move his now rallied cavalry back over the sunken road to face off the advancing Prussians. Dave's cavalry were still rallying and unable to  intervene at this stage.
The Prussian advance as seen from the Austrian lines.
Conrad's now rallied Austrian horse.
The Austrian cavalry have now recrossed the sunken road. They took heavy casualties from the Prussian infantry, who were forced to halt their advance on the sunken road.
A single regiment of Prussian dragoons attempts to stop the Austrian cavalry, but are simply overrun and broken.
FML Lacy watching his command pivot to try and take the Prussians in the flank.
A quick look back at the Lobosch Berg. The Prussian infantry and Grenzers are still slogging it out!
Lobositz. I found the church and the gatehouse tower group on eBay ready made for a good (cheap) price. They fit in really well I think.
At this point another disaster hit the Prussians. As things were not going too well Frederick was convinced to leave the battlefield back in 1756. Well, things weren't going too well in our refight and after a certain number of Prussian units had broken (three) Dave had to beat Frederick's command score with a further minus 1 for each additional broken unit. Par for the course, Dave failed his throw and Frederick left the field. Shame on you your Majesty.

While all this had been going on Steve had been slowly crossing the Morelenbach with his entire command, and was threatening the Prussian right flank.
The Austrian left pressed on supported by a fresh attack in the centre from the surviving cavalry under Conrad. All the Prussians could do was hope to blast them out of the saddle if they closed or to use their much reduced cavalry to counter attack. Indeed a charge by the Austrians on a Prussian battalion was wrecked and forced to retreat, while the Prussian cuirassiers and dragoons from the late Marshal Gessler's command were able to delay the Austrian advance.
More furious fighting on the Prussian right.

The Prussian cavalry were slowly being overwhelmed by Luccessi's fresh regiments.

A shot down the length of the battlefield from the Austrian left/Prussian right.
Some cheeky Austrian dragoons of the Jung-Modena regiment attempted to charge the Prussian battery on the hill. The leading squadron took six casualties from closing fire and ran away. 
The Austrian cavalry was by now starting to really suffer. One of their last charges went through a regiment of Prussian dragoons, and a sweeping advance took them into the Garde du Corps, who fortunately held and won the melee, forcing the shaken Austrians to retreat.
With the sneaky flanking attack blasted away Dave decided to drive off the remaining units with his  surviving dragoons. Unfortunately passing across the front of an Austrian battalion emptied many saddles and the leading squadron was shaken, and in the subsequent melee were broken.

The temptation to launch the Garde du Corps at the shaken Austrian cuirassiers was great, but  with Frederick somewhere on the road to Berlin, Marshall the Hon James Keith decided that the army was in no state to continue and ordered a withdrawal. Victory to the Austrians!
Well, that was a mammoth game and an equally mammoth report. John was on a hiding to nothing trying to dislodge the Grenzers from the Lobosch Berg as he was unable to get close enough to charge them after the first turn, but at least the attack didn't suck in any more Prussian infantry.

In the centre the cavalry battle was pretty momentous and at one point it could have been a battle winner for either side, but neither were able to totally overcome their opponent. What would have been a battle winner (possibly) would have been an aggressive infantry attack in the centre the moment the troops became available. There was no immediate danger of being outflanked as it was to take Steve and the Austrians on the flank several turns to negotiate the Morelenbach, and the surviving Prussians of Pennevaire's cavalry brigade could have slowed them even further. The Prussians would have struggled to dislodge the Austrians from the sunken road, but the road itself was also a death trap for the latter as although they were an unclear target for shooting, they would have suffered a penalty in hand to hand. The other way the Prussians might have won was if Conrad's original plan of an all out attack with everything from the start hadn't found its way "off the President's desk" before it could be acted upon.

Anyway, we shall never know, and hindsight is a wonderful thing. Dave excelled at throwing rubbish dice scores the entire game, but someone has to. Thanks to everyone for playing. I enjoyed hosting it as usual. I also enjoyed the scones Steve! (So did one of our dogs as well who scoffed a couple off the table!!)

Prussian Army:

CinC Frederick II King of Prussia (9)
Assisted by FM the Hon James Keith (9) if Frederick leaves the field he takes over.

Left wing: Bevern (8)
Grenadiers x 1
Musketeers x 2

Right Wing: GM Pz Henri von Preussen (8)
Grenadiers x 1
Musketeers x 5
Fusiliers x 1
12pdr x 1

Cavalry, 1stLine: GM Pennevaire (8)
Cuirassiers x 3
Dragoons x 2

Cavalry, 2ndLine: FM Gessler (7)
Cuirassiers x 5
Dragoons x 2
Hussars x 1

Artillery: Colonel Moller (9)
12pdr x 3
Howitzer x 1

Austrian Army: FM von Browne (9)

Light troops: GM Draskovitz (8)
Croats x 4
1pdr Amusette x 1

Right Wing: FML Lacy (8)
Musketeers x 4

GM Hadik (8)
Grenadiers x 3
Croats x 1
12pdr x 2

Right wing Cavalry: GM Radicati (9)
Carabiniers/Horse Grenadier x 2
Cuirassiers x 2
Dragoons x 1
Hussars x 2

Left wing: GM Kollowrat (8)
Musketeers x 6
6pdr x 2

Left Wing Cavalry: GM Luccesi (9)
Cuirassiers x 4
Dragoons x 1

House Rules (some of which are in BP 2 I believe):

1. Infantry may only fire if they move one turn or less;

2. Disordered troops may make a single move to the rear if they are within 12” of the enemy;

3. The CinC can give a re-roll to one brigadier if he is within 12”. If successful, move the CinC into base to base contact with the brigadier in question;

4. Risk to generals from shooting. Each turn throw 2D6 for each command figure. A score of 11 or 12 will result in him being a casualty if within 12” of the enemy. If further than 12” a score of 12 is required. Commanders using a ‘follow me’ order are hit on a 10,11 or 12;

5. Steel Wall. Applicable to ALLinfantry. Infantry are classed as being in ‘steel wall’ providing their flanks have friendly infantry within 3”, or are secured by terrain features, or are not threatened. Troops in ‘steel wall’ can deliver closing fire, add 3 to their melee result PLUS other support bonuses (i.e. flanks and rear), and cavalry do not gain any charge bonus when attacking a ‘steel wall’ unless the target is already engaged, disordered or shaken;

6. Rear Rank Reversed. Is allowed as a charge responseto better trained infantry (Prussians) and is a permitted formation for all infantry. The formation is static. Infantry get half shooting and melee dice rounded up in each direction;

7. All infantry have first fire;

8. The unit being interpenetrated must remain stationary.

9. Marauders and artillery do not count towards a brigades break level.

Saturday 29 September 2018

Lobisitz set up

A few quick photos of the table before battle commences this morning.

More to follow.....

Friday 28 September 2018

Lobositz tomorrow.

Monday is the anniversary of the Battle of Lobositz, 1 October 1756, the first battle of the Seven Years War which pitted Fredrick against  an Austrian army under FML Maximilian Ulysses Von Browne. I’ve played this battle several times over the last three of four years and it remains a favourite that I try to refight as close to the anniversary as possible. I would have to check but honours have been fairly even,  maybe even in favour of the Austrians to date.
The table is set. Lobosch Hill is lower right covered in woods and vineyards. The  troops will be deployed later today.
On Saturday (tomorrow) the Burrow will be host to some of the guys, Conrad, John the Red, Dave Jarvis, Paul S and newly retired and returned to the area visitor Steve the Architect, for this year’s Lobositz ‘bash’. We shall be using Black Powder, with a few house rules plus the second addition amendments where these are known.

Sunday 23 September 2018

More 1799 Russians

It struck me while continuing to plan my Battle of Zurich game that I still had Russian figures that perhaps (?) needed completing for the game. Also, I've not actually posted pics of any new figures for a while, so here we go.

This and the following three are of my second battalion of Russian jager. Some debate about whether they operated effectively in open order but based on what I've read and with discussion with like-minded chaps on FB I reckon they did....'wish. Used more as specialist infantry holding key points, guarding flanks or whatever perhaps, but they were at least partly rifle armed (according to Duffy). These are Eureka figures I've had since about 2015 so long overdue for completion.

Next up we have three batteries (half batteries really) of Russian artillery. The figures are a mixture of Eureka and Warlord, the latter with bicornes and green stuff pigtails added. Warlord's cannon are on the small side imho but they will have to do as nine decent-sized models would be pricey.

I've been using movement trays for my 1670s stuff for  while so thought I'd use up what I had left on the FRW project. Examples can be seen behind the jager as well as the artillery units. Certainly makes setting up and putting away much easier!

I'm currently working on a regiment each of Russian and French hussars, plus some more Russian infantry and French skirmishers that need their basing completed, for Zurich. Then I will have to knuckle down to the city and outlying villages. Urgh!