First thanks to Steve-the-wargamer for the suggestion on getting around the problem of rolling a six, we will be investigating the option. Our more recent game is a 'what if ' scenario based on the events following Kunersdorf. A joint Austro-Russian force is advancing rapidly to prevent Prussia re-organising after their defeat. Both sides consist entirely of light troops, with the outnumbered Prussians attempting to delay the advance of their opponents.
We started with three units of Austrian skirmishing light cavalry on the table, with the rest of the force due to arrive the next turn. Prussian forces were indicated on the umpire's map and only revealed as required. The first Prussian line of defence was based on the village of Neider Nahmen, a sunken, tree-lined road and the farm complex of Bauernhof.
The picture above shows Neider Nahmen, with the twin hills of Waldburg and the Langenburg beyond. The Bosniaks are positioned in the open area between Neider Nahmen and Der Grauhaus, which was the best cavalry country.
The Austrian Commander decided to use the bulk of his cavalry on his left, to swing around Neider Nahmen and surround any defenders and also scout ahead for any enemy forces. His Croat units would seize the village and farm and then reform before moving forward to the hills.
The Prussian commander had few troops at his disposal to delay the enemy, 3 Frei batallions, a unit of Jaeger, 2 units of regular Hussars, the Bosniaks and a unit of Frei hussaren. He garrisoned Bauernhof with frei battalion Le Noble with the jaeger in the sunken road on their flank. The remaining Frei battalions were held near the Langenberg, the regular hussars behind the Waldberg and the Frei Hussaren 'Favrat' held further back near the Grauhaus. As the action began, the only enemy the Austrian commander could see were the Bosniaks.
Colonel Tokacz led his unit of Banalisten Grenz Hussars round to the right, skirting Bauernhof and moving towards the Langenberg. As the Grenz Hussars passed the farm complex shots from the defenders caused a few casualties, but Tokacz pushed forward. Behind him the 1st battalion of the Gradiscaner Croat moved towards Bauernhof with the Ogaliner Croat batallion on their left.
On the left the Slavonishes and Warasdiner Grenz Hussars moved forward skirting Neider Nahmen and advancing towards the Bosniaks. In their wake the Liccaner, Creutzer and 2nd batallion Gradiscaner Croats moved towards Neider Nahmen, supported by the Jaeger Korps and Frei batallion Von Loudon and the regular Hussar regiments of Baranyey and Hadik.
Cautiously, the Croats approached the village and were surprised to find it unoccupied. Quickly, the Frei Batallion Von Loudon moved forward to act as garrison, whilst the croats and jaeger re-deployed in preparation for the advance to thier next objective, the orchard near the Grauhaus.
Before this could take place, the Bosniaks needed to be driven back. The Austrian commander moved forward his Grenz and regular hussars and as he did so, the Prussian commander supported the Bosniaks with the Favrat Hussars. A swirling melee took place between the two bodies of skirmishing cavalry, resulting in a victory for the Austrians. The Prussians fell back, the Bosniaks behind the Waldberg and Favrat to the Grauhaus.
In the centre the Prussians were also in retreat. The Jaeger had been in the sunken road between Neider Nahmen and Bauernhof, with the village now in Austrian hands they were outflanked and they moved back towards the Waldberg. In Bauernhof, the colonel of the Le Noble Frei batallion was beginning to consider withdrawal as well. The approaching Croats had a light batallion gun (amusette) with them and two of his best company commanders had been unlucky enough to get in the way of a half pound ball. His men were too few in number to hold all the perimeter of the buildings and so it was inevitable that the Croats would find a way in. As the Croats began to work around the sides of Bauernhof, the Colonel ordered his men to fall back to the barn, nearer the supporting Frie Batallions of Kleist and Quintus Icillius.
The Austrian commander was pleased with his progress so far, the first enemy line of defence had been cleared with little loss. His orders from Von Daun stressed the need for speed of advance even if it incurred casualties, so he therefore ordered an advance to the line of the orchard, Waldberg and Langenberg.
Colonel Tokacz pushed forward on the right. He saw the Frei batallion Quintus Icillius on the Langenberg with Kleist in support, covering the road. Gathering his force together he was confident that they could scatter this rabble and open the road to Berlin. As his men moved to the gallop a ragged volley caused few, if any casualties and the hussars' confidence grew.
However, the Prussians were made of sterner stuff. They lacked practice in shooting, but they had been drilled mercilessly on the parade ground and to the surprise of Tokacz and his hussars they met an unflinching barrier of bayonets. Abandoning their attack, the cavalry fell back accompanied by the jeers of their opponents.
On the left the Warasdiner Grenz Hussars led the advance, pursuing the retreating Bosniaks. As they crested the Waldberg they found themselves faced not only by the Bosniaks, but also the regular hussars. Before they could react the Von Werner Hussars swept forward into their flank, driving them backwards.
Following up, the regular hussars overwhelmed the supporting Slavonishes Hussars and with their blood up, charged the Baranyey Hussars. In the resulting melee the impetus of the Prussians carried the day. Now, out of control they charged the supporting Croat infantry. A telling volley emptied many saddles and the remaining troopers were kept at bay by the unbroken line of bayonets. Von Werner's men would take no further part in the action, but their charge had stalled the Austrian advance and eliminated their cavalry superiority.
It was at this point that Colonel Tokacz decided to try and push past Quintus Icillius and break into the open ground beyond the Langenberg. Unfortunately he put his head (and those of his troopers), in a noose. Moving through the narrow gap between the Frei batallion and nearby hedges he was faced by the reformed Bosniaks and the regular hussars of Von Ruesch. Not only was he outnumbered, the two frei batallions had moved to close his retreat. There was no way out, Colonel Tokacz had to surrender.
This victory was timely, as Le Noble had finally been driven from their foothold in the barn at Bauernhof and the Croats could continue their move towards the hills. However, deprived of their cavalry support this would not be easy, especially as Von Ruesch advanced around the Waldberg, threatening the Croat advance. In his wake came the Kleist frei batallion and the jaeger.
On the Austrian left, the infantry had secured the orchard and the second battalion of the Gradiscaner Croats had occupied the Grauhaus. The Creutzer Croats and the Frei Batallion Von Loudon moved towards the Waldberg, securing this feature would help restore the Austrian position in the centre. As they did so, Von Ruesch swept around the Waldberg and caught the Croats as they attacked the jeager defending the hill. Attcked in flank, the Croats were overwhelmed and cut down almost to a man. The Hussar's success placed in the rear of Von Loudon and a second charge scattered that unit as well.
The fighting now ceased. The Austrians could not advance in the face of the Prussian cavalry, but the Prussian infantry were too weak to push back the Austrians. However, it was the Prussian commander who was happiest. He had carried out Frederick's orders to the letter, offering a stiff defence whilst avoiding heavy casualties. The Austrian commander would have to wait for the supporting divisions to arrive and report to Von Daun in person, on his lack of success.
On the workbench - October 2023
5 hours ago