Thursday 29 July 2021

Austrian Heavy Cavalry

 Full of enthusiasm following our game at the weekend I have jumped back into the SYW lead pile. (It is ‘lead’ no plastic here David). Completed another Austrian Heavy cavalry Brigade. You probably didn’t spot this but these have cream trousers rather than red. Making them the Anhalt-Zerbst Cuirassiers. C25

Pendraken miniatures and I am prepping more infantry to come next……
And the weather has been great so a fair bit more cycling😀

Hopefully two games this weekend👍

Sunday 25 July 2021

The Battle of Leuthen : December 1757

About two and a half years ago myself and Martin were at a gaming show in the NE where there was a demonstration game of Blenheim in 10 mm this got us to thinking about a new project where the size and scale of figures allowed a more complete representation of the battle. After some thought I started collecting SYW Prussians and Austrians and Martin after a brief dalliance with Bavarians started collecting the same. With recent restrictions it has taken sometime but we have finally brought our plans together and this weekend we combined our collection to refight the battle of Leuthen.

As usual I won’t cover in full detail the background or history of the battle as this can be found on wiki. Needless to say this is one of Frederick’s famous manoeuvre battles where he used the superior quality and training of the Prussian army to outmanoeuvre the Austrians who had a much larger army. 

A rough map of the battlefield, the Austrians were positioned on the high ground between the villages of Nipern or Nypern, Frobelwitz, Leuthen itself and the smaller village of Sagschutz (also various spellings) thinking they might be outflanked to the north, the Austrians moved north with much of their cavalry, only to find Frederick had taken the bulk of his army to the south hidden by higher ground. The Prussians then rolled up the Austrian line from the south.
Our scenario taken from Battles of the Seven Years War by Frank Chadwick starts at the point when the Austrians have realised they have been out manoeuvred. The Wurttemburg Divison under Gen Spitznatz has pulled back to attempt to protect the now exposed flank. The Prussians have already set up their artillery on the Juden-Berg and Glanz-Berg the rest of their army has turned to start marching north. The Austrians have limited artillery as they were unprepared, they had also dispersed their Grenadiers back into their home Regiments. The Bavarian and Wurttemburg Divisions are poor quality and will take the first assault !
In the foreground General v Rechow has just turned the 2nd Infantry Division for the assault. Beyond them General Forcade with the first Division March past Radaxdorf
On the Prussian far right flank General Zieten’s cavalry divison behind Gen Bevern’s 4th Infantry Division
The Wurttemburg Division close to the small village of Schriegwitz
Far to the North Gen v Ludzinsky and the Austrian Light Divisionin the Zettel-Busch 
Austrian massed infantry on the high ground between Guckerwitz and Frobelwitz
Fredrick has left General d’Angelleli to demonstrate around the villages of Borne, just off the table to the left and Grosse Heidau, they are supported by General v Stechow’s cavalry Division
Prussian artillery opens up to start the battle
and to their right Zieten’s Cavalry begin to move forward
Drums beat the general advance all along the Prussian line
Realising they have been fixed the Austrians immediately start to redeploy off the high ground, the thunder of heavy cavalry
gen d’Angelleli has taken up a defensive position around Grosse Heidau is only role now to hold that position
However there is even more heavy cavalry advancing in their direction
…so General Driesen is ordered to support the left with his 2nd Cavalry Division. This opens up the possibility of a major cavalry engagement around the village of Grosse Heidau.
The general advance in the south, under heavy artillery some of the defenders around Sagschutz have already been pushed back
Prussian cavalry about to charge 
They are joined by General Bevern and quickly the Wurttemburg troops evaporate
But behind them more Austrian cavalry is moving to block the advance
It would appear that my control of the Prussians is not as good as Fredrick who was able to coordinate a much better assault , the Prussians are getting out of position and stacking up as they March north
In the centre, General Driesen’s cavalry move past Fredrick. (Editorial note…it is fair to say that as the battle unfolded we had a real sense of anticipation as we watched approximately 8000 cavalry move towards each other) 😬
The Austrians are continuing to redeploy around the town of Leuthen itself
Austrian cavalry moving down off the high ground
Light troops continue to skirmish to the north but the Prussians are not giving way
Prussian infantry in beautiful formation March past the Butter-berg towards Leuthen
A massive swirling cavalry battle is now taking place in the flat ground south of Grosse Heidau. Oh the clash of steel how exciting 😀
Prussian artillery continue to pound targets but increasingly their field artillery will fall silent as their own men get to grips with the Austrians.
A wider shot from the south, fair to say we were having some fun 
The battle continues around Grosse Heidau
The initial cavalry charge has taken place but the gallant officers charge in again and again
Quite quickly the bulk of the heavy cavalry from both sides has been blown and can make no more contribution in the battle, 2 Austrian and 1 Prussian cavalry divisions have been removed from the gap !
The Prussians still have some lighter cavalry in the area but they will need to cover any flanking move if the infantry loses the village
But the Prussian here are doing well
Fredrick surveys the empty space where his cavalry had been.
The infantry advance continues
On the right both the Wurttemburg and Bavarian divisions have now been driven off and the Prussian cavalry has won the duel behind Sagschutz
At this point we decided to call the victory for the Prussian. This might seem early with so many troops left on the battlefield. But when we added up the Austrians had already lost 6 divisions, half their strength. The Prussians quite surprisingly had only lost one Division, that’s not to say that some weren’t very shaken. 
The Prussians still have two cavalry divisions active on the table, so fearful of their lines of retreat being cut the Austrians at this point accepted defeat.
Austrians troops in the village of Leuthen when they get their orders to pull back.

As always with a big game like this it is hard to fight to a final conclusion but of course historically armies didn’t fight to the last man so with harf their army broken it seemed fair that the Austrians would retreat rather than be wiped out. We used Honours of War rules which worked really well although we messed up a couple of bits and simplified in a few places to speed things up. There are few changes and administrative things we learnt but we had so much fun we have already agreed to play another SYW battle next time 😀

Wednesday 21 July 2021

A culvert too far……..Battle Report

 Those who have seen Phil’s post will know he kindly invited me for another virtual bash. This time a hold until relieved scenario, the Germans have captured the small bridge outside the village the British must attempt to capture it. I’m sharing this report partly as Phil forgot to take and photos 😢

The British choose to advance on mass, three infantry squads with Bren guns a Cromwell (hidden behind the tree) and two supporting Mortars. The Germans are dug in by the bridge with a machine gun in the demolished house.
The Mortars start to fire from a distance, the Cromwell attempts to push the defenders of the bridge back, but risking taking fire from the newly arrive Pak40. British infantry spread to the right and charge down the road but come under fire from a German machine gun in one of the buildings.
About half way through the game, the Cromwell has been immobilised and one of the infantry units pinned down, the first British unit has however charged forward to the objective. Using the cover of the buildings the German start to bring their infantry forward
The battle becomes a tough hand to hand combat across the bridge , changing hands several times
Potentially the end of the battle, Germans around the bridge have been knocked out, as has the Pak40 by a direct mortar hit. The British have flanked from the right but they may be too late !
Luckily a random extra turn is rolled. Both forces are nearly worn out but the British HQ unit is able to push forward and capture the objective, the Germans don’t have enough units to contest as the battle draws to a close 😀
Given the hot weather I thought I would show another landscape , for those interested this is Angle Tarn looking roughly west


Monday 19 July 2021

Continental Cavalry and other bits and bobs

 Seem to be busy at the moment, although I should have more time now the Tour de France has finished ! Here is a snap shot of stuff which might be of interest.

First up my first unit of cavalry for AWI these are the 3rd Continental light Dragoons in their characteristic white and blue.
Foundry figures which were easy to paint up, the banner is a bit of a botch, but I was too lazy to order one from GMB and wait, I might put an order in some time when I need few more to make the postage worthwhile. I don’t plan to have lots of cavalry but these need to be balanced by some British at some point
Next up a British Oerlikon 20 mm Autocannon, these were mainly used in naval situations but apparently some were mounted on these small tractor units as antitank weapons. As an autocannon in bolt action it will get 2 shots so will be a powerful weapon against poorly armed vehicles , not much use against German armoured tank though. It is a Warlord model
A German Kettenkrad, these were effectively an all terrain motorbike used for towing small loads. The initial versions were used by airborne troops as it fitted in a JU52 and this one will see action towing a small howitzer into action as part of a parachute unit
I said I would post up some size comparisons between the Gordon Studios Figures I ordered her is a Norwegian infantry man next to a converted warlord winter German and a crusader paratrooper. They work pretty well size wise and are nice enough sculpts. I have a couple of units of these to paint up
I also ordered a couple of Gebirgsjager from Gorgon to bulk out my small mountain force for Norway, again the size comparison is favourable I think, although my warlord Gebirgsjager are very slight in scale.
An odd bit of history I bumped into this weekend, I visited a number of family members who were staying in Scotland at a very grand house called Bemersyde, near the river tweed. Turns out it was the house the nation bought General Douglas Haig after WW1 to thank him for his service for the nation. It is still owned by the family, but is now rented out in sections as a holiday location, the tower is from 1540 or so.
It is full of interesting snippets of history, portraits
and photos
His study still has his desk as above.
I will leave it for others to decide what his contribution was to our victory in WW1, having visited the house I have read up a couple of bits and it appears the popular notion of uncaring incompetent general may not be the whole truth. Not really my period but nice to bump into some military history.
Finally a landscape shot, the weather has been crazy hot in England

Hope you are all well 👍