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.

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