Sunday 8 December 2019

Leuthen refight. Result almost evens the score but still 7:5 in Austrian favour.

Its ages since we had a Seven Years War game so yesterday I staged my at least annual Leuthen refight, the anniversary of the battle being 5 December 1757. Conrad and Shaun played the Austrians while Dave J and I were the Prussians. By tradition Dave was Frederick. Paul S umpired as we were using his own Panoply of War rules rather than Black Powder or Honours of War. I had sorted out the orders of battle and troop characteristics. Essentially all the Prussians except the fusilier battalions were rated very highly, even the heavy and light cavalry, which may or may not have been too generous but this was the Prussian army arguably at its peak before losses wore its quality down. The Austrian Cuirassier  were also rated highly, while the Dragoons amd Infantry were classed as well trained experienced troops. Their Hussars and the Reichsarmee contingent were rated poor, the former as they were not ‘battle cavalry’ unlike their Prussian counterparts who definitely were. Units were scaled down from the original orders of battle at the rate of one cavalry regiment (24 or 30) on the table for every ten actual squadrons  and one battalion on the table for roughly every three or four actual battalions. Not all the Austrians featuring in the OoB were available; many had already been engaged and destroyed and others were still facing the original Prussian position or were en route to the battle an too late or knackered to join in.

Click here for a good account of the background and the battle itself.

Anyway, it all kicked off nicely on time and we set to it! In time honoured fashion the photos will show how the battle unfolded, except for a period towards the end when I was too absorbed in the game and forgot to take any.

Seen from the west, the distant Prussians are arriving en masse in the centre. Austrian hussars hold their right covered by their only artillery on Windmill Hill.

Leuthen church, hastily garrisoned by the Rot-Wurtzberg regiment and regiment of Austrians. The Reichsarmee troops can be just seen withdrawing from the oncoming Prussians.
The Prussian army advances in line after their momentous march around the Austrian left flank.
Me in my Frederick the Great hoodie. Don’t ask.

 The Prussian right wing under Zeithen line themselves up to attack the withdrawing and disordered Reichsarmee troops.

Prussian cuirassiers hit the disordered enemy. Despite taking quite a few casualties from closing fire the cuirassiers ride the Reichs troops down and smash into their supporting unit which is also destroyed

 The survivors of the Reichs brigade have withdrawn into the outskirts of Leuthen, while Conrad brings on the first three of five Austrian cuirassier and dragoon regiments. The Prussian dragoons are unable to hold back the wall of Austrian steel and are bundled back in disorder. The Black Hussars manage to stem the tide then one of the dragoon regiments returned to the fray recovered and pushed the Austrians back. The two Prussian cuirassier regiments make hard work of disposing of the Austrians facing them, but eventually the entire Austrian wing is shattered for the loss of two 'battalions' of the Black Hussars.
Meanwhile, over on the other flank Shaun had brought on his cavalry representing GM Lucchesi's  made dash from the other end of the original Austrian line. Prussian cavalry were hidden in dead ground ready to pounce, which they did. In a not totally one-sided affair the Austrians and Reichsarmée cavalry were shattered, leaving the Prussians victorious.

The second line of Prussians march in column move towards our right flank, just in case the Austrians were to prevail over our cavalry. Touch and go but thankfully they weren't needed.
The Austrian left flank has been routed, allowing the battered Prussians to recover.
The main street of Leuthen packed with Austrian Infantry.
This is where I got distracted. The Prussians had advanced as quickly as they could, (for that read as quickly as the dice allowed) stormed the  churchyard and  forced their way in, forcing the Rot-Wurtzberg regiment to retreat. The Prussians were poised to tackle the rest of the garrison when Dave’s howitzer managed to hit something for once and set the church on fire.
It seemed to be taking an awfully long time for the Prussians to get stuck in, but when they  did they drove all before them, occupying the eastern end of Leuthen and evicting yet more Reichsarmée troops in the process.
This one is for Shaun, who was told 'all you need is to get 3+ on ANY ONE of these four dice!
Seen from the West the Austrian hussars advance towards the Prussians. The sole battery of Austrian artillery can be seen on windmill hill.
A bleak looking Leuthen.

The start of a critical cavalry combat. If the Prussian hussars don't hold the Austrians will be in among their infantry and  the Prussian reserve artillery just out of shot to the left.

The Prussian hussars eventually overcome the Austrians.

Prussians and Austrians still locked in combat on the Prussian left.

The Prussian general assault on the eastern end of Leuthen.

Above and below, the village of Leuthen, packed full of Austrians and demoralised Reichsarmée infantry, and the church ablaze uncontrollably, forcing both sides to vacate the churchyard.

The outgunned Austrian artillery
Colonel Moller's Prussian reserve artillery. Mostly ineffective until the lucky howitzer shell set fire to the church.
All in all a tiring yet exciting game and a close-fought Prussian victory. The Austrians did well but their troops were outclassed by the Prussians. I'm less inclined now to think that I'd over rated the latter as the Austrians were in reality exhausted after their rapid march of several miles in some cases, passing their fleeing comrades, to reposition their line to face the outflanking Prussian army. I'm certainly warming to Paul's rules and I am keen to try them out again in another SYW game (I am almost ready with enough French for Rossbach), or maybe a French Revolution one. We shall see. Very many thanks to the chaps for coming down to take part in another trademark Big Burrow Game. I've yet another game here next Saturday, but it is a secret between me and the scenario organiser. You will have to wait.


  1. Colin, your Leuthen battle is truly inspiring. Well done! Nice hoodie too.

  2. A stirring sight! Looks like the game was loads of fun. Nothing quite like lots of large units on the table.

    Best Regards,


  3. Fine game in the best traditions. Not so sure about the fancy dress though 😉

  4. Huzzah for the howitzers! Using them was a good idea.

  5. Great battle report Colin!
    You inspire us all to wargame better.
    You and hoodie! You cut a commanding if not dashing figure.

  6. Marvelous write up and pics. Well done that man!

  7. Poor Austrians. Maybe they will get a revenge somewhere else. Nice Report. Well known result.

  8. As always a truly wonderful looking game.

  9. Excellent refight. I think the factors for the Austrian cavalry probably reflected their campaign state at the battle. Great time once again.