Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Battle of Langsdorf - Dec. 1 1757 (2007)

The Pride of Gallia: the money shot of the Mestre de Camp cavalry regiment (36 figures) consisting of Elite Miniatures troopers and some Front Rank officers. From the collection of and painted by Bill Protz.

On December 1, 1757 (2007), the Erbprinz of Hesse Seewald met the invading army of Gallia at a little hamlet in Western Germany called Langsdorf. After suffereing two narrow defeats to the Gallian army at Priesserstadt in October and Dithersdorf in November, the Erbprinz was in no mood for any further retreat from the advancing Gallian tide. His army was fighting on its home ground. Now was the time for a much needed victory. It was time to stand and fight.

Fortified by the addition of two more squadrons of the Seydlitz cuirassiers and another two squadrons of the household Garde du Corps regiment, the Erbprinz believed that he could hold his own against the vaunted Gallian heavy cavalry. The quality of the Hesse Seewald infantry was not in doubt, as it included three units of grenadiers and one elite musketeer battalion in its complement of 12 battalions in this battle. The Erbprinz's army prevailed on this day by making an aggressive attack on the Gallian center, winning the cavalry action in a rather convincing manner, and delaying the Gallian attack on the Hesse Seewald redoubt on the right flank.

The above picture depicts the battlefield layout, with the Hesse Seewald (Prussian) army on the right hand side and the Gallian (French) on the left hand side. The Prussian left flank is where the cavalry field was located. Moving towards the center, one espies a wooded area and beyond that, an elevation known as the Langenridge. You can see the village of Langsdorf near the top of the picture, on the Prussian right flank. Finally, a hill dominates the town of Langsdorf, and it was here that the Erbprinz construct a log redoubt.

Here we can see the initial deployment of the Prussian center. The Erbprinz knew that he did not have enough troops to hold the whole frontage of the battlefield, so he elected to be at his strongest in the centre. A single brigade (Brent Olsen) was given the task of holding the log redoubt on the Prussian right. We can see that the French took advantage of the cover provided by the woods and the Langenridge, but alas, the Langenridge was somewhat of a trap, because deploying behind the ridge meant that the right flank of the defending unit was pointing towards the Prussian lines. Thus, the Prussians decided to focus their attack on whatever unit was defending the ridge. Both sides placed one battalion of infantry in the woods. You can see some of the cavalry action starting at the top of the pictures.

French regiment La Reine (Redoubt Miniatures) and Prussian regiment IR7 Bevern (Staddens) fight it out in a linear manner. French from the collection of Bill Protz, and Prussians from the collection of Der Alte Fritz.

In the picture above, we can see the French attack on the log redoubt in progress. I believe that the French loaded up this flank with strength: five battalions of infantry and one heavy cavalry unit, the Mestre de Camp regiment. Brigadier Olsen deployed one of his Prussian battalions in the redoubt, and another battalion covering the open ground to his left. He placed two more battalions in a second line of reserves. The idea was for the French to batter themselves silly against the redoubt and then hit them with the second line if they were successful in occupying the redoubt.

A Big Whompin' Cavalry Melee! Around 120 figures per side.

The above picture depicts the action on the cavalry field. Two 60 figure cuirassier regiments on the Prussian side face off against the 60 figure Carabiniers (at the top), the von Bruhl cheveaulegers, and the Royal Regiment of heavy cavalry. The Prussian cavalry commander (George Rust) kept the 2-squadron (24 figures) Garde du Corps in reserve. The two sides were evenly matched during the early rounds of melee, but the weight of the Prussian reserves eventually led to the rout of the Carabiniers and the von Bruhl regiment. The Carabiniers had the further disgrace of losing one of their standards to the Prussian regiment CR2 (Prinz von Preussen cuirassiers during the melee).

The Hesse Seewald Guard (Surens) hit Languedoc in the flank at a critical juncture of the fight in the center.

In the centre, the initiative cards were falling in favor of the Prussians so they quickly gained the upper hand in this sector. The Hesse Seewald Guard regiment attacked the ridge and the two left hand grand divisions wheeled to the right and on into the flank of the French Languedoc regiment. The two righthand grand division provided fire support during the first round of melee and then pitched in to help finish off Languedoc. As you can see, the ridge line provided a false sense of security, as deployment along the ridgeline left Languedoc's right flank exposed to the Guard's attack. A second brigade of Prussians (Jim Harms) deployed to the right of the Guard and supported the attack on the ridge. Once the ridge was captured, von Harms was able to crack open the French center with his brigade. The French center was deteriorating quickly.

Bill Protz (left) and Brent Olsen (right) are shown in their hard fought battle for the redoubt.

Meanwhile, on the Prussian right, von Olsen was making the French pay dearly for their attack on his redoubt position. One battalion (Bornstadt IR20) held off three French battalions for much of the game, until high casualties forced the Bornstadt regiment to fall back. The French gained the redoubt, but you can see that von Olsen is already bringing up his second line of British (on the left) and Prussians (on the right at the table edge).

Prussian Black Hussars and Zieten Hussars (both Staddens) move up to attack, but never got involved in the action.

The Prussian hussar brigade of von Zieten moved up into the village of Langsdorf to attempt to take out the French heavy artillery brigade in front of them. Monsieur Protz, being no fool, attempted to protect his guns by countering with the Mestre de Camp regiment (seen in the very first picture at the top of this page). Undoubtedly the French cavalry would have gotten the better of the light Prussian hussars, but Brigadier von Harms had the presence of mind to advance his infantry and unleash a first fire (+5 bonus) on the French cavalry. His action reduced the Mestre de Camp by about half. Thank you Brigadier von Harms. A Pour-le-Merite goes to you for your battlefield valor today. In fact, it was von Harms who developed the Prussian battle plan for the day, so a tip of the tricorn goes to him from the Erbprinz.

The battle lasted about four hours and we stuck to our timetable of completing the game by 4pm. A rather nasty snow storm hit the midwest during the afternoon. We were oblivious to this, being comfortably ensconced in the basement of Chez Protz and suitably fortified with good food and drink, companionable players and splendid troops to look at. It was fun day for all involved and I thank all the participants, especially our host, Bill Protz.

Well, this is probably the last battle of the 1757 (2007) campaign in the War of the Saxon Duchies. All armies are now headed to winter quarters, where they will rest, rebuild and add to their armies for the campaign in 1758 (2008).


  1. Congratulations on a fine victory, Herr Alte! It sounds like your group has really honed the recipe for these games.

    Nice eye candy, too!

    Has M. Chevert-Protz posted his usual maps and diagrams anywhere?

    Ed v. H-F

  2. I'm sure that Bill will post the maps on Old School. I don't know how to do them on blogspot and I don't have a scanner, which is probably the key to the whole thing.

  3. A very nice report with delightful photos.

    However, I could not help but notice the "off-table" area, with a sky background and grassy areas . . . this looks very intriguing . . . could you please talk about this?

    -- Jeff

  4. An excellent report, and a finely fought battle. Very inspiring. Maybe next year I'll find a way of getting up there and gaming with y'all.

  5. I really enjoyed reading about your game - thanks for sharing it with us. I am inspired to go off and paint tonight!

  6. ....magnifique... I get the impression much enjoyment was had by all, and that the result was just an 'extra'...

  7. Wonderful narrative and eye candy. A real treat for the rest of us. Thank you for sharing.


  8. An excellent account, with equally fine photographs. Inspiring!

  9. Bravo! on a fine report of the battle as well as the wonderful photographs. As others have said, reading this battlefield dispatch makes me want to send out the recruiting teams even as winter approaches!

    The cavalry engagement on the Prussian left was a delight to see. I had not quite believed how attractive a sight such a melee was with the Big Battalions until now. I look foward to painting, basing and drill practice as well as a few local skirmishes to put an edge on my brigade with greater anticipation than ever.

  10. Jim,

    Such a vast layout combined with so many wonderful troops leave me a bit speechless. "Wow!" seems somewhat of an understatement. It's something to shoot for myself over time since I feel more and more attracted to the 18th century and increasingly less so to my Napoleonics :-( (sniff, sniff).

    Best Reagrds,


  11. I can only echo all the other comments, very impressive indeed! And, yes, this kind of thing gets me inspired, too. No big battalons for me, but it does get me wanting to put some small forces on the table and enact some actions.