‘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…

This entry was posted in Campaigns, Eighteenth Century, Games, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules). Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Steve Johnson says:

    A great game there for sure and I’m surprised that the Austrian abandoned their superb defensive position at the start! I thought they were going to take a hammering by doing so but did well to come out with a draw as it were. Keep up the good work.

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