Following the success of our Leuthen battle we wanted another ‘big’ Seven Years War Battle to test our 10mm collection. The battle of Prague seemed a great option. I’ll give an immediate shout out to Frank Chadwick who covers the battle in his Battles of the Seven Years War and I took the OB from that although the maps and the set up are from other sources.
After the battle of Lobositz the Prussians outmanoeuvred the Austrians pinning the main Austrian army around the city of Prague. The wide Moldau river protected the city from the west so the battle inevitably took place to the East. The Austrians had taken up a strong defensive position looking north along a ridge of high ground running west to east. This high ground ended in two features called the Tabor Berg and the Homole Berg and run out into flatter ground to the east. Fredrick wishing to avoid a frontal assault sought yet again to outflank the Austrians this time to their right. Whilst he screened the manoeuvre with troops the bulk of the Prussian army marched east and then south. What had looked like promising flat ground turned out to be cut by streams, meadows and muddy fish ponds which significantly hampered the Prussian attack. This gave time for Field Marshall Browne to redeploy the right wing of the Austrian army onto the Homole Berg. The Prussians assaulted were pushed back, but as the Austrians then advanced a gap opened in the Austrian line which allowed the Prussians to force into the Austrian defensive position. To the south a major cavalry battle took place which ended when Zieten’s cavalry division arrived after an extended flank March catching the Austrian cavalry in the flank. Fearing they would be cut off the Austrians began to withdraw back west to the city.
The above map shows the overall position of the armies and the initial Austrian west to east line
Prussian infantry famously wading through the muddy fish ponds and streams 🙂
I used the above map from the internet for the broad positions of units and features, the red line denotes the extent of our 12x6 table
and here it is at the start. Our battle kicks off with the Austrians on the Homole Berg although some have advanced off the ridge line. The Prussians have some troops across the fish ponds and streams but the bulk of their infantry will need to Wade across and therefore slow their advance. The yellow arrows above show the line of reinforcements which will arrive on a D6 roll.
1 designates the Austrian reserves effectively the left wing of their army who will arrive one Division at a time close to the town of Hrdlorzez, if they are lucky some will arrive on the road.
2 is the Austrian cavalry reserves, divisions of Hadik, O’Donnel and Prinz Hohenzollern.
3 denotes the line for Zieten’s cavalry flank attack which will arrive one turn after the Austrian reserves.
Before we get into the action report I should say this was a big battle, we used Honours of War again with a couple of minor amendments which came up during play although we are very comfortable with their overall playability with a battle this scale. The artillery we played as independent batteries but they didn’t need a order check to fire. Just for scale the Austrians have 14 Divisions the Prussians 10, 49 regiments or brigades for the Austrians! We were lucky as the reserves were slightly delayed allowing us to recycle the Austrians.
So on to the initial deployment positions
From the south east Prinz Schonaich’s Cavalry division and in the distance the Homole Berg can be clearly seen
Prinz Ferdinand’s infantry division moving uptowards the streams, Field Marshall Schwerin has already managed to get Gen Fouque’s infantry across the difficult ground.
Further north Fredrick with the reserve infantry around the town of Kej
and further north still Prinz Heinrich’s Division marchs past the town of Hlaupeten
The Austrian left wing still strung out on their original defensive line
but be upto nd them Browne has redeployed the right wing under Baden Durlach and Arenburg onto the Tabor berg (foreground) and Homole Berg in the distance.
Two batteries of Austrian artillery on the Homole Berg
Let battle commence……
The Prussians win the first turn and General Fouque rolls a double move. The Prussian general immediately makes the honourable decision to play historically and the whole division move onto the attack before a shot is fired.
Then the whole line rumbles to the sound of cannon and musket fire.
Prussians assault the base of the Tabor Berg
And the two cavalry forces gallop into combat around the town of Michelup
After exchanging volleys at the base of the Tabor Berg Winterfeldt’s division seeks to push Petazzy’s light division out of the way.
More Prussian infantry is brought forward to assault the Homole Berg
They open fire and a single Regiment seeks to outflank the position Macguires Division is driven away from the base, but you can see the artillery on top of the hill blasting down on the Prussian infantry.
Prinz Ferdinands division finally managed to get across the wet ground.
But parts of the reserve Corps under Bevern fail to activate this might be a costly delay
To the north the Prussian Cavalry division under Penavaire is ‘demonstrating’ to prevent the advance of the Austrian left wing.
the Austrian left wing have redeployed and are looking to take the high ground to prevent the cavalry outflanking the Austrian position
To the south the cavalry melee continues with no decisive victory
A critical moment in the Prussian advance when confused orders (two failed activations) prevent both attacking division from advancing on their target
The two cavalry forces have pulled apart, and in the middle distance more Austrian cavalry is protecting the right flank of their infantry line.
The stalled advance between Hostawitz and Kej
Penavaire withdraws his cavalry back over the bridge rather than be wiped out, their role is to demonstrate and hold the right
A view down the whole table, at this point the battle had broken into three or four separate battles.
Prinz Heinrich has moved his division into a defensive position.
Finally the Prussians have got their act together the line Austrian line on the Homole Berg is about to be hit hard
And then zieten arrives with his cavalry adding it’s force to the south
They immediately get stuck in but there is no decisive victor at this point
Austrian cavalry is now holding the Austrian right flank, as the Prussian infantry build up to assault the high ground
Finally the rest of the Prussians are over the stream but they have a way to go to assault the Tabor Berg
To the north the Prussian cavalry are forced to charge to hold back the Austrians, they suffer but achieve their aim of holding the advance
Oh no Austrian reserve infantry starts to arrive on the road from Hrdlorzez, this is the first of three reserve divisions.
The combat around the base of the Homole Berg continues
and The defenders at the base of the Tabor Berg are nearly done, can they hold till the Austrian reserves arrive
Surprisingly the Prussian cavalry has managed to push back the strain infantry on the northern hills
More Austrian reserves are thrown to support their left flank
They March at the double to secure the hill
Another view down the battlefield
The Austrian position on the Tabor Berg is looking fragile where they are outnumbered
Still the Prussian assault on the Homole berg hasn’t hit home
The swirling cavalry battle has pretty much exhausted the cavalry from both side
Finally the Prussian volleys force the Austrian defenders back from the crest of the hill
The encouraging view from the rear of the Prussian line
The Prussians are also pushing forward towards the Tabor Berg
In the foreground, prussian cavalry is regrouping
But Prinz Heinrich’s Division has been pushed back to the river to rally and regroup.
Finally a break through and the Prussians have managed to reach the crest of the Homole Berg. The Austrian defenders have been forced back and are attempting to regroup
The Austrian reserves have captured the hills to the north
The Austrian reserves are begining to deploy across the road but the lead regiment is blasted to their front ! And they have arrived to late to make a decisive impact
Another wide shot, on the left in the foreground the Austrians are regrouping
A final eye candy shot of the battle as we decided to call it to a close.
The butchers bill, we had used a different approach to keeping tally of the regiments lost as a division will fail completely when they reach under half strength, this simple bit of administration worked really well. We both came to the conclusion that it was one of the most enjoyable games we have played, something about the scale and the sense that the battle broke into quite distinct elements like a full battle would, the cavalry in the south was quite independent from the rest of the battle but hard fought in itself. The two infantry attacks on the Tabor and Homole Bergs were both hard fought and felt a real challenge. In terms of result a marginal Prussian victory, they had managed to get troops onto the Homole berg, it might be hard to hold it but at this point the Austrians are in danger of being cut off from Prague and would need to pull back. The Austrians had lost 5 divisions compared to the Prussian 2. Given the enjoyment it really didn’t matter 😀 and we both agreed that as a scenario/battle we would happily refight it next week (if we weren’t busy)
Hopefully you enjoyed this recount of the battle as much as we did playing it through, this felt as close to wargaming heaven as we have achieved. We may take a pause but Kolin is already on the cards.