Monday, April 12, 2021

The Battle of Mollwitz 1741 or "They're going to hang me in Berlin"

 Ken was over on Sunday and we refought the 1741 Battle of Mollwitz using the Volley & Bayonet rules and our mutual 10mm SYW collections.  As the title implies, it did not go very well for the men in the Blue Coats.

Prussians advancing through shot to close with the Austrian lines

Steady Austrian lines looking towards the Prussians

The Prussian first line.

They eagle-eyed among you will notice there is a conspicuous absence of snow and maybe even some green foliage.  Neither Ken nor I have a snow mat (yet) and decided to fight this battle out "chust zo" as the Pennsylvania Dutch like to say.  The Prussians must seize Mollwitz or defeat the Austrians by exhausting all of their "Divisions" on the table.  The Austrian line begins the battle stationary (remember that - it's a recurring theme).

The Prussian lines close with the Austrians while the cavalry clash on the Prussian right flank! THe second line were mostly Ken's, based in 3 ranks, too!

I charge 2 x Brigades into one of the Austrian Cuirassier Brigades, hoping to get lucky before my Cavalry flee in disgrace.  (both Cavalry win exhaustion levels are "2" which is awful).  THe combat turns out okay and a Cuirassier brigade is sent to the rear, disordered.  Don't worry, they'll be back!

Heavy and medium horse clash on the battlefield outside Gruningen

The Prussian Cuirassier fail their morale check before combat and will go into the battle disordered (yellow bead)


Winning the first cavalry clash, and unlike Frederick at the real battle, I'm feeling pretty good.  "Schwerin!" I bark "Send the infantry forward at once!"  "At once my Lord".  And that was that.

The neat and tidy lines of a SYW battlefield cannot be beat on the wargame table!

I move the Prussian infantry forward on turn 3, covering the rest of the ground with ease, my Prussians move up to musket range with the stationary Austrian troops.  The Austrians, all with "Dedicated Guns" and Stationary, received 5 shooting dice to my 2 +1 for the units I have with Dedicated Guns.  All hits on "6".  The Austrians get to return fire when attacked.  It occurs to me this could have been a mistake...

The Austrians stand proudly outside Mollwitz as the Prussians move into musketry range and open fire.

The Austrians catching their breath from the Cavalry charge while the infantry battle rages.

The Austrian fire is absolutely devastating and tears a huge, gaping hole in my first line.  They almost reach exhaustion and only 3 regiments remain in the first line.  It's worth mentioning here that they were all "2 hit" Regiments meaning they die after 2 hits.  The Austrians take maybe 1 casualty for the entire exchange.  They sit there, awaiting the second line.  I'm going to have to do some things differently.

In Volley and Bayonet, you can force the enemy to take morale checks.  My Prussians are all morale "6" which means rolling 6 or lower is guaranteed unless factors reduce the morale level to 5,4, 3, etc.  The Austrian morale is not as good at 4 or 5.  If I can force a morale check against the Austrians, Ken is much more likely to lose at least one of them and go disordered.  Misuse of my artillery means that it's far back.  Being under close range of unlimbered guns from the front forces a morale check with a "-1" so Ken's morale 5 unit would check at "4" or less under close range of field guns.  Too bad their plodding their way up to the front!  Disaster!  The wreckage of the first line limp back to the rear while the second line smartly makes their way up to challenge these upstart Austrians.

You can see where my Prussian first line regiments used to be!

A regiment of cowards making their way to the rear!

Ken sets his sights on my malingering and retreating units in the rear area now!  Austrian Dragoons!

I try the more "subtle" approach and the second line simply charges the Austrians.  Mind you, I "should" have overlapped them to get more dice in the combats but didn't.  Ken's stationary infantry are going to melee me with 5 dice.  Ugly!

Austrian infantry making their way into the rear area.  Note the Dragoons top center about to charge into the Prussian guns...THe guns only defend when attacked from the front.  It's all over for them!

Was this his actual name?
THe infantry left over from the first line are STILL not yet exhausted and I'm planning on using them to help move the second line's attack forward.  Oops!  THey're out of command.  This is getting worse!

White beads are "out of command" Regiments.  Cant go stationary, cant move towards the enemy, and if they move they go disordered.

The last gamble of the Prussians here is to charge with their infantry.  THey are successful in sending a single Austrian Regiment tumbling back, but otherwise, they lose more than half of their units going in.  To add insult to injury, the final combat is cavalry against cavalry on the Prussian left flank, and they too, lose the fight!  Every one of the Prussian Divisions are exhausted!  This fight is done!

Well that was a fun, but brutal game.  It's been about 7 years since I've played Volley and Bayonet and I had basically forgotten everything I'd learned way back then.  The Prussians mismanaged their forces, especially the infantry attack and the supporting artillery, which should have moved up to keep pace with the infantry.  Every advantage I had should have been pressed home including the Prussian's superior morale, and the only battalion of guns on the table, which were barely used.  Additionally, the second line was much further back than they needed to be.  Another "issue" was the 2 hit regiments.  Most of the time, I've played linear games where the Regiments were 3 hit points, and I think this would have given the infantry a bit more striking power, especially going up against those stationary Austrians.  Expensive lessons learned indeed!

Even though this game was a HUGE loss, it was still lots of fun and you have to admit the spectacle was gorgeous!  All of the work to prep the figures was well worth it watching the serried ranks of bayonets glisten and march forward!  Now if I could only get the dice to behave :)

Ken and I discussed fighting more SYW battles, and I hope to put Lobositz on next.  We're also keen to play a Napoleonic battle with Volley and Bayonet and perhaps a refight of Teugen-Hausen is in the cards?

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Happy Easter, "Seven Years War Month," and a Big Announcement!

 Seems like March and April are pretty much no-go months for me when it comes to hobby time.  The vaccine push is in full effect and naturally I'm right in the middle of all of it so gaming naturally has to take a back seat. 

The plan for March was Seven Years War and I had planned a big Neil Thomas 15mm SYW bash, as well as my triumphant return to the Volley & Bayonet rules with a planned Mollwitz-1741 game.

I don't have to remind everyone what happens to the plan after first contact with the enemy!  Anyways, the Neil Thomas bash is off, but Mollwitz will still happen, just clearly not in March.  Between Ken and I, we have enough forces for the small-sized Mollwitz 1741 scenario from the Volley & Bayonet page.  

March wasn't a total write off, mind you.  I still was able to paint up more SYW units, and rebase my existing units, plopping them on 3" x 1.5" bases for Volley & Bayonet to serve as linear regiments, after sadly ripping them off of their 4"x2" big bases.  I cried when I did that but it's for the greater good - IE being compatible with friends' collections as well as my own.

The Prussians, so far.  9 Infantry Regiments, 4 Artillery Battalions, 2 Cuirassier and 2 Dragoon Brigades

The Austrians - similar makeup to the Prussians

I plopped a few units on the table last night for a practice game of Volley & Bayonet to re-acquaint myself with the rules.  Turns out there's alot I forgot!  Both sides test morale every turn under certain circumstances, dedicated / battalion guns, rout rules, and recovery from disorder being a few among them.  Also stationary infantry are lethal.  

Trying not to be too hard on myself since it's been about 7 years since i've played it :)

Prussians and Austrians square off - they look good!

Units test within close range of field guns.  The odd bad-roll can really ruin your day if you were counting on all those regiments sitting tight!

Super happy with how they turned out!

Whatever you men do, don't roll a 6 when testing in front of those guns!

I also realized yesterday that the anniversary of Mollwitz is April 10th - so perhaps if I can squeeze a few hours off work next weekend, we'll fight out Mollwitz close to the original battle date!  Always fun to acknowledge the historical battle.  And speaking of historical battle, do I have exciting news for you guys.

Ken, Dave, and I are going to be refighting Eylau in all its massed, 10mm Napoleonic glory.  We're setting the date for February, 2022 for the game, and hoping to host it at Cold Wars '22.  

That should give us enough time to paint up the roughly 80+ brigades required!  Dave is going to paint up the Prussian contingent, with Ken taking the Russians.  I will be assembling the French.  Ken and I have talked about using Volley & Bayonet for that game and I am absolutely thrilled at the prospect of planning a huge Napoleonic battle on the table, in a blizzard!

Anyways that's it.  Hope to post on and off through April but I have a feeling it will be like last year with me trying to squeeze in the odd post here and there.  I've even been eyeing up the boardgame collection on the bookshelf like a pirate eyes up that pistol with the single shot he's been given after being marooned...

 I will definitely post a battle report from the Mollwitz game, though, whenever we get to play it.  Happy, joyous Easter if you celebrate!