09 June 2018

Refighting the battle of Lauffeld, 2 July 1747 in Flandres

Enjoy some images of our groups recent refight of the battle of Lauffeld. A hard fought French victory in Flandres, summer 1747 during the War of Austrian Succession. A great game it was. Its main purpose - to me - was to set up a scenario that would field my entire French Army for a nice display on my tabletop. Lauffeld – the battle with the many names (spelling wise) – turned out to be just right. Researching the historic battle wasn't so easy in parts due to the different spelling in French, English, & German, as well as the fact that there seems not so much literature availabe nowadays. My special thanks go to Charles S Grant, who generously provided me with great detailed informations. His Vol.2 of his series "Wargaming in History", Ken Trotman Publ. 2010 should provide the best scenario information in English language. It is based for good part on the orbats provided with the German language I.&.R. Austro-Hungarian General Staff History of the WAS publ. in 9 vols before and after 1900. Vol 9, publ. 1914 – very rare – has all the campaigns in Flandres 1745-1748. No reprint availabe to me & no copy in google library. Its the best coverage of the battle I came across. Very detailed. Many thanks to a colleague contributer from Poland to the kronoskaf SYW-Project (http://kronoskaf.com/syw) who took the effort to scan the many pages of this book for me, found in the university library of Poznan, Poland.
The first images show the initial deployment of the two rather large Armies. You are looking into a Sea of Flags. 
Above see more of the entire table. Both armies are deployed as per the situation at around 08.00 in the morning.

Saxe & part of his escort seen here well ahead of the army reconnoitring the situation from the heights south of the burning village of Vlytingen. See below for the scetch of our scenario with both sides initial deployment & my orbats for both armies.

My scetch of the scenario is loosely based on the situation illustrated in one of the maps found in the Austrian General Staff book. 

As usual, I inserted my units into the Volley&Bayonet breakdown of the historic orbats. 85,000 French with 110 position guns versus 71,000 Allies with 70 heavy guns. This is the biggest scenario I ever fought with my miniatures! A near 2,000 were on the table. I loved it. My display rooster sheet layout truely arrives at its limit, I must say.
A number of Austrians were fielded by fellow gamer M***, while F*** provided a French artillery stand as well as a stand of the regiment Auverge with his 3-d miniatures (by Warlords foundry). See below:

The view accross the Allied starting position.
Detail of Wolffenbuttel's troops occupying the village of Groot Sprouwen.
Below see the burning village of Vlytingen now being abandoned by its garrison – the Kings Regt, representing the British Foot Guards in my scenario.
The French go into the attack. Below see elements of the French right wing under d'Éstrées' & Clermont-prince tasked to seize the villages of Lauffeld, Montenaken, & Wirlé.
The French centre is advancing to support the French right.

Intermingled with the dense masses of French troops note my newly painted French artillery draught horses, guns and wagons. I'm particulary fond of this 24-pdr barrel mounted on an extra carriage for the march. This beast is now nicknamed the "Ark of the Covenant" by my French troops.
Below see some more pics of my latest paint job.

Now back to the battle. Below see the Austrians under Daun on the far right of the Allied position.
The Allied centre.
Auvergene again.

Detail of the Franch capture of Lauffeld. This time it was Belsunce – or Monaco in 1747 – that kicked the Allies out. Montenaken and Lauffeld were atacked and captured each 3 times. The Allies managed to recapture it 3 times. A really hard fought affair it was.
Below see the regt Dauphin inside Lauffeld the moment before the Allies prepared for another counter attack.
Below see the Dutch and Bavarians under Waldecks' command seizing Lauffeld, evicting the French for the 3rd time. 
My V&B scenario demanded for only two Dutch infantry regiments. Mine are really Brunswickers. I only took the effort to paint two flag bearers replacing the Brunswick flags. This worked out rather well, I believe. If you dim down the light a bit, the Brunswick yellow drummers dress will look perfectly orange, I'm sure. Also my Waldeck command stand isn't really Dutch. Its the command stand of my recently painted S.A.R. le marcgrave Charles de Brandenbourg-Schwedt – a Prussian, I only replaced S.A.R. with an Austrian general leaving his original entourage. It includes his servant named Pietro, a black, dressed in orange livery. Now if this isn't a dead on match with "te Zwarte Piet". The two other figures are a calvinist field chaplain (fine match as well) & an officer of the Prussian Garde-Du-Corps (borderline admitted).
Now back the the battle. Finally, the French had ran out of troops. All were found exhausted. Senneterre, with his left wing troops amusing the Allied right wing and the Gardes & Maison du Roi was all that was left. Not enough to punch a hole into the still solid Allied line. The Allies remained masters of the villages, hence, this refight turned out to be a clear Allied victory. A Cheers to Cumberland & his brave troops. But no more then one - after all, I played on the French side, of course.
Above see the situation around Montenaken at the end of the battle. Below see French dismounted dragoons & volontaires closing in on Montenaken after the French ran out of infantry to mount a another attack.
Now – whait a minute. The battle of Lauffeld an Allied victory? Silly Cumberland alongside (historic) alltogether inactive Austrians versus Splendid Saxe at the head of a French Army at highest spirits, thanks to the presence of Sa Majesté?
Now, how could this happen?
Well, I must say, the French attack was really rather ill coordinated. I played on the attacking French right. My numerous & superior artillery was quite behind and only managed to sustain the 3rd attack on the two Allied strongholds of Lauffeld & Montenaken. A big mistake. Also my co-player A*** commanding on the left, was unwilling to support me with 1 or 2 units of the French heavy guns, that were all under his command. He preferred to concentrate them all in the centre in a giant battery that soon ran out of targets and, as a result, spend most of the day doing nothing. The cavalry could have been employed better as well. They didn't do all that much that day. Another reason for the French failing to crush the Allies' lines was the early activation of the Austrian forces. In the historic battle Bàtthyànyi's Austrians did very little to support the hard pressed Allied left. In my scenario the Austrians needed a die roll to be activated – i.e. allowing them to engage in offensive moves or move any closer then 12 inch towards enemy units. Unfortunately, the Austrians passed the die roll in turn one. I'll have to rethink that for our next Lauffeld refight.
For a summery, I would say, the game worked really well. It will be played again. I'm sure.

05 June 2017

My most recent & earlier paint jobs since Nov 2016

I wanted to share a couple of pics with my paint jobs done November 2016 through May 2017. I haven't managed to post much during that time, besides our Hochkirch Refight. I continue to pursue my self chosen mission to complete at least a 100 miniatures in a year from among my drawers pile of unpainted miniatures left. I wasn't idle, really.
During May, I finished a battalion of Prussian Grenadiers. Converged IR 13 & 26. For the first time, I added a battalion gun with an infantry stand. I'm very pleased with the result. After all, I found a good use of my various flat gun models that I have.

These firing grenadier miniatures are a real treasure. Very rare old pre WWII casts of Kieler Zinnfiguren. I'm afraid you cannot buy them anymore. Really wonderfully sculptured or better engraved casting moulds were mastered here. The gun model is a Berliner Zinnfiguren 6-pounder model - their take, I should say, but quite fine dimensionwise.
During March and April 2017 I did two infantry regiment stands. One is the Prussian IR 18 Prinz von Preussen, or Prince Royal, with my units throughout French language labeling. The other is the Hesse-Cassel regiment Mansbach (IR 8). The miniatures are a mix of various foundries. Mostly Scholtz – i.e. Berliner Zinnfiguren.

Earlier in February I painted another battailon or Prussian converged Grenadiers. Its the elites from among the Prussian crack regiments Garde IR 15 & Prinz von Preussen IR 18. Miniatures are mostly Hamburg based Herbu foundry. The smart looking mounted officer is from Scholtz, Berlin.

In January, I painted a nice set of French dismounted dragoons. Its the regiment of d'Apchon, I did here.
Really smart looking lads.
I had this set of figures on my must-have-list since the 1980's! Believe it or not, but I only managed to buy them last year. I never had any use for dismounted cavalry in my rules, until my research on the French 7YW army during the early 2000's revealed that French dragoons had been seen fighting dismounted moreoften during the war, as they were more seen as light troops rather then cavalry of the line.

Finally, during Nov-Dec 2016 I painted a whole load of Russian Cannoniers. They are mostly figures from my late friends collection that I inherited. My now completed range of rather authentic looking 7YW Russian gun models, that I had done during the previous years demanded for equal looking Russian Cannoniers. Only thanks to a present by Jim Purky, the gun models could be completed with three more of his wonderful Fife&Drum Foundry Russian Unicorn models. I now have 7 gun models completed. Two more of the F&D Unicorn models & a Foundry medium cannon I still need to do. The Cannoniers I did in rather short time. Its 58 men total. Enough to man my gun models. Most are Kieler Zinnfiguren, a number are conversions of mine & 6 rather obscure figures seem to originate from a Russian foundry – not a German one.
The Fife&Drum Unicorn is the mosle left model in above image.

Two Foundry Schuwalov secret howitzers seen here. The gun crew of the front piece appear to be figures from a Russian based foundry. Very nice figures. They were already painted rather nice. I just added a bit more highlights and shading. I'm not so sure about the head gear. These mitres look more like Viennese gondolas. Apart from my frew grenadiers intermingled with my gunners, they are the only ‘real’ Russian miniatures. Bombardiers they are, rather then Cannoniers. All other figures are Prussian gunners, really. No German foundry supplies Russian models, as far as I'm aware.

24 March 2017

Refighting The Battle Of Hochkirch 14 Oct. 1758

Last weekend we had a rather spectacular game, refighting the battle of Hochkirch, refought with approx 1,200 miniatures. Two players on the Austrian side, including myself, and 1 player for the King of Prussia's heroic ‘Spartans. The Scenario is provided by Frank Chadwick's Battles of the Seven Years War, vol. I (Austria versus Prussia) for Volley & Bayonet rules.
The famous great field work just south of Hochkirch under assault of Loudon's cavalry.

Closer view of the fieldwork with the village of Hochkirch located just behind it.
With the Hochkirch church bell sounding the 5th hour a mighty thunderstorm cought the sleeping – and almost unsuspecting – Prussians in their Camp. 

Above see a panorama view of the spectacle. The Austrian attack came in pretty much according to the historic dispositions. A massive reenforced left wing of 4 columns directed into the Prussian flank and rear. To represent the Prussians being ‘caught sleeping’, all Prussian units started the game disordered.
Below see my orbat sheets arranged for the two armies with this game. For copyright issues, I did not include the V&B scenario map for Hochkirch. But plenty of maps of the battle should be found in the internet, anyway.
I must say, I never saw a more formidable Austrian army lined up for the attack. I've inserted my units here, off course. A many are historic & also found at their historic position.

The Prussians – so few – but made up entirely of core troops, hence moral 6 for the most and even morale 7 for the Gardes & the Regt. du Corps representing the crack Garde-du-Corps cuirassier brigade. The finest of Prussian troops found here. Up to this day, near all regiments of this army knew of lost battles only from hear-say.

Most determined – but poorly drilled amateur – US sundays militia, led by capt. C. Duffy advancing on Hochkirch from a southern direction. The shot was taken during our visit of the battlefield in Oct 2016. We are watching from the south exit of todays Hochkirch town down the "Kirschenallee" or Engl. ‘Cherry Alley’ (see google maps). My position should be approx. on the left flank of the great fieldwork looking due south into the believed advance path of d'Aysne's column. Capt. Duffy wasn't pleased with the conduct of his command. These amateur class lads just couldn't march in step, hence his somewhat indignant countenance.
With all Prussians being disordered it was too big a temptation to resist for my co-player L***. He commanded on the left and instantly threw in all the horse of Loudon's corps as well as Odonell's cavalry attacking into the Prussian rear. The infantry was outside sriking distance with the start of the first turn. It was Ziethen's right wing cavalry that got hit. Hit really hard! The two cuirassier brigades were routed in a minute. An Austrian cavalry breaktrough in the first turn. Now they continued charging into a regt. of Kanitz's right wing infantry and a battery of artillery – both routed as well. Only the Löwenstein's chevaulegers attacking the fieldwork head on were repulsed. A good try, but possibly too daring. With this hard hitting good start, the real work started for the Austrians. Despite being greatly outnumbered, our opponent M*** was very determined to win this battle with his Prussians, of which a good number of units were his own miniatures. The greater part only recently painted and here seeing their Test-of-Battle.

View of Loudon's & Odonnell's troops attacking from south & west directions.

Daun and his staff in the left foreground. He is with the column of general d'Aysne. On the right the 2 Hungarian Estherhazy brothers regts. On their left the converged grenadiers of MacBrady & Nugent.

MacBrady's grenadiers closing in. The exploding bomb-shells, neatly painted by M*** add to the drama here.

The left column of Sincère's command under general Forgàtch attack the fieldwork from the left side. Here its the grenadiers of Cogniazzo and Fiorenza that try hard to take it.

The fight for the fieldwork became very obstinate. The Prussians refused to leave it to the Austrians bringing in ever more troops for its defence, all the while Ziethen held off Odonell's troops with what was remaining from his division. Ziethen even managed to order one of the Croates battalions to turn about and oppose another battalion of Loudon's Croates.
Friendly Fire in the heat of the Action!

Above see the detail of this rare action right near Ziethen's command stand. My co-player L*** really shot at his own troops by rolling dice (a miss). I have never had this before in all the wargames I played in my life.
The death of Feldt-Maréchal Keith.

Above see a detail of one of those Prussian desparte counter attacks led by Feldt-Maréchal Keith. I think it was the crack Archi Duc Ferdinand IR 2 that got wiped out here. The Austrians were repulsed oncemore, but, Keith was killed on this occasion just as in the real historic battle. I'm serious. As I don't have his character for the time being, it was my Feldt-Maréchal Schwerin command stand, that represented Keith in this game. Aye. May the finest among Frederick's generals rest in piece. 
The monument of James Francis Edward Keith located in Petershead, Scotland, very near his place of birth. Many thanks to the very alive fellow warrior Scotsman Charles C. Grant who forwarded the image to me.

D'Aisne's troops attack on the right of the fieldwork. 
Shortly later, prince Maurice, the soul of the Prussian infantry, was killed in our game as well, just as in the real historic battle. He is seen here along with the regt. Forcarde (IR23) in close combat with that days brilliant performing Esterhazy regiments. I believe the location of Maurice being mortaly wounded was very near the historic location, as far as it can be reconstructed from available historic records.
Loudons fight to crush the Prussian front in the south continues.
For the attacking forces of Her Imp.&Royal Majesty's Army, progress at the southern front of the battle was slow. The fieldwork still being in Prussian hands after several turns, as well as Hochkirch. The situation turned as the attack of the Austrian right wing commanded by general Ahrenberg closed in on the Prussian left wing & Wuerttemberg's Reserve Corps, all found in the northern part of the battlefield area, tasked to secure the Prussian line of communication.

Ahrenberg's troops or the right wing of the Austrian force engage the cavalry of Wuerttemberg & the Division Forcade deployed in and around the villages of Rodewitz & Wawitz.

Buccow's cavalry of the right in concert with infantry from d'Arberg's Division crush Wuerttembers Reserve Corps. It turned the odds in favour of the Austrians in this part of the world.

Now the Austrian right wing closes in on Forcade's crack troops.
The contest for the villages of Rodewitz and Wawitz became a violent and bloody affair. This strike was directed to cut the Prussian line of retreat. Very bad news. The Austrians were determined to finish off with the entire army of this Potsdam Resident Thief Of Silesia. The Prussian grenadiers fought like lions, but, to the disgust of the Prussians, it was also observed that Austrian volley fire was executed most effective and deadly. They weren't all that good with the bayonet that day, I must say. But so much better with ranged fire. The Prussian grenadiers melted away within short. The regiment Gaisruck's orderly volleys were found particular deadly. This regiment killed all that dared to close into firing range. In the event, also Forcade's division was crushed within short.
Elements of Colloredo's Centre Corps seize the defile of Niethen. One of the two Prussian Free-Battalions has just been evicted from the cross point over this otherwise marshy banked stream, impassable for artillery.
Not much happened along the Austrian centre front along the stream. Colloredo deployed his troops here for the greater time of the battle only to threaten the two crossings over the stream at Niethen and Kuppritz, but otherwise secured the communication between the Austrian right and left wing striking forces.
At around noon, the Grand Fielwork was eventually abandoned by the Prussians. Loudon's command stand seen on the right is pleased to see it in Austrian hands now.
The final stage. The Prussian Gardes under attack.
At around noon, the Prussian army was facing total defeat. The crack regt. Garde deployed near Hochkirch now came under attack of the Austrian converged elite squadrons of general Ayasasa under the direct command of maréchal Daun. Massed artillery poured in its fire into the Prussian Gardes flank in support. No chance. The Austrian elite horse was repulsed. Meanwhile, Loudon seized Hochkirch by dislodging the defending Prussian Chasseurs from the village. 
A bit out of focus, but it remains the key scene of Prussian total defeat. The Gardes are swept off the field by deadly ‘canister brooms’ delivered at point blank range.
The Gardes now wanted to make good their excape along with the other remnants of Frederick's now shattered Army. No chance. Massed Austrian artillery blocked the Prussian retreat path. Now also the Gardes were knocked out. 
After completing the 12.00 hours turn, the battle was over. 
Finale. Daun accepts Frederick's surrender.
On above image you see Maréchal Daun in his moment of maximum triumph. The King of Prussia surrenders and hands Daun his saber. Victoria to the House of Austria. VIVAT MARIA THERESIA.

A great game it was. The Austrians really needed every single unit of its army. The Prussians fought like lions. If the Prussians hadn't lost 4 units routed in the first turn, who knows, the outcome may well have been more favorable for the Prussians. Losses on both sides were high. As far as I can recollect the figures from our orbat sheets, Austrian losses were 14,000 men & 20 guns, while the Prussians lost 13,000 men & 75 guns not including prisoners.