Monday, May 4, 2015

Setting Up the Kolin Terrain

The Croats defend Krechor village.

Today I cleared off the Winter terrain from my game table and moved things to the Summer of 1757, where I am experimenting with some scenarios to stage the Battle of Kolin, fought on June 18, 1757. Probably the best battle map I have seen is the one by Christopher Duffy in his book, The Army of Maria Theresa. It is a good starting point for laying out the table and seeing how many battalions can comfortably deploy in various parts of the table.

Christopher Duffy's map of the Battle of Kolin, from The Army of Maria Theresa. This is probably one of the best maps showing the key troop movements during the battle.
The picture below show my third and final attempt at transferring the Duffy map into suitable wargame terrain.


Overview of the terrain set up. 
I have boiled the 30,000 plus troops in both the Austrian and Prussian armies down to a manageable size for a 6ft by 12ft table. The Austrians will have five infantry commands, each having four battalions; and three cavalry command, each with 4 cavalry regiments. Thus the Austrian army has 20 battalions and 12 cavalry regiments. I omitted the Austrian division of Puebla since it did not figure in the first part of the battle, up through 6PM on that day.

Wied's division forms up behind Krechor just as Hulsen's Prussians have driven the Croats out of the village.
So my intent is to game the Prussian assault on the Austrian right flank at Krechor village and stretch it west to as far as the little hamlet of Chozenitz. It was in this ground that Hulsen's and Treskow's advance guard and left wing, respectively fought. I do not intend to model the Prussian refused right wing, opposite Przerovsky Hill. In this manner, I can also eliminate Bevern's right wing troops from game consideration and thus reduce the number of wargame figures that I will need for the game.


Another view of Wied's battle line as it deploys on Krechor Hill.
The scenario will begin with Hulsen's advance guard attacking the Croats in Krechor village and driving them out. While this is going on, Daun is sending the Austrian division of Wied to his right flank to counter Frederick's attempt to outflank the Austrian army. Once Wied's troops pitch into the fight, I will allow Starhemberg's and Sincere's divisions to march from the Austrian left to its right using a timed arrival mechanism in the game.

Treskow's left wing of the Prussian army marches up the Kaiserstrasse.
The remaining portion of the Prussian left wing, under the command of Hulsen, will start the game marching up the Kaiserstrasse. Each Prussian command consists of four elements too, with three infantry commands (Hulsen, Treskow and Manstein) and three cavalry commands (Zieten, Krosigk and Pennavaire). This gives me 12 Prussian battalions and 12 cavalry regiments. I organize my cavalry into "squadrons" of 12 riders with two such squadrons comprising a regiment.

I will have to create some sort of deus ex machina roll of the dice to determine whether Treskow follows Frederick's original battle plan, calling for him to follow Hulsen in a march around the Austrian right flank, or will the combination of sniping Croats in the cereal grass and Frederick going battle mad and sending all of his troops on a frontal assault of the Krechor Hill?


Croats hide in the tall cereal grass in front of Chosenitz, behaving like, um, well, Croats!
"Gentlemen, it looks like the King is going to lose today." - Marshal Daun.
When I first set up the game table, I deployed Wied's division between Krechor village and the Oak Wood, four batallions in one line, and found that they took up about 4 feet of table space.  And then I would have to leave enough space to the left of Wied for Sincere's deployment of four batallions. If you look at the Duffy map at the top of this page, then you will see the area between Krechor village and Chozentiz and confirm that this is the area of the battle that I would have to set up, if I deployed he Austrian divisions into single lines of battalions.

The whole point of the game is to recreate the Prussian attack on Krechor village so the first idea (see paragraph above) might be the way to go. However, if I wanted to extend the ground to include the Prussian refused right wing, under Bevern's command, then I would have to shorten up the ground space between Krechor and Chozenitz. I shifted the terrain around a bit, and then doubled up the deployment of Wied and Sincere into formations with two battalions up front, supported by two battalions behind them.

This seemed to compress the battlefield a little bit, allowing me to place Bevern's refused wing on the table. I opted to go with the compressed battle terrain for my first stab at the Kolin scenario.

I am not going to depict the fight that Duffy calls, "The Cauldron" wherein both sides throw in everything they got in a desperate attempt to win the battle. I would like to try the Cauldron scenario as a separate game in and of itself. Christopher Duffy's map of "The Cauldron" is shown below. I would use this map to design a separate game scenario than the Krechor assault.



There is still a bit of tweaking to do before I am happy with the scenario. One benefit of laying all the troops out on the table is that I can see how many units I need to add to my wargame armies for this battle. Needless to say, I will be painting a lot of white coats and cavalry over the next 10 months as I shape the game up to present at the Seven Years War Association convention in March 2016.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Map of the Battle of Kolin in 1757




The map above was found during a Google search for images of the battle of Kolin, fought in June 1757. You can purchase a full size version through the Bridgeman Art Collection on line. The copy shown here does not do justice to the coloring of the map.

My search is a result of hearing that Christopher Duffy will present a lecture on Kolin at next year's Seven Years War Association convention on March 31 through April 2, 2016 in South Bend, Indiana. I have also heard that Professor Duffy is working on a new book about Kolin and this is very exciting news indeed.

With Duffy, Kolin and the SYWA Convention all in one place, what better time to bring my Kolin terrain boards and get ready to host it as a game at next year's convention, using all Minden Miniatures.

More on this later.

I am back in research mode now figuring out a way to make this scenario a playable war game. I've probably done Kolin four or five times now, but none of them left me with the feeling that I had done it right. For now, I'm jotting down lots of notes about the forces, the timing of their arrival at Krechor village and hill, and making up lists of what I need in the way of painted figures to do the game.

Any questions so far?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mollwitz Game - Part 2 Conclusion

Prussian general staff congratulation King Frederick on his victory

We left off the other day with two game turns under our belt: the Austrian and Prussian cavalry were whaling away on one another while the infantry were still marching into musket range. The Battle of Mollwitz continued today and reached a conclusion within six game turns.

The rules used were Der Alte Fritz Rules for SYW Games, which are my own rules that I have been using at conventions for nearly fifteen years. You can download a free copy at the Fife & Drum Miniatures website

I played the game solo and before anyone wonders if Der Alte Fritz Himself can play it straight with the Austrians in a solo game, let me review my solo gaming methodology.

Simply put, I place myself in the shoes of either side and ask myself, "what would the Austrians want to do and what moves would be to their best advantage?" I do the same for the Prussians. I figure that if I temporarily  do what benefits the side that I'm moving figures and firing weapons for, then an impartial result can be achieved. Finally, I do not care which side wins when I play a solo game. While I prefer the Prussians, I find it interesting when the Austrians can give Frederick a surprise pounding once in awhile.

Let us go with the game report, told mostly through the picture captions. At the start of Turn 3, with my Austrian hat on, I decided that sitting back with my infantry and waiting to get gunned down by the Prussian infantry was not profitable. With that in mind, my plan for the Austrians (who were outnumbered in infantry 9 battalions to 6 battalion) was to extend the front battle line of battalions and seek a place where I could place more muskets to bear on the Prussians than they could train on me. So on Turn 3, the grenadier battalion on the Austrian right flank moved out of the second row and extended the first battle line. The 1st battalion of the Josef Esterhazy (Hungarians) likewise did the same on the Austrian left flank.


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The Esterhazy regiment forms column and marches off to the right end of the Austrian battle line.
After deploying into line on Turn 4, you can see how the Esterhazy regiment could potentially flank the Prussian far left flank of their front battle line.

On the Austrian right flank, the grand cavalry battle continued. Prussian cuirassier regiment CR1 Krakow took on the red coated Austrian Saxe Gotha Dragoons and was getting the better of them. In the background though, the second squaderon of CR1 was surrounded by Austrian cuirassiers and cut down to the man.

Another cavalry scrum in the same vicinity was more evenly fought: Prussian CR8 von Seydlitz cuirassiers on the left and the Alt Modena Austrian cuirassiers (in blue facings and shabraques) on the right.

By Turn 4, both sides' infantry were finally in musket range (foot move 8-inches in line formation) and from this point on, winning the initiative each turn (via a dice off of both sides, high die wins) was important. We use an IGO/UGO systems: if you choose to move first, then you can only fire second, after your opponent fires at you. So if you really need to move first, you surrender the firing initiative. Most of the time, you want to move second and fire first.

At the end of Turn 4, the Prussian left hand brigade has siddled sideways to the left  to counter the  Austrian  extension of their front battle line with the red trousered Esterhazy regiment. A bit of a gap begins to form in the Prussian center as a result of this movement.

The Prussian lefthand brigade continues to veer to the left, but this time it is done with purpose so that the  IR5 Alt Braunschweig battalion can move from the second line forward into the gap.

On Turn 5, the cumulative effect of musketry and 3-pound battalion guns had caused the  Austrian 1st btn of the von Sprecher regiment to rout, running straight through the red legged Hungarian 2/Esterhazy, which was directly behind them. Their rout carried them right into the face of the Austrian commander von Neipperg inside the hamlet of Mollwitz.

The 1st btn of the Esterhazy continued to siddle to its left to outflank the IR1 von Winterfeldt regiment's second battalion. IR1 swung back in response, creating a kink in the battle line.

Over on the Prussian right flank, all of the Prussian cavalry (save for one squadron shown at the lower right) had been run off the field. The Austrians began to reform their heavy cavalry to take a run at the Prussian artillery battery in front of them.

A view of the field at the start of Turn 6. You can see the gap in the center of the Austrian battle line. Off in the upper right corner, the Austrian cavalry threatens the Prussian right flank regiments.

Austrian heavy cavalry
Austrian cavalry goes crashing into the Prussian battery. The left most cannon stopped the understrength squadron of red coated Austrian Saxe Gotha Dragoons, while the right hand section of guns actually won the melee with the fresh squadron of Schmerzing Cuirassiers. The dice gods did not look kindly on the Austrians this day.

On the Prussian left, things are at a stand-off, although a fresh battalion (2/IR5) provides back up in the second line, whereas the Austrians no longer have a reserve second line.


At the end of Turn 6, Prussian musketry from the Righthand brigade has obliterated the Austrian left brigade. With no center or left, things look grim for the White Coats today. Von Neipperg decides that it is pointless to keep charging his cavalry into the Prussian wall of muskets, and with no center, he orders a general withdrawal from the field.

King Frederick is congratulated by Marshal Schwerin (right) for his victory.

A nice ground level photograph of the Prussian king and his staff.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mollwitz Begins - Two Turns

Prussian cuirassiers are surrounded by the Austrians in the cavalry melee. (click pix to enlarge).


This evening I fought the first two turns of the Battle of Mollwitz using my own Der Alte Fritz rules. A free copy of the rules is available on the Fife & Drum web site (   Free SYW Rules ).

The forces are relatively equal in size, but are asymetrical in troop types. The Austrian army has 7 infantry battalions 8 squadrons of heavy cavalry (cuirassiers and dragoons) and 3 cannon. The Prussian army has 4 squadrons of cuirassiers and 9 battalions of infantry and 5 cannon.

I set up the Austrian cavalry so that it was on the flank of the Prussian cavalry, but needed two turns to close with the Prussians. I may tweak this a bit and position the Austrians within 14-inches of the Prussian right flank cavalry so that they can melee on the first turn.

The Prussian cavalry won the first initiative on Turn 1 and as a result, they were able to turn facing to the right and meet the initial Austrian cavalry charge head-on.

As for the infantry, they move 8-inches per turn, in line formation, and they still have not closed to within musket range. However, after the first turn, both sides were able to find the range with their artillery and inflict some long range fire on the opposing infantry lines as the Prussians advanced.

All figures are Minden Miniatures and all of the terrain was built by Herb Gundt. The Winter game mat was made by The Terrain Guy (alas, he is out of business now).

I will let the picture captions tell the story:

The opening set up: Prussians on the right, Austrians on the left.
Turn 1: Austrians open the battle with a grand cavalry charge on the Prussian right flank.
Turn 1: Same moment of the charge, but from overhead. Austrian cavalry is on the right and top with the Prussian cavalry in the left corner.



Turn 2: cavalry melee on the Prussian right just before the Austrian Schmerzing Cuirassiers plow into the flank and rear of a squadron of CR1 von Krakow Cuirassiers.


Turn 2: Prussians are holding their own on the lefthand melee, but are hit front and rear in the righthand melee by the Austrians.


Prussian 12-pounder artillery battery faces the righthand section toward the cavalry melee in case the Austrians win the melee and break through the lines.


Turn 1: infantry advance on the Prussian left flank.

Turn 2: overhead view of the infantry battle.


Austrian right flank (Prussian left flank) brigade deploys in front of Mollwitz.

Prussian left flank brigade advances towards Mollwitz.

 At the end of Turn 2, it looked like the Prussian cavalry of the right flank was holding its own against the Austrian cavalry. Both sides had lost, or were about to lose, a 12-figure squadron of heavy cavalry from either routing or melee.

If the Prussian cavalry holds the Austrian horse to a stand-off, then it will lead to a Prussian victory, in all likelihood, as the Prussians outnumber the Austrian infantry 9 battalions to 7 battalions.

(more action will be posted Friday evening or Saturday morning as I continue the battle)







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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Prussian Bakers in Revolt!

Prussian Field Bakery constructed by Ed Phillips, using Minden Pioneers workers set.


Prussian Bakers in Revolt 1757, 1758 and 1760


(the following article was written by Martin Tomczak  and posted on his website: Tomczak SYW Site along with a number of other interesting SYW related documents)


Frederick the Great wrote that the foundation of an army is the stomach; as such the most important requirement if the army was to operate effectively in the field was to keep the stomachs of men and horses filled such that the men could carry on marching and fighting and the horses could pull the guns and wagons and carry the cavalrymen into battle. The most important materials involved were flour for bread for the men, and fodder for the horses. This meant that a regular supply of flour was one of the most vital aspects of all when the army was in the field, and Frederick had a corresponding organisation in place to ensure that it was available in magazines before a campaign began, and subsequently could be brought to the army in the field such that the supply was regular and sufficient. The carrying capacity of wagons could be measured exactly and this meant that exact calculations could be made of how much flour an army would need over a certain period, and arrangements could be made to transport it accordingly.


Once the flour reached the army it would be converted into bread by the bakers with the army. These were civilians, with a staff of Bäckergesellen (Journeyman Bakers) working under Oberbäcker (literally "Higher Bakers") and Bäckermeister (Master Bakers) and as such subject to their own rules regarding discipline, and on three occasions during the Seven Years War the fact that they were civilians working within their structure of Guilds caused the outbreak of revolts that threatened the army with possible starvation.


Jung-Bunzlau, Bohemia 1757

During the Siege of Prague in 1757 the bakeries were operating at Jung-Bunzlau in Bohemia. When the army under Feldmarschall von Schwerin continued its march to Prague they were left there with the whole Feldkriegscommissariat (the organisation responsible for organising supply for the army) under the command of Generalmajor von Brandeis and two regiments of infantry. The bakery at Jung-Bunzlau had to supply the army on one side of Prague during the siege, and also the army under the Duke of Bevern at Czaslau and Kuttenberg, with both forces having to collect the bread and transport it in their Regimentsproviantwagen ("regimental provisions wagons"). At one point during the process of collection several officers felt that the bread was being supplied too slowly and it came to a disagreement with the Bäckermeister, which resulted in the officers beating them with sticks. The Bäckergesellen were so angry at this maltreatment of their masters that they beat the officers up, so severely that they had to be carried into the town from the bakery, which was in the suburbs.


Generalmajor von Brandeis sent a detail to the bakery to arrest the bakers; they all resisted and the soldiers arrested some of them and took them away as prisoners. This caused a greater uproar, and two companies of troops with fixed bayonets dispersed the bakers. The rumour now spread that von Brandeis intended to punish all the bakers with Spiessruthenlaufen ("running the gauntlet"), so during the night they all marched away with their belongings.


This revolt, caused by the actions of a few hotheaded officers, put the army and the Kriegscommissariat into great difficulties. It was essential that 100,000 loaves of bread were baked every three days, instead the bakery had now stood idle for three days and two nights. The need became critical, and von Brandeis was obliged, however much he may have disliked doing so, to free the few bakers under arrest and to urge the Bäckermeister (who it had been established were not responsible for the delays which caused the original dispute) to use all their influence to get the Bäckergesellen, who by now were dispersing in all directions, back to work. As a result of the promise that the whole matter would be forgotten they succeeded in getting the bakery back to work, and the bakers made great efforts to catch up on the missed baking.


Hirschberg, Silesia 1758

A second revolt occurred at Hirschberg in Silesia during winter quarters, when several Bäckergesellen went for a ride to Warmebrunn and returned late after drinking too long in an inn. It was decided they were to suffer military punishment. The other journeymen regarded this as an insult to their Corporation and promised the Obercommissar the stiffest punishment of the wrongdoers by the Bäckermeister. The Obercommissar persuaded the military authorites to do this and the wrongdoers were each given a number of blows with sticks by the Bäckermeister in his presence. As a result the bakery got back to normal.

Königswalde, Neumark 1760

The third revolt, which resulted from the pride in their trade of the guilds, occurred in 1760 when the two corps under Prince Henry and Generallieutenantvon der Goltz combined in the Neumark. The Feldkriegscommissariat ordered that the bakeries of both corps be combined at Königswalde. The Silesian bakers of the von der Goltz corps, who were white bread bakers, refused to work with the Prussian bakers of Prince Henry`s corps, on the grounds that they were only black bread bakers, and were therefore beneath them. The Silesian bakers considered the order from the Feldkriegscommissariat so insulting to their pride as bakers, and the bitterness between the two groups was such, that the only solution was to keep the two groups separate, and there were duly two bakeries outside the town, on opposite sides of it.

Conclusion

During the later years of the Seven Years War the officer responsible for overseeing the bakeries, Hauptmann von Fuhrmann, was very keen to organise the bakers along military lines. This proved impossible, because it was incompatible with the spirit of Corporation among the bakers, who were civilians in their guilds; they had no objection at all to being punished by the higher ranking bakers by being beaten with sticks, but any attempt to bring them to the guardroom under military arrest would have led to very bloody rebellions.


This is another example of how the generally highly organised armies of the period were still not fully militarised in some aspects of their structure. A regular supply of bread was one of the most essential requirements of all for an army in the field, and huge stocks of flour would be built up and maintained in specially-built magazines in peacetime. Then during wartime the supply of bread depended on civilians with their own organisation. Another example of civilians in the military organisation is with the Prussian artillery, where horses and drivers (who were all civilians) would be assembled on the outbreak of war, or at the beginning of a campaign; on a battlefield they were among the first to flee if things went against the Prussians, and this was one reason why the Prussians lost large numbers of guns in their defeats (the Prussians did not have a fully military Train until one was established during the army reforms after 1806).

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Something Is Brewing

I want to draw your attention to the Kingdom of Hesse Seewald blog ( Here )where a lot of things are happening of late. The Hesse Seewald army is growing at a rapid clip with two new regiments being added within the past 30 days and a couple more on the painting table nearly ready to go.

Please click on the link above and visit the Kingdom of Hesse Seewald.  While you are there, why not become a Follower so that you can keep up to date on events. Suffice to say that dark war clouds are on the horizon.

Back here on this blog, I expect to start the Battle of Mollwitz on Friday night, with pictorial updates to be posted over the weekend.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Setting Up the Mollwitz Terrain



I had to clear my game table of the AWI period Trenton terrain to make way for my recreation of the Battle of Mollwitz fought on April 10, 1741 between Prussia and Austria.

Here are some progressive pictures of the table set up. Since I'm posting this in the iPad version of Blogger, the pictures are not clickable or enlargeable, but I will fix the pictures this evening on my desktop computer.

Trenton terrain.

The buildings and roads are removed.


Trees and other flotsam and jetsam are now gone.


Setting up the 18th Century European Winter terrain pieces, all made by Herb Gundt.


Out come the troops, all Minden Miniatures of course; Austrians on the left and Prussians on the right.


Tweaking the Prussian right wing cavalry to position them so that they can be reached by an Austrian charge movement (14 inches) on Turn One.



The Prussian right flank infantry deployment.

A view down the entire Prussian line.

Austrian cavalry on their left wing.


And finally, a view of Austrian general Neipperg and staff in the town of Mollwitz.

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