Thursday 6 December 2018

Leuthen, 5 December 2018

As I mentioned in the previous post we were refighting the Battle of Leuthen yesterday on its 261st anniversary. I was joined by Conrad, Steve, Nigel and Graham for the game. Sadly Dave was unable to come but that meant I got to play.

Graham and I got to be the Prussians by virtue of the fact that all of the others wanted to be Austrians (for some weird religious, moral or socio-demographic reason no doubt). The Prussian objective was simple. Capture Leuthen and destroy the Austrian army. The Austrians had to hold Leuthen and avoid being made mincemeat of by the nasty Prussians. We used Black Powder 2 with a few house rules thrown in (which I will list at the end). I also changed the turn sequence so that moving came after firing rather than before it.

The scenario begins with Frederick's army having completed its flanking march, and after defeating the Austrian extreme left around Sagshutz (off table behind the Prussian base line) was now poised to attack Leuthen, while the Austrian army redeployed as fast as possible to face the threat to their flank. The Reichsarmee contingent that had been holding Sagshutz is on the table, retreating towards Leuthen, and is already carrying casualties. (These were randomly generated and Nigel could hardly have done worse, as a couple of his battalions began the game shaken!). I had a plan. Graham (Seydlitz) was to push forward with his cavalry on the right in order to keep the Reichs troops under pressure. His infantry was to ignore the church and attack the Austrian left, while my infantry would swing round behind them ready to attack the church from the east. Meanwhile all our artillery would deploy facing the church. My hussars were to cover our left flank, and my reserve cavalry were hidden off table on the extreme south west. I will let the photos tell the story as usual.

Turn1. The Prussian cavalry tried to charge the retreating Reichsarmee troops but  failed to make the distance, while at the bottom of the picture the first part of the Prussian main body arrives.
The centre of the battlefield at the start of the game.
Reichsarmee eagerly troops pulling back, before the advancing Prussian cuirassiers who gave them no room to manoeuvre..
Steve ordered his hussars forward in a wide sweep but they were slow to advance which gave me the chance to  move my own hussars round the wood and onto the hill to intercept them. In the combat that followed both Austrian units got the better of the Prussians but became shaken in the process. The Prussians pulled back over the hill while the Austrians retreated closer to Leuthen. Unless someone could be spared to rally them they would be out of the game.
Graham's cuirassiers charge the shaken Reichs troops.
A second Prussian cuirassier regiment also charged home but were beaten off. They failed their break test and fled.
One regiment of Nigel's Reichs contingent were riden down but the Prussians chose to pull back and rally.  The Hessen Darmstadt Leibgrenadiers had to test as they had been supporting the broken unit to their front. They too failed and took to their heels.
Rot Wurtzberg defending the church while Austrian reserves shuffle about in the village.  
Graham started to deploy his infantry ready to attack the eastern end of Leuthen while his cavalry reformed.

Two battalions of Austrians deploy at the western end of Leuthen.
Graham's cuirassiers pile the pressure on, forcing the Reichs battalions back almost to their base line.
The Austrian left is all but gone thanks to the sterling efforts of Zeithen's cuirassiers and dragoons.

In the centre a battalion of Prussian grenadiers is engaged in a musketry duel with the Austrians on the outskirts of Leuthen.

More Prussians assault the eastern end of Leuthen, held by a battalion of Reichsarmee Wurtemberg fusiliers. The grenadiers made several attempts to evict them but were beaten off each time.

Steve's shaken hussars await the arrival of someone to rally them. Out of shot two brigades of Austrian cavalry have appeared on the extreme right flank.

The first brigade were ordered to advance. Steve threw low and got three moves, which took him right to the Prussian base line where he was in a position to roll up the Prussian artillery deployed in the centre.

The Austrians moved their artillery off windmill hill while the second of Steve's cavalry brigades arrived. He ordered them to advance but managed to throw a blunder. Steve then threw a 1 so the entire brigade disappeared back off the table! 
Back over on the other flank Nigel's cavalry brigades finally made an appearance.; eight fresh regiments against  seven somewhat battered ones.

In the centre the Prussian attack had stalled slightly with the need to cover the left wing, but the battalions doing the fighting,, with the exception of the grenadiers who had been repulsed from their attack on the village, were still in good order.
Another massive cavalry battle began on the Prussian right, which was to go on for several turns as regiments were pushed back, rallied and thrown back into the battle.

The Austrians had the upper hand in quality and quantity but poor Nigel's dice throwing was abysmal, as it has been throughout the game.
By some miracle the Prussian cavalry were holding their own, although both brigade were close to breaking point. So, however, were the Austrians.....
The Reichsarme brigade had finally been driven from the field, leaving Graham's infantry with the opportunity to occupy  the western edge of Leuthen, which they did. I also charged the exposed Austrian battalion outside the church. After several rounds of melee it was driven back into the centre of the village.
Steve's errant cavalry brigade reappeared giving him a massive superiority on our left flank.
As luck would have it, Steve's mad dash across the table allowed me to activate my left wing cavalry, which made an appearance on the western table edge. Steve reacted quickly and swung his brigade round and our cuirassiers then went head to head. It didn't start well as my first unit was beaten, forced to retreat and then hit again by Steve's sweeping advance. My regiment was shattered and fled the field. 
I order a 'follow me' with my von Reusch hussars. We struck the just deployed Austrian artillery in the flank and overran the battery. My other hussar regiment charged and broke one of the Austrian hussar units
The cavalry fight on the Prussian left.

Despite initial reverses the Prussians slowly got the upper hand. The Reichs cavalry were driven back as were the surviving Austrian cuirassiers. The remaining hussar regiment was broken. 

Indeed, when we did a quick count up, the Prussian and Austro/Imperial brigades had both reached  their break points and were out of the game.
The Prussian centre begins to advance on the churchyard. Rot Wutzberg was under fire from five Prussian cannon and was suffering accordingly but kept passing its break tests. They got a bit of a breather when, trying to manhandle some of cannon forward I threw a blunder and ended up going back two moves! 
Two battalions of Prussians were detached to cover the left flank but were thankfully never needed.

My grenadiers' advance after their earlier was halted.

Steve's remaining brigade kept failing its command rolls,  even with the help of the new CinC. FML Daun had just arrived to take over from the less than competent Charles of Lorraine.

The foreground is rather empty of troops. The Austrians pulled the two battalions that had been posted outside the village back into Leuthen.

I was just waiting for our next turn so I could try another 'follow me' order with my hussars and take the enemy columns in the rear. But it was not to be. Both of Nigel's cavalry brigades and the Reichs brigade ware broken. Both of Graham's cavalry brigades were broken, as was mine on the left. One of Steve's brigades was also spent so with half of their army shaken or broken the Austrians had to concede defeat, especially as the brigade originally garrisoning Leuthen was also 0n the verge of breaking.
Prussian pyrotechnics.

The eastern end of the village coming under pressure.
Prussians edging round the eastern edge of Leuthen now that the threat from enemy cavalry  had been dealt with.

The Austrian rearguard covering their exit from Leuthen.
So. A Prussian victory. Not a crushing one though but a solid victory nonetheless. The rules worked well even if they can be very unforgiving (can't they Nigel). I/we did on occasion forget a few bits in the rules but I doubt they'd have made any significant difference to the eventual outcome. Switching the moving and firing phases produced an interesting game so I shall stick with it from now on. The thing with BP is their simplicity and the ability to tinker with them to your heart's content if you want.  They are also ideal for big multi-player games. They also work well when players (as in our group) play the period rather than the rules.

Overall it was a great game and I hope the chaps enjoyed it as much as I did.

Orders of Battle.

Prussian Army

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

Right Wing Cavalry:  GL  von Zieten (9) Acts as an extra commander for the cavalry on right wing

GM Scipio von Lentelus (8)
Cuirassiers                 5

GM Czettritz, (8) T1 behind Lentelus
Dragoons                    3
Hussars                      1          

Infantry Centre:
Advance Guard: GL Prinz von Wurtemburg (8) on table right centre
Grenadier Btn                        1
12pdr Battery                       1 x heavy gun
Hussars                                  2

1stLine:  GderI Prinz Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau (9) (T1 right half of baseline)
Guard Btn                              1
Grenadier Btn                        1 
Musketeer Btns                     2
Fusilier Btns                           1         
12pdr battery                                   1 x heavy gun

2ndLine: GL Frederick William Quirin de Forcade de Biaix (8)  (T2 right half of baseline)
Musketeer Btns                     2
Fusilier Btns                           1
Grenadier Btns                      1 
12pdr battery                                   1 x heavy gun

Artillery: Colonel Moller (8) (T3 on Butterberg)
12pdr battery                       1 x heavy gun
Howitzer battery                   1 x medium howitzer
Fortress battery                    1 x super heavy ‘Brummer’

Left Wing Cavalry:off table SW short edge and enters after the right wing Austrian cavalry have exposed their flank, come within 30cm of Butterberg, or T5 on roll of 6 on 1D6 (+1 for each subsequent turn).

GL von Driesen (8)
Cuirassiers                 3
Dragoons                    2

Austro-Imperial Army

C-in-C:  Prince Charles of Lorraine 6
Assisted by FM von Daun 8 (off table, 2D6 to recall after T3 – any double needed then he takes over command in D3 turns)

Right Wing Cavalry:  OFF TABLE TO NORTH WEST enter right of Leuthen T4
Gen der Kav Lucchesi (8)
Cuirassiers                                         2
Imperial Cuirassiers                         2
GM Esterhazy (8)  T5 as above
Imperial Dragoons                            2
Cuirassiers                                         2

Right wing reserve: GM Herzog von Arenberg (8)
in column behind Leuthen.
Infantry btns                                     2

Right Wing Infantry: FzM Kheul  (7) (enter behind Leuthen in column T5)
Infantry btns                                     3

Left Wing Infantry: FzM Colloredo (8)(deployed in and around Leuthen)
Infantry btns                                     4(incl Rot-Wurzberg in church)
Grenadier btn                                                1                      
Artillery battery                                2 x 12pdrs (on windmill hill)
Hussars                                              2

Reichsarmee Bavarians/Wurtembergers from Nadazdy’s Corps: Marshal Spitnatz  (7) (On table withdrawing to Leuthen)
Grenadier btn                                                1(1D3 cas)
Infantry btns                                     4( 1D3 cas/ea.)

Left Wing Cavalry:Gen der Kav Serbellini (9) (off table NE corner enter T2+D3)
Cuirassiers                                         2
Dragoons                                            2

Marshal O’Donnell (8)(off table NE enter turn after Serbellini) 
Dragoons                                            4

 House Rules:

·     Change to sequence of play:
o  Initiative phase
o  Firing phase. All firing units to be marked as having fired this turn.
o  Command phase. Additional -1 command penalty to units that have fired earlier in the turn.
o  Melee phase 
Any commander throwing a blunder will be passed the dung heap of shame until such time as another player blunders. While holding the dung heap of shame command rolls get a -1 modifier

Cavalry v formed infantry. (Steel Wall)
Applicable to ALL infantry. Infantry are classed as being in ‘steel wall’ providing:
·     their flanks have friendly infantry within 6””, 
·     or are secured by terrain features, 
·     or there are no enemy in their flank arc within one move. 

Troops in ‘steel wall’ can deliver closing fire, add 3 to their melee result PLUS other support bonuses (i.e. flanks and rear).
Cavalry do not gain any charge bonus when attacking a ‘steel wall’ unless the target is already engaged, disordered or shaken.

Rear Rank Reversed. 
Is allowed as a charge response to 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.


  1. What a wonderful looking game! And it is always great to glimpse a few of the less usual earlier Austrian flag patterns. The horizontal striped pattern is one of my personal favorite infantry standards, and one I hope to add to my own forces before too long. Of course, I must paint the actual figures first!

    Best Regards,


  2. Well now, that is trypuely splendid. I really like the ‘Steel Wall’ rule, I may borrow that on Monday next please.

  3. Colin,
    first thanks for hosting such a splendid game. I have to say that I had some trepidation about using the BP2 rules, I think your amendments helped immensely and although there are some 'quirky' bits I would look at overall a most enjoyable game played in the right spirit and yes Zieten was helped immensely by poor Austrian dice rolling but then that's what makes the hobby interesting!!

  4. Gorgeous table and collection! Our group too has played with fire first then move modification and we like it much better than the original version.
    I have never been a fan of the blunder rules as in the book so I loved your version of it - dung heap of shame huh? I shall shamelessly steal..errr liberate that one for our future games :) Great idea!

  5. Looks cold, bloddy and superb...👍👍

  6. Lovely looking game, nice to see the snow 🙂

  7. Great looking game and AAR, with some very interesting house rules.

  8. Great looking game, excellent report and the most awesome flock of sheep.

  9. Great looking table and game - well done to the Prussians on their victory!

  10. Looks like you chaps had a heap of fun. Best regards,
    Paul S

  11. Always good to see a snowy game and this one looked a cracker.


  12. Colin an interesting battle as usual. Leuthen has some difficult tactical problems especially for the Austrians who should still have a very good chance of winning. Re your tweaks of BP. Personally allowing units to fire before moving might be a step too far for me.Especially if you win the command initiative and can go first. I appreciate there is a minus when the units dice to move, but if one has either a good commander or well drilled troops which the Prussians usually are it is almost a given they will be able to shoot and then charge home. The chance that they will have disordered the unit is fairly high, so any closing fire will probably be negligible. So between a first fire etc that the Prussian troops should have, they will also have an additional advantage in any follow up charge, especially given their much better morale throw etc. Against ordinary enemies the imbalance will be to great and potentially make the battle unwinnable for an Austrian. Colin its just my view and not a criticism more an alternative view. Still a great game as is to be expected.

    1. Thanks Robbie. The Austrians are still ahead by 7 to 4 in the Leuthen League so they’re doing pretty well. The switching of the moving and firing phases was pinched off Angus and his Edinburgh mages among others and actually worked well without any advantage to the Prussians at all in practice. Obviously you are correct in what you say about the potential impact of the switch but this time at least the favours were equal. As for command initiative I think you’re getting confused with Honours of War. Anyway, I will try it out a few more times before deciding if I will keep it, especially as Leuthen isnt exactly a typical scenario in which to try it out. You’re still welcome to come and visit as always. All the best.