‘First Blood’: The Battle of Mollwitz, 10th April 1741 (A Scenario for ‘Tricorn’)

As mentioned last time, I’ve got another Tricorn game coming up next week at the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire (W.A.S.P.), though this time it’s set in the War of Austrian Succession (or First Silesian War if you prefer), rather than the Seven Years War; namely the Battle of Mollwitz.

Regular sufferers of this blog might remember that in December 2020 I used a compressed version of Mollwitz during one of many lockdowns, as a solo playtest game to refresh my knowledge of Shako rules and our 1990s-vintage ‘Beta’ version of TricornTricorn has come a long way since then, so it’s about time I revisited this battle and wrote up the scenario.

Historical Background – The First Silesian War

King Frederick II in 1740

On 31st May 1740, the 28 year-old Prince of Prussia became Frederick II, ‘King in Prussia’ (he would eventually become King OF Prussia in 1772, following the First Partition of Poland and Prussia’s acquisition of swathes of former Polish lands).  The young king inherited an impressive army, whose infantry were famed throughout Europe.  However, although Frederick’s father had lavished resources on his beloved infantry, the other arms had suffered from a period of neglect; neglect that within a few months was almost to prematurely cost Frederick his kingdom.

Frederick’s kingdom also suffered from a lack of territorial integrity, with many scattered enclaves, as well as a historically weak economy.  Frederick therefore needed land; preferably land that joined up his scattered territory and with resources from which to establish a solid economic base.

Emperor Charles VI

The new King in Prussia was immediately thrown into a crisis that would eventually grow into arguably the world’s first ‘world war’.  The Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI was ailing and the vultures were circling.  The title of Emperor, although theoretically elected by a vote of the nine Prince-Electors (Hanover, Bavaria, Saxony, Pfalz, Bohemia (held by Austria), Brandenburg (held by Prussia), Mainz, Trier & Köln), had actually been awarded to the senior member of the Habsburg Monarchy for more than three centuries.  However, Charles VI was the sole surviving male member of the Habsburg line and had no male heir.  As a consequence, in 1713 (two years after succeeding his brother Joseph I as Emperor) Charles VI issued the Pragmatic Sanction, being an edict that permitted the accession of a female heir to the Habsburg throne.  In 1713 the female heir to the Habsburg line was Archduchess Maria Josepha, eldest daughter of Joseph I.  However, in 1717 Charles VI was blessed with a daughter of his own, Maria-Theresa, who now became the Habsburg Heir.

Maria-Theresa in 1740

While the Pragmatic Sanction might have been fine as an internal Habsburg-Austrian matter, the rest of the Holy Roman Empire didn’t necessarily agree and were deeply divided as to whether this should also apply to the title of Holy Roman Emperor!

When Frederick II became King in Prussia he also inherited an Electoral Cap as Margrave of Brandenburg and therefore had to adopt a position on the matter of Imperial succession.  Frederick had long resented the powerful political influence that Austria held over Brandenburg-Prussia and saw the rich industrial Austrian province of Silesia as ripe for the plucking, with excellent lines of communication to Brandenburg, yet being separated from the rest of Austrian territory by a range of mountains.  Frederick therefore declared himself opposed to the Pragmatic Sanction and supported the rival claim of Duke Charles of Bavaria, who claimed the title as son-in-law of Emperor Joseph I (having married Joseph’s second daughter, Maria Amalia) and as great-grandson to Emperor Ferdinand II.

When Emperor Charles VI died on 20th October 1740, Frederick seized the opportunity with remarkable speed.  Mobilising and concentrating his army within just six weeks, on 16th December he crossed the Silesian border without even observing the nicety of a formal declaration of war.  The Prussians rapidly overran Silesia, taking the entire province except for three fortresses in the south; Brieg, Breslau and Glogau.


Shocked by Frederick’s duplicity, Maria-Theresa (now titled Queen of Bohemia, Queen of Hungary and Archduchess of Austria, but denied the title of Holy Roman Empress), immediately dispatched an army of 20,000 men under Wilhelm Reinhard von Neipperg.

Neipperg’s march north completely wrong-footed Frederick, who suddenly found his lines of communication cut by Neipperg’s army!  However, fortune favoured Frederick, as a captured Austrian gave him an accurate location for Neipperg’s camp outside the city of Neisse.  Despite appalling weather and unseasonal blizzards, Frederick stole a march on the Austrians and in a snowy dawn on 10th April 1741, found himself looking at Neipperg’s camp near the village of Mollwitz, where the Austrians were still cooking their breakfast.

The Austrians meanwhile, were in complete panic, as the Prussians had appeared in their rear, forcing them to deploy in an unthinkable (for the 18th Century) reversed deployment (the shame)!  However, perhaps due to inexperience and caution, Frederick decided to deploy his army instead of charging headlong into the panicked enemy, thus giving the Austrians time to recover their composure and await the Prussian advance…  And wait… and wait…


Frederick’s deployment took hours to complete, yet despite the time spent in deployment, he still managed to balls it up!  With Frederick having misjudged the distance from his position to a river on the left flank (the Kleiner-Bach), the front line of the infantry was compressed so much that a battalion of the ‘Prinz Leopold’ Infantry Regiment was forced to drop back and form up between the two lines.  Posadowsky’s entire cavalry division was also forced to cross over the river and deploy on the opposite bank, thus essentially removing themselves from the coming battle.  As was often the case when monarchs decided to lead armies in the field, even the presence of such experienced commanders as Feldmarschall von Schwerin and Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau (‘The Old Dessauer’) couldn’t seem to sort out the mess.


Finally at around 2pm, following hours of painful manoeuvring and re-dressing of ranks, the Prussians finally got within engagement range and commenced a bombardment on the Austrian lines with their heavy 12pdr and 24pdr guns.  The Austrians curiously hadn’t used the time to re-orientate the army, so were still deployed in reverse order and this for some reason seemed to cause as much consternation among the ranks as the cannonballs.  Nevertheless, the Freiherr von Römer, commanding the six cavalry regiments on the left flank was made of sterner stuff and spotted an opportunity.

Despite the difficulty of moving through snow, the Prussian heavy artillery was unencumbered by having to dress ranks and had managed to deploy well forward of the main line.  This brought them within effective range of the Austrians, but left them exposed and a juicy target for Römer’s cavalry.  Saddled with orders to maintain their alignment with the infantry and further encumbered by the presence of a pair of grenadier battalions interspersed in their line, Schulenburg’s Prussian cavalry of the right wing made no attempt to intervene as Römer’s horsemen first moved off to the flank and then launched their charge.


Some sources suggest that the Prussians lost sight of the Austrian cavalry due to a sudden snow-flurry, but whatever the reason, the Prussian cavalry received the Austrian charge at the halt and were smashed!  Schulenburg attempted to organise a counter-attack, but first lost a horse and suffered a cut to the face.  He attempted to staunch the flow of blood with a handkerchief, but as he mounted a fresh horse, his head was smashed by a cannon-shot!  The King himself attempted to rally the panicked troopers of the Leib-Carabiniers (as pictured at the top of this article), but to no effect as the Prussian cavalry broke and fled the field or sought refuge among the infantry.  While this was happening, the Austrian cavalry also managed to give the Prussian gunners a good sabering.

The King managed by the very skin of teeth to escape to the safety of his infantry (history at that moment came within a whisker of being VERY different!), but faced with what appeared to be an utter disaster, Schwerin urged him to ride to safety, which the King reluctantly agreed to do.  Some sources say that he fled the field, but that seems rather harsh as it is clear that his subordinates begged him to do so, as the prospect of the King being killed or becoming a captive was completely unthinkable.  Frederick later said that he deeply regretted agreeing to leave the battle, but it has to be said that this ‘regret’ didn’t stop him from buggering off early on a number of subsequent occasions…

With the King out of the way, the battle started to turn in the Prussians’ favour as the Prussian infantry did what it did best.  Römer’s cavalry smashed themselves against the blue wall and were cut down by unending, rolling volleys.  As the Prussian first line continued to advance on the waiting Austrian infantry, an attempt by Römer to turn the Prussian flank was stopped cold by the the infantry of The Old Dessauer’s second line, with Römer himself being slain.

At last, with the Austrian cavalry were beaten off and the Prussian battalion guns brought forward, the Austrian infantry were crushed by the weight of fire and were reportedly reduced to panicked knots of men clustered around their colours.  At last, the coming of night allowed Neipperg’s army to slip away, leaving the Prussians masters of the field.

When the King finally returned to the army, he was clearly a man on a mission.  The shortcomings of his cavalry arm were manifest and despite the war in Silesia still going on, he immediately implemented a programme of reforms and training, often conducting the training in person.  In the meantime, the Silesian Campaign remained locked in a stalemate and on 9th October 1741 he agreed to an armistice that ceded Lower Silesia to Prussia.

Frederick enters Breslau, 10th October 1741.

However, Frederick wasn’t satisfied with only Lower Silesia.   With Austria kept busy fighting France and Bavaria, he continued to build up his army in Silesia and in February 1742 resumed his offensive, this time ‘going for broke’ and aiming to capture Vienna, via the Austrian province of Moravia.  His hussar scouts even came within sight of Vienna, but the actions of Moravian partisans and isolated Austrian garrisons cut his lines of communication and so he was forced to withdraw into Bohemia.

The Old Dessauer

On 17th May 1742, an Austrian army under Prince Charles of Lorraine almost ‘did a Mollwitz’ on Frederick, surprising the Prussians in their camp at Chotusitz.  The Prussian cavalry performed better this time thanks to their period of re-training, successfully defeating their mounted opponents on each wing of the battle.  However, one Prussian cavalry wing left the battlefield in pursuit of their defeated opponents, while the other wing was then defeated by the Austrian infantry, so there was still much room for improvement!  In the meantime, the King was once again slow in deploying his wing of the army, leaving the Old Dessauer’s wing in the lurch for some considerable time.  However, the Old Dessauer held his ground and as the King’s troops began to engage, the Austrians withdrew from the field.

Having secured his victory and with Austria still under pressure in the west, Frederick sought terms from Austria and at Breslau on 11th June 1742 was rewarded with the entire province of Silesia, as well as the neighbouring County of Glatz.  The First Silesian War was over and despite a shaky start at Mollwitz, Frederick’s star was rising.

Frederick receives the homage of the Silesian nobles at Breslau.

Scenario Notes

The table is set up as per one of the two scenario maps above.  I’ve scaled the maps to 5′ x 7′, based on the frontage of the units in my own collection.  If you want to play the long, tedious version of the scenario, by all means use the first map showing the initial deployments (bear in mind that with the movement restrictions caused by the snow, it will take an AGE to get to grips!), but I recommend using the second map, which shows the situation at around 2pm, when the action started to happen.  So assuming you take the sensible option and use Map 2:

1.  The scenario will last for 20 turns.

2.  Victory will be awarded to the army which breaks the opposing army.

3.  All artillery starts the game unlimbered.  The Prussian heavy batteries may not therefore be moved from their initial positions, though may pivot on the spot and may be turned to face any direction before the start of the game.  Battalion guns are deployed within their parent formation as desired by the player.

4.  The Prussian army starts the game during one of its interminable periods of dressing ranks.  Any Attack orders issued may not therefore be acted upon until the start of Turn 3.  The Austrian army may act on its orders from Turn 1.

5.  As soon as the first Prussian formation breaks, Schwerin will use the excuse to spirit the King away from the battlefield ‘for his own safety’, thereby giving him the freedom to get a grip on the battle without royal interference!  The C-in-C then becomes Schwerin with a rating of ‘Good’ (2 d6).

6.  The thick snow almost certainly reduced the effectiveness of artillery, considerably reducing the ability of shot to ricochet, thus reducing damage effects and maximum range.  Therefore, class both Prussian heavy artillery batteries as light artillery in terms of range and firepower, though targets within 4 inches (musketry range) will be attacked with the normal full cannister effect of heavy artillery.  Battalion guns use the normal range-bands and factors, though will have no bounce-through effect.  See the Terrain and Weather Notes below for other effects of snow.

7.  The Austrians at this time certainly suffered from a disparity in infantry firepower effectiveness, given that they were still using wooden ramrods and simply didn’t have the intensive training in platoon-volleys that the Prussians had received, courtesy of Fred’s ol’ Dad.  However, they are significantly outnumbered and outclassed in this scenario, so I’m tempted to leave them as they are.  However, if you feel the need, apply the following rules to Austrian musketry:

  • A roll of 6 will only cause one casualty, not two.
  • In order to stagger a unit, their musketry roll needs to EXCEED the MR of the target unit, rather than equal it.  However, a roll of six will always stagger the target unit.

The Prussian Army – King Frederick II

(Average – 1 d6)

Right Wing, First Line – The King

Division of Generallieutenant von der Schulenburg (Poor)
4 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Schulenburg’ (DR 3) (1st Line) (poor)*      [4/1 – Large]
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Bolstern’ (3/27)      [5/2]
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Winterfeldt’ (5/21)      [5/2]
5 Sqns, Leib-Carabinier-Regiment (CR 11) (poor)      [5/2 – Large]
5 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Schulenburg’ (DR 3) (2nd Line) (poor)      [4/1 – Large]

Division of Generallieutenant von der Marwitz (Excellent)
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Kleist’ (1/25)’      [5/2]
I. (Leibgarde) Bn, Garde-Regiment (IR 15)      [6/2]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Kleist’ (IR 26)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Kleist’ (IR 26)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Markgraf Karl’ (IR 19)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Markgraf Karl’ (IR 19)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Kalckstein’ (IR 25)      [4/1]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]

Left Wing, First Line – Feldmarschall von Schwerin

Division of Generallieutenant von Kalckstein (Excellent)
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Truchsetz’ (IR 13)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Truchsetz’ (IR 13)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Leopold’ (IR 27)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Leopold’ (IR 27)†      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Alt-Schwerin’ (IR 24)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Alt-Schwerin’ (IR 24)      [4/1]
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Reibnitz’ (13/19)      [5/2]
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Buddendorf’ (20/22)      [5/2]
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Puttkamer’ (12/24)      [5/2]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]

Brigade of Oberst von Posadowsky (Average)
5 Sqns, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Prinz Friedrich’ (CR 5)      [6/2 – Large]
5 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Platen’ (DR 1)      [5/2 – Large]
6 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Bayreuth’‡ (DR 5)      [5/2 – Large]
3 Sqns, Leibhusaren-Regiment ‘Zieten’‡ (HR 2)      [4/1]

Second Line – General der Infanterie Prinz Leopold von Anhalt-Dessau

Right Wing of Second Line – Generalmajor Prinz Heinrich von Preussen (Average)
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Dietrich’ (IR 10)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Dietrich’ (IR 10)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Alte-Borcke’ (IR 22)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Glasenapp’ (IR 1)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Füsilier-Regiment ‘Graevenitz’ (IR 40)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Füsilier-Regiment ‘Graevenitz’ (IR 40)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Heinrich’ (IR 12)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Heinrich’ (IR 12)      [4/1]

Left Wing of Second Line – Generalmajor von Bredow (Good)
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Saldern’ (8/36)      [5/2]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Braunschweig-Bevern’ (IR 7)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Braunschweig-Bevern’ (IR 7)       [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Sydow’ (IR 23)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Sydow’ (IR 23)      [4/1]

Artillery Park
Batterie ‘Lehwaldt’ (12pdrs)      [3/0]
Batterie ‘Dohna’ (24pdrs)      [3/0]

Prussian Notes

* One squadron is actually from the Gensd’armes Regiment (CR 10).

† The 2nd Battalion of the ‘Prinz Leopold’ Infantry Regiment (IR 27) was squeezed out of the first line due to the army’s poor deployment and therefore formed up to the rear of the regiment’s 1st Battalion, between the two lines.

‡ The ‘Bayreuth’ Dragoons and ‘Zieten’ Hussars actually belonged to Prince Leopold’s Second Line, but were placed under Posadowsky’s command once the battle started. Similarly, part of the ‘Schulenburg’ Dragoons belonged to Prince Leopold, but were placed under Schulenburg’s command.

1.  The Prussian cavalry under Schulenburg’s command behaved very badly at Mollwitz, so have been downgraded to ‘Poor’ status (i.e. their Moral Ratings have been dropped by one level).  However, I’ve left Posadowsky’s cavalry ratings alone.  Feel free to downgrade them as well, if you feel the need.

2.  The young Frederick’s inexperience manifested itself in a number of areas during this battle; most notably in throwing away the advantage of surprise with his failure to immediately attack the Austrian camp and then compounding this with a botched deployment that resulted in a compressed infantry line and Posadowsk’y cavalry being deployed on the wrong side of a river!  His desire to keep immaculately-dressed lines then resulted in one of the slowest advances to contact in military history.  I’ve therefore classed him as ‘Average’ (1 d6), but he might also qualify as ‘Poor’ (0 d6) if you’re feeling harsh.

3.  Prussian artillery strength varies from source to source.  The total number of guns is variously described as 50 or 58 guns, while the number of heavy guns within that number could be 16 or 18 (divided into 10x 12pdrs and 8x 24pdrs).

4.  Prussian regiments weren’t formally numbered until 1806, but as usual I’ve followed the common convention of using the anachronistic numbers to make units easier to label on the map.

Prussian Formation Breakpoints

Division                  FMR      ⅓      ½      ¾

Schulenburg                 23         8       12      18
Marwitz                         35        12       18     27
Kalckstein                     43        15      22      33
Posadowsky                  20        7        10      15
Prinz Heinrich              32       11       16      24
Bredow                          21         7         11      16
Artillery Park                6           –         –         –

Army Breakpoint  FMR   ¼      ⅓      ½

Prussian Army             180      45     60      90

The Austrian Army – Feldzeugmeister von Neipperg

(Average – 1d6)

Right Wing Cavalry – Feldmarschallieutenant Freiherr von Berlichgen (Average)
13 Coys, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Batthiányi’ (DR 7)      [5/2 – Large]
13 Coys, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Liechtenstein’ (DR 6)      [5/2 – Large]
13 Coys, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Cordua’ (CR 14)      [6/2 – Large]
13 Coys, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Württemberg’ (DR 38)      [5/2 – Large]
13 Coys, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Hohenzollern-Hechingen’ (CR 3)      [6/2 – Large]

Right Wing Infantry – Feldmarschallieutenant Graf Browne (Good)
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Karl Lothringen’ (IR 3)      [4/1 – Large]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘O’Gilvy’ (IR iv)      [4/1 – Large]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Baden’ (IR 23)      [4/1 – Large]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Baden’ (IR 23)      [4/1 – Large]
I. Bn, Infantry Regiment ‘Kolowrat’ (IR 17)      [4/1 – Large]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Harrach’ (IR 47)      [4/1 – Large]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Harrach’ (IR 47)      [4/1 – Large]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Grünne’ (IR 26)      [4/1 – Large]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]

Left Wing Infantry – Feldmarschallieutenant Baron Göldy (Poor)
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Browne’ (IR 36)      [4/1 – Large]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Botta’ (IR 12)      [4/1 – Large]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Schmettau’ (IR i)      [4/1 – Large]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Franz Lothringen’ (IR 1)      [4/1 – Large]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Franz Lothringen’ (IR 1)      [4/1 – Large]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Thüngen’ (IR 57)      [4/1 – Large]
II. Bn, ‘Thüngen’ Infanterie-Regiment (IR 57)      [4/1 – Large]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Alt-Daun’ (IR 45)      [4/1 – Large]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]

Left Wing Cavalry – Feldmarschallieutenant Freiherr von Römer (Excellent)
13 Coys, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Hohen-Ems’ (CR 4)      [6/2 – Large]
13 Coys, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Scherr’ (CR 12)      [6/2 – Large]
13 Coys, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Althann’ (DR 1)      [5/2 – Large]
13 Coys, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Birkenfeld’ (CR 23)      [6/2 – Large]
13 Coys, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Lanthierry’ (CR 25)      [6/2 – Large]
13 Coys, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Römer’ (DR 37)      [5/2 – Large]

Hussars – Unknown Commander (Poor)
10 Coys, Husaren-Regiment ‘Splényi’ (HR ii)      [4/1]
10 Coys, Husaren-Regiment ‘Ghilányi’ (HR iii)      [4/1]

Austrian Notes

1.  Austrian cavalry regiments were not organised into squadrons until 1751, so are listed in terms of companies.  This number includes the elite company (Carabiniers for Cuirassier Regiments and Horse Grenadiers for Dragoon Regiments).  There is no indication that the elite companies were separated from their parent regiment and massed into temporary elite regiments, as was common during the Seven Years War.  Similarly there is no mention of massed grenadier battalions.

2.  The Austrian army was extremely weak in terms of artillery.  Sources vary between ’10 guns’ and ’19 guns’ and these seem to have all been light battalion guns.

3.  Most sources list Neipperg as a Feldmarschall at Mollwitz.  However, he wasn’t actually appointed to that rank until 12th April 1741, so was still a Feldzeugmeister at the time of the battle.

4.  Austrian infantry battalions at this time were still using the four-ranked line formation, as opposed to the three-ranked line used by Prussia (and adopted by Austria at the start of the Seven Years War).  So despite being classed in Tricorn as Large Units, Austrian battalions are no wider than a ‘normal’-sized battalion.  This is a bit of a bugger for those of us with battalions permanently fixed to single bases, but I’m sure we’ll manage…

5.  Austrian regiments weren’t formally numbered until 1769, but as usual I’ve followed the common convention of using the anachronistic numbers to make units easier to label on the map.  The Roman numerals (e.g. HR ii) are used for regiments that were disbanded before the formal numbering system was adopted.

Austrian Formation Breakpoints

Division                     FMR      ⅓      ½      ¾

Römer                              34         12      17      26
Göldy                               34         12      17      26
Browne                            34         12      17      26
Berlichgen                       27         9       14      21
Hussars                            8           –        4        –

Army Breakpoint FMR       ¼      ⅓      ½

Austrian Army              137         35     46      69

Terrain and Weather Notes

Some accounts of the battle only mention the significant snowfall in passing, though witnesses describe it as being about two feet deep or ‘waist’ deep, so it’s clear that it had a significant effect on the battle; slowing movement, reducing the effectiveness of artillery and fatiguing the cavalry horses.  Occasional snow-flurries also reduced battlefield visibility.


At the end of each Movement Phase and before the Musketry Phase, the umpire or a random player rolls two d6.  On a roll of double-six the battlefield is suddenly obscured by a blizzard.  The effects of the blizzard are:

  • No musketry in that turn.
  • No new orders may be transmitted that turn.
  • No artillery fire in the following turn.

This means that a charging unit may suddenly gain the benefit of charging home under the cover of a blizzard without receiving defensive fire, but it’s not something that a player can plan to take advantage of.

Built-Up Sectors

If the Austrian player feels the need to fall back and take cover among the houses of Mollwitz, divide the village into four BUSs, each of which may accommodate one battalion.  Each BUS has a cover modifier of -1 against shooting and a defensive modifier of +1.

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29 Responses to ‘First Blood’: The Battle of Mollwitz, 10th April 1741 (A Scenario for ‘Tricorn’)

  1. Andrew Brentnall says:

    Brilliant work on this scenario. Just one tiny mistake, resulting from a slight error made y Christopher Duffy when he used Prussian Regimental numbers on his map, rather than just the Regimental name. He used the Number 40 for Von Graevenitz, when it should be 20. This was an easy mistake to make as Graevenitz moved from proprietorship of Infantry Regiment No20 to the newly raised Fusilier Regiment No 40 later the same year. A pity for the wargamer, as No40 is one of the more colourful Prussian regiments. I was able to discuss this with Christopher on a battlefield tour many years ago, and he agreed the mistake. I have never found another in all his works! A giant, sadly missed.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Andrew! Aha! That explains the discrepancy between the Grosser Generalstab orbat and Duffy’s map! Bugger, as I do like the pink… 🙁 I might sneak them on anyway (even though I’ve got IR 20)… 😉

      Yes, he was a giant of a man, that’s for sure. There is the very occasional mistake that I’ve noticed in one or two of his other maps, but I can’t remember the specifics now, sorry. It’s just a typo or the name of a regiment not matching the number on the map, something like that, but NOWHERE near the level found in other works such as Nafziger’s or Bowden’s Napoleonic orbats and they’re only tiny drops in the ocean of wonderful information that he gave us.

      I never met him and was gutted to discover a few years ago that I’d missed him at Culloden Visitor Centre by a matter of minutes! I was there purely by chance with my family and had no idea that he was there doing a book-signing that same day! 🙁


  2. Rod says:

    Yes Brilliant as always will have to try this one. I am going to read Reed Browning for the 3rd time. I first read it about 30 years ago from the library, but got a cheap copy from eBay at last.

  3. Norm says:

    What an absolutely lovely post – thank you.

  4. Nick says:

    Another good article

  5. That’s a very good write up of the battle and the game. 🙂 It is, of course, a fairly depressing battle for the Austrians (the Good Guys, naturally) and usually, as gamed, also generally works out badly for them. (I did manage a win on points fighting the Austrian side via Zoom with Jon Freitag last year: https://palousewargamingjournal.blogspot.com/2022/04/mollwitz-near-run-thing.html ) In fact, the whole WAS was pretty depressing for the Austrians! One thing I did note; your Austrians are carrying the wrong flags for Mollwitz. I can highly recommend authentic Charles VI flags for that early period which can be found here: https://nba-sywtemplates.blogspot.com/search?q=charles+VI+flag Ha ha! 😉

    • jemima_fawr says:

      You’re a bad man, David…

      As it happens, one of my long-term goals is to do a divisional-sized Austrian force for the Austrian contingent at WAS battles such as Dettingen and Kesselsdorf. Those Charles VI flags of your are too good not to use! 🙂

      • Ha ha! I try. 😉

        That sounds splendid; look forward to seeing them eventually. Naturally, I agree that those flags are far too good not to see action – and they have seen very little so far! So please do get a move on with that Austrian division… 😉

        • jemima_fawr says:

          I’ll get right on it! After the other half of the Minden orbat, the rest of the Kleist Freikorps and the entire Russian army, that is… Oh and I did want to do some Italian states…

          • By the end of the month, then? 😉 I’m sure you’ll not want to waste any time eating and sleeping and frittering away your life on other pointless activities of that sort when troops are waiting to be painted (not to mention flags)… What Italian states are you planning?

          • jemima_fawr says:

            Ah, well in my life, painting never interferes with eating and sleeping… Train timetables are another matter, however… 🙁

            Re Italian states; I’m assembling information on Piedmont, Genoa and Naples, as well as Spain, for the WAS. There’s plenty of good info on Piedmont, including the flags. I’ve got some decent uniform info for Genoa, but only a few flags (some samples by you). However, while I found the mother-lode of Neapolitan uniforms, their flags remain extremely elusive.

            Orbats are also elusive; not helped by the fact that a lot of Neapolitan and Spanish regiments had the same name! I’ve found no orbats for Genoese formations in the war.

  6. How very sybaritic! 😉 I hope and plan to do more on the flags of the Italian states soon – as always, so much to do and so little time to do it. Now, if you wanted the flags of Modena, I have sheets done of those already! I gather that this is not an immediate project; what is your time scale?

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Hang on… Stand by while I go and fetch my dictionary…

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Ah yes, my contrafibularities have no boundaries…

      As it happens, Modena isn’t on my to-do list. Mainly as they did nothing during the SYW except garrison Milan and only played a very minor part in the WAS. I do actually have the three Modenese sheets you did, along with one Genoese sheet and two Piedmontese.

      • Ah – a Blackadder fan, I see. 😉 A pity about Modena (I’d forgotten who has the sheets, I’m afraid!) as I’d like to see the flags in action some time. I’m working on more Genoan flags on and off at the moment; although I gather they did not do very much in the WAS either! Must get back into the Piedmontese some time too, as I know there are a few people waiting for those. One day I must work on my own wargaming set up, before it is too late… Lately I have occasionally felt like a slave to flag production, rather than a willing servant!

        • jemima_fawr says:

          Ooo, excellent! Now all I need is an order of battle. Just ONE order of battle for the Italian theatre would be nice… 🙁

          Look on the bright side; at least Genoa didn’t have any cavalry regiments, so it saves you wasting your time on those little buggers! 🙂

          (And what are you doing here? Get back to work!) 😉

  7. 🙂 I think you’ll find something useful in the Nafziger OOBs: https://cdm16040.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p4013coll11/id/1277

    And yes, true apparently, although Cenni did illustrate at least one cavalry standard for Genoa…

    Right! Back to the stylus face it is… 8-%

    • I’m glad you like the flags and look forward to seeing them in action with your troops sometime (soon? 😉 Ha ha…).

      You want the Nafziger PDFs beginning 740 on. For instance, 743BAA has the Spanish and Austro-Sardinian armies at Camposanto 8/2/1743 and 744IAA has the Austro-Sardinian army at the Battle of Madonna dell’Olmo 30/9/1744. Many give lists for the army in theatre rather than battle OOBs e.g. 744XAC gives the Hispano-Napolitan army end of May 1744. I don’t see one for Bassignano, I’m afraid.

      • jemima_fawr says:

        Nice one, thanks! 🙂

        Re Genoan (Genoese?) cavalry; I meant that there isn’t really enough to justify them in game terms. There was only a company-and-a-half (or thereabouts) of Carabiniers (blue coats, red facings and yellow ‘metal’) for patrolling the mainland border and a company of dragoons for patrolling Sardinia. The dragoons had a epic black or brown uniform with red facings and hats they apparently stole from ‘Elves on the Shelves’… They’d make the natural partners of the French Mestre-de-Camp-General Dragoons in a spoof Army of Lappland.

        • The Nafziger files do have big gaps, unfortunately, but a few useful snippets.

          More Genoese flags to follow…

          Yes, hardly worth doing a standard for such a small number of cavalry. If I find myself with absolutely no more other flags to do, perhaps I’ll do one. Hahahahaha. 😉

          • jemima_fawr says:

            Yeah, I’ll probably feel the urge to do the Carabiniers as a small unit to combine with an allied unit… I doubt I’ll ever find mounted Elves on the Shelves to do the dragoons…

            Did you notice that the Carabinier standard has the crest rotated 90 degrees, as if it’s meant to be hanging from the pole? The famous painting of Bassignano shows infantry carrying a Colonella arranged the same way.


          • There’s no reply note at the bottom of your next post so I’ll have to reply to it via my own message! Yes, I’d noticed the 90 degree twist of the cavalry standard in that well-known illustration of Bassignano – it’s a feature of many French dragoon standards as well. I must find the reference but recently I did see someone mention that the Cenni picture of the Genoan cavalry is apparently totally fictional. The lack of good reliable sources on Genoan uniforms and flags is a real pain! So it may not be a good idea to depend on it if you do decide to create some Genoan cavalry…

          • jemima_fawr says:

            Ah, I thought you would have seen it! 🙂

  8. Pingback: ‘Getting Your Nobori Out In Public’: a 6mm Samurai Game | Jemima Fawr's Miniature Wargames Blog

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