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SYW Battle of Lobositz

Posted by webs@adamhayes.co.uk on May 15, 2012 at 4:45 PM

The Battle of Lobositz has always interested me as a masterful plan by the best Austrian general Maxilmillian Browne to fix the attention of the Prussian army whilst he attempted to rescue the stranded Saxon army by a bold move with a flying column. My aim with the army briefings was to persuade the Prussians that they had a chance to crush an isolated Austrian body whilst the Austrian commander was tasked with occupying as many Prussians as possible for as long as possible.

Prussian briefing

Austrian briefing

This was also an opportunity to try out the Regimental level of the Cartouche Piquet rules.


The Austrians (red) set up with Croats amongst the vinyards on Lobosch Hill with infantry in support and two batteries of 12lber guns trained down the valley where the Prussians would advance from.


This was a semi-disguised scenario with asymmetric victory points (essentially the sides were after different objectives.) Both sides scored victory points for taking morale chips from the opposition but the Austrians gained bonuses for each additional command they drew into the combat and for extending the fight beyond 4 turns. The Prussians gained bonus points for defeating entire Austrian commands and for capturing the village of Lobositz itself.

 The Prussian briefing emphasised the ease with which their infantry had dealt with Austrian counterparts in the past (without specifically mentioning that this was the previous war 10 years ago.) and characterised the enemy as  being a detached force that was ripe to be crushed. This was to give them someof the historical over-confidence  that they showed.

 The Austrians were briefed that their task was largely as a diversion to allow General Browne to try to rescue the stranded Saxon army from its camp at Pirna Konigstein, losses were not a vital factor for them...

The Prussians lived up to this hope at the start of the game flinging their first command (six infantry regiments and an artillery battery) straight at the Austrian guns. The Prussians helpfully stayed in their company columns making them an excellent target for the German and Walloon gunners.


 

Perhaps sensing all was not right Frederick (Nick) immediately ordered his reserves into action, ordering his cavalry to make their way through the hills on his right and the rest of the infantry to make their way into action on his left. The reserve brigade of Cuirassiers were also hurried onto the table to support the troops already fighting.


Meanwhile the Austrian cavalry moved up to dispute the plain and attempted to disrupt the Prussian attack. One of the grenadier regiments blasted O'Donnels dragoons with musketry before they were tumbled back towards their baseline to escape the dragoons' sabres. The dragoons were however next shredded by accurate close-range fire from the battery of guns on the hill ( a 12 on a 12 sided dice!) and then finished off by the newly arrived cuirassiers.


Worse was to follow, as the supporting hussars were now caught in the flank by the Prussian cavalry that picked their way through the hills and now marched to the sound of the guns to enter the action at the crucial moment.

The massed Prussian horse swept into action and surrounded and destroyed the horse grenadiers to complete the pain for the Austrian cavalry.

In the centre things were not progressing so satisfactorily for the Prussians.  The infantry in their columns had hurtled forwards to get at the guns before too many shots could be fired into their dense formations. They were successful in this except where they encountered the supporting Austrian infantry. One of the regiments was sent scurrying back whilst the others, now in posession of the guns, were stuck before the village without room to deploy.


Infantry Regiment Pallavinci now showed its mettle by retaking one  of the batteries of guns after a long fight and then wheeling the rest of the regiment, marching calmly through their musketry fire  to take the Prussian grenadiers in the flank and send them pell mell from the battlefield too.

The Croats unchallenged amongst the vinyards on the Lobosch Hill also started to press forwards on the flank of the Prussian force seeing off a probing attack by cuirassiers with the fire of their baby battalion guns (1lbers!)


The battle now hung in the balance. The Prussian attack in the centre had failed and was in danger of being rolled up by the Austro-Hungarian infantry regiments. The  Prussian cavalry were unwilling to press their advantage being short of morale chips and without an obvious target.


Frederick decided at this point to cut his losses and withdraw his army from the field (perhaps suspicious of what Browne was up to elsewhere.) He was able to acheive this unmolested due to the lack of enemy cavalry or orders for them to pursue. The last Prussian command was recalled (6 regiments of infantry with artillery support) and the Austrians remained in control of the battlefield.

This result reversed history, where the Prussians pushed home their assault on the Lobosch Hill after early reverses and managed to break the Austrians if with much more difficulty than they were expecting. In victory points terms our game was also a narrow win for the Austrians. If the final Prussian command had attacked it would have added to their enemy's VPs but might also have won the battle. Piquet battles can turn on the last roll of the dice with many victories being grasped from the jaws of defeat and vice versa.

Regimental scale Piquet was a qualified success. Multiple Morale Chip totals for different commands does give a new overview to the game but also takes away the stress of seeing a single morale chip total whittled away as an army is destroyed.

More photos in the Seven Years War gallery.




Categories: Battle Reports

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3 Comments

Reply nick
9:22 AM on May 20, 2012 
A good game but harder for the Prussians than reported elsewhere. Only a very limited space to deploy & this was directly in front of the massed Austrian guns. Croats infected the hills on the Prussian left & the right flank was devoid of anything except Austrian cavalry. Did I mention that the Austrians outnumbered us?
The Prussian plan was to move across the battlefield ASAP & clear the artillery facing us The reinforcing infantry command would arrive on the left & clear the hills, the cuirassier command would come up the road without delay & deter the Croats. The larger cavalry command was to clear the right flank.
What happened then?
The advance guard (in column for speed & because of deployment room) surged across the battlefield (helped by getting the lions share of initiative) & attacked the artillery. These fought back effectively but were finally pushed back & the guns captured. Meanwhile an excellently sited Prussian battery on a hill on the right decimated the opposing cavalry who were then pretty much finished off by the arrival of a cavalry command on the right flank. The Infantry command tasked with clearing the hills on the left resolutely decided not to arrive & the cuirassiers tried to look threatening & were shot up by the Croats for their trouble. A major factor in the Prussian problems was that during the second half of the game the dice gods turned their faces away from us & showered stacks of impetus on the Austrians & sodall on us!
The late arrival of the last Prussian command & the vulnerability of the Prussian infantry advance guard made it seem wise to withdraw covered by the cavalry (we had lots of cavalry left) .
A bad day to be a Prussian infantryman or an Austrian cavalry trooper.
Reply webs@adamhayes.co.uk
7:19 PM on May 20, 2012 
nick says...
A bad day to be a Prussian infantryman or an Austrian cavalry trooper.

It was interesting that the Prussians having choices in their formations became a disadvantage when they couldn't or wouldn't deploy into more orthodox lines. Certainly a lack of initiative caused them problems and when it did come they ruthlessly used it to benefit the cavalry rather than the stalled infantry attack.
Reply The Boss
8:49 AM on August 17, 2012 
Oh dear!

name and shame the Prussian infantry commander please.