Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kolin 1757

Mike & Mark's Prussians v. Jim & Chris' Austrians

It was Steve's turn to set up the battle tonight.  He left me the map last week so I could set up the terrain beforehand & he brought along the armies from his 15mm 7 Years War collection.  We used our Hail Napoleon rules - which are Hail Caesar modified for the Black Powder era with house rules.
The Austrians deployed first on the right hand side.  Their front line is, from their left, an Hungarian infantry division, a cavalry division (hussars & dragoons), 3 infantry divisions in the centre, grenz in the wood & hussars on the far flank.  In reserve they have grenadiers in the centre, Saxon cavalry on their right & a cuirassier division on the far flank.  Jim commands the left, Chris the right.

The Prussians are marching down the Kaiserstrasse & deploying to their right.  Mark's advance guard is an hussar division followed by dragoons and infantry.  Mike's main body has a cuirassier division now deploying in the centre, grenadiers deployed on their right between the hamlets and an infantry division still on the road behind them.
 The Prussian attack is being lead by their cuirassiers & grenadiers.
 The Austrian cavalry launch a pre-emptive strike on the Prussian grenadiers & artillery.
The Austrian counterattack has had some success but the grenadiers have stopped them.  The Prussian cuirassiers have broken through the Austrian infantry, but the Austrian grenadiers have been moved up to plug the gap.
The Hungarian infantry have advanced in support of the cavalry.  Mark's infantry has advanced on the flank of the Prussian cuirassiers.  His cavalry has paused on the far flank.
With their left hard pressed, the Austrians launch an attack on their right.  Their cavalry has charged & Chris' infantry & artillery has advanced into the gap in the Prussian line.
Fighting is now happening along the whole front.  In the centre, the Prussian cuirassiers have broken the grenadiers, but have suffered significant casualties & the reserve Saxon cavalry is moving to take them on.
The Hungarians were supposed to make a demonstration on the left to distract the Prussian infantry, instead they blundered into a full scale attack against the superior Prussian infantry - which is not going well.  The Austrian cavalry is badly shaken & has fallen back.  The Saxon cavalry failed to charge home, but have still plugged the line.  Mark's infantry in the centre is under pressure as Austrian infantry lap around their left flank.
On the far flank, both side's hussar divisions are nearly spent, but the Austrian cuirassiers are getting the upper hand against the Prussian dragoons.
On the Austrian left, their Hungarians are badly shaken & about to break.  The cavalry division is also badly shaken & is falling back before the Prussian grenadiers.  The Saxon cavalry are holding their own against the tired cuirassiers.
In the centre, Mark's infantry is outflanked and in trouble.
On the Austrian right, both side's hussars are about to break, but the Prussian dragoons look to be outclassed by the Austrian cuirassiers.
It was now 11 o'clock & time was up with neither army broken.  Out of 9 divisions, the Austrians have lost 3 divisions on their left & centre, their hussars on the right are on the verge of breaking, their left flank cavalry is in no fit state to attack, but has a clear line of retreat to the centre & should escape being broken so there's no easy way for the Prussians to break them.   The Prussians are yet to have any of their 6 divisions broken, but their hussars are about to break, their dragoons are facing a superior force, their infantry centre is being rolled up & their victorious right has heavy casualties.  The players agreed to a draw - pretty much the historical result.

The Prussians had a sound plan of attack & their grenadiers & cuirassiers smashed a hole through the Austrian line as planned, but they erred by overextending their left.  The Austrians had a sound defensive strategy with a neat front line backed with adequate reserves which were able to plug the gaps on their left centre and wear down the Prussian spearpoint while their right counterattacked.  

It was very large battle yet we got though an awful lot of action in 3 hours - which is what Hail Napoleon is designed to do.  It is basically Hail Caesar - but modified - not only to suit the period, but to facilitate large battles.  The only issue we had rules-wise was that it appears that it might be a bit too difficult to break divisions & thus get a decisive result.   Our divisional break test was designed for armies with fewer & smaller divisions -  it's arguable that we should modify the test for this era. 

Steve's troops looked magnificent, both up close and in the big picture.  The players all had a great time & we are all looking forward to more 7 Years War when it's Steve's next turn as gamesmaster.

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