Saturday, 14 March 2015

Seven Year Wars 1757 Reichenberg Refight

 On Saturday Robbie, my dad and myself journeyed up to Collins were we met up with John to Refight the encounter of Reichenberg using Robbies Austrian army along with a few of Collins Austrians and Collins Prussian army. After a Cuppa we decided that John, my Dad and me would be commanding the Prussians against Robbie and Collin who would be defending with the Austrians. John took the roll of Commander-in-chief: Duke of Brunswick-Bevern along with the left hand brigade of Prussians made up up of 7 battalions of line and Grenadier infantry, my Dad took the right flank brigade of 6 battalions of line infantry and a unit of Hussars and I was was tasked with the cavalry brigade of 6 units of Dragoons in reserve along with a small brigade of Fusileers consisting of 2 battalions in reserve and I also was in charge of the Prussian battery which was pretty much central in the table. 

Here is A little introduction to the Battle

The town of Reichenberg lay on the right bank of the Neisse. The foothills of the Isergebirge (present-day Jizera Mountains) almost reach the river while, on the left bank, the wooded slopes of the Jeschkengebirge are not more than 3 km from the river. Thus to the west of Reichenberg, the valley widens around a meander of the Neisse and is criss-crossed by several streams flowing into the river. The villages of Berzdorf (present-day Ostašov), Franzensdorf (unidentified location), Johannesthal (present-day Janův Důl) and Eichicht (unidentified location) are scattered on the left bank of the river in this part of the valley. These villages were close enough to each other to completely cover the approaches of Reichenberg from this side of the river. It was also difficult to use the heights on the right bank to fire on positions on the opposite bank. Only the heights immediately to the north and north-west of Reichenberg in the direction of Friedland (present-day Frýdlant) offered good positions to fire on the Austrian positions. However, Major-General Lacy had built strong entrenchments on these heights during the previous winter when he had also surrounded the unwalled city with a palisade. 

The Austrians were deployed along a ridgeline dropping away to the Neisse Valley. On the left bank, entrenchments defended the area between the Berzdorfer Stream and Franzensdorfer Stream. There was still a space of some 1,000 m. without entrenchment between the Austrian left wing and the outskirts of the forest but it was under the flanking fire of two redoubts. In fact these positions had been reinforced with 3 batteries of artillery and redoubts. The redoubts were further covered by abatis, palisades and wolf-pits. The woods were dense to the exception of the "Franzensthaler Grund" which can be considered as light wood. The stream along the "Partzdorffer Grund" had marshy banks.

How it looked on the table top as the Prussians entered the table on the first turn. The Austrains had to hold the Prussian advance until 3pm game time.

The Austrain left flank commanded by Collin. I think it was two brigades of cavalry made up of Currasiers and Dragoons on the hill and the wooded area was well defended by a brigade of line infantry, and light infantry who held the small village at the front of wooded area.

The Austrian right under the command of Robbie who had the role of Commander-in-chief: FZM Christian Moritz Count Königsegg und Rothenfels with 2 brigades of 4 battalions of infantry along with dug in artillery.
The massed ranks of Austrian cavarly looking very imposing 

We decided to launch our attack to the opposite side the Prussians did at the real battle and John took the battle to Thè Austrian right flank with his full brigade. After an early blunder a couple of good command rolls saw the Prussians close the distance to the Austrian lines in quick time. The Austrians first volley was rather dismal and no units of Prussians had become disordered., in return as expected from the Prussians first volley with platoon fire caused numerous casualties to the leading Austrian infantry shaking both units in quick time, however Robbies morale throwing was good and the Austrains held there ground for a few more turns before finally the brigade became broken and retreated behind the second line of Austrian infantry. Both Sides artillery proved very in accurate especially my battery on the hill who after mocking the Austrain opening fire volley proceeded in missing with every shot for the first couple of turns.

After some shocking artillery firing the local priest came over to bless the guns and crew, after this intervention my artillery actually started to hit and a combined artillery and infantry fire managed to shake a battalion of Ausrtrain line infantry. When Robbie managed to rally a casualty off this unit a second salvo from the guns in the following turn saw the unit shaken again and also the commander fall from his horse in not to good a way  via a Prussian cannon ball!

Robbie removing his recently deceased brigade commander muttering a few obscenities my way I'm sure :-)

The Prussian cavalry brigade arrives from reserve as does the Fusileers brigade who start to head round to support Johns attack. Well that was the plan as my recent latest bout of quite horrendous command rolling took effect as I failed time and time again to get more than one move despite been in March column. My cavalry remained behind the hill for much of the game and when I saw an opportunity to flank a marauding unit of Hussairs with a unit of my Dragoons I failed a follow me order! Things got so bad John used his CnC powers and confiscated my dice and replaced them for the remainder of the game'(although it must be said the replacement dice didn't make a great deal of difference to my dice rolling performance). I wasn't the only one suffering as my dads infantry brigade followed suit of the cavalry and were very reluctant to move as was Collin Austrain cavalry who only obeyed the odd command order.

Seen the Austrian right flank start to waver under the Assault of the large Prussian brigade , Austrian cavalry start to move over in column to give there support, although progress was hampered by yet more poor command rolling.

Robbies second brigade pushed through the retreating Austrain line and unleashed a much better round of shooting, supported by the artillery,causing heavy casualties to the Prussian infantry shaking a few units in the process. John in his following turn tried hard to rally two units with the brigade commander and the CnC but crucially he failed both times, this was to have a major impact on the game in a couple of turns time. Also the Austrian Grenadiers formed into column to march over and help the Austrian right flank.

With the arrival of the Prussian cavalry Collin advanced with his own cavalry brigade and issued a charge order but fell short on the other side of the ridge from my Dragoons. This led to abit of a Mexican stand off as neither side fancied passing there command roll with the orders required to charge.

Also on Colin's flank my Dad finally flushed out the Austrian light infantry from the village breaking the units with the help from the maraudering Hussairs. The Prussian infantry occupied the village and the Hussars turned there attention to the Austrian cavalry who were now showing their flank following there unsuccessful charge.

The 'coup de Gráce' move by Robbie. After much debating with himself "I should do it, but Really I shouldn't do it, oh hell with it I am going to do it" Robbie as CnC took control of a unit of Collins Carabineers (Collin was absent at this stage making some grub) and issued a follow me order which he passed. The Carabineers charged 3 moves, survived charging past the Prussian artillery as they exposed themselves only suffering one hit and smashed into the flank of Johns Prusian line infantry. Although the Prussian infantry managed to draw the combat both units had become shaken. This pushed the Prussian brigade over half and they were now broken, ending Johns attack of the Austrian right flank. Those failed rally orders had now proved to be costly to the Prussian attack.

With the Prussian fight flank now in retreat Collin finally got some of his cavalry into action when a unit of Currasiers who got the better of two units of my Dragoons who became shaken but fortunately not broken and were able to rally after they retreated out of combat. The Austrian Carabineers who flanked the Prussian line infantry were charged by a unit of my Dragoons who although rolled miserable in tne melee did manage to bring down second Austrian brigade commander before retreating shaken.

With the battle now very late in the day my Prussian cavalry finally managed to charge Collins cavalry supported by my dads Hussars who charged from the wood into the Austrian Cavalrys flank, which thankfully they did as unsurprising my attack dice seemed to show to many 1's and 2's for my liking. Without the Hussars I would have lost this melee, but as a result of their attacks Colin's cavalry brigade was now broken.

The Austrians move forward to engage with my Fusiliers who had finally reached the front line far to late in the day, covering the retreating Prussian infantry. After a exchange of a couple of rounds of firing I couldn't quite get enough hits to break the Austrian Grenadiers largely thanks to there stubborn rule and in return my two battalions became shaken breaking my Infantry brigade.

A final push from my dads infantry as they moved forward to musket range of the Austrian Currasiers,to little to late as the time had gone past 3pm game time. 

The mass lines of Johns Prussian Brigade in full retreat,move towards their own table edge closely followed by the retreating fusiliers. They had come just alittle short on the day of breaking the Austrian right flank.  Both sides at this stage of The game had lost two brigades each but the Austrians had done what they had set out to do and held the Prussians  at bay until 3pm.

It was a good game I enjoyed been part of despite my quite appalling dice rolling, especially when it came to command tests! Before dinner it felt like we were going to beat the Austrians right flank quite comfortably but that sure changed due to the odd failed test here and the odd test past there. It's a shame myself and my dad just couldn't get our attack going as really 2 thirds of the army just didn't get involved in time to help support the early sucess from Johns Attack on the Austrian right flank. However I must say it was a first for me (and probably Robbie) that we didn't roll any blunders! Only one occurred in the entire game and that's was Johns very first order which resulted in the brigade moving forward anyway. Also I took some comfort in becoming something of a sniper in accounting for a couple of Austrian Brigade commanders. Maybe now in the following battle of Prague those Austrian generals will start on one command value less than normal ha ha. Clutching at straws much :-).


  1. Afternoon Neil,
    There appear to be only two certain things to my wargaming. I always get a commander killed, or in this case two killed, and I always end up with a blunder. So to only experience one, was for me a bonus. It was a very nice game. You must come to mine for a Pike and Shot battle, but bring better dice.
    Good write up.

    1. Yeah I definetly would like a look up for a game when you next put on a P&S game, as for the dice I can't make any promises, I might have to invest in some new ones as the 100 or do dice I currently own as so obviously not up to the job ;-)

  2. Your report captured the actual flow of the game quite well, although most of the actual flowing went on at my end of the table, as opposed to your Observer Korps. The official report to King Fredrick has this down as a Prussian victory, as the Austrians retired from the field and the road to Prague is now open. Apart from thier cavaltry commanders who remain in small pieces somewhere on or under it. Good shooting. Great game and report

    John CinC Prussian advance garde

    1. I couldn't agree more John with the report to Fredrick claiming victory, and our Brigades were purely just keeping their strength and ammo for the push to plague, honestly!

    2. I think we gave you a bloody nose if i remember correctly? Our cavalry commanders died heroically beating off your dragoons! Never knew FtG had a spin doctor!

  3. Thanks for some more great pictures. One of the Austrian cavalry commanders really was killed in the battle so history repeated itself. Traversing fire from artillery: it seems to be allowed in the rues but we forgot it has to be within 12" (or 8" as we were using 66% ranges etc).

  4. Cheers for the game again Colin, I enjoyed the scenario and also the accompanying pizza at lunch time!

    1. My pleasure, it was a great way to spend the day. As for artillery and traversing fire, my take on it having gone through the rules is that they can. The rules say a 'unit' must pass across the firers front etc. The rules also define a unit as infantry, cavalry or artillery. Therefore as artillery are classed as a unit in the rules they can do traversing fire as a reaction as long as the target is within 12" and the other criteria are met.

      let me know when you have another lieu day and fancy a game. i will also give you plenty of warning about the date for Prague.