Monday 20 February 2023

Another trip down Route 1866

Last Saturday the Burrow was home to a capacity crowd with nine of us playing another 1866 Austro-Prussian War game using suitably amended Picket’s Charge rules. (Thank you Neil).  Dave, Richard, Ivor and myself were the Prussians while Nigel, Shaun, Mike and John H were the Austrians. Neil adjudicated.

The scenario was simple. One Prussian division with a cavalry brigade attached was deployed on the table. Another infantry division commanded by yours truly and more cavalry would arrive around midday (real time) somewhere along the baseline. ALL the Austrians (a full corps of four brigades plus heavy and light cavalry) were permitted to start on the table. They had to move fast if they were to drive the invaders back (again!) before enemy reinforcements arrived. 

Here are some pictures and a brief narrative of the game, in more or less the right order as I lost track of what was going on in the centre and on the right once my troops arrived.

The Prussian high command. 
The Austrian CinC looking unconcerned at the sight of the Prussians deployed  to their front.
The Prussians refused their left and held the centre weakly with a small North German infantry brigade, the cavalry, and the divisional artillery, while a brigade of solid Prussian infantry held the right.

The Saxon brigade on the Austrian left.
The Prussian right and beyond the thinly held centre

The Austrians massed their infantry in the centre but they were unable to take advantage of their superiority in artillery due to the congestion in front of it. 

Enthusiastic Austrians in storm columns
Two North German battalions facing a brigade of Austrians bearing down on them. No pressure guys!
On the Prussian left my leasing brigade had marched up the road into a maelstrom as they were facing another Austrian infantry brigade and a brigade of light cavalry.

Richard’s cavalry in the centre wisely kept out of the way.
More Austrians….

The Austrians just keep on coming.

The Prussian centre was only held by a thin line of guns.

Mike’s cavalry ready to pounce on my brigade in march column. I wouldn’t have chosen to join the battle in this formation but the scenario rules I created forced me. Doh!


The central Prussian brigade faltered as the enemy pressed home their attack. Thankfully they passed the test and carried on.
Mike threw his cavalry and infantry towards my Prussians. Despite being caught in march column every Austrian attack was bloodily repulsed. That result seemed very wrong but as my units were well supported and I threw much better dice than Mike the Austrians were destroyed or forced to retire beaten.
The right wing of the Prussian army advanced against the Saxons facing them.

Saxons on the Austrian left. 

Storm Columns
The Saxe Altenberg battalion engaged in the centre.

In order to buy some time in the now crumbling centre Richard launched his cavalry against the advancing Austrians. A brave sacrifice indeed.

Austrian artillery. The Austrians weren’t able to make very good use of their artillery as they were crowded out by the massed infantry columns in the centre. Austrian doctrine called for the artillery to be brought into action as soon as possible.

Mike’s Austrians attempted to halt my brigade as it marched up the road. Again march columns prevailed over the assault columns. Mmm?

Another futile charge by the Prussian dragoons in the centre.

The Austrians pressed on in the centre.

Cuirassiers and Uhlans of the Reserve Cavalry made a late entrance to the fight. Too late to influence the outcome.

We called a halt at this point due to running out of time (4pm and we’d been playing for about five hours). The outcome was technically a draw - neither side had achieved their objectives although I suspect that when the remaining Prussian reinforcements arrived they would be able to push the Austrian right wing back; the Austrian and Saxon troops on their left had already been pushed back so the centre was at risk of being enveloped, given time and a few good dice rolls.

A tremendous game I thought which everyone seemed to enjoy. Some useful lessons learnt for next time as well and a very few anomalies need tweaking eg march columns, and maybe the skirmish rules we’ve imported from GdA need a minor adjustment. The poor Austrians don’t get ANY brigade skirmish screen bases as they didn’t use them; the jäger can skirmish but in reality they were used as elite shock troops and frittered away.

This is my last game until I’m back off holiday in India at the end of March. Can I survive Seven weeks without a game or without painting anything? 


  1. A stirring sight, as to be expected from the Burrowers. Enjoy your jaunt around India.

  2. Enjoy your holiday. It looks like a great game, thanks for sharing it.

  3. Fantastic looking game! love your armies.

  4. What a magnificent looking game. I really like your mix of 'big picture' and close-up photos too. Superb.
    Regards, James

  5. Superb game and report Colin. Looking to head down Route 1866 soon.