Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Can Kunersdorf be Fought Without Cavalry?

I'm wondering what readers think about the concept of refighting the battle of Kunersdorf in 1759 without using cavalry in the wargame. My thinking goes like this:

The Russian cavalry was largely deployed in dead ground on the far right of the battle line. The majority of Prussian cavalry was deployed on the Prussian left, behind the three large ponds and the village of a Kunersdorf.

Final cavalry action - Christopher Duffy map 

If the Prussians focused solely on the fight for the Muhlberg and Kuh Grund and Spitzerberg, then they would not have needed to send the cavalry into the battle, knowing the difficulty of filing through the ponds area and then redeploying under fire from Russian artillery. So if the Prussian cavalry does not advance, remaining the refused wing of the army, then the Russian-Austrian cavalry never has the opportunity to charge into the Prussian cavalry. The terrain obstacles restricting the Prussians would also have deterred the Russian cavalry from attacking.

Ergo, no cavalry action in the area beyond Kunersdorf village.

What do you think? Please provide your opinion and comments in the comments section of this thread. I know that many readers choose to "lurk" on this site, but I really want your opinion and hope to get 15 to 20 comments
Battle of Kunersdorf- Christopher Duffy map


  1. You could have the table edge at Spitzberg. Dicing for the 'threat' of cavalry appearing could force a reaction from the Prussian infantry on that wing, even though the cavalry never appear.

  2. Cavalry are quite unnecessary for the game but if not used will provide some cover for the shattered Prussian army after it's almost inevitable defeat assaulting the entrenched Russians. Great idea and one I might a adopt next year when I do another refight.

  3. What? Potentially no cavalry on the tabletop? Libertine! I need a stiff drink or two and a lie-down after reading this post. Shocking to say the least.

    Best Regards,


  4. In this battle, cavalry was acting purely in support of the infantry, if my reading of the battle is right, so YES, no cavalry!

  5. I think that a 18th century battle without cavalry is a dull Thing. Sometimes, if a part of the army didn't had a great influence on a battle, I use only a small number of units to represent it and give these troops dithering commanders (I use HoW) which make a huge assault by them unlikely. I never liked the idea to reflect a small part of the actual battlefield.
    Regarding Kunersdorf the Allies would have the chance to use their own cavalry to their benefit.
    To focus only on the Kuhgrund would not allow the Prussian player to make real decissions but to follow just one way. Wargaming reduced to just rolling dice to see how you perform them compared to real steel and lead in history is a boring thing for me. The wargamer should have at least some options to decide different and look if it works better then the historical decissions.



  6. C'mon Jim, no cavalry in a SYW battle? The cavalry would have insisted on being present no matter how bad the terrain was, stick them on and utilise them. Why not a grand envelopment, sweeping across the battlefield into splendid slaughter. Or something like that anyway.

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  8. My first impression was similar to a previous one, "No cavalry in a SYW battle!?" I guess I am still thinking it through, but one thing I'll say, if this is to be a convention game, need to be careful with the idea of the cavalry being off board, dicing for arrival as a "threat". In a convention game, ideally you want all of the players engaged from the beginning. Of course, how engaged would a player playing the Prussian cavalry be if all he can do is spend his time " filing through the ponds area and then redeploying under fire from Russian artillery."

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