Saturday, 19 May 2018

Three New Bridges - The waterway project.

Making river sections is probably the most boring terrain job I've undertaken in years. It's mind numbing, and I've been unable to make any progress on the river project for over a month. 

However, even having bored myself stupid, I did need to make some bridges so that I can actually use what I've made. Bridges are much more interesting to make than river sections, so today I braced myself for the task and knocked up three new bridges for my 'average' river (100 mm width of water). I was going to make four, but as I already have a ford (pictured here also) I wondered if I'd ever have enough road to link that many up. I decided three bridges and a ford should be more than enough. Of course, that does sound a bit like famous last words. 

When I restock my foam board to make the banks for the narrow river sections - Aaaaargh! - I'll also make a pontoon section which can, at a pinch, double as an ordinary bridge in emergencies.

Designing the bridges was pretty simple. I wanted them all to be different so that, in scenario briefings and during a game, each bridge can be easily described verbally. I decided on two stone bridges - one a double arched bridge and one a single arched bridge - and a wooden bridge (with stone abutments and a central stone pier). The latter was a cobbled together design, not based on any bridge I've ever seen and consequently, to me at least, it looks a bit queer. But, it will get troops across, and from an engineering point of view it looks sound enough. In fact, that's probably what looks wrong about it, it's over engineered. Ho hum.

The bridges are based on 2 mm thick MDF. The banks of the river, and the 'walls' of the stone bridges are 5 mm thick foam board. The 'roads' of the bridges are made from artist's mounting board (quality card, about 1 mm thick). The underside of the arches is made from thin card (cheap Christmas cards, from cheap friends, not that I'm complaining). The stone pier for the wood bridge is foam board. All other detail, such as brickwork, buttressing (on the two arch bridge), railings and wooden planking is thin balsa wood. I prefer balsa wood, for this kind of thing, to any other substance, because it is so easy to cut up. The stippling effect to rough up the stone is artist's heavy body acrylic paint (the tubed stuff from artist's shops), as are the 'road' surfaces. The bridges were painted with household emulsion paint.

The bridges:


The ford (which I really like) made whilst doing the river sections themselves:


So now I have over 20' of wide rivers (180 mm width of water) with three bridges and a pontoon section, and over 20' of 'average' rivers (100 mm width of water) with three bridges and a ford (pontoon section to follow). And, they can all be joined up using 'tributary sections' to make a complete system of waterways.

I'm on the finishing straight. Next up the narrow river sections (50 mm width of water) and 'ponds' (some linking into the narrow waterways), and bridges to cross them. These too, will link into wider rivers using 'tributary sections' when required. It's a job I'm not looking forward to.

I may also make, at some point after I've recovered, some very narrow streams (30 mm width of water) but these will be made in a different way because the banks might look a bit silly otherwise. I'll have to see how versatile the 50 mm wide rivers are.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Kolin 1757 - Victory conditions and terrain


VICTORY CONDITIONS

In my last scenario (Liegnitz) I used a system of victory conditions that I haven't used before. They worked extremely well at focusing the action whilst giving more than one objective to determine the level of victory or loss, so I'm going to use something very similar for Kolin. 

Using victory conditions which direct the action should work well for this battle. In my opinion this battle will work best if Krzeczor Hill and Przerovsky Hill are made the main objectives, with Krzeczor Hill being primary. 


Hulsen's command in front of Krzeczor village, beyond lies the key to the battle Krzeczor Hill.

The game will end when the side not holding Krzeczor Hill throws in the towel at zero army morale points. At that point, if the resigning side holds Przerovsky Hill the game will be a losing draw -because the resigning side gave up - but, a defeat with honour, bands playing, and everyone gets medals. Otherwise the victory goes to the holder of Krzeczor Hill. If the winning side holds both hills the victory is a major one. If the winning side holds all three hills, Pobortz Hill being the third, the victory is truly historic. 

To aid the determination of who holds hills, the summit of each hill has been marked with a red headed drawing pin. To hold a hill, a player must have the closest unit to the pin with no enemy unit within eight inches of it.


Looking south west. In the foreground is Chotzemitz with its defending Grenzers, A depression runs south of Chotzemitz towards the saddle between Krzeczor Hill and Przerovsky Hill. In the distance stands Przeserovsky Hill, bristling with guns and muskets.

TERRAIN

The hills are gentle and cause no hindrance to movement. They do not provide a superior position to fire from. Przerovsky Hill and Pobortz Hill provide a superior position when defending, up hill, in melee; Krzeczor hill does not.


I took this shot of the slope running down to the Kaiserstrasse from just west of Krzeczor some years ago.
The slope is about 6%.
The reverse slope of Kreczor Hill looking south west. In a previous post I've mislabelled this shot.
All villages count as Type III town sections for movement and cover. Krzeczor is two adjoining sections, one north one south. The other villages are one section only.
Looking south east across Bristvi towards the Oak Wood. The church, a two section built up area with the forward section manned by Grenzers, is Krzeczor. 
The woods, including Oak Wood, are Type III for movement and cover. 


This is the Thrty Years War Swedish earthwork running west from Krzeczor. It looks big, but the ground scale I'm working at means that it is just part of my village of Krzeczor. One thing is for sure, until you get past it, you can't see the top of the Kreczor Hill. In the mid distance on the extreme right of the photo, and sticking up from the low tree line, stands the Kolin Memorial.
The depressions, at Chotzemitz and Bristwi, are Type III for movement and cover.


Bristvi, a small hamlet in one of the two deep depressions that cut up the battlefield. Down the road is Chotzemitz and the second depression.
The roads are tracks and do not provide movement rate bonuses.

All other terrain has no effect and has been placed for purely scenic reasons.  


Krzecor church. Mark Dudley is on the right, looking for a Prussian bakery.

Kolin 1757 - OOB for my scenario


Following on from my post concerning the set up of my scenario, with a start time of around 2.00 pm and Hulsen closing in on Krzeczor village, I will now detail the OOB I'm going to use. The forces, as mentioned in the first post I did, are scaled at a reduced ratio to my normal practice. For this scenario, the units represent approximately three battalions of infantry or one and a half regiments of cavalry (counting regiments as 5 - 6 squadrons). I have taken the liberty of slightly reducing the numbers of brigades so that there are not so many one and two unit commands.

We will use classic Piquet rules with our house amendments for large 18th Century battles. The OOB is set out accordingly.



PRUSSIA

Commander-in-Chief: King Frederick II. Rated skilled.
Army morale points: 32
Extra sequence and army characterisation cards: Melee Resolution; Cavalry Move in the Open; Stratagem - off table reinforcements, centre.*

* This card applies to Pennavaire with three unis of cuirassier (see below). On any appearance of the Stratagem card the player may declare that the command will arrive on the next appearance of a Cavalry Move in the Open card - the Austrians see them coming a long way off. They arrive on the Prussian base line anywhere west of Bristvi. They arrive in a column of regiments.




Hulsen. Rated skilled.
  • Two units of converged grenadiers. Rated eager.
  • One unit of line infantry (musketeers). Rated eager.
  • One unit of dragoons. Rated ready.

Tresckow. Rated average.
  • One unit of line infantry (musketeers). Rated eager.
  • Two units of line infantry (musketeers). Rated ready.

Bevern. Rated skilled.
  • One unit of line infantry (musketeers). Rated eager.
  • Two units of line infantry (musketeers). Rated ready.

Puttkamer. Rated average.
  • One unit of line infantry (fusiliers). Rated ready.
  • One unit of line infantry (The Garde). Rated ready.

Krosigk. Rated skilled.
  • One unit of cuirassier. Rated determined.
  • One unit of dragoons. Rated eager.
  • One unit of dragoons. Rated ready.
  • One unit of hussars. Rated ready.

Schonaich. Rated average.
  • One units of guard cuirassier (Garde du Corps). Rated ready.
  • One units of cuirassier. Rated ready.
  • One unit of dragoons. Rated ready.

Pennavaire. Rated skilled. (Off table reinforcements, see Stratagem card above.*)
  • One unit of cuirassier. Rated eager.
  • Two units of cuirassier. Rated ready.

Independent units.
  • One battery of heavy guns. Rated ready.
  • One battery of howitzers. Rated ready.
  • One unit of hussars. Rated ready.

AUSTRIA

Commander-in-Chief: Count Leopold Daun. Rated Average.
Army morale points: 38
Extra sequence and army characterisation cards: Musket Reload; Stratagem - three stands of snipers.* Stratagem - off table reinforcements, left.**

* Snipers move up to twelve inches, in any direction, for free, on Native Mobiltity cards. They can shoot as other infantry but only reload on Elite Reload cards. They have a range of twelve inches and an all round arc of fire. They always roll D4 Vs D6 when firing. If a pip hit is scored the enemy unit is disordered. If the defending die is doubled the army also loses one morale point. Snipers cannot be shot at. They are temporarily eliminated (go to ground) if contacted, returning to the fray (placed anywhere the player wishes) on the next Native Mobility card.

** This card applies to Puebla. Historically, Puebla took no effective action in the battle but remained in place, effectively under 'hold' orders, for it's entire duration. But the military possibility of him becoming actively involved was a real one. Consequently, I have decided, Puebla's units must remain stationary until he receives new orders. These orders will be issued, on the appearance of the Stratagem card, if any of the following conditions are met. 
  • The Prussians have advanced to within 24" of any unit in Puebla's command.
  • Krzeczor Hill is under Prussian control  (see victory conditions).
  • Przerovsky Hill is under Prussian control (see victory conditions).

Wied: Rated average.
  • Three units of line infantry. Rated ready.
  • Two units of line infantry. Rated battle weary.
  This command group includes Sincere's units. I have amalgamated them because they were issued with the same orders - 'form the first line on Krzeczor Hill'.
  I have downgraded two units of Wied's infantry in the lead column because they were largely made up of 'single battalion regiments', and they performed badly.

Starhemberg. Rated average.
  • One unit of line infantry. Rated eager.
  • One unit of line infantry. Rated ready.
Andlau. Rated skilled.
  • One unit of line infantry. Rated eager.
  • Two units of line infantry. Rated ready.
Puebla. Rated Average.
  • Four units of line infantry. Rated ready.
  • One unit of Grenzer. Rated ready. (In Pobortz).
Serbelloni. Rated skilled.
  • One unit of cuirassier. Rated eager.
  • Two units of cuirassier. Rated ready.
  • One unit of dragoons. Rated eager.
  • One unit of dragoons. Rated ready.
Stampach. Rated Average.
  • One unit of cuirassier. Rated eager.
  • One units of cuirassier. Rated ready.
  • One unit of dragoons. Rated eager.
  • One unit of dragoons. Rated ready.
Morocz. Rated Average.
  • One units of cuirassier. Rated ready.
  • One unit of hussars. Rated ready.
Gossnitz. Rated Average.

  • One unit of dragoons. Rated eager.
  • One unit of dragoons. Rated ready.

Indepenent units.
  • Three batteries of heavy guns. Rated ready.
  • One battery of medium guns. Rated ready.
  • Two units of Grenzer. Rated eager. (One in Krzeczor, one in Chotzemitz).
  • One unit of Grenzer. Rated battle weary. (In Kutlire).
  • Three stands of snipers. (See Stratagem card above*).


Next up will be the terrain notes and victory conditions.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Kolin 1757 - Start times are important

After reading one or two comments and private emails about my post on Friday, I've been reviewing my set up for the battle of Kolin. Although I will re-fight the battle on the terrain I have set up, from Pobortz Hill to Kutlire, I have decided to set up the battle from a different start point.

A shot showing all of the set up except for Puebla's command at Pobortz (out of picture to the lower right). Another command, in shot but out of sight behind Oak Wood, is that of Morocz. I have put the Saxon cavalry under the command of Gossnitz, who was present and later became a Lieutenant General.
On Friday I set the forces as they are generally mapped out, using Duffy's The Army of Frederick the Great, Simon Millar's Kolin 1757, and Kershner and Wood's scenario book Campaigns And Battles From the Age Of Reason. This was a mistake, but I don't think I've wasted any time by doing it. I now know, that if the game were to follow the historical narrative, the table distances match the footprints of my units and I have enough room to deploy everything.

For some reason, on Friday, when I worked out the number of units required, I double counted some of the Prussian cavalry and I gave them three more units than they should have had. I also partly miscounted the Austrians, largely for the same reason, and gave them an infantry unit and a cavalry unit too many. The new numbers actually work out rather nicely for the initial set up - to be sure, the Prussian left looks far less cramped.

Hulsen and Krosigk in position for their assault on Krezczor and Krzeczor Hill. The stands of Grenzers with the pink beads can be ignored for now - they need to be deployed by the Austrian players - but will used to represent snipers.
When I looked at the advice I received, and having read the accounts of the battle once more, I knew I must look again the scenario start time. In the particular case of Kolin, I think there are three plausible start times and here is a general run down of my thoughts on them: 

Option 1:
The first is to start before the Prussians begin marching down the Kaiserstrasse at dawn. This would make for an interesting battle but I'm not sure it would look anything like the Battle of Kolin as it was fought in 1757. I'll quickly pass on this option and move on.

Option 2:
The second time to start the battle is after Frederick's march down the Kaiserstrasse has gotten underway, but before the attack to outflank the Austrian right (by attacking the supposedly unoccupied Krzeczor and Krzeczor Hill) has begun. This would be sometime between 10.30 am and noon, when Frederick got his first real look at the Austrian position from the Novi Mesto Inn. From here, whilst his army rested on the Kaiserstrasse, he made his plan and issued his orders. 

This would be the ideal place to start the scenario. However, in 28mm the depth of field is too restrictive to include the Kaiserstrasse; the road would need to be off table making off table map movement a necessary requirement. I'm not a big fan of map moves linking in with table moves, so for me this approach would be a tricky proposition. If I had another table running parallel to the one I have, on which I could set up the Kaiserstrasse this start time would be my preferred option - a dream way to do Kolin - but I don't. I will pass on this option, sadly. Sometimes 15mm looks awfully attractive!
Looking from Bristwi to Pobortz Hill. I'm with Der Alte Fritz - every table needs a windmill!

Option 3:
The third time to start the scenario is at around 2.00 pm. and I think this one will work best for what I have in mind because it fits in well with the terrain as I have set it up and there is virtually no off table element to the set up and no map movement is required. 

At 2.00 pm, Hulsen's attack is about to be made on Krzeczor village. Frederick has become aware that the village is defended (by Grenzers) and he has seen the dust kicked up by Serbelloni's and Wied's columns making for Krzeczor hill beyond.

At this point, Frederick changed his plan. Frederick realised that Hulsen would have a fight on his hands and by the time he arrived on Krzeczor Hill it would no longer be unoccupied. To save the situation, the attack on Krzeczor hill using his embryonic 'oblique order' attack would need to be abandoned. A full scale frontal assault on Krzeczor Hill had to be made immediately, and before the Austrians could substantially reinforce the position. And historically, they wouldn't get there in time.

Frederick now ordered Tresckow not to follow Hulsen up directly, but to immediately come into line to his right and follow up as best he could. 

Bevern, in command of what should have been a refused  right wing, also formed line and advanced southward off the Kaiserstrasse. From here, he would be drawn into a premature attack on Chotzemitz and Przerovsky Hill by the incessant sniping of Grenzers from the tall crops to his front. 

Bevern's starting point having marched off the Kaiserstrasse. To his front lies Chotzemitz which swarms with Grenzers, and beyond that Przerovsky Hill. Here the Austrian front line is under the command of Andlau (Daun is also present here but not tagged). Behind Andlau, Starhemberg's units form the second line. Beyond Starhemberg, the rear half of Wieds command (historically under Sincere) is marching to Krzeczor Hill. On Krzeczor hill the first half of Wied's command is in the process of arriving under the watchful eye of Serbelloni.
Frederick's 'oblique order' was not yet perfected - the wheels had come off before the juggernaut had got out of the garage. Kolin, like the battle of Prague, was part of the learning curve. It taught Frederick that an oblique order attack should only be made if the initial manoeuvres could be made out of sight and, at Kolin, Field Marshal Daun (watching from the high ground) could see and counter every move Frederick made. 

Although the game begins before the Austrians have fully manned Krzeczor Hill, some troops have arrived. The usually tardy Serbelloni has arrived in force with his cavalry to join Wied's cavalry (which now form part of his command) and independent grenadiers occupying Oak Wood. 

The guns, having outpaced the infantry, are also in position. They are just coming into action. 

Wied and Sincere (who will be in Wied's command) are marching their infantry into positions to form the first infantry line on Krzeczor Hill

Starhemberg has yet to be ordered to form the second infantry line on Krzeczor Hill and starts the game as the second line on Przerovsky Hill. 

Another shot of the Austrian position at Przerovsky Hill and Krzeczor Hill. Oak Wood is guarded by a single unit of Grenadiers. Behind Oak Wood is Gossnitz's command of Saxon cavalry.
The race between the Prussian and Austrian infantry to reach Krzeczor Hill in force will be an interesting one. Anyone familiar with Piquet's lack of a fixed move sequence will know how tense these kind of affairs can be (because you never really know how often your troops will get to move, or when).

Only one command will start off table. This is a command of heavy cavalry under Pennavaire. This will arrive as off table reinforcements, east of Brzesau and within 24" of it, on a Stratagem sequence card.

So that's the set up. There is plenty going on, so it's not just a case of the Austrians sitting on the hills and defending. True, some decisions have been predetermined for the players by the scenario, but this means the battle will, initially at least, have the look and feel of Kolin. Where the players, cards and dice take the narrative later will only be known as the game progresses.

Next up, the order of battle, victory conditions and special scenario notes for the snipers and such.


Friday, 11 May 2018

The Battle of Kolin 1757 - A battle by the yard.

Many years ago, when my Seven Years War collection was nowhere near as populous as it is today, I remember re-fighting Kolin using the reduced scale order of battle given in Campaigns And Battles From the Age Of Reason by Kershner and Wood. That scenario involves about fifteen units a side and even back then I could do Kolin with those kind of numbers. Since then my collection has more than doubled in size, as has my table, and more battles using many more units have become manageable but, some battles are still too awkward to do at my preferred scaling, none more so than Kolin.


The 12 feet long Austrian line, just about all in shot. The Austrian left, which extends further than the Prussian left, abuts the table edge. The Austrian right is a little over 2' from the table edge because it was prone to being flanked.  
However, over the past couple of weeks, I've been looking at Kolin again. As SYW battles between the Prussians and Austrians go, Kolin is one of the classics. However, for wargamers, Kolin has the draw back of unusually high levels of cavalry in proportions of type that don't (I think) appear anywhere else. For instance, there are ten Austrian / Saxon dragoon / chevauxleger regiments present, and overall there are ninety seven squadrons of hussars. This makes Kolin almost too silly to collect for. 


The Prussian line. As with the Austrian line one end abuts the table edge (in the distance) and this is where I'd like to have a further 18" of table so the Prussian cavalry could deploy in a long line.
But, then again silly is as silly does and, it would be nice to fight Kolin at my preferred unit scale of one wargame unit to represent an infantry regiment (of two battalions) or a  cavalry regiment (of five squadrons), hmmm.

So it was that the idea of actually getting my moth laden wallet out, for a shot to nothing, actually began to become a real possibility. If I forgot about the wing where most of the hussars faced off against each other, as most reconstructions of the battle do, I'd only need to buy three units of Saxon chevauxleger and two units of cuirassiers (one for each side).


Prussian cavalry on their left wing. They should be in a single line side by side. However, historically this cavalry attacked into the flank of the Austrian line and, because the frontage of the attack was quite small, it was forced to attack in waves. This deployment merely starts them in 'waves'.
Although I already had enough infantry, just to make life very simple, I thought I'd buy about a hundred Austrian infantry figures to upgrade eight units of Austrian line infantry from twenty four to thirty six men strong (to represent regiments of three battalions). The sixteen stands of infantry would include eight stands of grenadiers so I could build two extra units of converged grenadiers when required (Liegnitz?) - two birds, one stone, put the oven on I'm cooking! 


The Prussian start position for their oblique attack. I have omitted the Swedish earthworks next to Kreczor because of how town fighting and occupation work in my rules. It works better as a long built up area with two sections (one at front one at the back) the forward area defended by a single battalion of Grenzers.
With this plan in mind, but before placing an order, I began to lay out on paper what the battle would look like. It's a very good job that I did. It soon became apparent that Kolin has a startlingly long battle line. Even with the wing of hussars omitted, the Austrian line is over four miles long and you can't really compress it (as you can with some battlefields, like Zorndorf, which is just over three miles long and compressible to a little over two and a half miles without much game effect). For Kolin, even with my table's drop leaf extension up, I was five feet short - I'd need a table twenty feet long to do the battle at my preferred scale! Short of another quarter of a million pounds to upgrade to a house with a room for such a table, that plan must, for the time being at least, be put on hold.


Prussian artillery is rarely featured in Kolin games because they don't generally feature in the battle maps. I'm indebted to Jeff Berry of Obscure Battles (link in sidebar) for placing them.
I'm not sure if I was more disappointed as a wargamer, or more happy as a Yorkshireman, that the moths in my wallet would be left undisturbed. Certainly, buying the extra troops (except the grenadiers) would now serve little purpose; though the Saxon Chevauxleger would be a nice to have; hmmm?

So back to the drawing board. Next, I worked out what the battle would look like with some reduction in scale. I counted the infantry battalions and divided them by three to get a number of infantry units, and I divided the number of cavalry regiments by one point five. With a dollop of fudge here and there I had the figures in hand and painted to do it, and I had a table that was just big enough to do it. 


Chotzemitz garrisoned by more Grenzers. The rough ground behind the built up area represents a depression and woodland. Having visited the battlefield several years ago, I think it was the depressions at Chotzemitz and Bristvi which made the lasting impression (well them, and the earthworks at Kreczor). The cornfields are merely scenic.
As it happened, with the reduction in scale, I also had easily enough hussars to do the hussar wing but, again, table length defeated this ambition - the table feet I gained by reducing the number of units for the main battle was almost exactly what I would need for the hussars to be included so, still several feet short, the possibility of a huge hussar battle going on at one end of the table can only exist in the ether.


Kreczor and the Oak Wood. These mark the extreme right of the Austrian main battle line. Although the hussar wing extended for some distance beyond the hussars had no impact on the battle in this area. 
Significantly reducing the number of units in an army is problematical. Apart from the fudge one has to use filling the spaces left by fractions, the number of 'brigades' with just one or two units suddenly becomes burdensome. In wargame terms, there are so many senior officers kicking about the place that they have too little to do and look more like company sergeants than 'generals' (some would say, twas ever thus); furthermore, having a Johnny-on-the-spot everywhere spoils the sense of decision and tension in a game. Like the cavalry, I decided to divide the number of 'brigadiers' by roughly one point five and apply some more fudge. I think what I came up with, as a command structure, fits the outline of the battle quite well and should give the senior command figures more to do.


The Austrians on Kreczor Hill. In reality there were three infantry commands here: Wied, Sincere and Starhemberg. I have reduced it to two. I have Wied in command of the first line and Starhemberg in command of the second. I did think about putting the front rank under Colloredo but that would deny the players the chance to do their best 'Flower Pot Men' impressions - non-Brits see 'Andy Pandy'.
So, I set up my reduced version of Kolin on my table and the shots that accompany this post show what it currently looks like (it might change slightly). You can see that barely an inch of table length is spare, indeed I do wish I had eighteen inches more for the Prussian left to extend into. 

I still have to do the name plates for terrain features and commanders for this battle so, for now, more details of the scenario will have to wait. When the name plates are done I'll try to post a full scenario with OOB, bibliography, etc.

There isn't that much actual information about Kolin in this post, so I've filed it under 'blog news'. I wrote it more as an aide-memoire for the future. When I'm old and stupid, this post will remind me that I was once younger and just as stupid - I did so very nearly lash out the cash for figures I wouldn't actually be able to use at home to any great effect.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

The Battle of Liegnitz 1760 fought solo. Turn 5

Initiative A11 / P3: 

At Panten AIR50 repeatedly fires into the artillery shattered buildings now occupied by the Garde (PIR15 lose 2UI) and AIR29 pulls back into the church to gain a firmer hold of the village. 

Frederick fails a Major Morale check by rolling a 1! (1 morale point and 2 Dress the Lines cards). 

Initiative A5 / P0:

The Austrians prepare what must surely be their last effort to oust the Prussians (they have an Infantry Move in the Open card showing) and fire all of their artillery at their available targets. Though the fire on the hill is relatively ineffective (1 UI loss) the Garde suffers greatly and is forced to retreat out of Panten (with 4 UI loss).
Initiative P7 / A3:

At the hill's summit the Prussians bring their line forward (aided by a Heroic Moment / Infantry Move in the Open card combination) with some precision under ineffective fire forom (battle weary) AIR10. Damn me, those Prussians are good!

The Austrian 'Second Line' advance uphill and, after a sharp volley from the Hungarians of AIR2 into the guns of Anhalt-Bernburg's brigade, AIR2 charge home with sabres drawn, the gunners die at their guns (destroyed) and the Hungarians occupy the ground.

Initiative A4 / P2:

Nothing of note happens in this short initiative. So, here is a general shot of the action on the slopes above Panten.

 Initiative A11 / P6: 

The Austrians bring up the last of their fresh cavalry. AIR14, on the right flank destroys PCR2 in a hail of lead.

The artillery of Zeuner's brigade, with nothing else to fire at, engages in counter battery fire. The result is astounding - the Austrian guns in front of Panten are silenced (destroyed) - was that the sound of 10 Thalers changing hands!

 Initiative A3 / P4:

The Austrians of the 'Second Line' advance through the smoke of musketry to contact with the Prussians standing at the crest of the slope. The smoke was so thick that when all four units fired on each other, not a single casualty was effected.

The Prussians advance their fresh dragoons (Meineck's brigade) on their right and pull back the tired cavalry on their left.

Initiative P7 / A2: 

The Prussian musketry can be truly awesome when the luck goes their way. AIR14 (which did such dreadful injury to the Prussian cavalry) is sent packing (with 3UI loss); the Hungarians (which took out the guns) of AIR2 are routed (with 2UI loss); and AIR22 suffers too (2UI loss). The front line of the 'Second Line' has just disintegrated!

As the Austrians of the 'Second Line' stream downhill their commander tries to rally them. As he rides into the fray he is hit by a stray musket ball and falls from his horse (1 morale point and 1 Dress the Lines card).

The initiative phase action continues into the next picture. 

 At Panten the Hungarians of AIR31, no doubt inspired by the feat of their bretren on the slopes above them, throw themselves against the Prussian fusiliers of PIR37. The Hungarians win in a swift violent action and the fusiliers are evicted (with 2 UI loss).

At this point the Prussians only have 2 morale points and the Austrians only have 3 morale points. It's a close run thing but the Austrians have turned both Major Morale cards so the Prussians, no matter what happens, will be safe until the next turn.



Initiative P9 / A6:

Firing down the Prussian line continues unabated. In the musketry which follows ACR25 are routed by PIR1 (with 3 UI loss), PCGIV routs AIR10 (with 3 UI loss) and PIR3 rips into AIR25 again and they are sent helter skelter down the slippery, bloody slope.

The Austrians have 0 morale points. They have little chance of bringing the Prussians down to zero and beyond (at which point they would recover morale points) and until they do they cannot rally any troops. They have evicted the Prussians from Panten and they securely hold Bienowitz so they can cover the retreat of their troops. They throw in the towel, awarding Prussia a hard fought marginal victory. At the end of the battle the Prussians had lost ten units to the Austrian loss of twenty. 

I made a few mistakes with the Austrians and the Prussians during the game. Most glaringly I should have pressed the Prussians harder with musketry, especially with the grenadiers when I had the chance, even if it meant they were destroyed a little earlier. This might have softened up the Prussian line more for the following waves. I made the same mistake with the cavalry of both sides (the Austrian elite squadrons on the southerly wing, and the Prussian cavalry caught between the two lines of opposing infantry on the northerly wing) when I let them get mown down by musketry - I should have charged them, even though losses would probably have been similar it would at least have given them a fighting chance of inflicting some pain on the enemy. Apart from that, the mistakes I made were small ones, I think.

Then, as if by magic, along came my fairy godmother. She waved her magic fairy stick thingy and Hey Presto! Everything was set up for it all to start again on Wednesday night. I'm hoping then, it will be a four player game (Peter J., Graham H. Mark D, and myself), with each player taking a 'wing'.




The Battle of Liegnitz 1760 fought solo. Turn 4

Initiative A10 / P5: 

The remaining Austrian artillery battery in front of Panten repositions to blast the Prussians occupying it at close range. The fire rips through the village like a knife through butter, scything down Prussians and civilians alike (PIR2 takes 3UI loss, shaken). 

Behind the line of the stream the commander of the vanguard cavalry of the 'First Line' proves his worth by rallying two units of cavalry (ADR6 & AHR24). Muller attaches to his last unit of grenadiers, it's now for death or glory.

Meanwhile, up on the slopes of the plateau, some tired Prussian artillery discomfort more Austrians (1UI loss) whilst the dragoons under Meineck move forward to support the infantry operating on their right wing.


Initiative A8 / P0:

At the summit of the slope the Austrian grenadiers, now under the personal command of Muller, break through the Prussian line following a point blank firefight with PIR5 with surprisingly little loss to themselves. The rout of PIR5 disorders the battery of howitzers stationed immediately behind their rear. Then the Austrian grenadiers engage PCGIV but this time the firefight goes the other way and the grenadiers are routed.

(I'm having a lot of fun at this point and I'm making loud 'massed musketry' noises: Ahh, the joys of solo play! The initiative continues into the next picture).


The Austrians have a chance to sieze the battle by the scruff of the neck (with an unused Infantry Move card showing). The assaulting troops of the 'First Line' advance into the breach.

The 'Second Line' advances in support but, the problems caused by their routing cavalry earlier in the morning have created a definite gap between the attacks - the support is not 'close support'
Initiative P7 / A3:

The Prussian cavalry falls back before the advance of the Austrian infantry in an attempt to reach comparative safety behind their infantry line. 

To the south, the Prussian infantry turn to face the breakthrough (on a timely Brilliant Leader sequence card).

(Brilliant leader cards are not standard cards. They are issued to army's with good command and command structures: Frederick is a 'superior commander and has two, Loudon is skilled and has one. They are 'wild' cards).

Meanwhile the advance of the Austrian infantry is relentless. They are ignoring the threat to their left flank - they must break the Prussian line!


Initiative A12 / P4:

At the summit of the slope AIR34 pours volley after volley into PCGIV and the grenadiers are routed due to losses (4UI). 

On the right the 'Second Line' comes into the fray. AIR14 and AIR22 fire into the teeth of the Prussian cuirassier which have failed to fully withdraw (PCR11 takes 3UI loss and shaken).

On the left, at Panten, at Panten AIR29 and AIR50 pour their first fire int stricken PIR2 and it is shattered, streaming from the village in all directions (destroyed). 

Back up the slope, AIR14 continues its fusilade into the unfortunate CIR11 which is already a bloody mess and its remnants withdraw from the field (destroyed).

At the breakthrough, AIR36 empties its first volley into the howitzers and the howitzers, not to be outdone, respond with canister at point blank range (both take 2UI loss) but, it is the artillery crew who lose their nerve first and bolt to the rear.

(The action this phase continues into the next picture).

The Prussians launch a counter attack as best they can (with only 4 initiative pips) and PIR14 strikes AIR36 in the flank with perfect timing (no melee resolution card required Vs flanks) - it should be a walk over but the Austrians hold the initial rush and the combat is fought again (front to front). AIR36 finally gives way (with 2UI loss but, it can't safely rout anywhere so it surrenders). 

(Sometimes logic outways any amount of angle wangling and, as so many Austrians did surrender at the top of the slope, this seemed logical to me).


 Initiative: P9 / A1:

PIR40 of the Prussian reserve now charges forward into the flank of AIR37, routing it at a stroke. Again, the Austrian unit has no clear path of escape so it too surrenders (with 4UI loss). 

PCGIV pour fire into AIR3 and they run (with 4UI loss). 

The battle is again decidedly turning in favour of the Prussians.

The Prussians deploy their artillery in a position to rake the advancing Austrian infantry, and to cover any reversal at Panten.

To the north of Panten (not in shot as this was taken later) the pursuing Prussian cuirassier (PCR 5) have find their path blocked by fresh Austrian cavalry and are milling about in front of the Austrian guns. The guns fire into the mass of swirling troopers and the remnants stream away (destroyed).

This leaves the way clear for the fresh Austrian cavalry ('First Line' rearward cavalry command) to come forward.


 Initiative A7 / P2:

Austrian cavalry (ACR25) charge up the slope into the newly deployed Brummers (they have already taken 2UI loss so they are easily beaten) and the crew are trampled into the dust. The Austrians have exhausted their deck but do not have an initiative point to end the turn.

Austria fails it's first major morale check (add two Dress the Lines cards) but the armies brigade commanders hold things together nicely (2 morale points lost).

As I said earlier in this series of extended battle reports, the Major Morale card rules we use are somewhat different to the ones used as standard. Here, as written in our rules, is how we play them:


MAJOR MORALE CHECK
The routing and pursuing units of both sides move at this time regardless of terrain; they move at their full normal ‘in line’ rate; they move for free; routers always ignore the impediments of type II or type III terrain, pursuers do not. Pursuers in contact get a free hack, light cavalry D12 Vs D6, others D10 Vs D6. 

When this sequence card is turned it is played against the enemy army and the enemy’s C-in-C must take a major morale check. He does this by rolling a d20, adjusted for command quality (-2 to +2 in this case) versus the total number of units it currently has destroyed or routing. To pass the check the die result must be higher. If the check is passed no further action is required. If the die roll is equal or lower than the number required the army fails the check; the army must pay a morale chip and add two Dress the Line cards to its sequence deck; then the army must individually check the morale of each of its command groups.

If the army has no C-in-C or morale chips to take the major morale check it automatically fails, adds two Dress the Line cards to its sequence deck and must individually check the morale of each of its command groups.

Command groups forced to take major morale checks do so by rolling D12, adjusted for command quality, versus D8. If the command is currently leaderless a D6 is rolled. If the die roll is higher the command passes the check. If the command fails the army loses one morale point; if the army cannot pay a morale chip all of the group’s units are downgraded one battle quality level and any units already rated as battle weary are routed.


Recovering lost officers. On the appearance of this card any officers lost in battle can be recovered on a successful other difficulty check versus D8. Each test costs one initiative point. If the officer is recovered at the first attempt the replacement officer will be the original one; if not, the officer will be a new officer and his quality will need to be diced for.

Note: We do not add Dress the Lines cards for losing units as, in our large games, you just accrue too many of them. We do add them for lost officers, and for superseding command (the latter because it's playing around with command structures).

The Austrians win the next initiative and end the turn.


The Position at the end of turn 4.