Sunday, November 27, 2016

Zieten's Raid Into Thuringia

The Zieten Hussars (HR2) in blue come thundering over the bridge. (Click on all pix to enlarge the view)

Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we descended upon Chez Protz to fight one of our Big Battalion games featuring Bill's rules, "Les Batailles dans l'Ancien Regime" or BAR for short. If you are interested in purchasing a set of the rules, then kindly click on the link below, taking you to Bill's web site and shopping cart:

BAR Rules

The BAR rules feature infantry and cavalry units in a 1:10 ratio of figures to men, so with an average infantry battalion of 600 men and a cavalry squadron of 120 men, you end up with wargame units of 60 figures and 12 figures, respectively.

Scenario - Zieten's Raid

The game scenario featured a Prussian raid into Thuringia during the Winter when all good gentlemen warriors are supposed to be in Winter Quarters. In the 18th Century, military campaigns during the Winter months were considered a No-No and were rarely done. Raids, however, were considered acceptable fare so every once in awhile a small force of light troops might sneak behind the enemy lines and create some havoc by burning down supply depots and stealing livestock.

Initial table set up with Prussians on the right and the French on the left. The powder magazine and depot next to the brown column were the objectives of the Prussians.

Prussian Order of Battle

120 Fusiliers in two battalions of 60 figures
360 Muskeers in six battalions of 60 figures
  36 Jagers

516 total Prussian infantry

2  Light 6-pounder cannon

60 Norman Dragoons
48 Von Kliest Light Dragoons
36 Von Reusch (Black) Hussars
24 Von Zieten (Blue) Hussars

148 total Prussian cavalry

French Order of Battle

360 Musketeers in six battalions of 60 figures (60 added late in the game when a new player arrived)
112 French Cavalry - mostly hussars and light dragoons

1 x 6-pounder and 1 x 12-pounder placed in the Watch Tower

My spies did not catch the names of the various French and Allied battalions and cavalry regiments, but they were surprisingly close to the final tally of forces.

Prussian Tactical Strategy

Time is of the essence in this game because the Prussians must strike quickly before the French realize that they are being attacked  and have an opportunity to consolidate their forces. With that in mind, Zieten placed all of his light troops (hussars and jagers) on his left flank and gave them the task of making a pell mell dash to the powder magazine and if possible, the supply depot.

French supply depot and field bakery.

A brigade of Prussian musketeers would follow up behind the hussars to provide infantry support in the attack on the depot. Zieten hoped that the left wing force would draw off some of the French infantry so as to weaken the point of attack from the Prussian right wing.

The main Prussian strike force was placed on the right flank and was augmented by all of the dragoons (108 dragoons) in Zieten's strike force. This force, under the command of Lt. General von Hulsen, had six infantry battalions, the two 6-pounders and the dragoons.

What follows is a description of the attack of the Prussian Left Wing, which was under my command. Tomorrow, I will follow up with a description of the events of the Prussian Right Wing.

Initial Prussian set up on the Left Wing. The Black and Blue Hussar regiments were allowed to deploy on the road to start the game
The Zieten Hussars (Blue) come thundering over the bridge while the Black Hussars hive off one squadron to face some Saxon light cavalry which suddenly appeared on the Prussian flank.

Using the generous 42-inches of road movement, the Zieten Hussars cantor clear across the table to the French base line. This forces a column of French infantry to stop and deploy into line on the far table.

Prussian infantry of the Left Wing soon defile across the bridge and face towards an on-going melee of Saxon and Prussian light cavalry. A troop of Zieten Hussars form a cavalry screen in front of an approaching French battalion.

While the Zieten Hussars were dashing across the table towards the French baseline, a regiment of French Bercheny Hussars initiate a charge into the Black Hussars. Unbeknownst to the French, three squadrons of the Prussian von Norman Dragoons were emerging from the woods, through an opening in the trees, and setting themselves up to charge the French in the rear.
Didn't see that coming!
The inevitable demise of the Bercheny Hussars. One of their flags was captured by the  Norman Dragoons (one of three on  the day).

The Prussian cavalry reorganize in a hollow and look for new opportunities to charge the French.

Austrian reinforcements arrive - the remains of the Prussian Jagers and the von Bungle regiment are the only infantry elements on the left wing that could fend off the fresh Austrian battalion. The Prussian cavalry were in a relatively hopeless position, unable to defend themselves from French musketry. Sort of like Minden in reverse.

French commander, Bill Protz, surveys the successful counter-attack of his right wing against the Prussian left wing. The  Prussians sacrifice the regiment of Zieten Hussars, deploying them in a screen to protect the dragoons. The hussars were shot down by the French and Austrian musketeers. The Norman Dragoons would have to retire from the field without any infantry support.

The remnants of the von Bungle regiment rout after suffering casualties exceeding 75%!
So things started out well enough for the Prussian Left Wing, having destroyed the Saxon and French hussars in the field, but the arrival of the French infantry stopped the Prussian cavalry cold. The slow advance of the French infantry gave the Prussians some time to hang on and await the outcome on the  Prussian Right.

For the game, the Prussian Right Wing successfully defeated the French infantry, enabling them to capture the watch tower and the supply depot. The other two squadrons of the von Norman Dragoons were deployed with the Right Wing and they added honor to the regiment by capturing two French cavalry standards during the game.

Tomorrow I will tell the tale of the events on the Prussian Right Wing.


  1. I love your big battle reports. This one did not disappoint. Sounds like the cold-blooded sacrifice of the Prussian cavalry paid dividends.
    Sometimes, in my real world army life, I feel like every day I work for the Bungle Regiment.

  2. Cracking looking games (as awlays) and a nice idea for a scenario.

  3. I think this pretty much sums up my thoughts.

  4. Super game, nice photos; thanks for sharing

  5. This was a very entertaining game. Great report Jim. Thank you.
    Bill P.

  6. Lovely looking game there! A real treat.

  7. Catching up with all of the blogs I follow, and your post is chicken soup for the wargaming soul after two-weeks of reading/grading undergraduate papers. Great stuff! Um, your blog post. NOT (most of) the papers.

    Best Regards,