Sunday 19 May 2024

The Battle of Kesseldorf, Saxony, 15th December 1745.

 This article is my personal interpretation of the battle. Any mistakes are my own.

The War of the Austrian Succession was not a straightforward affair. France and Spain were linked via their respective Monarchies. However, they did not always work together. France had been an enemy of the Hapsburg Monarchy for Decades. When Frederick of Prussia declared war on Austria, the French government saw a chance to humble their constant enemy by yoking themselves to the Prussian war wagon. However, Frederick was not adverse to dumping his Allies if it suited his plans.



Austria was allied to the Italian Kingdom of Piedmont in order to protect its possessions in Northern Italy. Having lost the battle of Bassignana, the Piedmontese army became besieged within its Cities by the French. There was no force capable of stopping the Spanish army from entering Milan, thereby taking Lombardy for their own. The Austria  General Lichtenstein promptly left the Piedmontese to their fate and made some hard marching eastward to Mantua before they were cut off from the homeland.



The Austrians were annoyed with Britain. This nation was not directly involved but King George was not only King of Great Britain, he was also Elector ( ruler ) of the Kingdom of Hanover. He disliked the Prussian King intensely. The British Government wanted to stop the French from gaining total control of the political situation in Europe. ( French was the diplomatic language of Europe. Even Frederick spoke better French than his native German).Therefore Britain was bankrolling Austria.



To combat French influence, Britain signed a secret alliance with Prussia. Part of this deal was to recognise Prussia’s conquest of Silesia. To that end, Britain was now putting pressure on the Empress of Austria to accept!  Needless to say this went down like a lead balloon with the Austrian Monarchy. France was in the same situation, equally angry with the Prussian Kings duplicity!..

At this point of the war both France and Austria realising that their political situations were similar,  started sending Envoys to each other’s Court. Having been major enemies for some five hundred years, they were now Allies!..

This was a huge upset to the established  political order of the western Monarchies  and became known as the “ Diplomatic Revolution”..

The two countries recruited Saxony to the cause. They then contacted the slumbering giant to the east…. Russia.  The idea was that Austria and Russia distract the Prussian forces while Saxony invade Prussia.  King Frederick was watching events with growing alarm.He desperately wanted his conquest of Silesia to be recognised by all of Europe. He was also uneasy about the possibility of Russian troops on Prussian soil.


As Frederick set his troops in motion, the Russians reneged on an agreement to support Saxony. ( At the Russian Court, the British Ambassador had managed to cast the French ambassador in a bad light and got him expelled thereby stalling any effort from that direction). Frederick moved his forces into Saxony and started taxing the populace!..

Austria was not prepared to countenance the loss of another ally. The Empress ordered Prince Charles to move the army into Saxony. The ruler, ( another Frederick ) was not the stamp of his father so, to strengthen his resolve, 46,000 Austrian troops lumbered into the Kingdom. Meanwhile, the Prussian General Prince Leopold leading 35,000 troops and King Frederick with another 25,000 were moving toward Dresden, the Saxon capital.

General Grunne,s advance guard of  10,000 Austrians managed to link up with the Saxon General Rutowski and his 28,000 men in order to defend the Saxon capital.




As these armies manoeuvred around in the bad weather trying to find each other, Prince Leopold’s Prussian troops blundered into the left flank of the Saxon army anchored on the village of Kesseldorf. After a number of attacks in difficult terrain the Prussian troops were repulsed. To get to the grips with the Saxons, the “ Old Dessaur “ ( the old warhorse) marched his army around to the front of the Saxon army positioned on the opposite ridge. Once the army was in position and only pausing to offer up a prayer, the Prince signalled the attack and the formations slipped and slithered down to the Zschoner Bach…..



THE SAXON ARMY = 28,000 = 28 pts:

13,600 Infantry = 13.6 or 14 pts r/u = 7 stands of Line Infantry @ 2pts.

4,896 Grenadier Infantry = 4.896 or 5 pts r/u = 2 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 2 pts + General Rutowski @ 1pt.

1,600 Heavy Cavalry = 1.6 or 2 pts = 1 stand of Heavy Cavalry @ 2 pts.

1,200 Dragoons = 1.2 or 1 pt = 1 stand of Dragoons @ 1 point.

1,600 Chevau-Leger = 1.6 or 2 pts r/u = 2 stands of Chevau-Leger Cavalry @ 1 point.

( Chevau-Leger were a cheap form of Light Cavalry on ponies).

1 Regiment of 24 heavy guns each with 50 gunners along with 500 engineers/ miners:

24 x 50 gunners = 1,200 + 500 = 1,700 = 1.7 or 2 pts r/u = 1 stand of Heavy Artillery @ 2 pts.

33 Battalion Guns = 33 x 50 gunners = 1,650 = 1.650 pts or 2 pts r/u = 2 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point.

AUSTRIAN ARMY 10,000 = 10 points:

4,000 Line Infantry = 4 points = 3 stands of Line Infantry @ 1 pt + 1 General ( Grunne ) @ 1 point.

864 Infantry Grenadiers = 0.864 pts = 1 point = 1 stand of Grenadier Infantry @ 1 point.

1,600 Grenz  Infantry = 1,6 or 2 pts r/u = 2 stands of Light Infantry @ 1point.

1,600 Cavalry = 1.6 or 2 points = 2 stands of Dragoons @ 1 point.

12 Battalion Guns x 50 gunners = 600 = 0.600 pts = 1 pt r/u = 1 stand of Light Artillery @ 1 point.

PRUSSIAN ARMY: 35,000 = 35 pts.

21,000 Line Infantry = 20 points = 7 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points + 2 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 3 points + 1 General ( Prince Leopold of Anhalt Dessau ).

9,000 Cavalry = 9pts = 4 stands of Cavalry @ 2 pts ( 2 stands of Dragoons + 2 stands of Heavy Cavalry ) + 1 General @ 1 point. ( General Lewaldt ).

33 Field Guns x 50 gunners =  1,650 = 1.650 pts or 2 pts r/u = 1 stand of Heavy Artillery @ 2 points.

66 Battalion Guns x 50 gunners = 3,300 = 3.3 pts or 3pts r/d = 3 stands of Light Foot Artillery @ 1point.



Fighting The Battle :

* The Prussian Army moves first on the 1st Game-Turn. All other Game-Turns are diced for as usual.

* The Prussian Army retains the Initiative Point for the entire battle.

* The Prussian Army wins any tied results.

* All Cavalry move at 2 squares only.

* Artillery move at one square only.

* Kesseldorf is regarded as a STRONGPOINT: Therefore the Attacker will deduct 2 points from all Die rolls on top of any other deductions.

* The Zschoner Bach does not impede movement but stands cannot fire while positioned in the stream.

* The Elbe cannot be crossed by any stands.

HISTORICAL ACTIONS,

* During the battle, the Saxon Grenadiers were more than holding their own within Kesseldorf. However, when the Prussians attacking the village retreated, the Genadiers left their positions to pursue them. This proved to be their undoing. Therefore:

* If any Prussian Stands are forced to “ move-back” as part of a close combat result on attacking Kesseldorf, the Saxon Grenadiers WILL BE MOVED TOWARD THEM. This action take place prior to the commencement of the next Game-Turn.

THE AUSTRIANS:

For some reason, the Austrians never moved from their position to aid the Saxons. However, players may wish to include them in the game. Therefore:

* At the start of Game- Turn 3 onward,  If the Saxon player rolls a “1”  during the roll to see who moves first he/ she may start moving the Austrians.

* The Saxon player may move EITHER the Saxons or the Austrians at the start of the Game-Turn. He/ she may not move both although ALL stands can fire and engage in Close Combat if able to do so. ( This is because there doesn’t seem to have been any cooperation between the two groups. )

MORALE.

I found that it is best to use the Morale system during this battle. The Saxon and Austrian Morale totals are kept separate.

WINNNG THE BATTLE:

* The battle will last until either:

A) one sides morale total collapses to Zero. The Austrians are Not included in this. Only the Saxons and the Prussians

B) At the end of 8 Game-Turns the side losing the most number of stands, looses the battle. ( In this situation the Saxons and Austrians Are added together.)

CREDITS:

The figures are a mix of Miniature Figurines and Peter Pig. The commercial buildings are from Total Battle Miniatures and some are from a Bring and Buy of unknown provenance.

The fortress is from Battleground Miniatures ( which I think is owned by Caliver Books?). I converted one end with a gatehouse. The inner building is a vey old Grenadier Models Fantasy house.

The trees are from various manufacturers. The represented villages are scratchbuilt. The hills are partly homemade and commercially by Brian of Essex Miniatures.

The snowfield is all cardboard as is the river. The snow effect rocks are Christmas decor from Wilkinson ( before they went bust!)



FOOTNOTE:

As stated at the start of this blog the above is my personal interpretation of this battle. However should you wish to explore this battle further there is a book available( at the time of writing). The title is:

Kesseldorf 1745 Decision In The Fight For Silesia by Alexander Querengasser available from Helion and Co.



Sunday 14 April 2024

Those Buildings.



This article is of my personal observation of the hobby.

Buildings in Wargaming can be both a blessing and a bind. Currently there are companies making some beautiful buildings in Resin, MDF and 3D printing.

The main photo shows three different styles which I use with mainly 15mm figures.

Three are scratchbuilt, the fourth is from Total Battle Miniatures.

 Some players like the buildings on the edge of a table for decoration. Those that have the space, include them directly into the battle, especially for skirmish gaming. However for larger battles and, in order to accommodate the larger footprint of the building, the table has to be correspondently larger.

Of course, this is fine if  you have the space for a large table. If you haven’t and you do need to include buildings there could be a problem.

The late veteran Wargamer Paddy Griffith said something along the lines that, the worst part of wargaming was the figures that we use because they distort distances.

Buildings cause a similar problem. Years ago in a magazine article the author wrote that it was better to have buildings a scale smaller than the figure to give a better perspective. Facing the same problem, I took an idea I used in the scenarios with the paper solders to telescope the buildings down.

Here are the rules for such items in the system I use

Example 1:   The building blocks line of sight between these opposing stands.

Example 2 : The British stand cannot fire on the French stand because the building covers the front of the British stand.


However, the French stand can fire on the British stand because the British stand is within the French arc of fire.
In this next photo, both sides can exchange fire.



In this next example neither the French or British can fire on each other.


Now the British and French can exchange fire.



In this example both sides can exchange fire. The French can claim cover because they are already in position.


If both sides survive the Firing phrase, this situation is covered by the “trench” rule in that both sides can engage in close combat over the wall.

This next illustration shows another dwelling type that I have started using. Both opposing stands can fire at each other and both can claim cover.



The following illustration shows both opposing stands within the village. Both sides can fire, and both sides can, once again claim cover from fire. If both sides stay in position without retreating,  Close Combat will take place as normal.



The next illustration shows an attack on one end of a village. The French can only fire on the British stand to its front. The British stands can fire, but must deduct points for firing at an enemy stand in cover. If both sides stay in place, Close Combat will take place with the wall counting as “trench”.



In the next picture, the  British stand  ( marked with a yellow token ) can only fire on the French stand to its front. The French stand ( marked with a red marker) can fire on the British stand. The “ building” in the middle of the village stops the British stand firing at the stand ( marked in yellow). In Combat, the French stands can claim “ support” from each other.


The rule system I use does not allow artillery pieces within a village. However, should you wish to, or the scenario calls for it, then this is the rule I would use:



The gun within the village must remain static in that it cannot be realigned to fire on a different fire arc, or be removed from the village. If the gun suffers a “ move-back” it will not move but will deduct 2 points from its Firing die when returning fire. It will be destroyed by any less-than-half score from enemy artillery or, from Infantry fire or Close Combat with Infantry.

I hope the above will be of use in your wargaming activities. The figures are from Miniature Figurines. The cannon is from Peter Pig.