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.
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)
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…
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.
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.
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…