Saturday, February 7, 2009

Battle of Lobositz - Feb. 8, 2009

Prussian Cuirassier Regt Prinz von Preussen (CR2) breaks through the Austrian centre in pursuit of the Esterhazy Hussars . Croats defend wolf pits in the foreground.

[Note: please click on all pictures to enlarge the spectacular view]

The team of Protz, Frye and Der Alte Fritz staged a refight of the SYW battle of Lobositz, today at the Little Wars Convention in Lincolnshire, Illinois. The game featured two five-player teams representing the Prussians of Frederick the Great and the Austrian army of Marshal Ulysseus von Browne, fought in October 1756. Allegedly after the historical battle, a number of Prussian officers commented that "these are not the same old Austrians that we are used to", meaning that the Austrians were more tenacious than in the last war. Today's Austrians proved to be no less determined to defend Bohemia from the Prussian invasion.

We used the Lobositz scenario from Charles S. Grant's The Wargame Companion for our inspiration. Each side had 10 battalions of infantry, 6 artillery pieces and between 225 and 290 cavalry figures. The Prussians had a smaller cavalry force, but it consisted entirely of cuirassiers, while the Austrians had an assortment of every type of cavalry.

Austrian Deployement

The Austrian left wing was protected by the marshy Morellenbach stream, and here we placed 3 battalions of infantry and two dragoon regiments (48 figures each). This represented von Browne's deployment of his main army.

Austrian left wing deployed behind the marshy Morellenbach.

The center of the Austrian position was manned by two regiments of cuirassiers: Birkenfeld (60 figures) and Ansbach (48 figures), some converged horse grenadiers (36) and two small regiments of hussars -- Baranyay (30 figures) and Esterhazy (24 figures). Behind the cavalry, there were two sets of "wolf pits" in which some Croat light infantry deployed, and finally, behind the Croats, were three infantry battalions.

The Austrian right wing was anchored by the Lobosch Hill, on which more Croats were deployed, and the village of Welhota (3 btns of Austrian infantry.

Croats (background) and Hungarians (foreground) deployed on the Lobosch Hill and held it throughout the entire game.

Prussian Deployment
The Prussians were basically advancing out of a valley that opened up onto the Bohemian Plain of the Elbe, near the town of Lobositz. The valley entrance was bordered by the Lobosch Hill on the Prussian left, and the Homolka Mound on the Prussian right. The Prussians sent a brigade of three battalions to capture the Lobosch and threaten the Austrian right wing at Welhotta.

The Prussians placed all of their cavalry in the center, supported by a battery of 12 pounders on the Homolka Mound.

Prussian battery on the Homolka Mound supports the CR10 Gendarmes in the center. The CR13 Garde du Corps can be seen on the far left. Two other cuirassier regiments can be seen debouching from the valley on the right of the picture.

Prussian right wing prepares to attack the Austrians across the Morellenbach.

Another view of the Prussian cuirassiers emerging from the valley and onto the Elbe Plain in order to attack the Austrian center.

The Battle Begins With the Cavalry

Big cavalry scrum meets in the center early in the game (Austrians on the left side, Prussians on the right).

The troops were set up so that there would be no choice but for the cavalry of both sides to spur their horses and charge. The first melee, involving the Ansbach cuirassiers and the Baranyay hussars for the Austrians, very nearly broke through two regiments of 60 figure Prussian cuirassiers (CR2 in the front, and supported by CR8 in the second line). The CR2 Prinz von Preussen (in yellow coats) lost the first round of melee and just barely passed their morale with a "6", exactly what they needed. Had they failed, they would have routed through the supporting CR8 Seydlitz cuirassiers and likely the follow up Austrian attack would have run both Prussian units off the table. Alas, luck was with the Prussians (thank goodness, but it would have been a spectacular thing to see).

Eventually though, the weight of Prussian numbers told the tale (see break through picture at the top of this blog page) and they pushed or routed all of the Austrian cavalry of the center off the table and onto the back table. Only the two Saxon dragoon regiments remained, and they were on the opposite side of the Morellanbach, and in no position to help. So the Prussian cavalry held the center, but their infantry had not moved up with them, so the survivors of the victorious charge had to fall back to the Homolka Mound or else face destruction from the musketry of the Austrian infantry in the center.

Prussians advance towards the Morellanbach, on their right, but never seriously threaten this Austrian position.

Prussian IR13 Itzenplitz attempts to capture the Lobosch Hill. They drove off the Croats, but the Hungarian reserves held the hill for the rest of the game.

Prussian infantry advance in piecemeal fashion in the center, but to no avail as the Austrians won the first fire initiative in this sector.

Once the cavalry was played out on both sides, the infantry took over to decide the contest. One Prussian brigade pushed towards the Morellanbach while the center brigade also advanced, but the traffic jam of retiring horses meant that the center could not form a continuous line of battle, so IR18 and IR15 Garde Grenadiers were stopped cold by the Austrian musketry.

By this time, both sides were played out, having gamed from 11 AM to 4:30 PM and we all agreed that neither side had the upper hand in the game. All that I can say is that there was a lot of dead horse flesh on the back casualty table, an indication of a battle hard fought.

We will convene at the House of Protz in a few more weeks to refight the battle of Leuthen on our winter terrain. The game is based on the Charles S. Grant "Flank Attack" scenario in his book on wargame scenarios.

Terrain Notes

The green-brown terrain mats featured in this game were custom made by The Terrain Guy, a US company based in Texas. These mats are easy to use and transport and they look terrific. The Lobosch Hill and the Homolka Mound were made by Der Alte Fritz using 1.5" pink insulation foam board, his trusty Hot Wire knife, spackle compound mixed with brown paint, and Woodlands Scenics flock. Buildings were provided by HG Walls and Ian Weekley.

The hand made terrain pieces look very nice atop the table mats and I plan to make many more ridges and hills for future games. It is easier than one would think. I was able to make the Homolka Mound in two evenings' work.


  1. Wow, excellent stuff (the battle report, the minis, the terrain, et al.)! I love the wolfpits terrain piece and Lobosch hill looks even better witht he hedges and trees and minis fighting over it!

  2. Thanks for another fascinating and inspiring post . It looked a terrific game - well done !
    best wishes

  3. Interesting refight, and my how impressive those Elite Miniatures cuirassiers look en masse.

  4. Looks terrific! What rules set were you using for the battle?

  5. Battle!!! This is a skirmish not a battle.

    It would also be nice if it was something like the real battle. For example why do the Prussians have less cavalry than the Austrians when in the real battle the Prussians had about a 50% advantage in cavalry.

    You have also used pictures from other sites without acknowledging the source and possibly in contradiction of copyright.

    This 'battle' is a bad joke. If you are going to do an historical battle then I suggest you make it historical and a battle. Not unhistorical and barely a skirmish.

  6. Erm, Mr Amonymous, could it be perhaps that the photos do not tellthe whole story?

    Indeed Mr Troll, perhaps you could enlighten us as to your own (doubtless) excellent 7YW games? With a URL or the odd photo?


    Hm, no surprises there.

    Greg Horne

    PS - a fine show Fritz!

  7. It is interesting to note that the most ignorant comments usually come from people who are anonymous. What particularly fascinates me about this is that these people know beforehand that they cannot contribute intelligently to any debate, else they would not feel the need to hide their identity. So one ought to feel sorry for them - living a life in full knowledge that whatever they say is held in contempt by the rest of us.

    Ah well, thanks again for a great post Fritz. And my commiserations to our anonymous friend: I hope you find help soon.

  8. Great stuff! Those big battalions really look impressive when you have the space to lay them out. Sounds like a very enjoyable game - and that's the point - ignore the moaners and carry on sharing your fun with those of us who can appreciate it.


  9. DAF, Thanks for posting. As a follower of your blog I can appreciate the amount of work that you have put into this project. As someone who runs games at cons. myself, I fully appreciate the effort that goes into staging such a game. Well done to you and your crew!

  10. Der Alte,

    Thanks for documenting the game. It does indeed look like a spectacular event. Nice terrain and glorious figures. The mass of the big units is a joy to me.

  11. Very impressive; certainly looks like a battle, to me!

  12. I accept all comments about anything that I post on my blog, whether they are good, bad or ignorant. :)

  13. Der Alte Fritz

    That was awesome. It seemed like a battle to me:). Good job on all of you for making it happen, and to you for building that great terrain.


  14. Anonymous why don't you stop knocking other people when they have fun?

    It is a game played for their enjoyment, not yours.


  15. Wish I could have been there. Looked really nice. I have to say it will take both armies quite a while to replace all of that cavalry. Inspiring I am going to my painting table right now.

  16. I hope to sneak in a little bit of painting time myself today. I have two squadrons of Hinchcliffe SYW Austrian cuirassiers that I'm eager to work on. Leuthen is just around the corner, afterall.

  17. So many gorgeous figures. The wolf pits are particularly interesting terrain, and the sight of so many cavalry clashing is tremendous.

    Anonymous, remember here that you're dealing with a convention game, limited by space and time. The game was set up to be fun, moreso than to be an exact historical matchup.

    And great fun it looks like it was indeed. One of these days I have to manage to go to one of these.

  18. Good Morning Jim,

    Well, let me simply add to the list of favorable comments with a simple "Wow!" You guys always put on such grandly organized and presented games. And the terrain for this one (wolf pits, The Lobosch and Holmolka hills, etc.) really shows how it should be done. I'm going to have a go at constructing my own Lobosch thanks to your own efforts. Where might I find a hotwire knife? Dick Blick?

    Best Regards,


  19. Stokes: On the hot wire knife, I don't know about Jim's, but I got my own styrofoam cutter through The War Store:

  20. An excellent battle report, plenty of color and action. I like the use of the mats. Something to think about for club game nights.

  21. Jim,

    Fantastic game!!! After having participated in the Texas Big Battalions game last fall, I can truly admire the work that went into this action. The picture of the opening cavalry scrum was simply breath-taking.


  22. Alte, you certainly put on a grand show! Well done. I particularly like the bespoke terrain, it's interesting how one really big feature can definate a battle in way that the more usual wargames mix of smaller features doesn't.

    Who could imagine Austerlitz without the Pratzen Heights or the Boyne without the eponymous river?

    As for Mr. Anonymous, I refer you to two oft used pieces of Dublin slang.

    Some one who consistently and jealously belittles the achievements of others.


    Abstract Noun. Envy"

  23. Hot Wire Foam Factory makes the hot knife:

    I bought mine at Historicon last summer.

  24. I wandered by the battle (does that sound right?) and it was very nicely done. I was going to introduce myself and thank you for your efforts and your blog which adds much to my day....but you were mid-turn...

    I was wondering rule-set where you using?

    Well done...even in the tent.

    Tim in Bloomingdale.

  25. Absolutely fantastic as always, it is images of wonderful games like this that help to motivate my own painting efforts.

    Any chances of a couple of close ups of Regt. Andlau now that you have finished painting their bases?


  26. Tim in Bloomingdale: sorry we didn't get a chance to talk. Next time wait me out and I will be pleased to answer any questions.

    We use the now famous "Batailles de l'Ancien Regime" rule, or "BAR" for short, which Bill Protz wrote. Bill was one of the game judges, usually hanging around the Prussian side of the table. There is a link to Bill's website on the left hand side of this blog page. click it for details on how to order the rules (which are easy to learn, easy to play, and darn good fun to boot).

    We are having a refight of Leuthen at Bill's home on February 28th in Brown Deer, WI - an hour's drive from the Chicago area. If you would like to attend, let me know through this commentary section and I will hook you up with the details.

    Mr. Burnstone: I think that I could arrange for a picture of Andlau, with terrained bases. I will take one tonight. Meanwhile, if you look at the pix of the Morellanbach, Andlau is one of the Austrian regiments along the stream.

  27. Excuse me, lieber Alter Fritz, but I wanted to ask you a question: do you know some place I could get molds for tin soldiers? I make mine at home and I have had trouble finding a new online store now that my old one is out of business. By the way, great column. My son hero worships you. Guess I'll have to make a new regiment of Swedes to win him back, if I don't stay glued to the pictures of your miniatures....

  28. The only molds for soldiers that I'm aware of are the Prince August 40mm figures. You might try posing this question on The Miniatures Page and see what answers you get. Someone on TMP is bound to have an answer.

    Your son is lucky to have a Dad who will make him a new regiment. Swedes, hmm, that would be a nice looking army. I'm kind of interested in the Great Northern War.

  29. Thanks, I'll look into the Prinz August miniatures. Yes, he does like the Great Northern War quite a bit, although I prefer the Seven Years War. Having moved here from Germany, I've always looked at it as Prussia's claim to fame, which makes it pretty significant for me, being a bit of a fanatic about Frederick the Great, etc. Again, great column. Amazing painting, too. I don't do as well as you with the figure painting,, and I use 50mm minis. Ah well, practice, practice, practice.