Monday, October 15, 2012

Sausage and Sauerkraut Fest - Part One

We kicked off the fall gaming season with an all German (hence the title) battle royal using our favorite, The Final Argument of Kings.  We've been play-testing the 2nd edition rules and this time took extra care to make sure we implemented all the changes.  As a result it slowed the game a bit to make sure we didn't miss anything, but was worthwhile.

The "fantasy" battle features 21 Prussian and five Brunswick battalions, nine cavalry regiments and seven batteries facing off against 28 Hanoverian battalions, eight cavalry and a similar number of guns.  The center of the table is dominated by a ridge line which overlooks a Prussian city off table.  Control of it by the Hanoverians would endanger the city from siege guns, so the Prussian army must deny it to them.  The Prussians naturally have the best infantry on table, but also the worst since they have a brigade of Freikorps.  The Prussian cavalry is also a notch above the majority of the Hanoverian, with von Seydlitz leading them.

Prussian right, with the "heavies"

Prussian center with fusiliers and musketeers

Prussian left with the light cav, Freikorps and Brunswickers

The Hanoverian left with some new units

Because of the blind nature of the approach, we opted to do a double move at the beginning.  This led to units being closer together when they sighted each other than we are used to.  No artillery hammering the approaching lines and columns, just a "hammer and tongs" result right away.  Since both sides wanted the ridge line, the onus was on each side to make a play at it. 

Looking for left to right after the double move

On the Prussian right, Seydlitz (Dan) unleashed the cavalry in an all out charge.  Since we were starting so close together he was able to close with the also charging enemy before there was any risk of falling into disorder.  The Garde du Corps in a supported charge crashed into some fine hussars (also supported), threw them back, followed up and meleed them to extinction.  The regimental standard of the hussars passed into joyful hands of the Prussians.  Other units followed up, though they were exposed to some murderous flanking fire of the reacting Hanoverians in turns to come.

Cavalry "before" photo

Cavalry "after" photo

The Prussian right had a grenadier brigade leading a musketeer brigade as the main thrust.  Fearful (I know, not Prussian of me) of being charged while moving, we elected to form in place, while the Hanoverians moved forward and formed line with a "front to flank" maneuver at the end.  As a result, they had the edge on the contest for the ridge.

In the turns that followed the Prussians labored up the hill and engaged the Hanoverian infantry frontally while the Prussian cavalry turned and began riding down and eliminating units.  This meant that the expected bloodbath wasn't as bad as it could have been for the grenadiers, who were able to keep three of the four battalions in fighting order after clearing the ridge.  One battalion of musketeers, charged an enemy column and overcome with fiery impetuosity raced on, scattering other defenders still at last they stopped in front of fresh enemy forces.  With predictable results.

Coming to grips, with the rampaging musketeer shaken

Combined arms in action, all without player conversation

Much as I'd like to say that things were all going the Prussian way, on the left the main Hanoverian force and cavalry group were making slow but steady progress against the out-numbered Freikorps, Brunswickers and light cavalry.  The gallant von Seydlitz was struck down and his fate has not been determined, forced Der Alte Fritz himself to ride over and stabilize things till a successor can be named.  For a time the bulk of the Prussian cavalry milled about leaderless.

Cream of the Hanoverian cavalry early on

So the battle hangs in the balance, with each side attempting to turn the others right.  The game will be continued on Wednesday night.  Check back for the exciting conclusion.

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