Thursday, December 13, 2012

Battle of (near) Breslau - 1762

In the closing days of 1762 and as the campaign season draws to a close, the forces of Russia and Litharus gathered to meed the Germanian hordes once more, as lead by der Alte Fritz himself.

By way of background the rules are Batailles des Ancien Regimes (henceforth to be called BAR); a card driven system at 1:10 scale where the 24' table is divided in two with a deck of cards for each end.  The turn of said card determines who moves first, and after all movement is complete, another card determines who fires first.  If a Joker is drawn another card is played to see who gets it.  This allows that side to trump a future card turn.  Quite critical as it turned out.  (Click to enlarge pictures.)

In round numbers, the Germanians fielded 16 battalions of at least 60 figures each, 10 squadrons of cuirassiers, 6 of hussars, and some number of dragoons.  The Slavic forces had 17 battalions (to compensate for a quality difference), 10 squadrons of cuirassiers, 7 of Cossacks, 3 of dragoons and 3 of horse grenadiers.  Both sides fielded a mix of heavy, medium and light guns.  Russia provided two of their "secret howitzers" which we determined to only fire heavy case shot.  No round ball.  So very effective up close, but no good for bombardment.  I think we had them out-gunned 10-7.

Although styled as a "meeting engagement" the Prussians started on table while the Russians had to march on.  An "L" shaped ridge line was the objective of the day.  Smack in the middle of it was a stone tower that we all predicted would be full of the verdammt Prussian Jaegers.  We were right.

Now although it would seem that many advantages fell to Frederick, it was a tricky position.  The ridge was long and the L shape provided us with a natural "hinge" to hit.  He was too smart to give us that edge so they strongly defended from the tower on down, but didn't put their neck into the noose at the point of the L.

Open woods were found on each end of the table, so the plan developed by Generalissimo John Makolondra(vitch) was to have the Cossacks, Pandour battalion and two line battalions hook in from our left. 

A brigade of musketeers with strong artillery support under General Olson(neevobeech)would go at the hinge (even though we knew in our hearts nothing would be there), all four grenadier battalions and two more musketeer would be held directly behind them in reserve under General Beck(owski), the cavalry heavies would be to their right under host and author of the rules General Protz(ki), while I was the blocking force on the right with four line battalions and the dragoons and horse grenadiers. 

It was thought that the Germanian forces might use the more open ground on our right for their magnificent cavalry, so I expected a difficult day.  Alas, my opposite was also operating under delaying orders so we spent much of the day smiling and looking at each other.  Which is fine we me, I like to see a plan executed rather than a scrum.  But, to the battle....

Besides the 24 x 6' table, there are also back tables which aren't just for staging troops or placing casualties, but are in play.  Every game someone gets caught by forgetting the table edges in theory butt up against each other.  Today was no exception as our left hook got caught in the flank by the opening volley of a Prussian battalion that sent many noble Cossacks to an early grave.  As our main attack stepped off we began to be peppered with galling fire from the Jaegers, who occupied the tower and were spread out in front of the Prussian line in a rather Napoleonic style. 

The Litharusian brigade closed rapidly on their adversaries with the intention of putting the question to them quickly.  Immediately the Gods of War smiled upon us by granting us a joker on one of the first couple of cards.  This had a profound effect because as the two advancing lines closed on each other a Prussian firing card came up.  Trumped by our joker!  A truism seems to be, however goes the first volley of the game, so goes the game.  The result was most satisfactory for our side and we shortly had the Prussians shifting backwards onto their reserves. 

On our left where the Prussians were being aggressive the Cossacks and their supports had to quickly realign themselves to face the threat.  All the pressure now went onto General Olson-eevabeech to break through. 

Things see-sawed for a time on the left-center (our perspective) as galling artillery fire emptied a few cuirassier saddles and the grenadiers awaited their orders.  A courier from the right (me) came to the general asking for permission to attack, as I judged to have a small advantage in infantry and an important advantage in cavalry, being the heavier force.  Eventually, after riding the 96 inches in each direction, I was turned loose. 

The first Litharusian brigade, although routing a pair of Prussian infantry battalions, was running into hard times with the new forces coming up against them.  The two garrison battalion leading the assault did honorable service, but were routed in their turn.  One managed to rally though.  The fresher battalions now uncovered advanced to continue the damage to the Prussian line.
Somewhere in here the left was stabilized or even going slightly our way, the right was finally advancing, and the grenadiers and cuirassiers were turned loose.  The cavalry charge and results can be viewed here.  The grenadiers and supporting musketeer battalions looked invincible as they advanced. 

On the right Russian dragoons and horse grenadiers clashed against lighter-weight hussars, but the Alte Fritz mystic, coupled with my horrendous saves, prevailed and no clear winner emerged during play.  Everywhere the Prussians seemed to be in retreat or desperate counter-attack as we hit the time deadline.  That joker, early on, had a huge impact the entire game. 

The mass of Prussian heavy cavalry and guard or grenadier reserve was intact, so while we were going to take the field, no serious pursuit would likely be mounted.  While they covered themselves with honor and glory, much of our heavy cavalry was a spent force.

As always the game was characterized by fair and honorable play with success and adversity met with equal aplomb.  We are a fortunate group to be able to strongly contest the battlefield, while laughing and enjoying each other's company.  За нашу дружбу!


  1. Great game!
    Please accept my sincere congratulations! Incredible spectacle. Thank you. :)

  2. Nice write up Mike! Wish I could have been there!


  3. "We are a fortunate group to be able to strongly contest the battlefield, while laughing and enjoying each other's company."

    The very essence of why I game! Congratulations to all involved and thank you for sharing.


  4. Well written and illustrated Michael.
    Thank youski for taking the time to provide your report.