25 Nisan 2016 Pazartesi

Prussians vs Austrians - Black Powder Game

Last weekend was one of the "gaming weekends" for me and here is the battlereport of the Black Powder game I played, with one of the new members of our club.

My friend was interested in playing with Prussians so we decided to do a classic Prussian vs Austrian conflict during, most possibly the Seven Years War. We used another friend's 10mm Austrians for this game and proxied some of them for Prussians, units with Yellow flags are Austrians commanded by me, units with White flags are Prussians. As we did not have much time to organise our play, we went with turning one of the Black Powder Rulebook scenarios into a Prussian vs Austrian game. We choose "Battle of San Miguel" scenario as it was fairly straight-forward and both sides had moderate number of units.

This is normally a Carlist War (Spanish Civil War) scenario between Isabellinos and Carlists. Isabellino side has three infantry brigades and one cavalry brigade. Carlists have three brigades with some cavalry attached to each. Isabellinos are slightly more numerous. Both sides start the game on their table edge but there is a Carlist blocking detachment on the hill in front of advance rout of Prussian left wing. The objective of game is to capture the village on center.

We used Isabellinos list for Prussians with the only change being the army commander to have a Staff Rating of 9. (Representing Frederick the Great himself or one of his best generals.) Carlist list became Austrians. Prussian infantry units had the "First Fire" special rule to show their superior military discipline while Austrians did not have that rule. Distances were turned to "cm".

Deployment was made according to scenario map, only the river was absent.

Austrian infantry brigades

Austrian blocking detachment, facing the Prussian left wing

Prussian right wing, including two infantry and one cavalry brigade

First turn, Austrians on the road advance at march column while Austrian left wing moves as assault column.

After Prussian turn 2, Prussian infantry now in control of one house at village.

Austrian advance party prepares to make a desperate stand. Infantry unit faces an entire brigade and cavalry turn to threat the Prussian advance towards the town. Alerted by cavalry at their flank, one brigade of Prussian infantry rotate to face them and two units of Prussian light lancers move near them to make short work of Austrian lancers.

Firefigt begins! Austrians also occupy a building and two infantry units open fire on advancing Prussian columns.

Austrian lancers of the advance party and Prussian light lancers clash! Prussians turn out victorious.

Austrian blocking detachment militia infantry open fire on Prussian left wing.

Austrian fire gives no casualty but disorders both Prussian columns. Prussian advance is halted for some time.

Three infantry units from Prussian left wing assault the Austrian militia. But there is Spartan spirit in militia! They roll so good that nearly, they would win the fight. Still, they lose the battle but do not retreat and hold the Prussian left wing for one turn. This turns out very critical for the battle inside the village.

Prussian infantry now enter a second building before Austrian march columns occupy that.

Near the village, shooting duel of Prussians and Austrians continue. Meanwhile, Prussian line lancers assault the Austrian cavalry and rout them. Prussian cavalry now dangerously flank the Austrian infantry. 

Alerted by Prussians in control of two buildings and seeing that militia holds an entire Prussian infantry brigade, Austrians form assault column and launch themselves on the enemy in third building. First assault is made by two infantry units, is repulsed but gives some casualty to the Prussians inside the house. Prussian reserves at the back of village fail a very critical command dice and cannot go help their brethren. Then, second Austrian assault comes with three units. The combat result is draw, but Prussians inside are now shaken, take a morale test and are forced to leave the building to the enemy!

Prussian infantry on left wing at last overrun the militia but the are delayed long enough to give pressure on the combat at village.

Austrian infantry now in control of two of the houses. Prussians try to form assault column and attack the house but they again fail their command roll. Other Austrian infantry units turn to face the Prussian left wing who now destroyed the Austrian blocking detachment and advance in line formation towards the village.

To the Austrian left, things go badly for Habsburgs. Prussian cavalry turn and hit the enemy infantry, Austrians are forced to retreat but they do not rout. Soon, with Prussian fire, most of the units in that brigade are shaken and the brigade is broken. They slowly give ground but the unit in house hold its ground.

We ended the game on turn 6 as decided earlier and we were also running out of time. One Austrian infantry brigade was in retreat, the blocking detachment was destroyed so the whole Austrian army was now broken. But still, Austrians had two houses in their control, Prussians had just one so we decided that Austrians hold the village and are victorious. But it should be noted that Prussian army still held its ground, tired but certainly capable of continuing the struggle. So in the end, although this battle was a tactical victory for Austrians, it was strategically indecisive. (as was the case for many battles of the 18th century)

My friend commanding the Prussians did very well on right flank, using the cavalry advantage and forcing my Austrian infantry to retreat. He was delayed by dice-gods on left flank. In the middle, I think he should have pressed harder. An entire Prussian infantry brigade turned to face one unit of flanking Austrian cavalry. Still, he reached the third building faster than me but after he occupied it, he kept two units in reserve rather than trying to rush the village center. I threw what Austrian infantry I had to that building and at last, with help of luck, forced the Prussians out. All in all, it was a hard-fought battle for both sides.

Thanks to Burak Erturk who played this enjoyable game with me (it was also his second game of Black Powder) and to Ruhi Kucuk who let us play with his miniatures.

Hope you enjoyed it reading! Take care...

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