Friday, December 20, 2019

Seven Years War redux, Rebels & Patriots

This a reprise of the game we last played in November (report here) using the Rebels & Patriots rules with larger units of Seven Years War 15mm troops. We used a base of 2-3 figures in place of single figures. We had a larger attendance than has been usual lately.

The game is based on the Lament Ridge scenario in the rules with a crossroads replacing the ridge. Holding the crossroads at game end is worth 3 points, causing 1/3 point loss to the enemy is worth 1, and avoiding 1/3 point loss for your own side is worth 2 points. The order of battle is listed below.

Austrians, led by General Esterhazy, a ballroom darling (can move a unit 3” extra once per game)
3 line infantry battalions (1 is Hungarian, no special rules)   
@ 4 points each
1 half battalion Grenzer skirmishers              
@ 2 points
1 squadron (small unit) shock cavalry dragoons
@ 5 points
1 squadron (small unit) shock cavalry cuirassiers
@ 5 points
1 section medium artillery
@ 6 points
Total 30 points, no special rules in this scenario for cuirassiers

Prussians, led by General Zeitgeist, wheezy (avoids going into the woods, no big deal with this force)
2 line infantry battalions
@ 4 points each
1 line infantry battalion, good shooters
@ 6 points
2 squadrons (small units) shock cavalry 
@ 5 points each
1 section medium artillery
@ 6 points
 Total 30 points

Zeitgeist earned 6 points in the last game. If he earns 14 more he may be knighted and allowed to use the von prefix. And a roll on the traits table to see if he can pick up something better than wheezy.

Bill played the Prussian Zeigeist aided by Ken. I played the Austrian Esterhazy seconded by the brothers Rick (left flank) and David (right flank). Unfortunately Jay and Andrew could not attend due to illness in their families. We all hope this is soon alleviated.

My plan was to engage with infantry and artillery, holding our left flank back since it faced the best Prussian unit, the “good shooters”. The cavalry would be in reserve and would ride out and fall on any Prussian unit that became disordered or badly shot up. I would show the guys how to lead cavalry. We’ll see how that turned out. As in the last game, Esterhazy’s trait was forgotten. I could have used the extra 3” bonus move at least once. Perhaps I’ll put my vivandiere next to him as a reminder. Now, on to the game.

A disorder marker on left flank Prussian cavalry got my attention and I planned a strike by both squadrons of cavalry.

Then the lead squadron decided to feed their horses. Being in close order, my squadron could not pass through and tried to move around them, slowing the whole procedure.

Then the lead squadron took off and Esterhazy decided it was time to make a long speech to the troopers.

The shot up Prussian right flank cavalry showed their faces after the Fusiliers routed the Austrian artillery with musket fire from the woods. The Hungarians were chased off the hill after that. I had not been taking care to note when the Fusiliers were available targets.

We began rolling to see when night fell at the end of turn 8. It fell at the end of turn 11, a good thing too because my cavalry squadron was going to be the target of infantry and artillery if the game continued. I first recorded the game as an Austrian victory, with 3 points for the crossroads against 1 Prussian point for causing 1/3 losses to us. Later I realized they also got two points for avoiding 1/3 losses to themselves. So we had a 3 – 3 tie. We dominated the objective at game end but at too high a cost, a pyrrhic victory. Austrian losses were 11 points; one cavalry unit (5) and the artillery (6) routed. We lost 25 infantry bases of 64, 7 cavalry bases and 1 run off of 16 and our sole artillery base routed with 50% losses. Prussian losses were no units routed though all the cavalry were down 50%, 8 cavalry bases of 16 and 10 infantry bases of 48. You can see how well my plan survived contact with the enemy and how my lesson in cavalry tactics panned out.

We played 11 turns in slightly over two hours, not counting a break for dinner; a marvelous beef bourguignon prepared by my wife, along with potatoes, French bread and a fig cake. David hadn’t been around in a very long time so the dinner conversation was longer than usual and a fine time was had.

All liked the game. I think perhaps the firepower may be a tad strong for the Seven Years War, though the large numbers of figures look good. I would be hard put to field such big units in the French and Indian War or the American Revolution. I also think if we play this scenario again a number of smaller woods rather than one large one will make it clearer who can shoot and be shot at. My miscalculations on that cost us our artillery and severe damage to the Hungarians when we allowed the Fusiliers to move up through the woods and open fire first. In retrospect the skirmishers should have gone into the woods to delay the Fusiliers and allow the artillery to join in from a comfortable distance. I think using a large shock cavalry unit would be a problem since while it could take more damage it would also be more cumbersome.

Perhaps a single large wooded area will do for the game of the Monongahela (Braddock’s Defeat) that I will eventually stage. I’ve played that battle with at least three different sets of rules over the years and keep coming back to it.

That’s all the game reports for this year. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Bona Saturnalia and a Happy New Year to all.