Thursday, 20 February 2014

Seven Years War Stoush

Our happy band of tabletop tacticians, 'The Southern Strategists', met this Wednesday evening as we do every second week for our regular wargaming fix.
This weeks game was staged by Strategist Chris Packer who is a die-hard Seven Years War fan. The fictitious scenario was a Prussian attack against a couple of villages held by an Austro-Russian force somewhere in East Prussia. Rules were Die Kriegkunst and the lovely figures were all from Chris's extensive collection. So extensive is his collection that he can field armies from most of the major protagonists from this era, all gorgeously painted and based.

The table comprised two villages situated on some pretty featureless flat land devoid of hills or rivers,  good going for both cavalry and infantry and affording excellent fields of fire for artillery. Sorry I cant give you a better overview of the battlefield as I forgot to get a snap of it in the haste to get into battle.

As it was a week-night game Chris kept the terrain simple and the forces relatively small by his usual epic standards. Forgive me if I have this a bit wrong but as I recall them forces were as follows

The Prussians, commanded by Geoff Martin and Adrian Powell consisted of:
 1 Battery heavy artillery.
 I Brigade Dragoons
2 Brig Grenadiers
2 Brig Fusiliers
8 Brigs Musketeers

Prussian Command

The Austro - Russian force commanded by Roger Wood and Myself consisted:
1 Battery medium artillery
1 Brigade Hussars
10 Brigades Musketeers

Austro Russian Command (Russians conspicuously absent)
The Prussians gained victory points for capturing the villages and getting an unbroken unit on the road unopposed for a full turn. Looked like a hard ask but......

I'll dispense with the blow by blow account of each turn and give you a quick overview and some pics which is what you really want to see.

Both sides advanced from their respective baselines with the Austrians looking to gain an early foot hold in the more central village and their Russian allies moving into the village on their right flank. The Austrian artillery deployed on their Left flank with a clear field of fire to rake the advancing Prussians. The Austrian cavalry formed up in reserve beside the artillery to offer protection and to counter the threat of the Prussian dragoons.

Austrian Artillery

The Prussians decided to use their heavy artillery to bombard the village hoping to make thing too hot for the defenders no doubt. Whilst their infantry advanced steadfastly towards both villages.

With the Austrians and Russians firmly ensconsed in the villages they settled down to wait for the impending onslaught. A long distance barrage from the Austrians claimed the first casualty on the Prussian fusiliers.

The Prussians forces under Geoff's command on their right flank decided to avoid a frontal assault on the closest village and instead concentrated on getting astride the road leaving his fellow commander Adrian to deal with the Russians on their Left.

Whilst the Prussian infantry closed on the Austrian infantry their Dragoons appeared to be eyeing up the Austrian artillery who kept up a galling fire at ever diminishing range. Clearly they would have to be dealt with. A charge was declared but fortunately the Austrain Hussars responded by launching a counter charge in front of their guns. A furious mellee ensued with the outnumbered Dragoons managing to push the Hussars back but failing to rout them. This left them exposed to both artillery canister and musketry so a recall was wisely ordered. Superb discipline on the part of the Prussian cavalry it must be noted.

The Prussian Dragoon in the foreground seems to have adopted a somewhat casual attitude to whole affair

The advancing Prussian infantry by now was coming under sustained and accurate fire from the Austrians in the village and the formed-up stationary infantry outside the village.

The Prussian gunners were finding the village a much harder nut to crack than first thought and their shells appeared to have little effect on the Austrian defenders. Time for a change of plan. It would have to be cold steel and who better than elite Prussian Grenadiers to carry out this task.

Prussian heavy artillery

Prussian shock troops, The Grenadiers

This proved a surprisingly easy task for the Grenadiers and the hapless Austrian defenders were thrown back out of the village on the first assault. This left Adrian free to launch his remaining, not inconsiderable force, on the Russians in the far village.This settled into a fair old slogging match with the Prussians being on the recieving end of some particularly lethal dice throws from Comrade Rodger. I seem to recall three sixes in a row at some point though affairs on this side of the table were partly obscured by smoke and I was by now heavily engaged in a desperate tussle with the Prussians on my side of the table.

My Austrians, despite some abysmal dice throws, were, surprisingly, holding their own against the Prussians and as the Prussian cavalry was out of the way my artillery was spoilt for choice with regards close range targets to pummel. Whilst the infantry battled it out both sides cavalry went about the business of reforming and dressing their lines ready for another go at each other.

Austrian infantry bearing up against a Prussian assualt.

Prussian artillery moving up to support attack whilst their infantry block the Austrian line of communication.

Some stirring words from the Austrian cavalry Brigadier soon had them charging towards their opponents.  At this point the battle on this side of the table hung in the balance as a succesful charge by the Austrian cavalry showed every prospect of rolling up the exposed flanks of the Prussian infantry if a braek through could be achieved. Sadly it was not to be thanks to a 'fershlugghina son of a bitch, whoreson, God awful!!! dice throw by yours truly which saw me bested by 8 points, effectively shattering me and sending me fleeing in rout. Oh the pain and anguish, truly the dice plague has settled on me of late as this seems to be a recurring theme in my gaming at present....not that I'm bitter. From here things went pear shaped for the Austrians as the Prussian infantry pressed home their attacks with typical Germanic efficiency unmolested and took up position astride the Austrian line of communication.

This left my Russian allies to try to save some face by at least retaining possession of the remaining village. Despite Rodger's best efforts, and believe me, the wily Mr Wood is quite some opponent, he couldn't hold back the tide and at end of play the Prussians were rampaging through the second town in pursuit of the reeling Russians, pausing only to plunder the Mayor's supply of French Cognac.

Russians desperately hang on

Clearly a decisive victory for the Prussians and well played.

Thanks Chris for a rip-snorting game and for doing such a sterling job of umpiring and answering our stupid questions.


  1. Very impressive game! Quite a wonderful collection by Chris! Best, Dean

  2. Great looking game. Must admit I am more of a fan of SYW stuff than Naps... How did you find the rules as compared to say BP?

  3. Hi Scott,
    Im probably not the best person to answer that question as Im not that au fait with SYW. Ive played BP, mostly ACW and Napoleonic, and I'd say Die Kreigkunst are more period specific and are what youd call old school rules. Personally I struggle with some of the quirkier aspects of BP such as triple moves and troops going doolali on a double six. If I had to choose Id use DK for this period even though they require a bit more adding and subtracting of modifiers. I must say I'm warming to the idea of SYW, I might be tempted to do some Brunswickers.

    1. Thanks for reply Gav. Must admit, I like the relative simplicity of the SYW - no worries about forming squares, cavalry wasnt as mobile and skirmishers less frequently used..., compared to say Naps.
      I know what you mean about BP, and some of its quirkier stuff. When we played it for this period, we cut back on the extreme moves... it worked very well, creating a face paced and dynamic game :-)

  4. I have awarded you the Liebster Award here