Friday, January 9, 2015

Name that Battle

Our group had the great pleasure and honor of gaming with the author of our favorite rules set, Dean West who among other things created Final Argument of Kings.  The table was 12'x6' with a long ridge line running most of the defender's side.  Smaller ridges and built up areas broke up channels of attack.

The Prussians, the attackers, were told that even though the Seven Years War had just begun, a Russian army was near the frontier.  They had been seen off in dramatic fashion a couple of days ago and now Frederick was free to turn his full attention on eliminating the Austrian field army.  Being thoroughly out-scouted, the Austrians deployed first.  Looking at the table from left to right, near the table edge was a fair-sized sets of buildings and some woods.  Some decent ground extended right till you reached a farmstead.  A smaller ridge went right from there, roughly in the middle of the table, with it ending in another small village.  The Austrians were told they could deploy as far forward as the line of buildings.  They needed to maintain the center road exit which represented their lines of communication.

On the left Frederick placed four cuirassier and dragoon regiments and a brigade of three light cavalry regiments.  Although it was good cavalry ground, it was also the flank where we weren't pressing.  Opposing the Prussians (me) were a mix of Austrian cuirassier and dragoon regiments.  Small advantage to the Prussians here.  Next was a large brigade of Frei Korps troops.  Two jager battalions and four regular FK battalions.  Next to them was a brigade of fusiliers and then musketeers, with a grenadier brigade in reserve.  Two heavy batteries supported our center.  The musketeers were to keep the Austrians around the farmstead busy.
The main infantry effort was to the right of the farmstead.  Four musketeer brigades formed there in two lines of brigades.  Their right was protected by four cuirassier regiments and some lights.
Looking down the table from the Prussian left.  Austrian cavalry in deployed in three lines beyond the "village," which is occupied by lights.  Armies tended to avoid fighting in built up areas in this period.
Using grand tactical movement the Prussians surged forward on the right, answered by aggressive Austrians who also raced for the center ridge.
One of many inconclusive cavalry clashes on the left.  Win some, lose some, a few melees produced the only permanently routed troops.
Things quickly heated up in the center as both sides made aggressive moves.  On the Prussian left/Austrian right both sides infantry were passive.
Note the vast expanse of ground between the infantry lines, compared the the upper part of the photo where they are going at each other with hammers and tongs.

On turn five, news came to Frederick that the Russians were in the woods to his right and rear.  Next turn they would hit table.  He began to reorganize his reserves as the lead Russians appeared.

It seemed for moment that victory might be within our grasp.  A wildly successful charge by Prussian light cavalry sent many Austrian battalions packing.  But by now the Austrian infantry was hammering away at the Frei Korps and Fusilier battalions, which were in danger of being overwhelmed.  With no infantry available to follow up the cavalry success, most of the routed battalions were rallied behind friendly troops.
On the right, with interior lines, the Prussians formed to await the Russian onslaught.  The Prussians were not out-numbered on paper by 3:2.  I say on paper because enough damage had been dished out and taken that it was hard to judge.
The left wing cavalry forms for one last push.  von Seydlitz had new respect for the out-numbered Austrians who had fought him to a standstill.
Fighting becomes general across the entire front as the Prussians marshal themselves for one more try.
The Austrian view, looking towards the advancing Russians in the distance and the increasingly successful Prussian cavalry on their left.
The Austrian view of the center.  The farmstead has been removed for ease of play.  The lichen clumps outline where it was.
And the Austrian view of the right.  That is a Frei Korps cavalry group parked in front of the two heavy and one light batteries on the ridge.  Auf Wiedersehen!

Russian and Prussian grenadiers come to grips.  The Russians are forced back but at a powerful cost.  At this point the newly painted Prussian grenadier Guards were to fire their first ever volley.  As their owner I claimed right of toss, stating "this first throw will determine how they will perform from here on out."  And I threw a three on 2d6, high numbers being desired.  So there you go.  Doomed to mediocrity!

Whang, bang, clang with the regular beat of musketry and cannon fire nearby.

And so it came to a close.  The Prussians failed to accomplish their objective despite giving better than they received.  The pressure of the on-rushing Russians, even if they didn't get fully engaged, forced enough Prussians to turn to face to prevent the full break-through on the right.  High honors to both sides.

So, figured out the battle yet?  To me it is obvious, but then, I picked it out.

Great fun playing with Dean and Kermit.  We got a couple of rule clarifications and changes as 2nd edition is prepared.  Hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as we did playing it.


  1. As gamers we can all count among our exploits a few really fantastic games. This one will go on my list as one of those. Thanks to Dean and Kermit for making the drive up to game with us in my humble basement. It was a great day with some great guys. Next time Herr Mathews, your cavalry shant be so lucky!


  2. Vive L´Empereur! At least a draw, better than in the real one.

  3. It seems Frederick narrowly avoided meeting his Waterloo. An excellent battle-report!!