Sunday, 22 March 2020

The Battle of Mollwitz Silesia; 10th April 1741.

On the death of her father, Maria Theresa became Empress of Austria.Prior to his death, Charles the 6th had tried to get the heads of Europe to sign up to the Pragmatic Sanction. This was an agreement whereby they would honour his eldest daughter as heir to the throne of Austria.

Of course no sooner had Maria Theresa been crowned than the storm clouds gathered. Chief amongst the potential protagonists was Frederick 2nd of Prussia.

His father had also recently passed away and in ascending the throne decided he wanted to transform Prussia into a major Political power.

First he made political overtures to the new Empress expressing his desire to became protector of her domain. Having spent time on assurances, he then sent his army into Silesia itself, all the time reasurring the young Empress of his best intentions, and to protect her interests.

However, the young Empress was not to be fooled and understood the Prussian troop movements for what they were. An invasion by stealth.

To Maria Theresa and the members of the Hofkreiksrath  ( the military council ) there was no alternative but to declare war thus starting the War of the Austrian Succession. Silesia was the " Jewell in the Crown " of the Hapsberg family inheritance, and could not be lost.

April 1741 found the Prussian army scattered in cantonments across Silesia. The snow was still on the ground and Frederick and his Generals were not expecting any movement from the Austrian forces.

Therefore the abnormally fast advance by 18,000 Austrians under General Neipperg caught the Prussians by surprise. However having moved so rapidly Neipperg then encamped his army near Mollwitz giving Frederick chance to react.

On the 10th of April 1741, having successfully united 20,000 of his troops. Frederick marched his Army toward the Austrian positions. The King caught the Austrians napping and could have attacked while the Austrian army was unprepared.

However, this was the Kings first battle and gave orders for his army to be arraigned  into a formal battle line. This gave Neipperg time to hastily assemble his forces into position.

The Prussian Army.

General Kurt Christoph Graf von Schwerin = 2 points.
General Count Adolph Friedrich von Der Schulenberg. = 1 point.
Colonel von Posadowsky = 1 point.

16,000 Infantry ( 16 points x 3 = 48 points ).

4,000 Cavalry ( 4 points x 3 = 12 points ).

30 guns = 3 gun models

Infantry;
2 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points =8 points.
11 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 33 points.

Cavalry;
6 stands of Cavalry @ 2 points = 12 points.

3 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 3 points.

Austrian Army;

Field Marshall  Neipperg =1 point.
General Carl Romer = 2 points.
General Berlichingen = 1 point.

10,000 Infantry ( 10 points x 3 = 30 points.)

8,000 Cavalry ( 8 points x 3 = 24 points )

20 guns = 2 gun models.

Infantry ;
2 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points = 8 points.
9 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points = 18 points.

Cavalry ;
1 stand of Heavy Cavalry = 4 points.
6 stands of Cavalry @ 3 points = 18 points.

2 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 2 points.

This is the map ;




The Austrian General Neipperg had spent time in a military prison. He was held responsible for losing a previous battle against the Turks. Therefore, having been given the chance to redeem himself he wanted to attack.

Fredericks army was a new force and the King felt ready to test his troops and himself under fire. The Infantry were drilled to perfection. However, the Cavalry has always played second fiddle to the Infantry. Neither Frederick nor his father had any indepth knowledge of cavalry manoeuvres and used  the Cavalry for decoration rather than any practical use. Some of his troopers were so untrained that they were frightened of their horses.

General Carl Romer knew the Prussian Horse were sub standard so launched a cavalry advance. This was how the battle started.

This is how the table looks before the battle commences;




Notes;

● The Austrians move first on the first Game-turn, after which all subsequent Game-turns are diced for as normal.

● The Kleiner Bach can be crossed in normal movement as it had no effect on the movement of troops.






At one stage of this battle the Prussian infantry were struggling and thinking defeat was imminent, General von Schwerin urged the young King to quit the field. Frederick rode away thinking the worst. However Schwerin managed to rally the Prussian Infantry who eventually overcame the Austrian cavalry then the Infantry.

This is why Frederick is not represented on the table as it was Schwerin who controlled the infantry and instructed the young King.

Frederick never forgave Schwerin for sending him away, and vowed never to leave the battleground again.

In fact it was observed that the Austrian infantry seemed to wilt under the disciplined fire of the Prussian troops.

Well, the rest is history. The figures in the photos are mainly Miniature Figurines with some Peter Pig figures. All 15mm.

I used to have a massive collection for this era. I now have small groups of stands assigned to various states. Thus the Prussian army is composed of Prussian, Brunswick and Wuttemberg troops.

The Austrians are helped by Saxon, Reichsarmee and Bavarian troops.

This is a set-piece battle and when played out could go either way. As always the table is 3 feet by 2 feet. The buildings representing the village's are scratch built with cardboard.

As always, this is my interpretation of the actual battle.



Tuesday, 3 March 2020

The points system

Just thought I'd put out some words on the points system that I use as a basis for organising the battles that I am putting on the blog.

In the book Table Top Battles there is a points chart. This evaluates troop types of every era. For example;

Heavy Cavalry 4 points per stand, light cavalry 2 points per stand.

Assessing the size of an army to recreate we would at first look at the actual total say, 40,000. You can use this total in two ways.

1) 40,000 is converted to 40 points. This total is then divided by the individual points value of the stands making up the army

2) 40,000 can be converted to 40 points. This total can be doubled up to 80 points. This helps if you want to include more diverse troop types.
Each stand in this size of army would be representing roughly Brigade size units.

3) At another level, should you wish to recreate a small force of maybe 1000 men,
then start with 10 points and keep multiplying by 10 until you reach a level that recreates the force you want. This would consist of a number of platoons or companies.

Now, this works fine for an evening game playing a one off battle. The system also works for a pre-planned solo game but I had to change things around a bit when doing these historical battles. For example;

I want to recreate the battle of Waterloo in the near future ( we are painting the figures ). The cavalry of the French Army was 14,000. That's 14 points. I think there were 6000 Cuirassiers. Now, under the normal points system, a stand of heavy cavalry are 4 points so that would be one stand.

There has to be more than one stand of cuirassiers so how to get round the problem?
In the actual battle the cuirassiers, much as they were terrifying were not very effective so I downgraded them to 2 points each which gives me three stands.

Therefore I have the numbers, I still have the cavalry but ,as in real life they will not achieve a lot.

Another section of an army to take into account is the Artillery. This is always a bit difficult to assess. Very often the numbers of guns, their position and use in battle is blurred or completely ignored. This makes it hard to give a points value and to allocate models.

From my own perspective, if the total of guns is known I divide the actual number of guns by either 10, 20 or 50 depending on the size of the battle. The designation of Heavy or Light I assign depending on their function i.e. whether they were static or constantly moving.

The points total for the artillery are taken from the Infantry total. This is because;

Artillery personnel are lumped together with the infantry.
Infantry were sometimes assigned to the artillery to provide extra muscle to haul the guns about.

I have a generic sci-fi section which can be adapted for any era of mechanized warfare. Tanks have an attack and defense value which is added together to give a points value to the model.

Using the points system you can field a "Heavy " army against a "light" one. Within the Table Top Battle system neither side has an overwhelming advantage. Although die driven ( 12 sided) tactics and terrain do have some influence.

Above all, I am fitting this onto a 3 foot by 2 foot ( 90cm x 60cm ) board. The size of the playing area also has an influence on the size of the armies.

The battle of Manassas is a similar situation. Sigel,s Corp were all normal line infantry which would be three points.and would only be two or three stands.

However his Corps were deployed in a long line and despite hard fighting struggled at the railway embankment. So, I downgraded the stands to 2points each to give me enough stands to cover the position.

As you can see, the system is pretty flexible and adaptable to any situation. Having written that I hope those battles I have presented and those I hope to do will give you ideas for your own interpretations of these events.

This photo is of Roman Heavy Cavalry. I made this group of four stands from Ceaser Miniatures Sarmatian horses and Hat horses. The figures are Hat with different heads. The lances are North Star Javelins ( 50mm ). As you can see the bases are four points each which means they are Heavy Cavalry. Each stand is used individually in a big battle, but could equally be a Regiment of cavalry in a smaller action.