Friday 27 January 2023

“Get your kicks from Route 1866!”

This post is a bit late but last Saturday the guys were here at the Burrow to play an 1866 game using modified Picket’s Charge (largely done by Neil with a bit of input fr4om me). John, Neil and Paul (seen below) were the Prussians, while Conrad, Nigel and Mike played the Austro-Saxons but without wearing spiked hats!

The scenario was a fictional mash up of the frontier battles at the start of the war, with the Prussians needing to quickly debouch from the mountains (just off table to the left in the photo below) and push any Austrian resistance out of the way. Neil kept us right with the rules which was of great assistance in keeping the game moving.

Here then is a brief narrative and some photos to show how the game played out. Enjoy!

The Prussian triumvirate looking suitably pumped before the game.......
The battlefield.
Nigel commanded a brigade of Austrian light cavalry over on the Austrian left. They looked splendid but apart from their attached horse artillery took no part in the battle other than being a target for Prussian gunners. 

The Prussians have advanced rapidly in the centre and are moving up the hill in the teeth of six batteries of the Austrian corps reserve artillery (including a rocket), a tactic that did not work out too well.....

Paul's Prussians on their left made a more stately advance towards the  thinly held Austrian right.

Prussians on the attack.
Neil’s divisional artillery was held up on the road and unable to deploy until quite late in the game. I really must think about limbers for these armies.
Undaunted by the Austrian artillery, the Prussians continued their attack in the centre.
Although the Prussian assault in the centre was bloodily repulsed the Austrian artillery took heavy losses and several batteries were withdrawn rather than risk them being destroyed. They were replaced by fresh batteries from the Saxon division as seen here. Quite a realistic bit of damage limitation.
The central Prussian attack, now with artillery support.
On their right flank the  Austrians were attempting to enfilade Paul’s attack
The Austrians advanced against the Prussians facing them on their left, but were soon forced to pull back out of the killing zone that was the field, and shelter behind the hedgerow.
 Prussian dragoons crossing the stream behind elements of Johns advancing division.
A Saxon brigade held the hill in the Austrian centre, supporting the corps reserve artillery.
Paul chose to use his cavalry brigade to buy some time for his beleaguered and battered infantry on the left. They charged the Austrian right wing. Guess what happened……
A battalion of infantry from Anhalt.
Fierce fighting in the centre.
Exhausted cat

War sure ain't no picnic, except here it is....

The Prussian attack was seriously blunted so by the time we had to cease fire it was clear that the Austrians had achieved their objective of halting the enemy invasion. Of course, they'd only won a short reprieve but it was enough. 

The rules and amendments worked nicely, with maybe a few more tweaks needed, and we shall be looking at how to best reproduce skirmish screens as they don't really figure in PC but are an important part of GdA. Of course, the Austrians were not known for their skirmishing compared go the Prussians who would keep feeding more men into their skirmish line to overwhelm the enemy by fire.

We also had to remember to space out the artillery batteries as while I only have a single gun and crew representing a battery, the rules suggest three models. Now, trebling the number of guns and crews for four armies (these two and the French and Piedmontese) is not going to happen but I have  an idea using some sabot bases which I shall try out.

The return to the Six Weeks War has got me enthused into finishing off what figures I have left to do, so I am busy with them now; a few (six) Austrian battalions, a hussar regiment and for the Prussians, the troops of the Oldenberg/Hanseatic Brigade.

I am planning to have a game during the week and then next Sunday it is Vapnatark, the York show.


  1. A grand game, but for me the cat takes the prize. Is it soft or hard cover I wonder?

  2. Excellent game - despite what the history books tell us the Prussian win in 1866 was not the clear cut rollercoaster it seemed. I was especially interested in how the Austrian muskets outrange the Dreyse by a fair margin. Plus what is not to love with those uniforms?

  3. Splendid looking battle Colin 👍