‘Tricorn’ QRS Amendments #2

Thanks to Maurizio’s efforts, we’ve found an error in the Tricorn skirmishing rules: Skirmishers hit on a 5 or 6, not on a 6 as it previously stated.  QRS Page 1 has therefore been amended to v1.2.

There is also a change to QRS Page 2: French infantry may now move at Column speed (8 inches) when formed in Ordre Profond, but may only wheel at half speed.  The ‘French Stuff’ section on Page 4 has also been amended accordingly.  Pages 2 & 4 have therefore been amended to v1.1.

Lastly, there is a change to QRS Page 3: Cavalry units providing rear support may not be Blown.  Page 3 has therefore been amended to v1.1.

The amended QRSs can be found on the main Tricorn Rules Resources Page (linked).

Posted in Eighteenth Century, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules), Tricorn Rules Resources | Leave a comment

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Part 2): The Battle of Münchengrätz (Our Bohemia 1757 Campaign)

In my last post, I described our recently-started Seven Years War campaign, based on Frederick The Great’s invasion of Bohemia in the Spring of 1757 and an earlier campaign game titled ‘Bohemian Blitzkrieg’, which was published in the Campaigns and Battles from the Age of Reason supplement for the Warfare in the Age of Reason wargame rules.

After three weeks of campaigning (a week being represented by a campaign turn), two armies had finally clashed at the key road-junction town of Münchengrätz.  King Frederick himself had marched with a relatively weak force of only 18 Strength Points (SPs – each equating to an infantry battalion or cavalry regiment), but it did contain all his Guards and reserve artillery.  He had hoped that Bevern’s army would march to join him, but when Bevern failed to appear Frederick was forced to fight Königsegg’s 28 SPs alone.

I described the procedure for selecting the terrain last time, which is largely unchanged from the original (excellent) Age of Reason system.  I’ll run through it here in full, just to explain how it works, but I won’t do it again for future battles:

Both sides rolled a d6, added their Campaign Initiative ratings (5 for both Frederick and Königsegg) and the Austrians added their +1 ‘Home Advantage’ modifier, thus giving Königsegg a net +1 advantage.  Königsegg won the roll and then rolled d100 to generate six battlefields, ending up with 02, 09, 17, 31, 58 and 63 (the higher-numbered battlefields have generally ‘busier’ terrain).

Having generated the potential battlefields, Königsegg chose 09, 17 and 58 as his final three maps.  A d3 was then rolled to decide which of these would be the final battlefield, resulting in map 58 being the final map.

Königsegg opted to deploy on the southern edge of the map (along a low, but steeply-sided ridge) and both sides secretly decided if they would stand and fight or manoeuvre again… Both sides decided to stand and fight!

The Holy Roman Umpire then re-jigged the map slightly to fit the club table proportions and to add comedy German place-names…

During secret deployment, both sides opted to place their infantry on the eastern side of the field, where the spring crops would make going difficult for the cavalry.  The cavalry were all massed in the more open ground on the western flank.

Above:  The view of the battlefield from behind Austrian lines as the troops start moving.  Königsegg has grouped all his dragoons and hussars on the left under Maquire, while the cuirassiers are all massed in reserve behind the left flank.  His two leading infantry divisions have six battalions apiece (one also having a battalion of Grenzer deployed in skirmish order).

Above:  The third division consists of five infantry battalions and two grenadier battalions and remains on the Fickmühlenberg, along with the bulk of the artillery (two heavy batteries and three light batteries), who are content to fire long-range over the heads of the leading divisions.

The Fickmühlen themselves are sadly long-gone, having been burned down decades earlier by outraged priests.  The name remains, however…

Above:  To everyone’s surprise, the Austrian line abandons its lovely defensive position and advances under the barrage…  As the Whitecoats close with the Prussian line, the Holy Roman Umpire spots a flaw in Königsegg’s Cunning Plan… 

Above:  The dragoons and hussars of the Austrian left wing.  

Above:  The Prussian left wing, its flanks secured by the villages of Gross-Fahrtgasse and Klein-Fahrtgasse, contains all the ‘regular’ infantry and grenadier battalions, plus an additional artillery battery. 

Above:  The Prussian centre contains all of Frederick’s Guard infantry battalions (three battalions of the Garde Regiment (IR 15) and the solitary battalion of the Grenadiergarde Regiment (IR 6), as well as the reserve heavy artillery batteries.

Above:  The Prussian right wing consists of all Frederick’s cavalry in a single formation; two regiments of cuirassiers, two regiments of dragoons and an elite battalion (half-regiment) of hussars, plus the reserve regiment of Guard cuirassiers (the Gensd’Armes (CR 10), incorporating the Garde du Corps (CR 13). 

Above:  The overall view of the battlefield from the Prussian side.

Above:  The Prussian cavalry move quickly to secure the gap between the villages of Fickmühlen and Poppenweiler.

Above:  The Austrian cuirassiers seem content for the time being, to watch the cavalry battle from their hilltop.  On their right, the Austrian light artillery, finding itself out of range of the Prussian lines, limbers up and moves forward.

[NB I’m a cheapskate who doesn’t buy model limbers in scales larger than 10mm!]

Above:  The Austrian right wing advances on Klein-Fahrtgasse.  However, as the Austrian heavy guns fall silent, it’s now Gesichts-Handflächen all round at Königsegg’s headquarters as they realise that the infantry have now masked their own guns!

Above:  The Prussians breathe a sigh of relief, as a few battalions were really starting to suffer from the Austrian bombardment!

[The circular markers with ‘dice-dots’ are casualties, while the casualty figures show ‘Staggered’ units (‘Disordered’ in anyone else’s rules)]

Above:  At Grosse-Fahrtgasse, Frederick and his staff observe as the heavy guns tear lumps out of the Austrian centre.

The mounted figure in the grey coat is Sir Aiden Catey, senior foreign correspondent for The Times of London.  Knighted for his reportage during the War of Austrian Succession, his acerbic wit meant that he was fêted at many of the royal courts of Europe, while the rest placed a price on his head…

Above:  Grenzer work their way forward through the Fahrtgasse-Holz and start sniping at gunners on the Prussian left wing.

Above:  At Fickmühlen, the cavalry clash!  The leading two regiments of Prussian cuirassiers, with the Gensd’Armes and hussars in support, charge the two regiments of Austrian dragoons.  A regiment of Austrian hussars, with the second regiment in support, attempts to intervene.

Above:  The odds are not in the Austrians’ favour.  Just to go all ‘gamey for a second; the baseline numbers are shown on the dice; 6 for the cuirassiers, 5 for the dragoons and 4 for the hussars.  The Prussian cuirassiers and the Austrian hussars get +1 for having rear support, while the central Austrian dragoon regiment gets +1 for secured flanks.  Nobody has casualties and nobody is staggered, so no negative modifiers.

The left-hand mêlée is therefore +7 for the Prussians v +5 for the Austrians.  The right-hand mêlée again has the Prussians on +7, though the Austrians have two units in the fight, both on +5 (they roll two dice and pick the best result).  Both sides roll a d6 for each unit and the winner inflicts the difference in casualties…

Above:  On the left, the Prussians win by 4, so the Austrian dragoons take 4 casualties and retreat.  The Prussians elect to rally in place.  On the right, the best Austrian result still means that the Prussians win by 1, so the Austrian dragoons and hussars both take 1 casualty and retreat, while the Prussian cuirassiers retire to rally behind their hussars.  With no more mêlées to fight, both Prussian cuirassier regiments now take a single casualty for cavalry fatigue.

Above:  Both Austrian dragoon regiments managed to rally from their retreat, but sadly for the Austrians the hussars couldn’t be persuaded to hang around!  However, the great mass of Austrian cuirassiers has now moved down off the Fickmühlenberg and looks set to intervene…

Above:  In the centre, the Austrian infantry have been taking a pasting from the Prussian heavy guns and have now attracted the attention of two regiments of Prussian dragoons.

Above:  On the Austrian right, the advance has slowed in order to allow their battalion guns to keep up with the advance through the fields of spring crops.

Above:  Frederick watches as his dragoons advance on the Whitecoats!

Above:  As the Prussian dragoons charge, the surviving Austrian hussar regiment attempts to intervene… and is utterly smashed!  The dragoons ride on into the infantry, but the Whitecoats stand their ground and the dragoons are sent packing!  However, the second regiment of Prussian dragoons don’t seem bothered by the flight of their comrades and advance on the Austrian infantry…

Above:  At last, the Austrian cuirassiers engage the Prussians.

Above:  As the cavalry clash for the second time, the Austrians generally gain the upper hand: Near Fickmühlen the Prussian hussars are swept from the field and the Austrian cuirassiers (with the blue standard) charge on, also defeating the supporting Prussian cuirassiers.  On their left, the next Austrian cuirassier regiment (with the red standard) throws back the first line and breaks through, but is in turn thrown back by the Prussian Gensd’Armes.

Above:  However, although things are suddenly going well for the Austrians on the left flank, Königsegg had suffered a crisis of confidence and had already ordered the right wing to withdraw (while reinforcing them with the reserve).

Above:  Another view from behind the Austrian right flank.

Above:  And another view from the Austrian right flank…

Above:  The view from behind the Prussian right flank.  No expense was spent in the making of this report…

Above:  The second wave of Prussian dragoons charges the Austrian infantry!

Above:  Once again, the heroic Austrian infantry repel the Prussian dragoons!  However, this Austrian division has already lost one battalion to the intense Prussian gunnery.

Above:  The Prussian cavalry very much got the worst of the last round of combat, with one hussar regiment broken outright.  To make matters worse, one regiment each of dragoons and cuirassiers fail to rally and also flee, leaving only the Gensd’Armes, a cuirassier regiment and a dragoon regiment on the field.  Nevertheless, they are still game for a fight, despite losing over a third of their starting strength.

Above:  Opposing them are four largely-intact regiments of Austrian cuirassiers (two of them completely fresh) and two regiments of dragoons, though the dragoon division is still demoralised due to losing the two hussar regiments earlier.

Above:  As the Austrian infantry tries to withdraw (covered by their battalion guns), the Prussian left wing advances!

We foolishly forgot to take any more photos of the game after this point, but both the Austrians and the Prussians in the photo above lost one more battalion due to artillery fire, as did the central Austrian division.

Sadly, having fought eight turns, we ran out of club-night time and had to end the day’s action.  With neither side broken, each side had a choice: either stand and fight for a second day or retreat.  If they both decided to stand, the armies could be reorganised and redeployed within their deployment zone, but each unit would start with its strength at the end of the first day of battle.  If one side decided to retreat, they could retreat up to two friendly map ‘dots’ and their opponent could opt to pursue.

Both players wrote their decision and handed it to the Holy Roman Umpire…

Königsegg had decided to stand and fight for a second day…

However, Frederick had decided to retreat to Niemes…

Despite an indecisive battle, the Prussian retreat meant that the Austrians had won the Battle of Münchengrätz!  The Prussians had suffered 29 casualties, which divided by 12 and rounded up equalled 3 SPs lost.  The Austrians had suffered 38 casualties, but when divided by 12 and rounded down (due to their superior medical services) also totalled 3 SPs.

Above:  King Frederick decided to retreat only one ‘dot’, to Niemes.  The Austrians now had the option to pursue…

The Austrians had three cuirassier regiments left in the field and not blown, which meant 3 Pursuit Factors.  They also had two remaining dragoon regiments, but their division was still demoralised and could not therefore be used for pursuit.  When Königsegg’s Initiative Rating of 5 was added, that totalled 8 Pursuit Factors and therefore 8 d6 to roll against the retreating Prussians (each rolled 6 becoming an eliminated SP).

Frederick meanwhile, had one dragoon regiment left in the fight (1 Pursuit Factor) and his own Initiative Rating of 5.  He also had General Zieten, who added a further 3 Pursuit Factors, bringing the Prussian total to 9.

With the final Pursuit Factor tally being Austria 8 v Prussia 9, the Austrians opted not to pursue and Frederick was allowed to go on his way unmolested.

According to Da Roolz, both participants in a battle must remain stationary to reorganise for the turn following a battle, so Frederick remains at Niemes, while Königsegg remains at Münchengrätz.  Bevern meanwhile, has finally obeyed his orders and has marched from Kratzau to Liebenau, in a belated pursuit of Königsegg!

Elsewhere in Bohemia, the Austrian army at Königgrätz has been reinforced by a corps arriving from the fortress of Olmütz and has marched with his full strength to Jaromirz.  The Prussian corms at Stakstadt meanwhile, has marched to seize the Austrian supply depot at Nachod.

News has also arrived on both sides of Marshal Daun’s Austrian army marching north from Vienna…  In the Holy Roman Umpire’s unbiased and impartial opinion, King Frederick needs to knock out at least one of the Austrian armies soon, or he’s going to be overwhelmed!

Anyway, that’s all the news from the Front.  This week I also managed to get my French, British and Hanoverian armies on the table for their first game (having painted a load of British-Hanoverian-Allied generals and artillery), so more on that soon…

Posted in Campaigns, Eighteenth Century, Games, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules) | 2 Comments

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’: Our Bohemia 1757 Campaign

As mentioned in another thread, we’re doing a small campaign based on Frederick the Great’s invasion of Bohemia in 1757 (which historically led to the Battles of Prague and Kolin). The original germ of the campaign was the ‘Bohemian Blitzkrieg’ campaign from the  Campaigns & Battles from the Age of Reason supplement for the Warfare in the Age of Reason rules, but I’ve changed it quite a lot and we’re obviously using a different ruleset (our own Tricorn variant of Shako).

Thus far it’s been fairly uneventful and both sides have been pretty cautious in their approach. Frederick is advancing by small columns of 12-20,000 men apiece on a broad front, whereas the Austrians have largely been content to gather their forces near Prague. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, as the players might be reading!

If you’re familiar with the original ‘Bohemian Blitzkrieg’ map, my version is somewhat different and I think better reflects the maps contained within the Prussian Great General Staff study of the campaign, which can be found on Kronoskaf and part of which is shown here:

Here’s my version of the campaign map:

Blue locations are Prussian-controlled at the start, while yellow are Austrian.  Triangular locations are mountainous and have an effect on the Pre-Battle Manoeuvre Phase.  Pentagons are fortresses (there were other fortified towns and cities, but only the most significant are included in this campaign).  The numbers indicate the Victory Point value for possession of the location; where there is a split number, the location has a different value for each side (e.g. Prague is worth 5 to the Austrians and 10 to the Prussians).  Underlined city-names are supply-sources.

The armies have a set of leaders, each of whom has a Rank (numbered sequentially through the army), a Campaign Initiative rating and a Tactical Command rating for the tabletop battles using Tricorn.  To move on the map, the senior-ranking general present must roll 6 or more on a d6 plus his Initiative Rating.  For example, Frederick has Initiative (so can never fail to activate) of 5 and a Tactical Rating of Excellent.

Armies can normally move two locations per campaign turn, though the Prussians can move three during the first three campaign turns.  They are also automatically activated for the first campaign turn.

Army strengths are expressed in Strength Points or SPs, each of which equates to 800 men (i.e. roughly an infantry battalion or cavalry regiment at full strength).  When armies meet in battle, the SPs are converted into units using army-lists.  This system isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it does save keeping track of every individual battalion.

Another change I’ve made to the original campaign is that in addition to the SPs, there are a small number of Standing Units.  The Prussians have guard infantry, guard cuirassiers, extra heavy artillery and garrison troops for Dresden, while the Austrians have extra grenadiers, massed heavy cavalry elite companies and Saxon carabiniers and chevauxlegers.  These can be used to weight a particular army with an elite corps.  These do need to be individually tracked through the campaign, though there aren’t too many of them and to keep things simple, they will always be maintained at full strength, though will be permanently lost if broken in battle.

Austrian Army List:

Cavalry (25-30% of SP Strength)

Cuirassier Regiments – 50% – Cuirassiers [MR 6/2] (Large Units)
Dragoon Regiments 25% – Dragoons [MR 5/2] (Large Units)
Hussar Regiments 25% – Light Cavalry [MR 4/1]

¹ If Daun is commanding the army, the ratio is changed to 40% Cuirassiers, 30% Dragoons and 30% Hussars (Daun brought eight extra Dragoon regiments with him from Vienna).

Infantry (70-75% of SP Strength)

Infantry Battalions ¹ – 85-90% – Line Infantry [MR 4/1] (Large Units)
Grenadier Battalions ² – 5% – Elite Infantry [MR 5/2]
Croats ² – 5-10% – Light Infantry [MR 3/0]

¹ Most of the infantry would be ‘German’ regiments. ‘Germans’ in this case also include Flemings, Walloons, Bohemians and Italians. Around 15% of these were Hungarian regiments, but it makes no difference in game terms.

² Croat Battalions and Grenadier Battalions may alternatively be deployed as skirmishers. Each battalion generates two skirmisher stands, which class as MR 3.  The loss of two skirmisher stands equates to the loss of a unit.

Artillery

Battalion Guns:  1 Battery per 4 infantry battalions present ¹ (rounded to the nearest)
Light Foot Artillery:  1 Battery per 8 SPs present ² (rounded down, minimum of 1)
Heavy Foot Artillery:  1 Battery per 12 SPs present ² (rounded down)

¹ Grenadier and Croat battalions are not counted when calculating the number of battalion guns.

² Standing Units are counted when calculating the number of Light and Heavy Batteries.

Prussian Army List:

Cavalry (25-35% of SP Strength)

Cuirassier Regiments – 40% – Cuirassiers [MR 6/2] (Large Units)
Dragoon Regiments ¹ – 30% – Dragoons [MR 5/2] (Large Units)
Senior Hussar Regiments ² – 20% – Elite Light Cavalry [MR 5/2]
Junior Hussar Regiments ² – 10% – Light Cavalry [MR 4/1]

¹ In the case of DR5 ‘Bayreuth’ and DR6 ‘Schorlemmer’, a Unit represents a battalion or half-regiment.

² A Unit of Hussars represents a battalion or half-regiment.

Infantry (65-75% of SP Strength)

Infantry & Füsilier Battalions ¹ – 55% – Line Infantry [MR 4/1]
Elite Infantry and Füsilier Battalions ¹ – 20% – Elite Infantry [MR 5/2]
Grenadier Battalions – 20% – Elite Infantry [MR 5/2]
Unreliable Füsilier Battalions & Frei-Battalions ² – 5% – Poor Infantry [MR 3/0]

¹ Prussian Infantry and Füsilier Regiments consist of two battalions each.  The only exceptions to this are the ‘Garde’ (IR 15) and ‘Anhalt-Dessau’ (IR 3) Regiments, which each had three battalions and the ‘Grenadiergarde’ Regiment (IR 6), which had only a single battalion.  Grenadier battalions were each created from the grenadier companies of two different regiments. However, they operated independently from their parent regiments.

² There were a number of unsavoury and unreliable units within Frederick’s army: The Garrison Regiments were mostly expanded to four battalions during the Seven Years War and the 1st & 2nd Battalions were sometimes sent into the field as poor infantry regiments, while the 3rd & 4th Battalions remained as fortress garrisons.  The Royal Saxon Army meanwhile, had been absorbed into the Royal Prussian Army as Infantry Regiments numbered 50-59 and proved to be extremely unreliable, so were largely used as garrison troops.  A few high-numbered (mostly Füsilier) regiments raised from Catholics in Upper Silesia (former Austrian territory) also suffered badly from desertion and behaved badly in the field.  The Frei-Battalions were privately-raised light infantry battalions who recruited ne’er-do-wells with promises of booty.  A single Poor Infantry Battalion in a corps may be classed as a Frei-Battalion and may alternatively be deployed as skirmishers.  The battalion generates two skirmisher stands, which for army morale purposes class as MR 3.  The loss of two skirmisher stands equates to the loss of a unit.

(The original campaign had a higher percentage of dodgy Prussian units, but in fact the majority of the dodgy units were left behind as fortress garrisons and didn’t go into Bohemia)

Artillery

Battalion Guns:  1 Battery per 4 infantry battalions present ¹ (rounded to the nearest)
Light Foot Artillery:  1 Battery per 20 SPs present (rounded down, minimum of 1)
Heavy Foot Artillery:  1 Battery per 12 SPs present (rounded down, minimum of 1)

¹ Standing Units are counted when calculating the number of Light and Heavy Batteries.

When two forces collide on the map, the identity of the commanding general is revealed, along with his leadership qualities and the overall strength of each army (counting standing units as SPs, but not revealing the presence of Standing Units).  Both sides secretly decide if they will offer battle or retreat.  If both sides offer battle, we then go through one or two rounds of Pre-Battle Manoeuvre, using this method:

This system is a lot simpler than it at first glance appears!  The individual battle maps are printed in the Age of Reason supplement (there is another set in the original Age of Reason rules) and are decided using percentage dice; each battlefield consists of two map-squares, indicated by the number printed between the two squares.  Here is an example page showing battlefields 52-68:

The only change I’ve made to the procedure is that a defender in mountainous terrain can add or subtract 1 from his roll.  You may wonder why he’d want to subtract 1…  If he can force a draw in the first round, he can defend behind pre-prepared defences.

The objectives for the campaign are simple: The be the army with the most Victory Points (VPs) at the end of Campaign Turn 12.  VPs are earned by capturing key locations (the number of VPs is shown next to the location on the map) and by eliminating enemy SPs (1 VP per SP eliminated).

Here’s how it’s going so far.  Phil Portway has taken command of the Prussians, while Andy James has taken charge of the Austrians…

Turn 1:

Fred splits his large army at Dresden into three – two columns head south and east respectively, while he retains the third column at Dresden.  Another force remains stationary at Zittau.  Three more Prussian columns meanwhile, descend from Silesia in the east.

Browne’s large Austrian army falls back from Budin to Welwarn, while another remains resolutely stationary at Königgrätz.  A third force however, mounts a demonstration toward Zittau.

Turn 2:

The bolder of the Austrian armies has detected the force approaching from Dresden, so has beaten a hasty retreat to Liebenau; a wise move, as the approaching force combines with the Zittau garrison and advances on the freshly-vacated Austrian position at Kratzau.

Frederick meanwhile brings his corps eastward from Dresden, hoping to cut off the Austrian retreat.  The southerly Prussian column advances to Lobositz, picking up another Prussian column along the way, which has arrived from the west via Komotau.

Nothing much else happens, except that the main Austrian army has been considerably reinforced and is now commanded by the Prince of Lorraine.

Turn 3:

Frederick advances to cut off the Austrian retreat, hoping that his subordinates will join him… They sit on their arses and Fred’s 18,000 now have to fight a battle against 28,000 at Münchengrätz…  However, Fred does have all his Guards (the three battalions of the Garde Regiment, the Grenadiergarde Regiment and the Gensd’Armes Cuirassiers) and his heavy artillery reserve with him…

The wily Austrian Count von Königsegg-Rothenfels manages to out-manoeuvre Frederick and force him to fight on ground of his choosing.  Nevertheless, a confident Frederick accepts battle…

The Prussians have 2x Cuirassier Regiments, 1x Guard Cuirassier Regiment, 2x Dragoon Regiments, 1x Elite Hussar Regiment, 4x Infantry Battalions, 2x Elite Infantry Battalions, 2x Grenadier Battalions, 4x Guard Infantry Battalions, 1x Light Battery, 3x Heavy Batteries (two of them being standing army reserve batteries) and 2x batteries of battalion guns.

The Austrians have 4x Cuirassier Regiments, 2x Dragoon Regiments, 2x Hussar Regiments, 17x Infantry Battalions, 2x Grenadier Battalions (one of them being a reserve unit), 1x Croat Battalion, 3x Light Batteries, 2x Heavy Batteries and 4x batteries of battalion guns.

Will Austrian numbers and their choice of ground win the day?  Or will superior Prussian training, leadership and steel seize victory?  Find out next time…

Posted in Campaigns, Eighteenth Century, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules) | 15 Comments

The Combat of Zinna 1759: The Refight

In my last post I presented a scenario for the Combat of Zinna (or First Torgau) 1759, fought between Prussian and Austro-Imperial forces during the Seven Years War.  As mentioned in that post, my mate Andy James and I played through the scenario last month, so here’s how it went. 

If you haven’t done so already, have a look at my last post for details of the background history and the scenario itself.  You’ll also find an outline of my Tricorn conversion of Shako rules in the next-previous post.

The role of Austrian Generalfeldzeugmeister Friedrich Daniel, Freiherr von Saint-André in this feature will be played by Andy, while the role of Prussian Generalmajor Johann Jakob von Wunsch will be played by a cross-dressing Welshman with a pitchfork…

Above:  The Austro-Imperial forces are shown in white and the Prussians in blue.  Only the Trautmannsdorff Cuirassiers and the Grenzer were Austrian Army units.  The rest of the army was made up of units from the Imperial Reichsarmee of dubious value.  The Imperial cavalry were particularly bad, though the Pfalz Garde zu Fuss Regiment and the Hessen-Darmstädt Regiment were reliable troops.  On the Prussian side, this bunch of Frei-Battalions and high-numbered Fusilier Regiments would normally be assumed to be the worst of the Prussian Army, but in fact, these units repeatedly proved themselves to be the equals of the better-regarded Prussian regiments.

Above:  The Reichsarmee deploy as per the map.  They are essentially in their camp positions and have just formed up from their tents, so if you’re planning on refighting the battle, I wouldn’t allow any form of flexible deployment for the Reichsarmee.

Above:  The Reichsarmee are also limited in that they have enforced Defend orders.  Under the standard rules, ADCs cannot be sent with fresh orders until the end of Turn 2, so they can’t do much except passively react to the Prussian attack until Turn 4 at the earliest.  They can however re-deploy within their allotted sectors of the line once the Prussians come within 12 inches.

Above:  A close-up of the Reichsarmee cavalry.  The Austrian Trautmansdorff Cuirassiers (on the right of the first line) are the best regiment on the table, in either army (Morale 6 and a large unit, meaning that they can take an extra hit).  The rest of the cavalry is awful (Morale 3).

Above:  The view of the Reichsarmee from Zinna.  There is only a single cavalry regiment, the bloody awful Kurpfalz Cuirassiers, posted on this flank.  The remnants of the Grenzer skirmish out in front, haven fallen back from the Ratsweinberg.

Above:  I did actually manage to find a lot of the necessary Reichsarmee regiments in my collection and also managed to paint some battalions in the week leading up to the game, but the part of the four-battalion Kurmainz Regiment in this feature is being played by four battalions of Bavarians (on the left of the first line).  On the left of the second line I also used a freshly-painted battalion of the Baden-Durlach Regiment and a battalion of the Kurtrier Regiment as stand-ins for the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Ernestinisch-Sachsen Regiment (an interesting unit from many contingents, which historically included at least four different uniforms, with coats of both blue and white cloth!).  With its dozens of contingents and bewildering array of uniforms, the ramshackle hullaballoo of the Reichsarmee certainly does make a very attractive wargames army, if a bit rubbish… 🙂

Above:  The painfully-thin line of Wunsch’s Prussian army deploys on the forward slopes of the Ratsweinberg.  Lossberg’s combined unit of hussar and dragoon squadrons is hidden beyond the Zinna Ridge, formed up in column and preparing to ride around the enemy’s left flank.  While I did have the option to completely change Wunsch’s historical deployment, it seemed perfectly good as it was, so I went with the historical line-up.

Above:  Unlike the Reichsarmee, I had hardly any of the necessary Prussian units for this battle; just the Willemy Grenadier Battalion (4/16) and the Hoffmann Füsiliers (IR 41), plus a couple of Lossberg’s hussar squadrons.    However, the Wunsch Frei-Regiment wore very similar uniforms to my two recently-painted Frei-Battalions and the rose-pink saddlery of the Meinicke Dragoons (DR 3) in my collection looks very similar to that of the Plettenberg Dragoons (DR 7), although the Plettenberg Dragoons had coats with red facings.  I just used random Füsilier and Grenadier Battalions for the remaining units. 

Above:  Wunsch’s Jäger Detachment moves forward to engage the Grenzer.  I actually had some very similarly-uniformed regular Fuss-Jäger waiting to be painted, so quickly knocked these up before the game.

Above:  Wunsch’s 12pdrs deploy on the Ratsweinberg and prepare to fire.  The enemy are only just in range, but the 12pdrs should be able to shake the nerves of the inexperienced Reichsarmee troops.

Above:  As the Prussians move forward, Major Lossberg’s cavalry move quickly to outflank the enemy.

Above:  The Prussian right wing moves forward to engage the Reichsarmee left.  

Above:  Wolfersdorff’s left wing has delayed its march by a turn, in an effort to refuse the left wing.  Pogrell’s Dragoons wait to see what the Imperial cavalry do.

Above:  An overview of the battlefield at the end of Turn 2.

Above:  The 12pdrs have started to do their work, causing casualties and disruption among the Kurmainz Regiment.  

Above:  Lossberg makes his move and charges over the ridge!  

Above:  Historically, Lossberg’s attack came as a complete surprise and fell upon the flanks and rear of the Reichsarmee.  However, I was feeling generous as Andy hasn’t played since the 90s and allowed him to turn the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers to face when Lossberg came within 12 inches (a fleeing Grenzer must have shouted a warning as he came sprinting past…).  I was going to attack with Lossberg in column to maximise speed and surprise, but as this was going to be a frontal mêlée, I formed Lossberg’s lads into line before charging.

Above:  Not that it mattered, as the Dice Gods were with the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers… (The small dice show the starting factors (5 v 3) and the large dice show the subsequent roll (3 v 6), making a total of 8 v 9 to the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers!  With a difference of 1, Lossberg takes the casualty and retreats… Bah!

Above:  A Breakthrough charge takes the victorious Kurpfalz Cuirassiers to the top of the ridge, where they will have a +1 defensive advantage when/if Lossberg charges again.  However, they now take 1 casualty for cavalry fatigue, so Lossberg won’t have the -1 disadvantage for having more casualties.  It could have all gone horribly wrong if Lossberg failed to rally his cavalry, but he thankfully manages to halt the retreat (by rolling less than their MR of 5).  The cavalry of both sides now mill about rallying for a turn, shouting insults.  Even if Lossberg finally wins, the taunting afterwards is going to be intolerable…

Above:  Near Zinna, skirmisher fire also starts to find its mark as both the Jäger and the Grenzer suffer casualties.  The battalion guns are also now starting to do damage.  In the Imperial 2nd line, Ernestinisch-Sachsen Regiment refuses its flank, in case the Prussian cavalry reappears.

Above:  By the end of Turn 5, the Imperial cavalry are on the move!  One ADC carrying the order had failed to arrive, but Saint-André had wisely sent two ADCs with the same message.  The Prussian 12pdrs slew their guns around and open fire from the Ratsweinberg, but only do very minor damage to the Trautmansdorff Cuirassiers.

Above:  Having seen the ADCs galloping toward the enemy cavalry, Wolfersdorff wisely decided to refuse his left flank with the 2nd Battalion of the Wunsch Frei-Regiment, the Burgsdorf Grenadier Battalion and the battalion guns.  Expecting the Imperial cavalry to attack the flank of the infantry, Wunsch sends an ADC to Oberst Pogrel, ordering him and his Dragoons t0 attack!

Above:  However, the Imperial cavalry don’t seem interested in Wolfersdorff’s infantry and are instead making a bee-line for the Plettenberg Dragoons.  The arrival of the ADC with his packet of orders now seems somewhat superfluous…

Above:  At last, the Prussian line closes to within musketry range…

Above:  As the two lines open fire on each other, the field is suddenly wreathed in strangely-fibrous powder-smoke…  The 2nd Battalion of the Kurmainz Regiment take the worst of it and are already close to breaking.

Above:  Anticipating the forthcoming assault, Saint-André shifts his second line over to the left and brings the Alt-Wurttemberg Regiment (in their funky little yellow hats that they decided to wear against all historical advice) across the river.

Above:  The Kurmainz Regiment might be getting hammered, but they’re also dishing it out to the Hessen-Kassel Füsiliers.

Above:  On the Prussian left flank, the 2nd Battalion of Frei-Regiment Wunsch fires a volley at the Imperial cuirassiers, but to no effect.

Above:  Having shaken the Kurmainz Regiment with firepower, the Prussian infantry launch their first charge, as the Willemy Grenadier Battalion and both battalions of the Hessen-Kassel Füsiliers charge into the 1st & 2nd Battalions of the Kurmainz Regiment.  At Zinna, Frei-Regiment Wunsch has cleared away the last of the Grenzer, so the Jäger switch to harassing the Ernestinisch-Sachsen Regiment in the Imperial second line.

Above:  Assisted by battalion guns, the Kurmainz Regiment halt the 1st Battalion of the Hessen-Kassel Füsiliers, but the 2nd Battalion charges home, as does the Willemy Grenadier Battalion.

Above:  Although one battalion didn’t make it into contact, the remaining two Prussian battalions smash the Kurmainz Regiment; the 2nd Battalion is destroyed outright, while the 1st Battalion flees with heavy casualties, disordering the Ernestinisch-Sachsen Regiment as they do so.  The 1st Battalion then fails to rally from its retreat and the survivors flee into the forest to the rear.  Some very startled regimental gunners also take to their heels!

Above:  Back at Zinna, Lossberg has issued a tot of brandy to his cavalrymen (he rolled a 6 on his initiative die and was able to restore the lost casualty) and charges back up the ridge against the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers!  Again, the basic MR odds are 5 versus 3, but the cuirassiers are now defending the ridge, so bump their number up to 4.  However, as the Prussians have made good their losses, the Imperials suffer -1 for greater losses, so the odds go back to 5 v 3.

I didn’t record the actual dice-rolls, but the Prussians won by a considerable margin and the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers were swept from the field, though secure in the knowledge that they would always have bragging-rights for beating off a Prussian cavalry charge…  

Above:  On the opposite flank, Pogrell and the Plettenburg Dragoons, full of confidence in the Superiority of Prussian Arms (except in the Artillery Arm, who can’t hit a verdammt barn door, it seems!), charge into the Trautmansdorff Cuirassiers, who remain largely untroubled by the Prussian 12pdrs…  In a show of solidarity, the Reichsarmee’s Bayreuth Cuirassiers also throw themselves into the fight.  

(To go all gamey for a moment; the Prussian Plettenburg Dragoons have their base MR 5, while the Austrian Trautmansdorff Cuirassiers have MR 6.  However, they’ve taken a hit from the artillery, so take a -1 for more casualties, bringing them down to 5.  The Bayreuth Cuirassiers have MR 3 with no modifiers.)

Above:  It might have been an even fight between the Prussian Dragoons and Austrian Cuirassiers, but the Dice Gods inflict a crushing defeat on Pogrell and his dragoons flee with four hits (one more hit before they break)!  Having defeated the Prussian dragoons, the Imperial cuirassiers decide to make breakthrough charges in order to get out of the 12pdrs’ arc of fire.

(Note that I made a mistake here – the breakthrough charges should be made at half speed (5 inches), whereas I let them move their full 10 inch move.  C’est la guerre…)

Above:  The right wing of the Reichsarmee infantry waits for the battle to come to them.

Above:  As the Prussian infantry begin breaking through on the Reichsarmee left, the rest of the Reichsarmee infantry slowly start wheeling back away from the breakthrough, in an attempt to prevent them from being rolled up.

Above:  Another view of the same action: On the left, the 2nd Battalion of the Ernestisnich-Sachsen Regiment is utterly smashed by the combined weight of the Willemy Grenadiers and the 1st Battalion of the Hessen-Kassel Füsiliers.

Above:  On the right flank of the Reichsarmee infantry, the 1st Battalion of the Franconian Hohenlohe Regiment crosses over the stream to more closely support the rest of the first line.

Above:  Spurred on by the success of the first line of cavalry, the second line now has a crack at Wolfendorff’s left-flanking battalions.  Carefuly staying out of the line of fire of the Burgsdorf Grenadiers, the Hohenzollern Cuirassiers (manfully ignoring the fact that they’ve already taken long-range hits from the Prussian 12pdrs) charge the 2nd Battalion of the Wunsch Frei-Regiment…  and are slaughtered…

Above:  The Prussian right wing charges again, this time victimising the 1st Battalion of the Ernestinisch-Sachsen Regiment and their supporting battalion guns.  The other three Füsilier battalions move forward to engage in a sharp firefight with the 3rd & 4th Battalions of the Kurmainz Regiment.  The Jäger and Lossberg’s cavalry meanwhile move down from the ridge to assist with rolling up the Imperial flank

Above:  The Ernestinisch-Sachsen Regiment is overwhelmed by the assault, but on the left of the Prussian line, the Hoffmann Füsiliers are being shredded by fire from the Kurmainz Regiment, the Pfalz Garde zu Fuss and their supporting battalion guns.

Above:  Wolfersdorf could really use his two remaining battalions about now, but they’re busy fending off the Ansbach Dragoons, who have wisely decided not to attack the angry Prussian infantry!  Wolfersdorff’s battalion guns are busy banging away at the threatening Imperial right wing, but are most surprised to see a pair of Austrian ADCs galloping through their position (note to self: add a rule, stating that ADCs must stay at least 6 inches away from enemy units)!

Above:  The ADCs are on their way to the commander of the Imperial cavalry, who is now once again engaging the rallied remnants of the Plettenberg Dragoons at the foot of the Ratsweinberg.  Saint-André has realised that the cavalry orders only told them to attack the enemy dragoons and then the Ratsweinberg battery.  He needs them to come back urgently and attack the rear of the Prussian infantry!

Above:  The Prussian 12pdrs try to save the Plettenberg Dragoons, but to little effect.  The Dice Gods are not with the Prussian gunners today.

Above:  The Imperial left wing has now been completely destroyed by the Prussian assault.  However, the Prussian Hoffmann Füsiliers, on the left of the Prussian line, have been broken by Imperial fire.  And the next two battalions are also being heavily damaged by the surprising weight of fire from the two surviving battalions of the Kurmainz Regiment!

Above:  Both Imperial infantry commands are now demoralised, which means that all units get a -1 mêlée modifier and will automatically break if they are forced to retreat from combat.  The Imperial infantry are split into 1st Line and 2nd Line commands, so have both suffered roughly equal casualties (3 battalions plus guns from the 1st Line and 2 battalions plus guns from the 2nd Line).  If they had been split like the Prussians, into Left & Right Wings, the Left Wing would now be completely broken, while the Right Wing would be completely intact.  The best Imperial troops, namely the Pfalz Garde zu Fuss and the Hessen-Darmstädt Regiments, have yet to be seriously engaged, though the Garde have suffered casualties from artillery.

Above:  The Ansbach Dragoons retire from the threat of Prussian musketry (not really in the spirit of ‘Attack’ orders! 🙂 ).  This gives Wolfersdorff the opportunity to get those two battalions moving and attack the Imperial infantry.

Above:  Sadly it wasn’t to be Oberst Pogrell’s day, as his dragoons were finished off in short order by the Trautmansdorff Cuirassiers.  A slightly panicking General Wunsch orders his artillery commander to start slewing his 12pdrs around!

Above:  Lossberg’s cavalry now re-enter the battle, launching a charge deep into the Imperial flank.  The 2nd Battalion of the Baden-Baden Regiment stands no chance as the vengeful Prussian horsemen hit their open flank.  The Alt-Württemberg Regiment fires a volley in support, but to no effect and the Badeners are annihilated!

(Lossberg’s cavalry use their frontal MR of 5, reduced by 1 for having greater losses = 4.  The Badeners use their flank MR of 0 (so +4 v +0).  Cavalry against infantry not in ‘Solid Line’ only need to beat their opponent to break them. so even if the Badeners roll a 6, the cavalry only have to roll 3 or more to break them, which they do.)

Above:  Having broken the Badeners, Lossberg launches an immediate breakthrough charge against the Alt-Württemberg Regiment.  The Württembergers have already fired a volley, so present bayonets to receive the charge. 

The Württembergers are clearly made of sterner stuff and repulse Lossberg’s cavalry with ease!

(Lossberg again gets his frontal MR, minus 1 for greater losses = 4.  He’s still at an advantage against the Württembergers’ frontal MR of 3, but still manages to lose by three points on the dice roll, so takes the three hits and retreats.)

Above:  Near the bridge, Wolfersdorff has cunningly used his infantry’s superior abilities at foot-drill to insert a column behind the Imperial infantry’s right flank (note the use of MDF arrow markers to show that the Prussian infantry are in column).  However, the Ansbach Dragoons aren’t going to let them off the hook that easily!

Above:  Back at the Ratsweinberg meanwhile, the Imperial Bayreuth Cuirassiers have a rush of blood to the pallasch and charge the guns!  Wunsch has a spectacular view of the action as the Prussian gunners pick up rammers, buckets and worm-screws to comprehensively defeat the Imperial horsemen!

(The gunners have MR 3, +1 for defending the hill = 4.  The Bayreuth Cuirassiers also have MR 3, but have already taken a casualty, so take -1 for greater losses = 2 (so 4 v 2).  The Bayreuth Cuirassiers only have to beat the gunners by 1 to destroy them, but fluff their roll and are themselves destroyed)

Above:  “MARIA THERESA ON A VELOCIPEDE!”  What’s happened here?!

Above:  The Prussian centre has completely collapsed in a single charge by the Reichsarmee infantry!  The 1st Battalion of the Baden-Baden Regiment took revenge for the loss of their 2nd Battalion by routing the 1st Battalion of the Hessen-Kassel Füsiliers, while the Kurmainz Regiment routed the Hessen-Kassel 2nd Battalion and completely destroyed the Salmuth Füsiliers!

Above:  Obviously, this was all part of Wunsch’s plan… Inspired by Hannibal at Cannae, he’s planned for his centre to give ground, allowing his elites to then crush the enemy flanks inward… Obviously…

What wasn’t part of the plan was that the retreating battalion would fail to rally and that both Prussian infantry wings would now become demoralised…

And it had all been going so well…

On the plus side for the Prussians, the loss of the Bayreuth Cuirassiers meant that the Imperial cavalry wing was also now demoralised.

Above:  We might be demoralised, but we’re determined to give those uppity Imperials a damned-good taste of our Prussian spunk!  With that in mind, the Burgsdorf Grenadiers insert themselves into the Hohenlohes’ rear!

Above:  Meanwhile, the 2nd Battalion of the Wunsch Frei-Regiment successfully fend off the unwanted attentions of the Ansbach Dragoons!  

Above:  I’m not sure what they are worried about, but the Alt-Württemberg Regiment and Pfalz Garde zu Fuss back away to the riverbank, along with the last remaining battalion guns.

Above:  The two surviving battalions of the Kurmainz Regiment advance and deliver a crushing volley into the surviving Prussian battalion guns.  The gunners flee, taking with them two more morale points… With a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, Wunsch checks his roster and realises that his right wing has now reached exactly 50% losses… 🙁

Above:  Back at the Ratsweinberg, the Trautmansdorff Cuirassiers might be demoralised, but they’re more than a match for those Prussian gunners!  

(The cuirassiers start with MR 6, -1 for greater losses and -1 for demoralisation = 4.  The gunners have MR 3, +1 for defending the hill = 4.  So an even fight, but the cuirassiers only have to beat them by 1…)

Above:  Which of course they do… Then followed up by a breakthrough charge, which destroys the second 12pdr battery, right in front of the horrified Wunsch!

Above:  Lossberg has taken casualties, but his men are still keen for a scrap.  However, there’s nothing he can do to save the situation.

Above:  The Wunsch Jäger continue to take pot-shots at the Württembergers.  While not exactly battle-winners, this tiny group of skirmishers has been a constant pain in the arse to the Imperial left flank throughout the day, rolling a remarkable number of sixes!

Above:  However, with the 50% casualty threshold having been reached (two elite battalions with MR 5 and the battalion guns with MR 2 = 12.  The remaining units are the grenadiers with MR 5, the Frei-Battalion with MR 4 and the Jäger with MR 3 = 12), the Prussian right wing requires a morale-check.  We roll a 2 and the right wing disintegrates! 🙁

With a formation having been destroyed (the second formation, in fact – we lost Pogrell’s small command earlier), an Army Morale check is required.  We add up the total MR value of all the lost formations (24 for the right Wing and 5 for Pogrell = 29) and then add the MR value of the lost Army-level artillery (6) = 35.  We’re well over the maximum 50% threshold, so it’s Goodnight Vienna (or Torgau?) for Wunsch’s Prussians! 🙁

Above:  The gleeful Reichsarmee jeers the fleeing Prussians on their way… We’re never going to hear the bloody end of this… 🙁

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Games, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules) | 10 Comments

‘Tricorn’ QRS Page 1 Amended to Version 1.1

I knew it wouldn’t take long for people to find the flaws in Tricorn, so my sincere thanks to reader Maurizio for pointing out that we copied over an error in the artillery section of the QRS from Shako 1st Edition: 

The QRS stated that units would be staggered if the die roll EXCEEDS the MR of the target. 

When you read the relevant section of the Shako 1st Edition rulebook, it actually states that staggers are caused when the artillery roll EQUALS OR exceeds the MR.  So there was clearly a transcription error on the QRS and that’s certainly how we’ve always played it.  The QRS was actually corrected for Shako 2nd Edition.

Therefore, here’s the corrected version of Page 1 of the QRS (v1.1).  The change is highlighted in red.  I’ve already changed the QRS on the main Tricorn Rules Resources Page:

Posted in Eighteenth Century, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules), Tricorn Rules Resources | 5 Comments

The Combat of Zinna 1759: A Scenario for ‘Tricorn’

When a rare opportunity for a game presented itself a couple of weeks ago, I had a quick trawl of potential Seven Years War battles to find one that would be small enough to serve as a simple introductory ‘Tricorn’ game for my old mate Andy (who hasn’t played SYW or ‘Shako’-based rules since our last game together in 1997!).  It also needed to be a historical action and which suited my collection of models.  The Combat of Zinna (a.k.a. The First Battle of Torgau), fought on 8th September 1759, seemed to fit the bill and  as an added bonus, featured my favourite army; the bloody awful Reichsarmee! 🙂

As recently discussed here, I’ve painted  a couple of Prussian Frei-Battalions and the cavalry of the Reichsarmee over the last couple of months and these would be needed for Zinna.  I already had quite a few Reichsarmee infantry battalions, plus generals and artillery in my collection, but with a few days spare before the game, I was able to paint a few of the necessary Reichsarmee regiments: the Alt-Württemberg Regiment, the Baden-Baden Regiment and the 2nd Battalion of the Pfalz Garde zu Fuss Regiment.  I also managed to do the single-battalion Baden-Durlach Regiment, which wasn’t at the battle, but I used them to fill in for the similarly-uniformed 1st Battalion of the Ernestisch-Sachsen Regiment.

The Combat of Zinna was a remarkable little action, not least because it saw a force of only 5,000 Prussians (none of them from particularly distinguished regiments) attack and defeat a theoretically superior Austro-Imperial force of 12,000 men!

Historical Background

In August 1759, King Frederick II of Prussia was having a hard time.  His glorious victories at Leuthen and Rossbach seemed a very long time ago as he attempted to contain the Russian invasion in the East (an invasion that would lead on 12th August to the cataclysmic Battle of Kunersdorf).  He had pulled Prince Henry’s troops out of Saxony to shore up the defences of Brandenburg and the Austro-Imperial army had consequently taken advantage of the reduced Prussian presence to launch an invasion, quickly capturing Leipzig, Wittenberg and Torgau and threatening the Saxon capital city of Dresden. 

The Battle of Kunersdorf

However, although Kunersdorf had been a victory for the Austro-Russian alliance, it had been a Pyrrhic one and the horrific casualties suffered by the Russian army had terminally stalled their invasion.  Frederick therefore felt confident enough to send what few forces he had in Brandenburg (many of whom had just only arrived from Saxony) back to recapture his Saxon possessions and lift the siege of Dresden.  One such force was a small brigade of light troops led by the newly-promoted Generalmajor Johann Jakob von Wunsch.

Wunsch

The 41 year-old Wunsch was very much a rising star in the Royal Prussian Army, despite not being Prussian!  Born in Württemberg, he served as an officer with a Württemberg auxiliary regiment supplied to the Austrian army, seeing action during the Austro-Turkish War of the 1730s.  Transferring to Bavarian service as an officer of hussars, he served in the Low Countries during the War of Austrian Succession of the 1740s and finished that war in Dutch service (his regiment having been transferred wholesale from Bavaria to the Netherlands). 

In 1756 Wunsch transferred once again, this time to Prussian service, and soon found employment in the newly-raised Frei-Bataillon d’Angelelli, as the oldest Captain in the Prussian Army.  Nevertheless, he soon made his mark and was promoted to Major.  His improvements to the unit brought him to the attention of Prince Henry and in January 1758 Wunsch was invited to raise his own Frei-Bataillon.  In June 1759 this was expanded to a full regiment and his superb service during the campaigns of the previous year won him accolades from the King and promotion in July 1759 to Oberst.  However, this was little compensation for the loss of his only son, who had been killed in Prussian service during April of that year.

Wunsch’s meteoric career-path continued to accelerate, as within a month he was given his first independent command, promotion to Generalmajor and orders to root the enemy out of Saxony.  Within a few weeks, Wunsch’s tiny force (consisting of two grenadier battalions, four fusilier battalions, three garrison battalions, two Frei-battalions, three squadrons of hussars and five squadrons of dragoons) had recaptured Wittenberg and Torgau and was marching to relieve Dresden.  However, Wunsch was too late and Dresden fell to Maquire’s Austrians on the evening of 4th September, with Wunsch only a day’s march away.  A further crisis then erupted, as Wunsch received word from Torgau that the small garrison he’d placed there was now once again under threat.  Wunsch turned his column about and marched back to Torgau.

Saint-André

Following two hard forced-marches, Wunsch arrived at Torgau on the afternoon of 7th September, to find that the city was threatened by a far superior force of 14,000 men commanded by Feldzeugmeister Friedrich Daniel, Freiherr von Saint-André.  Further Prussian detachments gathered up by Oberst von Wolfersdorff arrived early on 8th September, but these additional troops only brought Wunsch’s strength up to 5,000 men!  In the meantime, Saint-André had called upon Wunsch to meet him to discuss terms.  Wunsch decided that he would meet him… and attack!

Saint-André’s army was camped a little way to the west of Torgau in the lee of the Ratsweinberg hill, its flanks anchored on the marsh of the Grosser-Teich and the village of Zinna.  The main part of the army was formed by twelve battalions of Reichsarmee infantry; the Kurmainz Regiment (4 Bns), the Baden-Baden Regiment (2 Bns), the Ernestinisch-Sachsen Regiment (2 Bns), the Hessen-Darmstädt Regiment (1 Bn), the Alt-Württemberg Regiment (1 Bn), the 1st Battalion of the Franconian ‘Hohenlohe’ Regiment and the 2nd Battalion of the Pfalz ‘Garde zu Fuss’ Regiment.  Some sources say ten battalions, but it’s not clear which battalions were missing from this list.  On the left stood the Imperial ‘Kurpfalz’ Cuirassier Regiment and on the right was a cavalry brigade of four regiments; the Austrian ‘Trautmansdorff Cuirassiers and the Imperial ‘Hohenzollern’ Cuirassiers , ‘Bayreuth’ Cuirassiers and ‘Ansbach’ Dragoons.  An advance-guard consisting of nine companies of Reichsarmee grenadiers and two battalions of Grenzer were stationed on the Ratsweinberg, while the Szechény Hussar Regiment covered the far right flank on the Wildenhainsche Heath.  The only artillery elements were the light regimental gun detachments assigned to the infantry.

Following a brief refreshment break to fortify themselves in the western suburbs of Torgau (Wunsch had given each battalion a barrel of wine from a local winery), Wunsch’s force emerged from Torgau.  His artillery quickly deployed and brought a heavy fire down upon the grenadiers and Grenzer on the Ratswein.  This bombardment was followed up with a swift bayonet-charge by the ‘Willemy’ Grenadier Battalion and I./’Wunsch’ Frei-Regiment and the enemy was quickly put to flight.  With the enemy outpost routed, Wunsch wasted no time in occupying the high ground, establishing a thin line of infantry and all of his heavy guns (ten 12-pounders) on the crest.

All of the Imperial grenadiers and most of the Grenzer had already fled the field pursued by Prussian hussars, though some Grenzer remained around Zinna, so the Jäger detachment of Wunsch’s own regiment moved forward to engage them.  The rest of the infantry started to move forward in oblique order, with the right flank leading and the left flank refused, trying to maintain its distance from the dangerous mass of Austro-Imperial cavalry on the southern flank.

However, Oberst von Pogrell of the ‘Plettenberg’ Dragoons had a plan to deal with the enemy cavalry.  He had only three squadrons against fifteen, but nevertheless led his dragoons forward in a feint, before rapidly turning about in an attempt to entice the Imperial cavalry to pursue.  As Pogrell had hoped, the Imperial horsemen took the bait and charged straight into the sights of the 12-pounders now positioned on the Ratsweinberg.  Shocked by this sudden, devastating bombardment, the Imperial horse milled about in confusion as Pogrell turned his dragoons about and charged!  The Imperial cavalry broke and fled straight through the lines of Imperial infantry, causing much dismay among the footsloggers.

At this moment, the Prussian right wing began trading volleys with the Imperial left flank.  The Prussian left wing remained refused, allowing the guns to now switch their fire to the Imperial right wing.  With the Prussians now gaining fire-superiority over the Imperial infantry, Major Lossberg, commanding three squadrons of hussars and two of dragoons, now applied the coup de grace; having advanced in column on the right flank, using the ridge and town of Zinna to mask his movements, Lossberg now fell upon the flank and rear of the Imperial left flank, completely routing the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers and rolling up the Imperial infantry!

With the Imperial army now completely routed, the fugitives fled into a convenient forest to the rear, thus preventing any further pursuit by the Prussians, who had already taken hundreds of prisoners.  Astonishingly, most of the Prussian infantry had not even fired a shot!  One notable exception to the Imperial rout was the Hessen-Darmstädt Infantry Regiment, who retired in good order from the field, firing disciplined volleys to discourage pursuit, just as they had done at the Battle of Rossbach in 1757.

It would perhaps be easy to pass off this incredible victory as a mere fluke against low-quality opponents, but Wunsch followed it up by driving a French force out of Leipzig and on 29th October won another astonishing victory, this time against Austrian regulars, at the Combat of Pretzsch, for which the King awarded him the Pour le Mérite.  However, these remarkable successes in Saxony had attracted a lot of attention and Feldmarschall Leopold von Daun, the victor of Kolin, was sent to deal with the problem.

Wunsch’s astonishing military career therefore came to an abrupt pause on 21st November 1759 when in the immediate aftermath of the disastrous Battle of Maxen, he led a successful breakout of six cavalry regiments from Friedrich August von Finck’s encircled Prussian army.  As Finck negotiated the surrender of his remaining forces, Daun found out about the breakout and demanded that the escaped cavalry be included in the surrender!  His hands tied by the fate of his remaining men, the reluctant Finck sent orders for Wunsch to return with the six regiments.  To his credit, Wunsch did as he was ordered and went into captivity for the rest of the war.

Following Wunsch’s release from captivity at the end of the war, King Frederick (who had never forgiven many other officers for the Maxen debacle) still held him in high esteem and with Finck’s arrest and dismissal from Prussian service, rewarded Wunsch with the title of Chef of the former ‘Finck’ Infantry Regiment (IR 12).  This was followed some years later by promotion to Generallieutenant, an independent military command, the Order of the Black Eagle and finally another promotion to General der Infanterie shortly before his death in 1788.

The Scenario

This scenario lasts 12 turns, or until one army breaks.  The Prussians have the first turn.

To claim victory, the Prussian army needs to break the Austro-Imperial army, thus ending the threat to Torgau.  The Austrians win if they are not broken by the end of their Turn 12.

All divisions of the Austro-Imperial army start the game with enforced Defend orders.  The Prussians may assign any orders they see fit.

Prussian Corps of Generalmajor Johann Jakob von Wunsch
(Excellent – 2 ADCs)

Right Wing Cavalry (Lossberg)                                                                  (Good)
1 Sqn/‘Szekely’ Hussars (HR 1) (elite) }                                                               Large Unit [5/2]
1 Sqn/‘Ruesch’ Hussars (HR 5) (elite) }
1 Sqn/’Malachowsky’ Hussars (HR 7) }
2 Sqns/’Plettenberg’ Dragoons (DR 7) }

Right Wing Infantry (Wunsch)                                                                  (Good)
Jäger Companies, Frei-Infanterie Regiment ‘Wunsch’ (F7)                     2x Skirmishers [3/0]
I. Bn/Frei-Infanterie Regiment ‘Wunsch’ (F7)  (elite)                                     [4/1]
Grenadier Battalion ‘Willemy’ (4/16)                                                                  [5/2]
I. Bn/‘Hessen-Kassel’ Fusiliers (IR 45) (elite)                                                   [5/2]
II. Bn/‘Hessen-Kassel’ Fusiliers (IR 45) (elite)                                                 [5/2]
Battalion Guns                                                                                                          [2/0]

Left Wing Infantry (Wolfersdorff)                                                          (Average)
I. Bn/‘Salmuth’ Fusiliers (IR 48)                                                                          [4/1]
II. Bn/‘Hoffmann’ Fusiliers (IR 41)                                                                     [4/1]
Grenadier Battalion ‘Burgsdorff’ (38/43)                                                          [5/2]
II. Bn/Frei-Infanterie Regiment ‘Wunsch’ (F7) (elite)                                    [4/1]
Battalion Guns                                                                                                         [2/0]

Left Wing Cavalry (Pogrell)                                                                      (Good)
3 Sqns/’Plettenberg’ Dragoons (DR 7)                                                                [5/2]

Artillery Reserve
Heavy Battery                                                                                                            [3/0]
Heavy Battery                                                                                                            [3/0]

Prussian Breakpoints

Division                                          FMR    ⅓    ½    ¾

Right Wing Cavalry (Lossberg)          5        –       –       –
Right Wing Infantry (Wunsch)          24     8      12     18
Left Wing Infantry (Wolfersdorff)     19     7      10     15
Left Wing Cavalry (Pogrell)                 5       –       –       –

Army                                               FMR   ¼     ⅓     ½
                                                                 59     16      20     30

Prussian Notes

1. Units marked as ‘elite’ are rated one MR level higher than their normal MR class.  Some of these choices might be quite surprising (e.g. the ‘Hessen-Kassel’ Fusiliers and Frei-Regiment ‘Wunsch’), but I think their performance during this campaign warrants it and the Prussians have little chance of winning without some significant advantage in both leadership and troop-quality.

2. The heavy Foot Batteries may start the game unlimbered or limbered and are classed as Army Guns.

3. All Battalion guns start the game limbered.

4. Lossberg’s mixed cavalry command is combined into a single 16-figure (large) unit, classed as Elite Light Cavalry (MR 5/2).

5. One or both battalions of the Frei-Regiment ‘Wunsch’ may be deployed as skirmishers (2x skirmisher stands per battalion). This must be decided before the start of the game and they may not deploy into skirmish order once the game has begun. Nor may they re-form into close order.  If deployed as skirmishers, each battalion will count as MR 3 and the divisional and army breakpoints will need to be recalculated (you can do that!).

6. Rather unusually, there are a couple of very small, single-unit cavalry wings here.  If they are broken there is clearly no need therefore, to roll for division morale.  They each instantly count as a broken division with regards to the army breakpoint.

7.   The Artillery Reserve is independent and not assigned to any division, but their MR counts toward the army breakpoint.

8.  Each pair of skirmisher stands lost counts as MR 3 when calculating divisional breakpoints.  they don’t need to be from the same battalion.  ‘Odd’ skirmisher stands are not counted.

Austro-Imperial Corps of Generalfeldzeugmeister Friedrich Daniel, Freiherr von Saint-André
(Poor – 2 ADCs)

Left Wing Cavalry                                                                                          (Poor)
3 Sqns/’Kurpfalz’ Cuirassier Regiment (Unreliable Heavy Horse)               [3/0]

Infantry First Line                                                                                        (Average)
I. Bn/Kurmainz Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                                        [3/0]
II. Bn/Kurmainz Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                                       [3/0]
III. Bn/Kurmainz Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                                     [3/0]
IV. Bn/Kurmainz Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                                      [3/0]
II. Bn/Pfalz ‘Garde zu Fuss’ Regiment                                                                [4/1]
Hessen-Darmstädt Infantry Regiment                                                               [4/1]
I. Bn/Franconian ’Hohenlohe’ Infantry Regiment (Poor)                              [3/0]
Unidentified Grenzer Battalion                                                                      2x Skirmishers [3/0]
Battalion Guns                                                                                                         [2/0]
Battalion Guns                                                                                                         [2/0]

Infantry Second Line                                                                                   (Poor)
I. Bn/Ernestinisches-Sachsen Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                  [3/0]
II. Bn/Ernestinisches-Sachsen Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                [3/0]
I. Bn/Baden-Baden Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                                 [3/0]
II. Bn/Baden-Baden Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                               [3/0]
Alt-Württemberg Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                                     [3/0]
Battalion Guns                                                                                                         [2/0]

Right Wing Cavalry                                                                                      (Poor)
3 Sqns/’Bayreuth’ Cuirassiers (Unreliable Cuirassiers)                                 [3/0]
5 Sqns/Austrian ’Trautmansdorff’ Cuirassiers (C21)                                      Large Unit [6/2]
4 Sqns/’Hohenzollern’ Cuirassiers (Unreliable Cuirassiers)                         [3/0]
3 Sqns/’Ansbach’ Dragoons (Unreliable Dragoons)                                        [3/0]

Austro-Imperial Breakpoints

Division                                          FMR    ⅓    ½    ¾

Left Wing Cavalry                                 3         –       –       –
First Line                                               30       10    15    23
Second Line                                          17        6      9      13
Right Wing Cavalry                             15        5      8      12

Army                                               FMR   ¼     ⅓     ½
                                                                 65      17     22    33

Austro-Imperial Notes

1. All artillery starts the game unlimbered.

2. All Imperial formations start the game on Defend orders. New orders may not be transmitted until the Orders Phase of Turn 2.

3. Grenzer skirmishers count toward their formation breakpoints. Count two skirmisher stands as 3 morale points.

4. The villages are not prepared for defence and provide no benefit to a defender.

5. The Reichsarmee cavalry were truly bloody awful and well beyond simply dropping them by one MR notch.  They are all therefore classed as Unreliable Cavalry with MR 3.  They move at the rate of their ‘weight class’ (Heavy or Dragoons).  If you’re feeling generous, let the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers move as Dragoons.

6.  The Reichsarmee grenadiers and most of the Grenzer had already disappeared before the scenario start-point, so aren’t counted.  The Szechény Hussars also didn’t get involved in the battle, so aren’t included here.

7.  Rather unusually, the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers form a very small, single-unit cavalry wing.  If they are broken there is clearly no need therefore, to roll for division morale.  They will instantly count as a broken division with regards to the army breakpoint.

Terrain

The stream and associated marsh running through the Röhr-Grund are crossed as per the movement rates shown on the ‘Tricorn’ QRS, though may be crossed at full speed by units in column at the marked river-crossings.  

Any unit defending up-slope of a charging attacker gains a +1 bonus in mêlée.

The town of Zinna is not prepared for defence and confers no defensive benefit.

Next Time…

In the next thrilling instalment, find out if my Prussians managed to repeat Wunsch’s remarkable victory over Andy’s Reichsarmee rabble…

We’ve also just started a campaign based on Frederick’s invasion of Bohemia in 1757 (the campaign that included the Battles of Prague and Kolin), so a lot more of that to come, plus some more Reichsarmee units, my British and Hanoverian cavalry and my expanded notes on ‘Tricorn’.

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Games, Scenarios, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules) | 7 Comments

‘Tricorn’: My Seven Years War Variant of ‘Shako’ Rules

Well it’s taken a while, but here is the first draft of Tricorn, being my adaptation of Shako Napoleonic rules for the wars of the mid-18th Century. 

Tricorn has actually been around since the mid-1990s, when the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire (W.A.S.P.) used it to fight the battles resulting from a massive War of Austrian Succession campaign that I organised and umpired.  Although we didn’t use it for Napoleonic wargaming, we found Shako (with some modification) to be be ideal for our needs, being sufficiently fast-playing to play a reasonably large 12-turn campaign battle in a single evening and also great for playing large historical refights to a conclusion in a single day.  However, while Tricorn existed in our heads, we never actually got around to writing it down!  Then, having perhaps having had ‘too much of a good thing’ during the campaign, we moved on to other projects and Tricorn (along with the Seven Years War) was largely forgotten until late in 2020, when I played a Shako 2nd Edition game with my new chum Phil Portway. 

That game (in which Phil’s French were absolutely trounced by my frankly rubbish Spanish army; I may have mentioned it before, but I mention it here again in case anyone missed it) set my mind whirring and I was determined to finally set Tricorn down on paper!  Of course, a procrastinator’s work is never done, so ‘flash to bang’ has taken 18 months!  That said, the time spent thinking about it has enabled us to have several playtests and make several minor (and some major) refinements to the rules.  

Although these rules are aimed initially at the Seven Years War, they’re also eminently suitable for the War of Austrian Succession, the War of Polish Succession and the Silesian Wars in the European Theatre.  I will expand these to include North America, India, the Turkish Wars and the ’45 Jacobite Rebellion and I’ll also add army lists for pick-up games.

Note that this is not a complete ruleset and you’ll need a set (or at least an understanding) of Shako rules to play Tricorn.  These are designed primarily with Shako 1st Edition in mind, though will work perfectly well with 2nd Edition.  I’ve cherry-picked a few of the vanishingly-rare elements of 2nd Edition that I liked (e.g. generals’ initiative and divisional morale results), but quite a lot of the rules below are specifically related to removing things that 2nd Edition brought in!  🙂 In the ‘unlikely’ event of a dispute between players, these Quick Reference Sheets (and the conversion notes, which will follow in a future post) take precedence, then the 1st Edition rulebook over 2nd Edition.

Feel free to cut’n’paste these four Quick Reference Sheets.  They’re graphics files, so just right-click on them to save them and/or print them off.

In a future post I’ll detail the various rule changes more fully and illustrate some examples of play, but these QRSs should be enough to get experienced Shako players started for now.

Also feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments section below and I’ll answer them as best I can.  If there are any amendments to be made, I’ll come back to amend this page, so that the correct version is always in one place on my blog.  Amendments will be listed at the bottom and the version number will always be shown for each Quick Reference Sheet (to make things easier for myself, the version number on each QRS will only change if that QRS has been amended, so each QRS might have a different version number). 

I’ve added a ‘Tricorn Rules Resources’ button to the list of categories on the right of the page, which will provide a link straight back to here, without having to wade through dozens of other posts relating to scenarios, games, units, etc.

Lastly, my thanks must go to Phil Portway, Andy James, Mike Eynon, Peter Thomas and Lewys Phillips at Carmarthen Old Guard for the recent play-tests and encouragement, as well as the ‘Old Guard’ at W.A.S.P. for the original concept and playtesting; Gareth Beamish, Jase Evans, Al Broughton, Martin Small, Andy James (again!), Chris Jones, Chris Howells, Rob Wright and Bruce Castle, as well as our much-missed friends Doug Weatherall and Sidney Jones, to whom Tricorn is dedicated.

[Edited to add: These rules are designed for play with 15mm figures.  My typical frontages for units are 60mm for an infantry battalion of 12 figures (80mm for a large unit of 16 figures), 75mm for a cavalry regiment of 12 figures (100mm for a large unit of 16 figures) and 40mm for an artillery battery (single gun plus crew).]

[QRS Page 1 (above) edited 1 May 22 to v1.1: Artillery will stagger a target if it equals or exceeds the MR of the target (the same as musketry).  This was an error copied over from the original Shako 1st Edition QRS, but we’ve always played it this way and it was actually changed for the 2nd Edition.  Thanks to Maurizio for pointing it out.]

[QRS Page 1 edited 16 May 22 to v1.2:  Skirmishers hit on a 5 or 6, not 6 as previously written.  Thanks again to Maurizio for noticing the error.]

[QRS Page 2 edited 16 May 22 to v1.1: French infantry may now move at Column speed (8 inches) when formed in Ordre Profond, but may only wheel at half speed.  The ‘French Stuff’ section on Page 4 has also been amended accordingly.]

[QRS Page 3 edited 16 May 22 to v1.1: Cavalry units providing rear support may not be Blown.]

[QRS Page 4 edited 16 May 22 to v1.1: French infantry may now move at Column speed (8 inches) when formed in Ordre Profond, but may only wheel at half speed.  Additionally, two battalions may not form Ordre Profond if one or both are Staggered.]

Designer’s Notes

If you’re familiar with Shako 1st Edition, you might be wondering why I’ve bothered, considering that the rules included a page of Seven Years War rules.  Here are a few of my random thoughts, in no particular order:

1.  The original ‘SYW Supplement’ included some incorrect assumptions for the period, especially with regard to brigade organisation, which the rules assumed to be the same as a Napoleonic division.  This is not correct; brigades were essentially the same as they were in the Napoleonic Wars, being typically 4-6 infantry battalions or 2-4 cavalry regiments strong in most armies and commanded by the equivalent of a Major General.  In the 18th Century, divisional-sized bodies of troops were known by various non-standard titles such as Corps, Wing, Division, Line, Column, etc, but they usually amounted to much the same thing as a Napoleonic division, usually being commanded by the equivalent of a Lieutenant General and comprising two or more brigades.

2.  To compound the above, the rules went on to state that rear support had to come from troops of a different formation.  While that was often the case with regard to brigades, it wasn’t true of higher formations.  When deployed for battle, an army would be divided into divisions/corps/wings (typically Centre, Left, Right, Left Cavalry, Right Cavalry and perhaps Reserve, Advance Guard and Rear Guard – these last two often formed largely of light troops), with a general taking command of each sector of the line.  These could each then form a number of lines within their own sector and therefore be self-supporting.  Formations did occasionally support the rear of other formations (e.g. the Old Dessauer’s Second Line at Mollwitz), but this wasn’t typical.

3.  In the original Shako rules. infantry battalions in line formation were far too vulnerable to frontal cavalry attack without forming an unhistorical phalanx of battalion squares, as not only do the cavalry often get better factors than the infantry, the infantry are immediately broken if they lose.  Cavalry (especially heavy cavalry) are also a lot more numerous during this period, making it doubly dangerous to be a footslogger when using Shako.  Hasty squares were disallowed in the Shako SYW Supplement rules, but squares formed during the player’s movement phase were not.  Historically, successful frontal cavalry charges against well-formed lines of infantry were incredibly rare during the period and this is what prompted the need for ‘Solid Lines’.  Cavalry can still win against them, but the chances of doing so are massively reduced.

4.  Artillery was hopelessly under-ranged in Shako.  Time after time when setting up historical scenarios, we’d find that batteries placed in their historical positions were a very long way out of range of the targets they were historically damaging by fire.

5.  Manoeuvring in line formation using the original rules was very, very slow, particularly when wheeling.  This is what prompted the increase in infantry movement speed and removal of the 50% movement penalty when wheeling.  The arbitrary limit of 45 degrees when wheeling in line isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it does stop the ‘nippy small unit wheeling on to a flank’ syndrome without slowing down larger formations and its a mechanism used in other rules systems for the same reason (e.g. Fire & Fury).

6.  Infantry movement rates have also been increased (from 4 inches to 6 inches in line) in order to speed things up.  Musketry range and rear support distance have also been increased to match (at 15mm scale these were all 4 inches, now they’re all 6 inches) and this also means that you now have just enough room to place two battalions in column on the flanks, between the two lines of an army (standard Prussian practice) and still be able to give rear support with the second line.

7.  I was never fan of the single movement rate for all cavalry types.  There are arguments for and against having different movement-rates, but I simply like the different cavalry types to have advantages and disadvantages beyond their baseline combat/morale factor.  However, you’ll note that unlike the infantry movement, I haven’t massively increased their movement rate and in the case of heavy cavalry it has actually been reduced.  Cavalry simply didn’t spend their time galloping around the battlefield at full pelt and most manoeuvres were performed at the walk.

8.  The most controversial of all the rule changes was the Cavalry Fatigue rule.  This was something we brought in almost immediately with my original group at W.A.S.P., as it was a mechanism we were already familiar with from Napoleon’s Battles and it worked well.  However, the lads at Carmarthen Old Guard weren’t convinced… until we played the Lobositz scenario, when the cavalry battle just went on and on and on and on and on… so much so that the infantry lines never got to fight!  The Cavalry Fatigue rule represents the cumulative fatigue effects of combat on the horses, as well as the attritional losses, men detached to escort prisoners, etc, etc.  It’s clear from reading the writings of cavalry commanders such as Von Warnery, that cavalry once committed to combat, were essentially a one-shot weapon to be husbanded until the critical moment.  An infantryman could fight all day if he had to, but horses quickly became blown when too much was asked of them.  As an optional rule for campaigns, casualties accrued from cavalry fatigue could be marked separately and restored to the unit after the tactical battle.

9.  I brought in flank and rear support bonuses for cavalry in order to encourage players to keep their cavalry in linear formations.  Our Lobositz playtest quickly degenerated into a confused and swirling mass of units, with little attempt at formation cohesion.  There didn’t seem to be any reason not to bring in this rule and it’s worked well in subsequent games.  However, this rule only applies against other cavalry, as it might otherwise make it too easy for cavalry to overcome infantry by cunning use of support modifiers.

10.  I’ve allowed rear support bonuses for infantry assaulting towns and fortifications, as these assaults were often conducted in deep, columnar formations formed by successive battalions in line and it therefore seemed appropriate to encourage those tactics.

11.  In Shako we often found that occupied towns could simply be bypassed and ignored.  Consequently we allow the garrisons of towns to fire as skirmishers (though out to 6 inches rather than the full 8 inches) and this helps to make them more of a thorn in the side of an attacker.  However, I’ve reduced town-defender’s firepower against charges on the town, as the amount of fire generated by the defender is simply not going to be anything like the firepower of a battalion volley and it’s also split around the perimeter.  I’ve also made a slight change in that the defender has to fire at each attacker individually.

12.  Battalion Guns are the aspect we probably agonised over the most.  Early playtests demonstrated that large numbers of battalion guns, if classed as regular Light Foot Artillery, could have an enormous (and unhistorical) impact on the game.  We initially tried abstracting them into infantry firepower, but that proved unsatisfactory, so they were brought back onto the table as physical gun models, though with reduced firepower when compared to other artillery and their range reduced to reflect their infantry close-support role (and reflecting Frederick’s ‘Instructions’, which dictated that Battalion Guns open fire at no more than 1,000 yards and switch to canister at 500 yards).

13.  The French ‘Ordre Profond’ formation was added late in the day and still needs to be playtested.  It might prove to be too fiddly and may therefore be relegated to ‘Optional Rules’.

14.  I’m still mulling over rules for the Prussian-style attack in ‘Oblique Order’; mainly because no two authors can quite agree on exactly what Frederick’s ‘Oblique Order’ actually was!  I was thinking that for that classic ‘advance in echelon’, as seen at Leuthen and Zinna, we could extend the front and rear lines of a unit forward and backward by 2 inches, thus allowing Flank Support to units deployed in that manner.  I don’t think that giving ‘Solid Line’ status to such a formation would be appropriate, however.

15. Oh and I only used the term ‘Solid Line’ because I couldn’t think of a better phrase… Please do suggest a better one!

Anyway, enough waffling… 

Sorry for the slow output since February!  Mrs Fawr has been rather ill and that’s consequently stolen much of my available time and mojo for writing.  I have however, been painting like a demon, have written some scenarios and played a couple of games, so there’s plenty to come.

Posted in Eighteenth Century, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules), Tricorn Rules Resources | 24 Comments

“Thrice Blue And Thrice Damned To The Devil!”: SYW Prussian Frei-Infanterie

“Dreimal blau und dreimal des Teufels!”

Last month I played a small historical refight of the Combat of Pretzsch, to introduce my mate Lewys to Tricorn (my 18th Century version of Shako).  However, the Prussian order of battle required a battalion of Prussian Frei-Infanterie and although I did have a single formed battalion (Frei-Bataillon 8 ‘Du Verger’) in my collection, Lewys being the awkward bugger that he is, wanted to deploy them as skirmishers.  To my eternal shame, I had to give him a couple of stands of skirmishing Grenzer.

So following our Combat of Pretzsch (game report and scenario to follow), the King of Prussia has had to submit an Urgent Operational Requirement for more light infantry!  As you might have noticed from this blog, I’ve recently been filling out my Prussians with the excellent Eureka figures.  However, Eureka don’t make any skirmishing or firing Prussian infantry, so I went ‘back to my roots’ with an order for Old Glory 15s figures (sold here in the UK by Timecast).  Barrie at Timecast provided his usual exemplary service and they were back here within a few days (barring a bag of Jäger awaiting re-stock) and the uniforms are very straightforward, so they were all painted within two days.

Frederick and the Pandour‘: This print by Carl Röchling recalls an incident when a Pandour had the temerity to take a pot-shot at Frederick.  Pointing his cane at the man, the King shouted “You, Sir!”.  The Croat freebooter was apparently shamed enough to lower his weapon and let Frederick continue on his way.  History doesn’t record if the Pandour was then set upon by a dozen outraged Prussian Hussars, but it seems likely…

The History Bit

During the Silesian Wars of the 1740s (i.e. the two Prussian-Austrian wars fought during the larger War of Austrian Succession), Frederick’s armies and lands had suffered near-constant depredations at the hands of the Austrian light troops; the Hungarian Hussars and the light infantry from the Imperial ‘Military Border’ known variously as ‘Grenzer’, ‘Croats’ or ‘Pandours’.  These men were experts of the so-called Petit-Guerre and constantly attacked military supply convoys and raided deep into Prussian territory, seemingly at will.

When the Seven Years War kicked off in 1756, Frederick was determined to counter the ‘Pandour Threat’.  He’d already raised small regular corps of Jäger-zu-Pferde and Feldjäger zu Fuß, but they were going to be nowhere near sufficient to the task.  He therefore commissioned three foreign adventurers; Le Noble, Mayr, Angelelli and the Prussian Kalben to each raise a Frei-Bataillon, the ranks of which would be filled with volunteers of dubious morals, attracted by the prospect of adventure, pillage and loot.  Despite the ‘low cunning’ of the rank-and-file, these first four units actually performed admirably (and on occasion even heroically) throughout the war, both when engaged in the Petit-Guerre and when in direct support of the main Prussian armies.

Frei-Infanterie-Battalion F1 ‘Le Noble’

However… From 1757-1758 the Frei-Infanterie were expanded by the addition of a further ten units, primarily raised from Austrian and French PoWs.  These units were very much of a lower quality, suffering from low morale and high desertion rates.  Some only lasted for a few months before surrendering or deserting en masse and in some cases being amalgamated into the better units.

A few Frei-Infanterie units formed green-coated and rifle-armed Jäger Detachments and some even formed very small Hussar Detachments to aid in scouting and message-transmission.  A few of these units (such as Wunsch’s, which proved to be the best of the second batch of units) also eventually became multi-battalion Frei-Infanterie Regiments, though in some cases it was because the 1st Battalion had been captured.

The third batch of Prussian light troops were known as the Frei-Corps and were intended from the outset to be combined-arms ‘legions’, capable of independent action away from the main armies.  Some of these units were primarily mounted Hussars or Dragoons and never did raise an infantry component, though most did become combined-arms formations and at the top of the scale was the impressive ‘Kleist’ Frei-Corps which at its peak had 6,000 men, including a regiment each of Hussars, Dragoons and Uhlans, a regiment of Hungarian ‘Croats’, a Jäger battalion and even a battery of horse artillery.  In the last years of the war, Kleist’s Corps often took its place in the line of battle as the equal of a regular formation.

A priest harangues some Frei-Corps ruffians in a print by Adolph Menzel (my sincere thanks to Dr Stephen Summerfield for this image)

Despite the dubious quality of many units, these freebooters in Prussian service generally beat the Pandours at their own game, forcing Austria and her allies to divert valuable troops and resources to defending their lines of communication.  However, despite the invaluable service performed by many of these units, Frederick had little gratitude for what he considered to be a necessary evil.  At the end of hostilities they were ordered to march to Prussian fortresses, where they were disarmed at gunpoint, with many soldiers being then conscripted into the Garrison Regiments.  Their commanding officers were forced to hand over arms and uniforms (which were actually the officers’ property) without compensation.  Not even Kleist’s magnificent corps or the first four Frei-Infanterie units were spared this purge.

Note that there was no official numbering system for these units.  The historian Hans Bleckwenn gave them an arbitrary numbering system based on their date of formation and this has continued to be used by many other historians such as Christopher Duffy and the contributors to the Kronoskaf website, as it makes it easy to track the identity of units whose names changed and it also makes battle-maps easier to label.  Bleckwenn prefixed them all with the letter ‘F’ and gave the Frei-Infanterie Arabic numerals (e.g. F2 ‘Von Mayr’), while the Frei-Corps were identified by Roman numerals (e.g. FII ‘Von Kleist’).  However, other historians have used different numbering systems, which can cause some confusion.

Here’s a run-down 0f the uniforms of the Frei-Infanterie Battalions/Regiments and their associated Jäger and Hussar detachments.  I’ll list the latterly-raised Frei-Corps in a future article, once I’ve painted ‘Green’ Kleist’s lads.  Note that the predominant uniform style of the Frei-Infanterie was a dark blue uniform coat with light blue facings and ‘small-clothes’ (i.e. waistcoat and breeches), hence the nickname ‘Triple-Blues’ (or ‘Double-Blues’), referenced in the title of this article.  Light blue wasn’t used as an identifying colour by the regular Prussian infantry, so was a combat-indicator of low-born ne’er-do-wells, ruffians and general beastliness.

Frei-Infanterie Uniforms:

 

Notes

Jäger and Hussar of Frei-Bataillon F2 ‘Von Mayr’.

* These units had an organic Jäger Detachment for at least part of their existence.

These units had an organic Hussar Detachment for at last part of their existence.

Pompom colours on the table above are shown as they are arranged on the pompom, from top to bottom.  So red over light blue means exactly that.

All units had light blue smallclothes and dark blue coats with red tail-turnbacks and red piping on tail-pockets.

Aside from F9 which had Brandenburg-style cuffs (i.e. with a flap above the cuff, edged with red piping and two buttons arranged vertically) and F8 and F14 who had Hungarian-style pointed cuffs, all other units had Swedish-style cuffs with two buttons along the top edge of the cuff and no flap (though some sources suggest that F5 may also have had Brandenburg cuffs).

There is no record of any of these units having flags of any description.  The only Frei unit known to have carried flags is Frei-Corps FII ‘Kleist’, which was authorised colours for its regiment of Hungarian ‘Croats’ and guidons for its regiments of Dragoons, Hussars and Uhlans.

Officers of all units had scalloped hat lace in the button colour, plus silver-and-black corner-rosettes.

NCOs of all units had button-coloured lace edging to hat, cuffs and collar (where the unit had a collar), plus quartered black-and-white pompoms and black-and-white corner-rosettes.

F1 Officers:  Silver lace down front seam of waistcoat.

F1 Jäger Detachment:  Dark green coat with light green lapels, cuffs, collar, turnbacks and smallclothes.  White buttonhole lace. Buff belts.  Black casquet cap with ‘FR’ cypher in white and black fur edge to front-piece.

F2 Officers:  Silver lace down front seam and on buttonholes of waistcoat.

F2 Jäger Detachment:  Light green coat and smallclothes with red collar, cuffs and turnbacks.  Black belts.  Green cockade and corner-rosettes on hat.

F2 Hussar Detachment:  Light blue uniform with mirliton, dark blue pelisse edged in white fur, all laced white.  Red sash.  Dark blue shabraque with light blue vandycking, edged with white lace.

F3 Hussar Detachment:  Yellow uniform with mirliton, black pelisse edged with white fur, red sash, red lace and yellow cords on mirliton.

F4, F5 and F14, instead of lapels, had small coloured ‘tabs’ of material extending forward from the top breast-button to the front seam.

F7 Officers under the second (1759) uniform wore gold ‘Brandenburg’ lace buttonholes – three pairs on each lapel, three below each side of the lapel, three on each pocket, three each side of the waist at the rear and two on each cuff.  NCOs had gold edging to the lapels, in addition to collar and cuffs.

F7 Jäger Detachment:  Light olive green coat and smallclothes with red lapels, collar, cuffs and turnbacks.  Buff belts.  Black cockade and white corner-rosettes on hat.

F8 had three pairs of yellow lace buttonholes on each lapel, plus a diagonal buttonhole in the top corner, another pair below each lapel, two on each pocket, one either side of the rear waist and one on the (pointed) cuff.  NCOs had the same yellow lace, but with the addition of the usual gold rank-lace edging, while officers wore the same style of lace as the men, except in gold.  A second version of the uniform (probably worn from 1760 when the regiment was increased to three battalions) deleted the diagonal corner lace from the lapels, removed the lace from the pockets and changed the cuffs to the Swedish style, with two lace buttonholes.  Officers’ lace at this time was changed to the fancy Brandenburg style, with the addition of three Brandenburgs on each pocket.

F8 Jäger Detachment:  Dark olive green coat with light yellow-olive green lapels, collar, shoulder-strap, cuffs, turnbacks and smallclothes.  Buff belts.  Black cockade and white corner-rosettes on hat.  Lace as for the rest of the regiment, plus gold aiguillette for officers.

F9 had Brandenburg-style cuffs with a flap edged in red piping and two buttons with white lace buttonholes visible above the top edge of the cuff.  They also had three pairs of white lace buttonholes on each lapel, another pair below each lapel and one either side of the rear waist.  Officers had the same style of lace, plus two lace buttonholes on each pocket.  At some point the NCOs changed to silver lace buttonholes without NCO lace edging and the officers changed to Brandenburg-style lace without lace on the pockets.

F10 had elaborate Brandenburg-style lace for all ranks except NCOs; three pairs on each lapel, plus another pair below, a pair on each cuff and a single buttonhole either side of the rear waist.  Officers also had a pair on each pocket.  Shoulders straps were white.  NCOs just wore two simple lace buttonholes below each lapel and on each cuff, without any lace edging.  One source also shows white lace edging on the other ranks’ waistcoats and hats.

F10 Hussar Detachment:  The uniform was all light blue with white lace and white fur pelisse-edging, worn with a mirliton cap.  Sash was mixed light blue and white.  Shabraque was light blue edged in broad white lace.

F11 wore yellow aiguillettes (gold for officers).

F11 Jäger Detachment:  Dark green coat with light green collar, cuffs, turnbacks and waistcoat (these may have been shades of olive green, like F8 above).  Yellow aiguillette.  Buff belts and breeches.  Green hat cockade and corner-rosettes.

F12 lace was much the same as that described for F10 above.  Most unusually they had a grenadier company, wearing uniforms of reversed colours (light blue with dark blue facings and smallclothes) and a bearskin cap with red bag and a white metal plate, bearing a black eagle badge.

F13 officers had silver aiguillettes.

F14 had Brandenburg-style buttonhole lace arranged 1-2-3 down the breast (below a light blue tab at the top button), a single Brandenburg at the rear waist and another on the (pointed) cuff.  Officers also had vertical pockets with three Brandenburgs.

Here are my painted Frei-Infanterie Battalions:

Frei-Bataillon F1 ‘Le Noble’

Frei-Bataillon ‘Le Noble’ (F1 under Bleckwenn’s classification system) was raised in June 1756 by the former Pfalz Lieutenant Colonel Franciscus de le Noble, who continued to command the unit throughout the war until disbandment in 1763.  The unit initially consisted of five companies, each of 100 men taken from the districts of the Holy Roman Empire, ten of whom were rifle-armed (and differently-uniformed) Jäger, for a total of 500 men, plus a headquarters detachment and a battalion gun detachment consisting of two 1pdr guns (which were probably replaced by 3pdr guns later in the war, in common with most other such units).  This increased during the winter of 1758/58 to a little over 800 men (presumably with a commensurate increase in Jäger?).

The unit had a reasonably good reputation and spent most of it’s time in direct support of the field armies, most noticeably at the battles of Breslau, Leuthen and Hochkirch.  It was however, captured en masse in June 1760 at the Second Battle of Landeshut.  The unit therefore became a Regiment during the winter of 1760/61, with a 2nd Battalion being raised.  However, as the 1st Battalion remained in captivity, the unit continued to operate as a single battalion, spending the rest of the war with Prince Henry’s army in Saxony.

For models I’ve used standard Old Glory 15s Prussian Musketeers, with the Firing Line pack used for the skirmishers.  In Shako/Tricorn a light infantry battalion may either fight as a formed unit or may break down into to skirmisher stands, so the whole lot wouldn’t be deployed on table as shown here.  If there was a sufficiently large Jäger Detachment (150 men or more) they might also create an additional, permanently-detached skirmisher stand, but Le Noble’s Jäger Detachment was very weak (which is a good job, as I can’t find any suitable figures with the required headgear).

F1 ‘Le Noble’ had a reasonably colourful coat, with light blue cuffs, lapels, collar and shoulder-strap and white metal buttons, though without lace.  One mistake I made was that the pompoms should be light blue over dark blue, but I mistakenly painted them plain light blue.  That said, it’s not very noticeable, so I’m not going to correct it.

Frei-Bataillon F3 ‘Von Kalben’/’Von Salenmon’/’Favrat’

Frei-Bataillon F3 ‘Von Kalben’ was raised in September 1756 by the Prussian officer Heinrich Detlev von Kalben, consisting of five companies, each of 100 men, plus a headquarters detachment and a battalion gun detachment of two 1pdr guns, which were replaced by 3pdr guns during the winder of 1758/59.  There was no Jäger Detachment.  The unit was increased to 800 men during the winter of 1757/58 thanks largely to a draft of conscripted PoWs and in 1760 a tiny Hussar Detachment of just twelve men was added.

Frei-Bataillon ‘Kalben’ (F3) was initially attached to Bevern’s corps as part of the Prussian invasion of Bohemia of 1757, but was soon detached along with Frei-Bataillon ‘Mayr’ (F2) to raid the counties of the Holy Roman Empire, where they caused massive disruption to Reichsarmee recruiting-parties and acquired a large amount of booty. 

However, Kalben didn’t have much opportunity to spend his new-found wealth, as later that year, the battalion was re-assigned to Bevern’s corps and at the Battle of Breslau on 22nd November 1757, Kalben was mortally wounded.  Command of the battalion passed to Kalben’s close friend, Konstantin Nathanael von Salenmon, an experienced mercenary officer of Bohemian-Jewish ancestry.  The battalion was henceforth known by the name ‘Salenmon’ and fought under its new commander at Leuthen.

In 1758, having been reinforced by the addition of conscripted PoWs, the battalion was assigned to the invasion of Moravia, as part of a light corps under Generalmajor von Mayr.  However, when the brigade came under Austrian attack the conscripted PoWs deserted en masse and the weakened battalion was smashed, with 300 men being captured by the Austrians.  The surviving 200 men were assigned to Frederick’s main army, with whom they fought at the Battle of Hochkirch and again suffered heavy casualties.

Salenmon

On 14th October 1760, Salenmon himself was taken into captivity along with 40 men of the battalion and the rest of the garrison of the fortress of Wittenberg.  A month later the rest of the battalion followed Salenmon into captivity when they surrendered along with the rest of Finck’s army at Maxen

As with Frei-Bataillon ‘Le Noble’ a new 2nd Battalion was raised to replace the captive 1st Battalion and the unit officially became a Regiment.  The post of Chef remained vacant until the Autumn of 1761, when command passed to Franz Andreas Jacquier de Berney Favrat.  The unit was then known as Frei-Battaillon ‘Favrat’ until the end of the war.

The uniform of Frei-Bataillon F2 ‘Von Kalben’ was the plainest of all the Frei-Infanterie units.  The coat was plain dark blue, without lapels or collar.  However, a splash of colour was provided by the standard red coat-linings and light blue small-clothes.  The metal colour was yellow and the unlaced hates were decorated with light blue pompoms.  These figures are again by Old Glory 15s.

Frei-Bataillon F8 ‘Du Verger’/’Quintus Icilius’

As mentioned above, I did already have one painted Frei-Bataillon from the 90s and this is it.  Frei-Bataillon F8 ‘Du Verger’ was raised in March 1758 in Saxony from French deserters and comprised five companies, totaling just over 800 men, including 50 Jäger (10 in each company) and two 1pdr battalion guns (upgraded to 3pdrs in 1759). 

The Commanding Officer, Major Johann Antonius Kensinger du Verger was from French Huguenot stock and had previously served as an officer in the Dutch Army.  However, in 1759 he fell out of favour with the King and was arrested and imprisoned!  Nevertheless, in 1762 he managed to escape and joined Austrian service.  In the meantime, command of his battalion passed to one of the King’s favourites; Major ‘Quintus Icilius’.

Quintus Icilius

Quintus Icilius was another descendant of French Huguenots and had started life in 1724 as Carl Gottlieb Theophilus Guichard.  Initially trained for the priesthood, but with a deep interest in military affairs, he decided to follow a different path and was commissioned into the Dutch Army, with whom he fought against the French during the campaigns of 1747-48.  Leaving military service, he then decided to follow a scholarly path and his research took him to the libraries of England’s universities, where he wrote a very well-received history of the wars of ancient Greece and Rome.  Returning to the continent, he became friends with Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, who in turn recommended him to King Frederick II. 

Guichard soon became a firm favourite at court and would often have long discussions with the King on points of ancient military history.  During one of these discussions, the two men were discussing the Battle of Pharsalus and the King pronounced of the name of a Roman Centurion as ‘Quintus Icilius’.  Guichard dared to correct the King’s pronunciation to ‘Quintus Caecilius’ (they were apparently both wrong…).  Amused, the King ordered that Guichard would henceforth be known as ‘Quintus Icilius’.

So in 1759 Quintus Icilius was ordered to take command of Du Verger’s former battalion of French ne’er-do-wells.  The unit did well under Quintus Icilius’ command and spent most of its time campaigning as part of the King’s main army.  In 1761 the unit was expanded to a full Regiment of three battalions and over 2,400 men (150 of whom being Jäger).

Following the looting by Saxon troops of Frederick’s palace at Charlottenberg in 1760, the King was determined to launch a reprisal raid against the Saxon king’s hunting-lodge/palace at Hubertsburg Castle.  However, due to the strict Prussian officers’ code of honour, General Von Saldern had already refused point-blank to carry out such an act and it seemed unlikely that any other Prussian officer would agree to such a plan.  However, a non-Prussian toady such as Quintus Icilius had no such scruples and in February 1761 he took one of his battalions to sack Hubertsburg, making himself considerably wealthy in the process!

As mentioned above, I painted these chaps back in the 1990s and I used Lancashire Games Mk 2 figures.  They’re by no means the best figures in the world, but they do have a certain ‘corn-fed’ charm to them.  The unit’s uniform is one of the more attractive ones on the list above, having much the same uniform as F1 ‘Le Noble’, though with the addition of yellow buttonhole lace (gold Brandenburg lace for the officers).

Anyway, that’s it for now!  Sorry it’s been a bit slow here just lately.  Mrs Fawr isn’t very well at the moment and when not attending to her, I seem to spend most of my time just scrolling through the news… 🙁

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War Prussian Army, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules) | 18 Comments

225 Years Ago This Week: The ‘Battle’ of Fishguard 1797

My apologies to those of you who have seen this all before on my blog, but I think it’s worth mentioning that this week marks the 225th anniversary of the surrender on 24th February 1797 of the French Légion Noir (‘Black Legion’) to an outnumbered and rag-tag force of Welsh Yeomanry, Militia, Royal Navy, Volunteers and armed civilians on Goodwick Sands, near the port of Fishguard in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.  Later immortalised as the only Battle Honour to be won by the British Army on British soil, the ‘Battle’ was in fact a relatively bloodless comic-opera.

And of course, it’s where my terrifying namesake became a true Welsh legend.

Needless to say, we HAD to wargame it and in 2013-2014 we put on a series of demo games around the shows and in Fishguard town.

If you’ve only recently arrived on this blog and haven’t yet delved into the murky depths of the blog crypt, here are some links to the lunacy of our Battle of Fishguard wargaming:

The Battle that Never Was: The Battle of Fishguard 1797

French Forces at Fishguard

British Forces at Fishguard (Part 1): Commanders and Characters

British Forces at Fishguard (Part 2): Units

Scenario #1: The Ambush at Carnwnda

Scenario #2: The French Attack

The Further Adventures of the Black Legion

Jemima Fawr & Friends (Trent Miniatures Models)

Posted in 28mm Figures, British Grenadier! Rules (AWI), Campaigns, Eighteenth Century, Fishguard 1797, Games, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units, Scenarios | 4 Comments

All The Emperor’s Men (Part 3): Reichsarmee Cavalry

Having flipped to painting Napoleonics for a few weeks, I’ve now flopped back to painting my Seven Years War armies, starting with some cavalry regiments for the Imperial Reichsarmee.  These were yet another über-stalled project, as I painted the first regiment in 1997 and it’s taken me nearly 25 years to paint the remainder… 🙂

In Part 2 of this series I covered the units I’d painted thus far for the Reichsarmee.  These regiments represent pretty much the entire cavalry arm of the Reichsarmee, which to be honest, wasn’t very much and what there was wasn’t very impressive.  Most of the squadrons were raised from dozens of tiny district contingents (some contingents being as weak as a single man and horse), with only a few (two squadrons of Pfalz cuirassiers) being regular troops.  As in Part 2, I’ll group them by Imperial district or Kreis (‘Circle’).

The Electoral Rhenish District (Kurrheinischen Kreis)

As one of the richer Imperial ‘Circles’, containing as it did the dominions of the Elector-Archbishop of Mainz, the (‘Baby-Eating’) Elector-Archbishop of Köln, the Elector-Archbishop of Trier and the Elector-Palatine (Pfalz), this district was meant to provide 1,800 cavalry to the Reichsarmee.  However, the three Elector-Archbishops completely failed to meet their commitments in this regard, leaving it to Pfalz to raise a single regiment of horse, the Kurpfalz Cuirassier Regiment.

The Kurpfalz Cuirassiers (also referred to in some sources as the ‘Hatzfeld Carabiniers’) were formed from the 2nd and 3rd Squadrons of the Pfalz Prinz Friedrich Michael von Pfalz-Zweibrücken Cavalry Regiment and the Oberrheinische Kreiseskadron.  Each squadron had three companies and the regiment had a total paper strength of around 450 men.  Despite being formed from elements of the standing army of Pfalz, the regiment did not perform well and no better (or worse) than the other cavalry regiments of the Reichsarmee.  Despite that and despite suffering very heavy casualties at the Battle of Rossbach, they (along with the rest of the Reichsarmee cavalry regiments) remained in action for the duration of the war.

The two contingents forming the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers had different uniforms, though I’ve used Old Glory 15s Austrian Dragoon figures for both contingents.  Both contingents had a white coat without lapels, straw-coloured smallclothes, black neck-stocks, white belts and an unlaced hat with black cockade.  It’s not clear if they wore cuirasses during this period, but if they did, they were probably worn under the coat (I’ve left the waistcoats black to give that impression).  The Prinz Friedrich Cuirassiers had red cuffs, collar and linings, with yellow ‘metal’, a mixed red & white aiguillette and yellow shabraques and holster-flaps with white lace edging.  

The Oberrheinische Kreiseskadron had light blue colourings instead of red, with white ‘metal’ and light blue horse furniture, edged with narrow white piping.  There is no information on trumpeters of either contingent, so I’ve painted a trumpeter for the Prince Friedrich Cuirassiers in reversed colours of red with white facings. 

Standards are also not recorded, though Pfalz regimental standards were usually white with very elaborate designs featuring the arms of Pfalz on the obverse and the Virgin Mary on the reverse, while the squadron standards are thought to have been light blue with the Palatinal monogram on the obverse and various district arms on the reverse.  Given the vagueness of the details, I must confess that I’ve used a spare Austrian cuirassier standard, as it has the Virgin on the reverse the Imperial eagle on the obverse.  It’ll do until something better comes along.

Upon his appointment to command the Reichsarmee in 1758, Prince Friedrich Michael of Pfalz-Zweibrücken reinforced the Reichsarmee cavalry arm with the Pfalz Kurfürstin Leibdragoner-Regiment.  This regiment was expanded at around the same time from three to five squadrons (each of two companies), for a total of around 800 men.  This regiment wore red coats with black lapels, cuffs and collar, red linings, yellow ‘metal’ and aiguillette, straw smallclothes, an unlaced black hat with black cockade, white belts and red horse-furniture with yellow lace edging.  One company was designated as Horse Grenadiers and these wore a brown-black bearskin cap with brass plate and red bag, piped and tasseled yellow (shown on the right).  

I have the Kurfürstin Leibdragoner-Regiment waiting in the Lead-Dungeon to be painted, but they might have to wait a while.  The regiment did not get off to a good start, as over 500 men were captured in May 1759.  However, they quickly made good the losses and the regiment was back up to five squadrons by the time of the Combat of Strehla in August 1760.  

One other Pfalz cavalry regiment to join the Reichsarmee was a mysterious unit by the name of the Husarenkorps Merckel.  This was apparently raised in 1760 and comprised four squadrons, but nothing more is known about it.

Franconian District (Fränkischen Kreis)

Franconia raised two cavalry regiments for the Reichsarmee; the Bayreuth Cuirassier Regiment and the Ansbach Dragoon Regiment, each organised as five squadrons, each of two companies, raised from dozens of tiny contingents (23 for the Bayreuth Cuirassiers and 27 for the Ansbach Dragoons).  Each regiment had a paper strength of around 700 men, though when they went to war in 1757, the Bayreuth Cuirassiers were only able to field 353 men, with the Ansbach Dragoons faring little better with 519.  The French Marshal Soubise, commanding the combined Franco-Imperial Army in Saxony, also considered both regiments to be ‘Poor’.  Nevertheless and despite disasters such as Rossbach and Zinna, both regiments actually increased their strength and spent much of the rest of the war close to their paper strength.

The Bayreuth Cuirassiers wore white coats with red lapels, cuffs and linings and yellow ‘metal’.  Many depictions show the coat as being pale straw-coloured in Prussian style, but that uniform wasn’t adopted until 1775.  This was worn over a buff leather jerkin edged in red lace, though all that was hidden by a black cuirass, which had white metal fittings and was edged with red cloth.  A red sash was apparently worn around the waist and went over the cuirass (though this may have been a 1775 addition).  Breeches and belts were white.  Neck-stocks were black.  The hats were edged with yellow lace and had black cockades with red corner-rosettes.  Horse furniture was red, edged yellow.  I’ve used Old Glory 15s Austrian Cuirassier figures for this regiment.

Trumpeters are recorded as wearing reversed colours of red coats with white facings, all richly decorated with golden lace (the county of Bamberg is recorded as complaining about the expense of the trumpeters’ lace).

Descriptions of the standards are very vague, though the squadron standards seem to have been red and probably featured the black Imperial eagle on the obverse and county heraldry on the reverse.  The regimental standard was probably similar, though in white.  I confess to having again used a spare Austrian cuirassier standard here.

The Ansbach Dragoons wore white coats with light blue lapels, cuffs and linings, a mixed light blue & white aiguillette and white ‘metal’.  The lapels and cuffs were decorated with white buttonhole lace; three on each cuff and four pairs on each lapel.  Smallclothes were straw, belts were white and neck-stocks were black.  Hats were laced white, with a black cockade and no corner rosettes.  Horse furniture was light blue, edged with white lace incorporating a light blue zig-zag pattern.

I’ve again used Old Glory 15s Austrian Dragoons for these lads, though for some reason the light blue facings look very pale in these photos; undoubtedly an artefact of the lighting conditions when I took the photos.

Officers of the regiment wore silver lace instead of white and had red sashes striped with black.  Drummers are known to have worn reversed colours of light blue coats, faced white, probably decorated in mixed light blue & white lace.

The Ansbach Dragoons‘ standards are described in suitably vague terms.  As usual, the regimental standard was coloured white, while the squadrons had dark blue standards edged in silver and decorated with the arms of the various counties making up the regiment.  It’s not clear if these were square or swallow-tailed in shape.  Again, I’ve opted to use a spare Austrian standard (a swallow-tailed dragoon Leibstandarte) for the time being, until something better comes along.  Maverick Models produce a square, dark blue standard for the ‘Bamberg Cuirassiers’, which is a regiment that didn’t exist at this time.  It’s possible that this is the standard for the 6th Company of the Ansbach Dragoons, as they carried the arms of Bamberg.

Swabian District (Schwäbischen Kreis)

The Swabian District raised two cavalry regiments; the Hohenzollern Cuirassier Regiment and the Württemberg Dragoon Regiment

However, the Württemberg Dragoons only ever reached a maximum strength of 138 men and only had 101 men ready for action at Rossbach.  They are therefore far too small to be represented on table (except perhaps as a couple of figures escorting a general or some such).  That said, they’re an interesting little unit, as their bright blue uniforms, with black facings, yellow linings, yellow ‘metal’ and straw smallclothes did make them look almost exactly like the Prussian Normann Dragoon Regiment (DR 1) and as a consequence they did suffer a nasty case of mistaken ‘friendly-stab’ at Rossbach, when they were overrun by Austrian hussars, who stole their standards! History doesn’t record if the Austrians ever gave their standards back, but the Württemberg Dragoons did change their coat colour to dark blue in an effort to prevent a repeat of the incident!

I did actually discuss the Hohenzollern Cuirassiers in Part 2, as they’re the solitary regiment I painted way back in 1997, but I’ll repeat myself again here.  The regiment was organised as four squadrons, raised from a whopping 61 contingents and having a total paper strength of 600 men, though at Rossbach had only 483 men fit for service.  The regiment was regarded by Marshal Soubise as probably the worst of the Reichsarmee cavalry arm. 

The uniform of the Hohenzollern Cuirassiers was very similar to that of the Bayreuth Cuirassiers described above, with white coats, red facings and horse furniture.  However, they had white ‘metal’ and white lace edging to hats and horse furniture and straw breeches.  It is also not known for certain if they actually wore cuirasses.  Nevertheless, I’ve used Old Glory 15s Austrian Cuirassier figures.

The regiment’s standards are well-recorded and were of a very simple design, as shown above.  The regimental standard was white and the squadron standards were ‘golden’.  The Württemberg Dragoons carried standards of a near-identical pattern.  I was still keen enough to paint my own standards in the 90s (not that we had much choice)!

Anyway, that’s it for now.  I’ve been continuing to write up my ‘Tricorn’ rules over the last few weeks, but it’s a slow process.  I will hopefully be able to continue working on it while sipping sangría by the pool in Tenerife next week! 🙂 I’ve also been working on my SYW British cavalry and following our last game, King Frederick placed an Urgent Operational Requirement for some Freikorps, so I’ve also done two battalions of those wretches, plus skirmishers.  It was a quiet week in work, so I also managed to paint the first of four Artillerie de la Marine (infantry) regiments for the 1813 Campaign.  So there’s lots more to come when I get back…

Hasta la vista!

 

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War Austrian Army, Seven Years War Minor German States, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules) | 9 Comments