Monday, 29 November 2010

Lobositz part 2

Thanks for the comments on part 1 of this report. In reply to Stokes Schwarz, the figures are 25mm and the units of hussars and dragoons which feature are both Minifis. For another take on the battle try (thanks for the link Keith).

In our refight the battle for the Lobosch continued with the Prussian grenadiers making slow, but steady progress up the slopes. The Grenz defended each position, fighting it out, rather than firing and retiring. Due to the luck of the dice (the factors tended to even out in the melees, so it was down to the dice score rolled), the grenadiers pushed on. To their right the fusiliers were not faring so well. They were inflicting casualties, but with their lower morale value they were prone to retreating from the casualties inflicted by the Grenz's light artillery. (We use the Koenig Krieg rules which impose a morale test for atillery casualties, but delays morale tests for musketry casualties until battalions are half strength). The Austrian commander, concerned by the Prussian progress on the Lobosch despatched a battalion to reinforce the position.

In front of Lobositz village the main Austrian artillery battery continued to inflict casualties on the approaching Prussian line infantry. Advancing through the heavy fire to musketry range two battalions fired a telling volley. Over half of those crewing the guns became casualties and although the infantry suffered heavy casualties, the weakening of this battery eased the pressure on the Prussian line. A further Prussian brigade was approaching the Austrian defences in the centre. The defences were held by light infantry, but their supports comprised two battalions of grenadiers and two regiments of cuirassier. In addition their right flank was 'in the air' and two further cuirassier regiments were attempting to deploy to attack them. Fortunately, the Prussians had a grenadier battalion in reserve and this moved forward to block the cuirassier advance. A devastating volley emptied many saddles and when the remaining Austrians charged forward they were met by another volley and a determined hedge of bayonets. In a fierce melee the grenadiers prevailed and the Austrians retreated. The supporting regiment, seeing the destruction of their comrades were relieved to be ordered to join the cavalry reserve in the centre, rather than take on the victorious grenadiers. With their flank secure the Prussian infantry charged the Austrian defences and although suffering from Austrian fire meleed and defeated the defenders and crossed the works. They then saw the Austrian second line ready to advance.

On the Prussian left, between the Lobosch and Lobositz village, the Prussian artillery had been slowly grinding down the Austrian right flank. Of the 8 battalions originally deployed there 3 had been driven off and one sent to reinforce the Lobosch. Sensing the time was right, Frederick ordered the Dragoon brigade to charge and break the Austrian line. The chage of the Horse Grenadiers scattered one battalion, on their right the 'porcelain' dragoons rode through a determined volley and routed their opponents. Preserving their order, the cavalry turned outwards and attacked the flank of the next two units. Those facing the Horse Grenadiers broke and sought safety in the vine-clad slopes of the Lobosch. Their comrades, attacked by the ragoons were not so fortunate and caught unprepared, were dispersed by the charge. The Austrian left was in tatters, the troops on the Lobosch were isolated from the rest of the army and the main battery, facing an infantry attack from the front, now had cavalry on their flank.

Sensing that the day was lost, the Austrian commander ordered his cavalry and grenadiers to cover the retreat of the remanider of the army. For their part the Prussians were too exhausted to pursue. Only two fresh infantry battalions remained, the Guard. Opposed to them were 12 fresh Austrian battalions, all on the Austrian left and had played no real part in the battle. The close nature of the field prevented the cavalry engaging in an active pursuit, so they rounded up prisoners and secured the captured guns.

This was an enjyable battle, because both sides had a chance of securing victory. The Prussians had to attack, but faced the danger of being tied down to a firefight with superior numbers of Austrian infantry. The large number of Austrian light troops also posed a problem.

The battle was fought on a 10' x 6' table, but I neglected to take a photograph showing the overall set up; a failing I will try and avoid in future reports.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Return to the Seven Years War

Many thanks to DC who left a comment on my last post which signposts information about the Battleground series he has posted on his blog ( ). If you are interested in more information about this classic series please follow the link.

The battle this week was Lobositz and may well be the start of a series of SYW battles over the next few months. It is a fascinating scenario, giving plenty of scope for light troops and also sweeping cavalry charges. There is a map on the excellent 'Project SYW' website ( . Frederick was expecting nothing more than a skirmish with the Austrian rearguard and the foggy conditions prevented him discovering that the whole Austrian army was present until he was embroiled in a messy action to try and clear the Lobosch Hill on his left flank and his cavalry had been reconnaissance had been pushed back by artillery and infantry fire and a counter charge by the Austrian cavalry.

Representing fog/mist is nigh on impossible on the tabletop so we started with the opposing armies in place and in view. The Prussians committed 7 battalions to the attack on the Lobosch.

Although they were only opposed by two units of Grenzers the nature of the ground, steep slopes, vinyards and walls made progress difficult. The leading Frei Korps battalion suffered heavy casulaties from the skirmishing Austrian troops and a close range salvo from a couple of light guns caused them to retreat. Their supporting grenadiers moved forward and managed to clear the first line of defence, but more hard fighting would be required to clear the heights. Seeing the Prussian progress the Austrian commander detached two batallions from his right wing near Lobositz village to reinforce the Grenz.

The Austrians had deployed four units of cavalry on the plain in front of the sunken road to the left of Lobositz. The terrain made retreat difficult and they were opposed by three brigades of Prussian infantry and their cavalry supports. Coming under attack from the Prussian artillery their only course seemed to be attack. On the left their light cavalry was completely overmatched by the Prussian Hussars with cuirassiers in support.

In the centre they enjoyed more success. The Zweibrucken Dragoons together with the combined Carabinier companies of the cuirassier regiments charged the Prussian infantry. Perhaps unnerved by the rapidly closing cavalry the musketry volley from the infantry was ineffective and when the Austrians charged home the first line of battalions were scattered. Thus encouraged the Austrian cavalry charged the second line of battalions and broke those also.

Fortunately for Frederick, he had a cavalry reserve behind his infantry and they moved to plug the gap. The Zweibrucken Dragoons were charged by the Prussian Gardes-du-Corps and after a fierce struggle the Prussians prevailed. The Carabiniers found themselves facing further infantry and elected to retire rather than risk further musketry volleys.

The main Prussian infantry assualt on Lobostz itself was thus stalled and the main Austrian battery was causing severe casualties; although the Austrian right was also suffering from the Prussian artillery. The crisis of the battle was nigh.

In conclusion I include a photo (apologies for the green hue) of the latest recruits to the Cossack army. I bought them at the Fiasco show; all nicely painted and based for 50p per figure. What a bargain.

Monday, 15 November 2010


No battle this week, that dread word, (work), intervened. However, I did manage to squeeze in a bit of reading, mainly due to yet more juggling of space in the glory hole'. The reading consisted of some old copies of 'Battle' magazine, dating from 1977/78. I never subscribed to the magazine at the time, but was fortunate enough to acquire some a few years ago. Looking at them now you can see how far the popular front of the hobby has moved. It was far more uniform then, more inclusive. Alongside Stuart Asquith's articles on battles of the English Civil War and Tony Bath's story of Hyboria you have ones on kit conversions for AFVs, new military equipment entering service and product reviews covering figures, board games and magazines. Two things you don't find are colour photos other than on the cover) and masses of adverts for figures, paints and scenery.

Here is Peter Gilder setting up Gettysburg from the cover of the issue from June 1978. I never did get to see the 'Battleground' series, but I have heard lots of my contemporaries speak about it. The accompaning article says that 100 wargamers were interviewed before the final line-up was arrived at. Those chosen were Duncan McFarlane, Peter Gilder, Paddy Griffith, John Braithwaite, Bob O'Brien, Steve Davidson, John Tilson, Steve Birnie, John Harrison and Gavin and Bernard Lyall. Six battles were recreated and Edward Woodward presented the programmes. I also include an advert for Games Workshop, listing the D & Drules and scenarios plus "White Dwarf" with a full year's subscription costing 4 pounds!.
One thing that hasn't changed is the enthusiasm of the contributors for the hobby; their willingness to share knowledge and give a helping hand to beginners.

Monday, 8 November 2010


We were north of the border last week refighting the Battle of Inverkeithing. The scenario is an attempt by the English to secure a bridgehead on the northern bank of the Firth of Forth and neutralise a Scots artillery position which has made resupply of the English forces by sea difficult. General Lambert had landed a force of 4500 men on the small peninsula near Inverkeithing, (roughly the site of the present Forth bridge), and the Covenanter forces, with similar, or slightly larger forces moved to neutralise this threat.

The advantage lay with Lambert as his men were veterans whilst the Scots Covenanter forces contained local militia forces. Lambert also had the advantage of some light atillery pieces which proved effective in unsettling the less experienced Scots units. As the Scots advanced the English moved to secure their flanks. General Holborne, comanding the Scots decided to concentrate his attack on the apparently weaker English right (below) and then swing round and trap the remaining enemy against the Forth.

On his left he posted Argyll's regiment and the link between the flanks was to be the Highlanders, who would use the broken terrain to try and flank the English positions. His first problem was the artillery which unnerved the Perth Militia and he therefore moved to rally them. In spite of the best efforts of the accompanying minister the militia struggled to regain their composure, no doubt worried by the approach of enemy cavalry whilst their own lingered in reserve. At least they were saved from further artillery casualties; as Stewart's regiment at last manoeuvred into position on the artillery's flank and fired a telling volley which killed , or drove off, all of the crew. However, this was not enough to save the militia, who were indeed charged by the English horse. They were unable to muster a volley, but under the eye of their general they managed to hold their position against the first wave and the Scots supports moved forward. Then the English reserve squadrons charged and the Scots began to waver. As they were pushed back the Militia colonel pleaded with the Scots commander to save himself and assist the units in the centre. He (the colonel), would order a fall back to some broken terrain where the foot would be safe from the cavalry. Reluctantly, the commander agreed and immediately they saw his move, the militia assumed all was lost and ran for the broken terrain. Nearly half of them reached it, but many were butchered by the cavalry.

Meanwhile on the right,Argyll had held his ground in spite of the galling enemy artillery fire. His command had lost a quarter of his effectives and now Lambert had decided to move forward, firing volleys as he did so. The Highland archers were casuing casualties, but not enough to slow the advance, so Argyll began to fall back, hoping to lure the Englsh on and give the Scots horse an open flank to attack. The Highland clan Maclean who were holding some rough ground in the centre had been spotted by Lambert and he ordered his artillery to open fire on them. Infuriated by this, the clansmen surged forward towards the nearest enemy unit, which happened to be some of the reserve cavalry. This was not what the Scottish commander had intended, but he could do nothing as the clansmen charged downhill at the English. Their initial impetus was absorbed by the veterans and as more reserves joined in, the Highlanders were pushed backwards.

In a last desperate gamble, the Scots general orderd his lancers to charge forward and breakthrough the English line. They managed to defeat a unit of dragoons, but, disorganised by the resulting pursuit they were totally outmatched by Lambert's last reserve. With his right and centre falling back and his left wing attack stalled, it was time for the Scots commander to try and extricate his troops, which he did under cover of darkness. Events on the table had followed history in producing an English victory.