“In Jesu Nahmen, Marsch!”: Kesselsdorf 1745 (A Scenario for ‘Tricorn’)

“O Lord God, let me not be disgraced in my old days.  Or if Thou wilt not help me, do not help these scoundrels, but leave us to try it ourselves.  In Jesu’s name, March!” 

– The prayer of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau (‘The Old Dessauer’) prior to the Battle of Kesselsdorf, Saxony, 15th December 1745.

I promised at the start of the year that there would be more scenarios for various periods, but here we are in June and they’ve been rather thin on the ground thus far!  So here’s a War of Austrian Succession (2nd Silesian War) scenario for Tricorn (my 18th Century conversion of Shako).  It’s a fairly big ‘un (though fairly average-sized for the period) and requires a 10 x 6-foot table when using 15mm figures, though there is a bit of space between units and formations, so it could be compressed into an 8 x 6-foot table without too much trouble.

At present I don’t have a ‘proper’ 18th Century Saxon army; all I have painted are a single general, the three Polish Chevauxléger Regiments and the Carabiniersgarde Regiment who served as an auxiliary corps with the Austrians during the Seven Years War.  However, a dozen Saxon infantry battalions plus artillery have been waiting to be painted since Christmas, so they’re at the top of my ‘to do’ list once my eyes sort themselves out.  This scenario will hopefully serve as a spur to getting them done.  I’ll then ‘just’ need to get another dozen battalions, a load of heavy artillery, five cuirassier regiments, four dragoon regiments… and God alone knows where I’ll find some decent Polish uhlan figures…

As it might therefore be quite some time before I have sufficient Saxons, I may well play this in the near future, using my French army as proxies for the Saxons.

Historical Stuff

Yeah, this one goes on a bit and may cause drowsiness, so under no circumstances drive or operate heavy machinery while reading this article.

A sensible blogger would have written up the battles in historical order, so that the Second Silesian War could be presented piece-by-piece in bite-sized chunks.  But this is me…

In Peace, Prepare For War…

King Frederick II (1745)

At the conclusion of the First Silesian War in July 1742, Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria had been forced to cede almost all of the rich province of Silesia, plus the County of Glatz to the victorious King Frederick II of Prussia in return for peace.  However, the War of Austrian Succession was still very much raging and Prussia’s separate peace treaty had left Frederick’s former Bavarian, French and Saxon allies firmly in the lurch!

With her northern flank now secure against the Prussians, Maria-Theresa was now able to bring her armies to bear against her remaining enemies in Germany and Italy.  Within a year Bohemia and Prague had been recovered, the French had been driven back over the Rhine and Bavaria was overrun and occupied, with the new Emperor Charles VII being forced into exile in Frankfurt.

Archduchess Maria-Theresa (1744)

So despite the loss of Silesia and her humiliating defeat at the hands of Frederick of Prussia, Maria-Theresa’s strategic position, both militarily and diplomatically, was arguably stronger than it had been since before the start of the war.  Her overall strategic objective remained unchanged; the recognition of the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 and the recognition of her unchallenged right to rule Habsburg lands, with her husband, Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine being elected to rule alongside her as Emperor (thus avoiding the original sticking-point of having a woman as the Imperial candidate).  In addition, she was committed to reversing the defeats of 1741-42 and to regaining Silesia.

In September 1743, Austria concluded a new treaty with Great Britain, Hanover and Sardinia-Savoy (the Treaty of Worms) and was enjoying increasingly warm diplomatic relations with Russia.  Frederick consequently felt increasingly threatened by what he saw as an ever-growing anti-Prussian alliance that almost completely surrounded his borders.

Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII (1742)

In response, in May 1744 Prussia concluded its own alliance with Bavaria, Hesse-Cassel, Sweden and Pfalz (the League of Frankfurt) and made a separate treaty with France, dedicated to recovering Emperor Charles VII’s lands in Bavaria and Bohemia.  In return for its service, Prussia would then receive all Bohemian lands north of the Elbe from a grateful Emperor.  The Elector of Saxony, Frederick Augustus II (who also held the title of King Augustus III (‘The Fat‘) of Poland) remained notably neutral this time around, though Saxon neutrality was about to be sorely tested.

On 7th August 1744, Prussia once again declared war on Austria and crossed the border during the following week.  The Second Silesian War had begun.

The Second Silesian War

Francis Stephen Duke of Lorraine, latterly Emperor Francis I (1745)

One Prussian column, commanded by the old war horse Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau (The ‘Old Dessauer’) violated Saxon borders as it advanced up the Elbe, utterly outraging the Elector of Saxony!  However, the Saxon Army was unable to immediately do anything about the Prussian incursion and Prince Leopold’s column quickly marched on into Bohemia.  Within a month the Prussians had captured Prague and were advancing on Vienna.

However, the French had completely failed to hold up their side of the bargain in pinning down Prince Charles of Lorraine’s Austrian army in Alsace and as a consequence, Prince Charles had by early October reached Bohemia and was approaching Prague from the south-west.  Even more problematic for the Prussians was the fact that the Saxons had also now mobilised, having declared common cause with Austria and were marching on Prague from the north.

Elector Frederick Augustus II (1745)

Frederick’s army meanwhile, was beset by supply problems, his lines of communication being constantly cut by Austrian forces.  He was also unable to bring the local Austrian army, commanded by the wily Otto von Traun to battle.  After many fruitless weeks of manoeuvre, he was once again forced to abandon Prague and retreat to Silesia.

While some monarchs collected palaces, great gardens, menageries, great works of art, ornate furniture, Roman treasures, tulip-bulbs or Meissen porcelain, Retreating from Bohemia was starting to become a life-long hobby for King Frederick II of Prussia…

Early in 1745, Austria’s diplomatic and military position was strengthened further by a new ‘Quadruple Alliance’ with Great Britain, Saxony and the Dutch Republic.  However, the raison d’être of the Quadruple Alliance evaporated only a few days later on 20th January, when Emperor Charles VII, having just recovered his capital from Austrian occupation, promptly and rather inconveniently died.

Elector Maximilian III Joseph (1750)

A new Emperor would now need to be elected and the new Elector of Bavaria, Maximilian III Joseph, quickly began fortifying his newly-liberated country in order to bolster his claim on the Imperial throne.  However, it was all for naught as the Austrians attacked again, defeating the Bavarians on 15th April 1745 at the Battle of Pfaffenhofen.  The young Elector was immediately forced to sue for peace with Maria-Theresa; giving up his Imperial claim and instead supporting the Duke of Lorraine’s election to Emperor in return for peace.

With Bavaria knocked out of the war, Maria-Theresa brought her forces to bear against Prussia and in May 1745 a large Austro-Saxon army invaded Silesia, once again with Prince Charles of Lorraine in overall command.  However, on 4th June 1745, this allied army was decisively smashed by Frederick at the Battle of Hohenfriedberg.

The Saxon rout at Hohenfriedberg, 4th June 1745

Prince Charles of Lorraine (1743)

Prince Charles’ defeated army retreated back into Bohemia with the Prussians pursuing, as far as the city of Königgrätz, where the two armies settled down into yet another ‘Bohemian Standoff’ on either side of the River Elbe.  In the meantime, Francis Stephen had been elected as the new Holy Roman Emperor and on 13th September was crowned as Emperor Francis I, making Maria-Theresa, the real power behind the throne, Empress by default, thus achieving two of Maria-Theresa’s primary strategic goals (as the great philosopher Von Hackbraten once said, “Two out of three ain’t bad.”).

In the meantime, supplies were once again again running low in Frederick’s camp and he was forced yet again to retreat from Bohemia (I did say that a pattern was developing…).  However, at Soor on 29th September, Frederick was able to turn the tables on the Austro-Saxon army, when their attempt at a surprise attack on the Prussian camp ended in disaster with yet another defeat for Prince Charles (another pattern was starting to develop…).

Frederick Augustus Graf Rutowsky (1740)

Despite their victory at Soor, Prussian supplies were now thoroughly exhausted and Frederick was unable to press his advantage, instead being forced to continue his retreat into Silesia, where he could resupply, rest and rebuild his forces.

Astonishingly and despite two recent drubbings, the Austro-Saxon alliance was still determined to press the issue, particularly as they still had Graf Frederick Augustus Rutowsky’s main Saxon army positioned in western Saxony, poised to invade Brandenburg and advance on Berlin.  Standing in Rutowsky’s way was the Prussian corps of  Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau, ‘The Old Dessauer’.

At 69 years of age, The Old Dessauer had been a Prussian Feldmarschall since the War of Spanish Succession and was a contemporary of those other legendary Field Marshals, the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugène of Savoy.  He had been one of the architects and drillmasters of the Prussian Army under Frederick II’s father King Frederick-William, to whom he became a close personal friend.

Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau, ‘The Old Dessauer’

However, Prince Leopold and the young King Frederick II did not warm to each other and their relationship became increasingly difficult.  The young Frederick repeatedly berated The Old Dessauer for being slow and ponderous on campaign, but then Leopold never seemed to suffer the same catastrophic supply difficulties as Frederick.  At Mollwitz in 1741 it was also The Old Dessauer (along with Feldmarschall von Schwerin) who saved the young king’s bacon and won the battle, despite the rout of the Prussian right wing and the premature departure of the king from the field.  Perhaps as a result of this animosity, Prince Leopold was relegated to defending Brandenburg, though that now placed him in the perfect position to intervene in this campaign.

Rather curiously, a complex and somewhat baffling arrangement of defensive alliances with Russia meant that Russia had promised to enter the war on the side of the defender if either Prussia or Saxony were invaded!  Consequently, the Saxons (fearing for their vulnerable Polish possessions) proved reluctant to invade Brandenburg and the supporting Austrian corps under Feldmarschallieutenant von Grünne was therefore left to march alone against Berlin.  However, on 22nd November 1745, Frederick defeated Prince Charles’ main Austrian army once again at Hennersdorf, destroying the supporting Saxon corps and forcing Prince Charles to retreat yet again.  Without the support of Prince Charles’ army, Grünne was therefore forced to cancel his invasion only seven miles from Berlin and retreat back to Torgau in Saxony.

Johann von Lehwaldt (1750)

The Old Dessauer now invaded Saxony, striking from Halle, driving back Graf Renard’s Saxon corps and capturing Leipzig at the end of November 1745.  King Frederick now expected Leopold to advance directly on the Saxon capital Dresden and to that end, had dispatched a reinforcement corps under Johann von Lehwaldt to rendezvous with The Old Dessauer at Meissen on or around 9th December.  They would then march on as a combined force to seize Dresden.  Frederick’s main army, then at Bautzen to the east, would also march on Dresden once he’d fended off any further efforts by Prince Charles to march north.

However, contact between Prince Leopold’s column and the retreating Saxons was soon lost, with the Saxon-Polish uhlans and chevauxlégers, led by the talented Polish cavalry commander Johann Sybilski, frequently running rings around the Prussian hussars.  Instead of advancing directly toward the Saxon capital Dresden, Leopold was resolved to first remove all the threats to his lines of communication, starting with Torgau, thus establishing defensible bases and keeping his lines of communication secure, given that there could be any number of Saxons running around undetected on the west bank of the Elbe.

When news reached Frederick on 9th December that Prince Leopold was still at Torgau, he flew into a rage and a series of increasingly bitter messages then flew back and forth between the two headquarters!  Frederick was even more incensed when Prince Leopold proposed bringing his column across the Elbe to join with Lehwalt on the east bank, thus avoiding the possibility of being attacked by as-yet-unknown Saxon forces on the west bank.  As Frederick’s main army was already on the east bank, this would simply not do!  The King’s plan required TWO columns to be converging on Dresden from BOTH sides of the Elbe!  The Old Dessauer clearly thought that Frederick’s ‘fast and exciting’ way of war was what had brought repeated strategic defeat in Bohemia, which isn’t actually all that inaccurate or unfair.  However, on the approach to Torgau, Prince Leopold’s corps had only covered nine miles in nine days, so Frederick may also have had a point!

Clearly stung by the bitter exchange of letters, The Old Dessauer marched his corps from Torgau to Strehla in a single day on 11th December and it only took one more day for his corps to finally reach Meissen on the 12th.  Once there they repaired the half-heartedly-sabotaged bridge and Lehwaldt’s corps marched across to join them on the 13th.  However, while this was going on, Sybilski’s Saxon-Polish cavalry ambushed the Prussian rearguard which was badly cut up, suffering the loss of two standards, two kettle-drums and the death of Generalmajor von Roëll.  This action does therefore suggest that The Old Dessauer was at least partly correct in his concern for the security of his lines of communication.

In the meantime, the Saxons were in a state of panic following Grünne’s retreat from Berlin, the defeat at Hennersdorf and now The Old Dessauer’s slow, but seemingly inexorable advance up the Elbe.  Dresden was deemed to be indefensible due to lack of investment in the defences and it was found that military supplies were completely inadequate to the task.  However, it was eventually determined that a blow needed to be struck against one of the two converging Prussian columns and the easiest target (also the greatest threat) was judged to be The Old Dessauer’s.

The Battle of Kesselsdorf, 15th December 1745

Rutowsky and Grünne marched out of Dresden in freezing weather on 13th December and took up position on high ground to the north and west of Dresden, arrayed on a total frontage of some 7-8km, with their front largely covered by the soggy Zschoner-Grund and their flanks secured on the village of Kesselsdorf in the west and on the Elbe in the east.  The line was thin and over-extended (a yawning gap of almost 3km separated Rutowsky’s Saxons on the left from Grünne’s Austrians on the right), though Prince Charles of Lorraine, whose army had finally escaped Frederick and was now encamped in the Grosser-Garten at Dresden, promised to provide immediate reinforcement once Prince Leopold’s army appeared.

As with his rapid advance from Torgau to Meissen, it seems that the King’s criticism had stung The Old Dessauer into getting to grips with the enemy as soon as possible and he wasted no time in driving back the Saxon cavalry picquets and advancing to meet the enemy army.  As the Prussians marched onto the snow-covered ground on the morning of 15th December, the Saxon and Austrian commanders remained completely passive as a large Prussian force established itself on the flank opposite Kesselsdorf, thinking that what was in front of them was only a part of Prince Leopold’s army.

Rutowsky didn’t therefore call in Grünne’s Austrians from the right flank, as he was afraid that a Prussian corps might still march down the shortest route to Dresden, along the Elbe.  His decision-making process was also affected by the firmly-held belief that Prince Charles was about to reinforce him at any moment, whereas in reality, Prince Charles was still at Dresden, waiting for his rearguard to catch up and refusing to believe the reports coming from Kesselsdorf, only a few miles away!

Even more astonishingly and despite having been in the position for the previous 48 hours, the Saxons had not dug any earthworks or made any other improvements to their defensive positions.  At the last minute, at 10am on the morning of the 15th and with the Prussians already lining up opposite them, the Saxon regimental carpenters were ordered en masse to assist General Von Alnpeck’s Grenadier Corps in loop-holing and barricading the houses and streets at the western end of Kesselsdorf.  The commander of the Saxon artillery and engineers, General Von Wilster also deployed a large battery of artillery in front of the town, which then engaged in a sharp artillery duel with the Prussian heavy guns that had now been placed forward of the Prussian line.

The Old Dessauer could see that Kesselsdorf was the key to the Saxon position; once that village fell, the rest of the line could be rolled up.  However, it would be a tough nut to crack, so he gathered together what he considered to be the best infantry in his army; the grenadier battalions of Kleist, Plotho and Münchow in the first line, the three battalions of his own Anhalt-Dessau Regiment and the Plotho Dragoons in support and the scarred 60 year-old veteran, Generalmajor Hans Caspar von Hertzberg in command.

As the Prussian guns prepared the ground for the attack, The Old Dessauer rode over to Hertzberg’s grenadiers, clasped his hands in prayer and famously called out to the Almighty, saying “O Lord God, let me not be disgraced in my old days.  Or if Thou wilt not help me, do not help these scoundrels, but leave us to try it ourselves.  In Jesu’s name, March!” 

At 1400hrs the Prussian heavy guns began to fall silent as Hertzberg’s infantry advanced.  Almost immediately, the Prussians ran into a storm of shot and canister from the Saxon battery, which had manifestly not been badly damaged or suppressed by the Prussian bombardment!  Prussian battalion guns were deployed to the flanks to take the Saxon battery under canister fire, but still the Prussian infantry were suffering a horrific level of casualties.  Nevertheless, the survivors closed ranks and pressed on until at last, Hertzberg personally led the Anhalt Regiment in a charge that overran the gun-positions, putting the Saxon gunners to flight.  However, the Saxon and Austrian grenadiers, positioned among the houses and gardens of Kesselsdorf, now added their volleys to the carnage.  The Prussian infantry finally started to falter and as fire from the Saxon and Austrian grenadiers enveloped their flanks, the Prussians finally broke and ran, leaving almost 1,500 of their comrades dead or wounded on the battlefield and Hertzberg being counted among the dead.

General von Wilster, the commander of the Saxon artillery and engineers, seeing the catastrophe engulfing the Prussian assault and seeking to recapture his guns, then had a rush of blood to the sabre and did something rather rash…

General von Alnpeck, the commander of the Saxon-Austrian Grenadier Corps, was nowhere to be seen, so Wilster grabbed hold of the commanders of the two grenadier battalions on the right flank of the Grenadier Corps (Gfug’s Battalion and the Austrian La Fée Battalion), and ordered them to mount an immediate counter-attack!

The two grenadier battalions immediately left their defences and quickly wheeled out to re-take the guns.  Any surviving Prussians in the vicinity were quickly scattered or cut down and the guns were soon recaptured.  The Saxon gunners dashed out of Kesselsdorf and quickly resumed their fire against other approaching Prussian formations.  However, Saxon blood was up and the grenadiers pushed on beyond the recaptured guns, aiming to take Holtzmann’s Prussian battery.  The Brüggen, Ütterodt and Gersdorff Grenadier Battalions were also now swept up in the heat of the moment and they too left their defensive positions to join this insane attack!

Until this moment, General von Alnpeck, positioned on the left flank, had been unaware of this turn of events, but from his position he could now see his grenadiers advancing up the Freiberger-Straße toward the Prussian guns.  At this point, he could have ordered his grenadiers to halt their foolishness and resume their defensive positions in Kesselsdorf, but no… Drawing his sword, he now ordered his two remaining uncommitted battalions (Friesen & Winckelmann) to join the attack!

Frederick Leopold Graf von Geßler (1751)

The counter-attack very quickly started to unravel as the two leading grenadier battalions ran into a hail of canister from Holtzmann’s battery, as well as musketry from Lehwaldt’s infantry.  Wilster was quick to identify the threat posed by Lehwaldt and had his gunners pour a withering hail of fire into the Prussian battalions.  However, with the Saxon and Austrian grenadiers starting to falter, the Prussian Bonin Dragoons struck!  Executing a text-book charge, the dragoons plunged into the Austrian La Fée Battalion, which immediately collapsed.  The Gfug Battalion initially held its ground, but was soon overwhelmed by the vengeful dragoons, closely followed by the Brüggen Battalion!

With the situation rapidly unravelling for the Saxons, things now took an even worse turn, as General von Geßler’s Prussian cavalry division thundered down their exposed flank.  Sybilski’s Polish uhlans quickly scattered, pursued by Dieury’s hussars.  One of Alnpeck’s two remaining intact grenadier battalions and the 1st Battalion of the Nikolaus von Pirch Regiment (which had been posted as a flank-guard at the southern end of Kesselsdorf) were now utterly crushed by the Prussian cuirassiers.  The Saxon gunners abandoned their guns for the second and final time and joined the mass of fugitives fleeing through Kesselsdorf.

With the Saxon grenadiers starting to crumble, Lehwaldt sent the Jeetze Infantry Regiment in to clear the village.  Quickly passing through the now-unmanned defenses, the Prussian infantry advanced through the streets before finally meeting resistance near the southern end of the village, where the still-intact Winckelmann Grenadiers had managed to rally along with General von Alnpeck.  However, the Saxon grenadiers were outnumbered 2:1 by the Jeetze Regiment and these odds deteriorated as the rallied remnants of Hertzberg’s brigade joined the fight.  Facing overwhelming odds and with Alnpeck himself becoming wounded, the Winckelmann Grenadiers finally broke and joined the tide of fugitives heading to the rear.

Carl Siegmund Johann von Arnim (1765ish)

Somewhat astonishingly, Arnstedt’s Saxon-Polish chevauxléger brigade, standing on the east side of Kesselsdorf remained completely unaware of current events and even refused to believe a Polish uhlan when he arrived to inform them of the collapse on the left.  Nevertheless, Arnstedt had observed that Lehwaldt’s Prussian infantry were becoming disrupted by the soggy ground as they approached and judged that it would now be a good time to charge.  However, the terrain quickly worked against the chevauxlégers and their order fell apart almost immediately.  Then, as they charged the final few yards against the Prussian line, they were quite simply destroyed by the Prussian volley!

Despite the loss of Kesselsdorf, the destruction of Arnstedt’s chevauxlégers and the impending threat to the Saxon left-rear, Rutowsky still scented victory!  Convinced against all evidence that the Prussian right wing was defeated, Rutowsky ordered General der Infanterie Johann Adam von Diemar to mount an infantry attack across the same ground so recently occupied by the chevauxlégers!

Diemar immediately rode over to General von Jasmund (commanding the left wing of the first infantry line) and commandeered the brigade of General von Neubauer on the left flank (the Grenadiergarde, 2. Garde and Königin Regiments).  The 60 year-old Jasmund, as much a veteran of old campaigns as The Old Dessauer, was utterly furious but could do nothing to stop half of his division, the cream of Saxony’s infantry, from being taken away to its destruction!  The supporting Saxon battalion guns provided excellent support, but it was all for naught as the three infantry regiments, the elite of the Saxon Army, were steadily crushed by Prussian firepower and were eventually broken when Prussian infantry emerged from Kesselsdorf to take them in the flank.

Prince Moritz of Anhalt-Dessau (1760)

The leading regiments of Prussian cavalry had now passed around Kesselsdorf and were emerging from the Steinleitengrund.  The collapse of the Saxon army now began in earnest as the Prussians rolled up the flank.  Many Saxon units, particularly in General von Arnim’s cavalry division, managed to make a brave show of things on an individual basis, but the labyrinthine command-structure, lack of a coherent plan and near-complete lack of control by any commander above brigade level had doomed the Saxon army before the first shot was fired.  Much of the left wing was now either fleeing outright or was fighting its way off the battlefield in small groups.

Meanwhile, the infantry of the Prussian left wing, under Prince Moritz of Anhalt-Dessau (the 5th son of The Old Dessauer), had begun to advance.  The Prussian cavalry of General von Wreech however, were unable to join the advance due to the very poor nature of the terrain to their front (the soggy Zschoner-Grund).  Prince Moritz was astonished to find that the village of Steinbach was unoccupied and his infantry quickly occupied the village, enabling his artillery to deploy closer to the Saxon lines.

Adam Friedrich von Wreech (1740-46)

A few miles away near the Elbe, General von Elverfeldt, commanding the Austrian Corps in lieu of Grünne (who was taking a sickie) could hear the sounds of battle and was watching the advance of the Prussian left wing with increasing concern.  He sent a message to Rutowsky, requesting permission to move his corps closer to the Saxon right flank, thereby closing the yawning gap and enabling the Austrians to provide better support for the Saxon right wing.  Astonishingly, Rutowsky refused this request, presumably being still convinced that the main Prussian thrust would come along the Elbe valley!

With Steinbach secured, Prince Moritz’s Prussian infantry pushed on into Zöllmen.  Once again, General von Haxthausen, commanding the infantry of the Saxon right wing, had completely failed to occupy the village, so it proved no obstacle to the Prussians.  However, the Prussians were suffering at the hands of the Saxon artillery (which it has to be said, had performed superbly throughout the battle), so Haxthausen decided that this was an excellent moment to mount a limited attack with a couple of regiments.  However, Rutowsky had other ideas and rode up to Haxthausen to demand a full attack against the Prussian grenadiers now occupying Zöllmen.

Georg Wilhelm von Birkholz (1730ish)

The inexhaustible Diemar had also demanded that General von Birkholz mount a counter-attack, but these demands fell on deaf ears and the cavalry of the Saxon right wing remained motionless.  This was possibly because Birkholz actually outranked Diemar.  Rutowsky (of equal rank and also commanding the army) also rode over to demand that the cavalry attack and even offered to lead the charge, but when he and his staff rode forward, the cavalry remained where they were!

Haxthausen’s attack meanwhile, rapidly fell apart in the face of determined opposition from the Prussian grenadiers now occupying Zöllmen and counter-attacks from the Prussian infantry on either flank.  Prussian cavalry, probably from Wreech’s division, also got drawn into the chaos.  The two Austrian cuirassier regiments (Hohenzollern and Bentheim) posted as a second line under Birkholz’s command, attempted to intervene but only succeeded in mistakenly riding down a Saxon battalion!  Arnim’s Saxon cavalry continued to try to restore the situation, but were eventually swept away, taking Birkholz’s men with them.

With the army now in full retreat, Haxthausen attempted to mount a rearguard at Pennrich for a while, but was eventually broken by the relentless Prussian onslaught and the entire army was fleeing back to Dresden, where they found Prince Charles’ Austrian ‘reinforcements’ still sitting in their camps.

However, there was to be no pursuit of the defeated Saxons, as the Prussians were exhausted and simply halted and slept on the frozen battlefield.  The Prussians had lost a little over 5,000 men dead and wounded, roughly 17% of Leopold’s army, leaving him with around 27,000 men still under arms.  Rutowsky’s Saxons had been shattered, suffering the loss of over one-third of their number dead, wounded or missing and leaving only a little over 11,000 (though many were fugitives and might therefore return to the colours).  When added to Grünne’s corps of just over 5,000 men and Prince Charles’ corps of just over 20,000, the allies could still theoretically have put around 37,000 men into the field against Leopold’s 27,000.  However, the Austro-Saxon alliance was catastrophically short of supplies and the relationship between the two armies had broken down, with the Saxons accusing Prince Charles of leaving them to fight alone.  The allied armies therefore abandoned Dresden and continued retreating to Pirna.

King Frederick meanwhile, had arrived at Meissen on the day of the battle and by the following day had received news of The Old Dessauer’s victory at Kesselsdorf.  The king was overjoyed by the news and all previous animosity was forgotten as the king sent Prince Leopold a warm letter of congratulations, signed off with “Your affectionate cousin.”  

The Old Dessauer after Kesselsdorf

On Christmas Day 1745, Prussia, Saxony and Austria would sign the Peace of Dresden, with Great Britain and the Holy Roman Empire as its guarantors.  No territory would change hands on this occasion, but Prussia had again removed the most critical threats to its continued existence and especially to its possession of Silesia.  Austria had not regained Silesia, but had successfully defended Bohemia and would now have breathing-space in which to finally conclude the ongoing War of Austrian Succession, which would continue to rage against the ‘Galispan’ Alliance in Italy until 1747 and against France in the Low Countries until 1748.

But in the meantime on 17th December 1745, King Frederick II arrived at the battlefield of Kesselsdorf, where Prince Leopold was waiting to give him the official battlefield tour.  Frederick immediately dismounted, removed his hat and warmly embraced The Old Dessauer, firmly burying the hatchet and finally ending the animosity between the two men.  This was to be The Old Dessauer’s last campaign; he died peacefully at home in Dessau nearly 18 months later, on 7th April 1747.

Scenario Notes

1.  The scenario will last 15 turns.  As usual, this number is completely arbitrary, but as daylight is short, it doesn’t give the Prussians too much time to get their attack in and break the Saxons.

2.  Victory will be awarded to the side that breaks the opposing army.

3.  See the Saxon-Austrian order of battle below for optional Saxon-Austrian reinforcements.

The Prussian Army

Generalfeldmarschall Fürst Leopold von Anhalt-Dessau
(Good – 2 ADCs)

Avantgarde – Generalmajor Hans Kaspar von Hertzberg (Excellent)
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Kleist’ (16/g1)      [5/2]
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Plotho’ (10/27)      [5/2]
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Münchow’ (?)      [5/2]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Anhalt-Dessau’ (IR 3) (elite)      [5/2]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Anhalt-Dessau’ (IR 3) (elite)      [5/2]
III. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Anhalt-Dessau’ (IR 3) (elite)      [5/2]
5 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Bonin’ (DR 4)      [5/2 – Large Unit]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]

Right Wing Cavalry – Generallieutenant Friedrich Leopold von Geßler (Excellent)
5 Sqns, Leib-Regiment zu Pferde (CR 3)      [6/2 – Large Unit]
5 Sqns, Leib-Carabinier-Regiment (CR 11)      [6/2 – Large Unit]
5 Sqns, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Bredow’ (CR 7)      [6/2 – Large Unit]
5 Sqns, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Stille’ (CR 6)      [6/2 – Large Unit]
5 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Roëll’ (DR 7)      [5/2 – Large Unit]
5 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Jung-Möllendorff’ (DR 10)      [5/2 – Large Unit]
5 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Holstein-Gottorp’ (DR 9)      [5/2 – Large Unit]

Left Wing Cavalry – Generallieutenant Adam Friedrich von Wreech (Average)
5 Sqns, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Buddenbrock’ (CR 1)      [6/2 – Large Unit]
5 Sqns, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg-Schwedt’ (CR 5)      [6/2 – Large Unit]
5 Sqns, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Rochow’ (CR 8)      [6/2 – Large Unit]
5 Sqns, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Kyau’ (CR 12)      [6/2 – Large Unit]
5 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Stosch’ (DR 8)      [5/2 – Large Unit]
5 Sqns, I. Bn, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Bayreuth’ (DR 5)      [5/2 – Large Unit]
5 Sqns, II. Bn, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Bayreuth’ (DR 5)      [5/2 – Large Unit]

Right Wing of First Line – Generallieutenant Johann von Lehwaldt (Good)
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Jeetze’ (IR 30)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Jeetze’ (IR 30)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Leps’ (IR 9)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Leps’ (IR 9)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau’ (IR 22) (elite)      [5/2]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau’ (IR 22) (elite)      [5/2]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Hertzberg’ (IR 20) (elite)      [5/2]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Hertzberg’ (IR 20) (elite)      [5/2]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]

Left Wing of First Line – Generallieutenant Prinz Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau (Good)
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Schöning’ (8/30)      [5/2]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Leopold Maximilian von Anhalt-Dessau’ (IR 27)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Leopold Maximilian von Anhalt-Dessau’ (IR 27)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Dietrich von Anhalt-Dessau’ (IR 10) (elite)      [5/2]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Dietrich von Anhalt-Dessau’ (IR 10) (elite)      [5/2]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz von Preußen’ (IR 18) (elite)      [5/2]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz von Preußen’ (IR 18) (elite)      [5/2]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Bonin’ (IR 5) (elite)      [5/2]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Bonin’ (IR 5) (elite)      [5/2]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Bredow’ (IR 21)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Bredow’ (IR 21)      [4/1]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]

Second Line – Generallieutenant Otto Friedrich von Leps

Right Wing of Second Line – Generalmajor Hans Siegismund von Lestwitz (Average)
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Erbprinz von Hessen-Darmstädt’ (IR 12) (elite)      [5/2]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Erbprinz von Hessen-Darmstädt’ (IR 12) (elite)      [5/2]
I. Bn, Füsilier-Regiment ‘Prinz Georg Wilhelm von Hessen-Darmstädt’ (IR 47)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Füsilier-Regiment ‘Prinz Georg Wilhelm von Hessen-Darmstädt’ (IR 47)      [4/1]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]

Left Wing of Second Line – Generalmajor Ernst Ludwig von Götze (Average)
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Polenz’ (IR 13) (elite)      [5/2]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Polenz’ (IR 13) (elite)      [5/2]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Ferdinand von Preußen’ (IR 34)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Prinz Ferdinand von Preußen’ (IR 34)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Füsilier-Regiment ‘Württemberg’ (IR 46)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Füsilier-Regiment ‘Württemberg’ (IR 46)      [4/1]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]

Light Troops – Generalmajor Peter von Dieury (Average)
5 Sqns, I. Bn, Husaren-Regiment ‘Dieury’ (HR 7)      [4/1]
5 Sqns, II. Bn, Husaren-Regiment ‘Dieury’ (HR 7)      [4/1]
5 Sqns, I. Bn, Husaren-Regiment ‘Soldan’ (HR 6)      [4/1]
5 Sqns, II. Bn, Husaren-Regiment ‘Soldan’ (HR 6)      [4/1]

Artillery – Oberstlieutenant Johann Friedrich von Merkatz
Heavy Battery ‘Holtzmann’      [3/0]
Heavy Battery ‘Merkatz’      [3/0]
Heavy Battery ‘Herzberg’      [3/0]
Reserve Heavy Battery      [3/0]

Prussian Notes

1.  I’ve been unable to identify the regiments that the ‘Münchow’ Grenadier Battalion was drawn from. Unlike the grenadier battalions of the Seven Years War, where battalion organisation remained constant, the grenadiers of the War of Austrian Succession were constantly being split up and regrouped with different regiments and battalion commanders, resulting in a bewildering array of battalion groupings.  I’ve counted no fewer than 60 different Prussian grenadier battalion groupings during the War of Austrian Succession, as opposed to only 30 during the Seven Years War (plus a further five formed in 1756 from the captured Saxon regiments).

2.  Destroyed reserve artillery batteries of Merkatz’s artillery reserve are counted against overall army morale, but don’t count against formation morale.

3.  Generallieutenant Leps’ Second Line was very widely split between the two wings and isn’t really viable to include in the scenario as a single, unified command.  I’ve therefore split it into its two constituent brigades, commanded by Generalmajors Lestwitz and Götze.

4.  The Prussian commander may alternatively remove the ‘Bonin’ Dragoon Regiment from Hertzberg’s command and return it to Geßler’s cavalry division prior to the start of the scenario (adjust the formation breakpoints accordingly).

5.  The ‘Anhalt-Dessau’ Infantry Regiment (IR 3) was most unusual in having three battalions instead of the usual two.  Otherwise, only the Garde-Regiment (IR 15) and some of the Garrison Regiments had more than two battalions.

Prussian Formation Breakpoints

Division                                    FMR     ⅓     ½     ¾
Hertzberg                                        39        13     20     30
Geßler                                              39        13     20     30
Wreech                                             39        13     20     30
Lehwaldt                                          40        14     20     30
Prinz Moritz                                    55         19     28     42
Lestwitz                                            20         7       10     15
Götze                                                 28        10      14     21
Dieury                                               16          6       8      12
Merkatz (Artillery Reserve)          12          –        –        –

Army                                          FMR      ¼      ⅓      ½
Prussian Army                               288        72     96     144

The Saxon-Austrian Army

General der Cavallerie Frederick Augustus Graf Rutowsky
(Average – 1 ADC)

Light Troops – Generalmajor Johann Paul Sybilski (Excellent)
8 Banners, Uhlan-Pulk ‘Błędowski’      [3/0]
8 Banners, ‘Blue’ Uhlan-Pulk ‘Rudnicki’      [3/0]
8 Banners, ‘Yellow’ Uhlan-Pulk ‘Bertuzewsky’      [3/0]
8 Banners, ‘Red’ Uhlan-Pulk      [3/0]

Avantgarde Cavalry – Generallieutenant Moritz Heinrich von Arnstedt (Poor)
4 Sqns, Chevauléger-Regiment ‘Prinz Carl’      [4/1]
4 Sqns, Chevauléger-Regiment ‘Rutowsky’      [4/1]
4 Sqns, Chevauléger-Regiment ‘Sybilski’      [4/1]

Right Wing Cavalry – General der Cavallerie Georg Wilhelm von Birkholz (Poor)
13 Coys, Austrian Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Hohenzollern’ (CR 3)      [6/2 – Large Unit]
13 Coys, Austrian Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Bentheim’ (CR 25)      [6/2 – Large Unit]
3 Sqns, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Bestenbostel’ (CR 7)      [6/2]
3 Sqns, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Ronnow’ (CR 4)      [6/2]
3 Sqns, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Minckwitz’ (CR 6)      [6/2]
3 Sqns, Cuirassier-Regiment ‘Königlicher-Prinz’ (CR 2)      [6/2]
3 Sqns, Leibregiment zu Pferde (CR 1)      [6/2]

Left Wing Cavalry – Generallieutenant Carl Siegmund Johann von Arnim (Average)
4 Sqns, Carabiniersgarde-Regiment }      [6/2 – Large Unit]
1 Sqn, Garde du Corps }     [combined with above]
3 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Rechenberg’ (DR 1)      [5/2]
3 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Plötz’ (DR 4)      [5/2]
3 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Sonderhausen’ (DR 2)      [5/2]
3 Sqns, Dragoner-Regiment ‘Arnim’ (DR 3)      [5/2]

Commanding the Infantry – General der Infanterie Johann Adam von Diemar

Grenadier Corps – Generalmajor Johann Adolph von Alnpeck (Good)
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Winckelmann’      [5/2]
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Friesen’      [5/2]
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Gersdorff’      [5/2]
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Ütterodt’      [5/2]
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Von der Brüggen’      [5/2]
Grenadier-Bataillon ‘Gfug’      [5/2]
Austrian Grenadier-Bataillon ‘La Fée’      [5/2]

Right Wing of First Line – Generallieutenant von Haxthausen (Poor)
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Alnpeck’      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Alnpeck’      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Cosel’      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Cosel’      [4/1]
I. Bn, Füsilier-Regiment ‘Rochow’      [4/1]
II. Bn, Füsilier-Regiment ‘Rochow’      [4/1]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]

Left Wing of First Line – Generallieutenant Karl Andreas von Jasmund (Good)
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Brühl’      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Brühl’      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Weißenberg’      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Weißenberg’      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Königin’      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Königin’      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment 2. Garde zu Fuß      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment 2. Garde zu Fuß      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment Leibgrenadiergarde      [5/2]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment Leibgrenadiergarde      [5/2]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]
Heavy Battery      [3/0]

Second Line – Generallieutenant Aemilius Friedrich von Rochow (Average)
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Niesemeuchel’      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Niesemeuchel’      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Franz von Pirch’      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Franz von Pirch’      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Nicolaus von Pirch’      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Nicolaus von Pirch’      [4/1]

Artillery – Generallieutenant Johann Jacob von Wilster
Heavy Battery      [3/0]
Heavy Battery      [3/0]
Light Battery      [3/0]
Light Battery      [3/0]

Optional Troops

Aside from two cuirassier regiments and a grenadier battalion deployed with the Saxons, the bulk of the Austrian Corps was deployed some 2.5km distant from the Saxon right flank and remained completely inactive during the battle.  However, some players might like to include them as a ‘what-if’ option, so I list them here and have also included the modified army breakpoints below.  However, their inclusion in the scenario will probably make it too difficult for the Prussians to win.

If you insist on using the Austrians, I suggest bringing them on to table no earlier than Turn 8, on the eastern table-edge, south of the Zschoner-Grund, provided that an ADC has reached the eastern edge of the table, has then travelled on for one my turn and has successfully delivered the order.

Austrian Corps – Feldmarschallieutenant Ferdinand Maria Graf von Grünne (Poor)
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Wurmbrand’ (IR 50)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Wurmbrand’ (IR 50)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Waldeck’ (IR 35)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Waldeck’ (IR 35)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Kheul’ (IR iii)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Kheul’ (IR iii)      [4/1]
I. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Bethlen’ (Hungarian) (IR 52)      [4/1]
II. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Bethlen’ (Hungarian) (IR 52)      [4/1]
III. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Bethlen’ (Hungarian) (IR 52)      [4/1]
IV. Bn, Infanterie-Regiment ‘Bethlen’ (Hungarian) (IR 52)      [4/1]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]
Battalion Guns      [2/0]
Saxon Heavy Battery      [3/0]
Saxon Heavy Battery      [3/0]
I. Bn, Warasdiner Croats      [3/0]
II. Bn, Warasdiner Croats      [3/0]

Saxon-Austrian Notes

1.  The Austrian Corps was actually commanded by Generalfeldwachtmeister Hermann Freiherr von Elverfeldt, as Grünne was sick.

2.  Querengässer lists the Saxon ‘L’Annonciade’ Cuirassier Regiment (CR 7) in Birkholz’s division. However, according to Pagan, the regimental title had changed from ‘L’Annonciade’ to ‘Bestenbostel’ in the year before Kesselsdorf, so I’ve used the latter name.

3.   The Austrian Corps also included Morocz’s hussar brigade (the ‘Ghilányi’ (HR iii) and ‘Esterházy’ (HR 24) Regiments), but these troops were scouting well forward of the right flank of the army.

4.  Destroyed reserve artillery batteries from Wilster’s artillery reserve are counted against overall army morale, but don’t count against formation morale.

5.  Saxon cuirassier regiments spent much of the war as small, two-squadron affairs and in game terms would ordinarily be paired up to make a combined unit.  However, by the time of Kesselsdorf they had managed to make good their losses from Hohenfriedburg and Soor and had actually managed to bring their regiments up to the full wartime establishment of three squadrons and 621 men apiece.  In October 1745 and for the first time, they paraded for the Elector at full strength.  The Carabiniersgarde however, was already a stronger unit, having four squadrons.  For game purposes I’ve also attached the single-squadron Garde du Corps, so this combined unit is classed as a Large Unit.

5.  The Saxon-Polish Chevauléger Regiments are rather difficult to quantify in game terms.  Theoretically light cavalry, the troopers were also termed ‘Dragoons’ and during the Seven Years War proved to be excellent battle cavalry when serving under Austrian command.  I would therefore class them as ‘Dragoons’ (Morale 5) during the SYW.  However, during the War of Austrian Succession they seem to have been used more in a lighter, advance guard/rear guard role than the Saxon Dragoon Regiments and proved fairly ineffective on the battlefield, being utterly shocked by their experience against Prussian infantry, so I’ve classed them as Light Cavalry (Morale 4).

6.  The Polish uhlan pulks are classed as Irregular Cavalry (Morale 3).  It’s not clear how they were organised; the basic sub-units were feudal companies/squadrons known as ‘Banners’ (Hof-Fahnen), which were frequently raised and disbanded at very short notice, each numbering some 75-100 men.  The ‘Red’ Pulk and ‘Blue’ Pulk are both mentioned as operating with eight Banners and up to 800 men apiece in 1745, though there is no information on the other two pulks, so I’ve speculatively shown them here as also having eight Banners apiece.  It’s not clear who the titular colonel of the ‘Red’ Pulk was prior to 1750, when they became the ‘Graf Renard’ Regiment (possibly Sybilski?).  This of course, is all rather academic from my point of view, as I can’t find any decent 15mm Saxon uhlan figures, so will have to use hussars or cossacks as proxies. 🙁  Then again, I suppose that the uhlans could simply be ignored, as they didn’t do much more than provide a picquet line that was immediately driven away.

7.  The Croat battalions of the Austrian Corps may each alternatively operate as two Skirmisher stands.

8.  The battalion guns from the second line have been gathered together to form the two light batteries in Wilster’s artillery reserve.

9.  The 1st Battalion of the ‘Nicolaus von Pirch’ Regiment from Rochow’s Second Line is initially deployed as a flank-guard at the southern end of Kesselsdorf.  This does place it well beyond the normal command-span of a divisional commander, but this is fine provided that Rochow’s division remains on Defend orders.

Saxon-Austrian Formation Breakpoints

Division                                FMR     ⅓     ½     ¾
Arnstedt                                       12        4        6       9
Birkholtz                                      42       14      21     31
Arnim                                           26        9       13     20
Alnpeck                                        35       12      18      27
Haxthausen                                 28       10      14      21
Jasmund                                       51       17      26      39
Rochow                                         24       8       12      18
Sybilski                                          12       4       6        9
Wilster (Artillery Reserve)         12       –        –        –

Army                                       FMR    ¼      ⅓      ½
Saxon-Austrian Army               242      61      81     121

Saxon-Austrian Formation Breakpoints Including Optional Austrian Corps

Division                                  FMR    ⅓      ½      ¾
Grünne (Austrian Corps)           56       19     28      42

Army                                        FMR    ¼      ⅓      ½
Saxon-Austrian Army                298      75     100   150

Terrain Notes

The table is 6×10 feet when using my usual ground-scale for Tricorn (infantry battalions having 60-80mm frontage).  You could probably compress the frontage down to 8 feet by reducing the gaps between units and formations, but any less than that is going to be tricky!

As it’s a mid-winter battle with some fairly unusual terrain considerations, I thought I’d detail the terrain here, rather than simply leave it to the usual Terrain Effects chart.

Snowy Ground

Although the terrain was largely frozen and covered in a light dusting of snow, it doesn’t seem to have affected mobility, other than where units had to traverse the icy banks of streams and the soggy ‘grunds’, which are covered below.  There is therefore no effect caused by the snow in open ground.


These are gently rolling, do not confer any advantage to the defender and only serve to block line of sight.  Note that the ‘Grunds’ are at a lower level than the surrounding landscape, so units may observe over any units positioned in a ‘Grund’.


These were narrow, soggy valleys, interspersed with patches of scrubby woodland and brambles, made even more difficult to traverse in places by steep banks that were covered in ice.  I would treat these as ‘Marsh’ (1/2 speed for infantry and impassable to artillery), though the cavalry did eventually manage to pass through such terrain, so perhaps allow cavalry to pass through at 1/4 speed and apply an automatic Stagger to any cavalry unit entering a ‘Grund’, which must then be rallied off after leaving.

Cavalry will fight in ‘Grunds’ using their Demoralised morale rating.


These were very full, with steep, icy banks and plenty of soggy ground on either side, so I’d make them a rather more severe obstacle than in the standard rules; 4″ penalty for troops and a full turn for artillery.

Battalion guns may not fire during the turn following that in which they forded a stream.

Roads & Fords/Bridges

As usual, roads do not affect tactical movement and largely serve merely as decoration, though they do allow troops in column/limbered formation to pass through streams, ‘Grunds’ and villages at normal speed.


Once again, I’m not really convinced that the ‘Built-Up Sector’ (BUS) concept defined in the original Shako rules is the way to go here and I’d be inclined to treat them more as ‘area terrain’ in the same manner as woodland, etc.  You can see from the map that Kesselsdorf was defended by a perimeter of grenadier battalions, whereas in Shako, this would probably be boiled down to a single BUS, which would then only be defended by a single battalion.  The BUS idea works better for small, fortified positions (such as all-round redoubts, Leuthen Church, Hougoumont, etc), but I don’t think it really works for straggly villages and towns.

Villages of the period and region tended to be very open, with well spread-out buildings and lots of gardens and open spaces between.  Villages are therefore passable to skirmishers and infantry in line at half speed and impassable to other troop types.  However, any units in column/limbered formation may pass through villages along roads at full speed, though may not charge while doing so.

Infantry in line have a -1 Protective Cover modifier when targeted by artillery or musketry (roundshot penetrates 2″ into the village) and a +1 defensive melee modifier.

The Saxon & Austrian grenadier battalions defending Kesselsdorf will receive a +2 defensive melee modifier if they remain in their original positions and facing.  This will be lost if they move and will not be regained.

Infantry may not receive any Flank or Rear Support Modifiers when defending a village (either on the edge or deep within).

Infantry attacking a village (either on the edge or deep within) may claim only the Rear Support Modifier, not Flank Support.

Infantry deep within villages may only see/shoot 2″.  Infantry on the edge of villages may fire without penalty.

Umpire’s Eyes Only

In a ‘normal’ game, it’s quite unlikely that the Saxon commanders would be quite as unpredictable or ‘offensively-minded’ as they were in reality!  So for a bit of ‘fun’ (for the umpire, anyway…), apply the following event, ESPECIALLY if you feel that the Saxons are doing rather better than they did historically:

In the event of the first Formation Morale failure by a Prussian infantry formation, Alnpeck’s Saxon-Austrian Grenadier Corps and Arnstedt’s Chevauléger Brigade will immediately go onto Attack orders.  The grenadiers’ attack-arrow will extend for 18 inches along the main Freiberger-Straße road, north-westward toward the Lerchenbusch valley, with that of the chevaulégers running parallel on their right.  This impetuous counter-attack may only be halted by a successful order-change or a Formation Morale failure, at which point the grenadiers and chevaulégers may withdraw back to their original positions and assume Defend orders.

And if you’re feeling particularly cruel…

In the event of the first Formation Morale failure by a Saxon formation, General von Diemar (Poor) will unilaterally order the left wing of General von Jasmund’s Division (the Grenadiergarde, 2. Garde zu Fuß and Königin Regiments, plus two battalion guns) to immediately go onto Attack orders against any Prussian formation of the Saxon player’s choice.  This detached group therefore becomes a new formation under Diemar (30 Morale Points), leaving the remainder as a separate formation under Jasmund (21 Morale Points).  Again, this order may only be halted by a successful order-change or a Formation Morale failure.

Anyway, that’s all for now, folks!  (and there was much rejoicing…)

In the meantime, I’ve still not painted anything since Christmas, thanks to my bloody eyes, so this year’s Annual Review is probably going to be a little sparse!  🙁  However, I’ve recently bought a couple of excellent board-games, Napoleon 1806 and Napoleon 1807, which I’m really enjoying from a solo-gaming point of view and look forward to playing with an actual human.  They’d also make cracking campaign-management systems for miniature games.  I now need to get the third and last game currently in the series, Napoleon 1815 and write some reviews…

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

2 Responses to “In Jesu Nahmen, Marsch!”: Kesselsdorf 1745 (A Scenario for ‘Tricorn’)

  1. Donnie McGibbon says:

    Superb background information and nice to see a really good order of battle too. A cracking post and a very good read.

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