Wednesday 16 October 2019

The Battles of Schwedt - 1758

Reject HQ saw two battles over the weekend when I faced off against Mr Rousell (of Don't throw a One fame) in a set of linked games set in the seven years war. Postie has been running a few games like this recently, with a smaller game determining advantage to the winner in the second game, and it made for an interesting days gaming. 

The Setup
As usual, we started by picking out of a metaphorical hat for sides, and I got the Russians while Ray would be the Prussians. I was clearly going to have my work cut out fighting a more experienced player and a better army (+1 morale rating for most of their troops, because they are better trained). I wasn't going to make it easy for Ray and if the dice gods looked on me favourably I might just pull off a win.... I'm all for positive thinking! 

Game One (Battle of Schwedt Woods) Order of Battle
Prussian Reconnaissance Force
  2nd Hussars (6th Battalion)
  4th Hussars (7th Battalion)
  Bosniacks (8th Battalion)

Russian Reconnaissance Force
  Jolty Hussars (6th Battalion)
  Slobodski Hussars (7th Battalion)
  Cossacks (8th Battalion)

The Action
We deployed our cavalry and postie then drew cards to determine the order in which the battalions would activate. 

My Slobodski Hussars (in blue and white) charge into the Prussian 4th Hussars. They manage to counter charge and the two units slam into each other.

My Slobodski Hussars win the Melee, albeit by a small margin but I manage to take the Prussian flag and the defeated cavalry flee towards the rear. A good start for my Russians. 

Next up I manage again to charge my Cossacks into the Bosniaks. This time however it's my cavalry that looses.   

They manage to evade just beyond the reach of the pursuing Bosniacs but next turn the cards dictate that the Prussian player can pick and move a unit first... Ray's blood is up and he charges his Bosniacks into the rear of the cossacks, destroying them!

Meanwhile, my Jolty Hussars clash with the remaining Prussian cavalry. They win the melee and again manage to capture the Prussian Flag. Two out of three and things are looking good for my Russians. 

My Slobodski Hussars chase after the retreating Prussian 4th Hussars but after two turns of retreat, the Prussians look like they are about to exit the battle, stopping just an inch from the table edge! 

Now things start to turn. The Bosniaks have returned from seeing off my Cossacks and charge into the rear of my Jolty Hussars who are already in melee with the Prussian 2nd Hussars. The result is painfully obvious! My Hussars manage a draw in the firsts round of melee but their luck fails in the second turn and they are wiped out. 

I decided to turn my Slobodski Hussars around to face the Bosniaks...and then at that moment the retreating Prussian 4th Hussars pass their morale test, turn around and advance towards their rear! I'm in a Prussian sandwich and I can't see a way out...but at this point, Postie call the game to a close and he tallies up the points. 
My Russians have 3 Points and the Prussians win with 4 points. Dammit! Earlier in the game, I thought I had that pesky Prussian!!

The Prussians were able to claim a victory despite their unpromising start. We didn't know this but the surviving Prussian units would later join the main battle as reserve troops so could potentially give them a significant advantage. Whether this would be the case was yet to be seen.

Game Two (Battle of Schwedt) Order of Battle
Prussian Army (c/o Ray)
  1st Battalion - Grenadiers, 29th MB (2), 23rd MB, Medium Gun
  2nd Battalion - 41st FB (2), 10th MB (2), Medium Gun
  3rd Battalion - Jagers
  4th Battalion - 2nd Cuirassiers, 3rd Cuirassiers
  5th Battalion - 6th Dragoons, 8th Dragoons
Reserves (Partial Units from 1st Game)
  6th Battalion - 2nd Hussars
  7th Battalion - 4th Hussars
  8th Battalion - Bosniacks

Russian Army (c/o Lee)
  1st Battalion - Grenadiers (2), Apcheron, St Petersburg, Medium Gun
  2nd Battalion - Neva, Novva, Pskovsk, Viatsh, Medium Gun
  3rd Battalion - Pandours
  4th Battalion - Feboravitch Cuirassiers, Kievski Cuirassiers
  5th Battalion - Tobolski Dragoons, Arkhanguelogorodski Dragoons
Reserves - None carried over from 1st Game!

The Action
Again we start the game by deploying our battalions one at a time based on the draw of cards. 

Most of the battlefield is open country, although I am a little constricted by woods on my right flank. I place my cavalry one behind the other (after checking with Postie that retreating units do not disorder friendly know, just in case!) 

The view down the Russian lines. If I do say so myself they look a fine body of men. 

The Prussians are similarly arrayed although there is a gap in their line which I expect them to close as we get closer. 

First blood. My guns open fire inflicting a couple of casualties on the end of the Prussian infantry line. 

The cavalry wings engage each other although I can't get all my men into action in the first turn. The second cavalry unit swing to the left keeping what I think is a safe distance (ie more than 6") from the enemy. 
Meanwhile, the Prussian reserves - those cavalry units that survived the first game - enter the field and can be seen on the edge of the table. Its unclear if they will play a part in the game but it's just another thing for me to worry about.

Over on the other flank, my cavalry have also engaged the enemy after I have attached some quality leaders. I need every advantage I can get against the Prussians. The second cavalry unit had to borrow a commander from the main body of the army and as he had already moved to join them Postie wouldn't let me move these their full distance meaning they don't get to charge the enemy. I'm a bit miffed (by my blunder and the fact this rule wasn't pointed out to me before I did it) but I reason I'll get them next turn, ine way or another. 

My Dragoons see off the Prussian Hussars and I choose to pursue them. If I can hit them in the rear I'll destroy them. I can move my full move (12") +1d6" and I all I need to do is roll 2 or more to catch I role a bloody one!!! 

My Dragoons they thought they were 6" from the enemy (enabling them to counter charge the Prussian Hussars) turned out to be a mear quarter of an inch too close. The Hussars charged and I was unable to counter charge...not that the extra combat dice I would have got would have done me any good as I lost something like 5-0 and went into immediate retreat. And further back my other Dragoons that fell just an inch short of the retreating Hussars, have now been caught also unable to countercharge. And again the result is something like 5-0 again. Both my Dragoon units retreat and I can only hope they can get away and reform. 

In the centre, I decided to advance my infantry as boldly as I dare. I'm hoping this will surprise Ray as I'm normally a defensive player. I advance inside close range and open the Prussian training pays off because they have advanced and held their fire, so now we both have to roll a d6 to see which side fires first and the Prussians get a +1. Three of my eight infantry units take heavy fire at close range before firing back. And then two units fail morale checks and fall back a full move with their backs to the enemy. I can recover them next turn (hopefully) but my boldness isn't working out the way I had hoped. 

Over on the left, the Cuirassiers of Russian and Prussia go head to head in a deadly tussle with big casualties on both sides. However, neither side deals a decisive blow and the melee continues for another turn. 

The centre is a struggling, screaming mass of men blinded by smoke and the sweat. 

Beyond them can be seen the Cuirassiers locked in melee. In the foreground 

My Pandours have managed to get themselves caught in close range fire and take heavy casualties. 

Two of my infantry units have fallen back leaving a big hole in my centre. I'm confident I can rally them and get them back into the fight but my line isn't as neat as it once was. 

Back on the left flank, the Cuirassiers fight on but both my regiments are soundly defeated and have to fall back. 

The final straw...both my Dragon regiments are hit from behind as they retreated and are wiped out. Both my flanks are now lost and it's only a matter of time before the Prussian cavalry encircle the infantry and destroy my army. I decide enough is enough and I concede defeat. 

Ray, magnanimous in victory as usual! 

I can't say it went well for me (when does it?) but I did have a good time and felt I acquitted myself well, even if the dice let me down in the end. I like this set of rules that Postie has drawn up but I did feel I was bloody unlucky at some crucial moments. Such is war and wargaming and yet again I'm left thinking I probably should have taken up fishing instead!


  1. You were terribly unlucky with the dice in these games. Great reports and pics though :)

    1. A couple of crucial dice rolls and it was all over.

  2. I feel pain ! No matter how well I deploy or manoeuvre in games when its comes to the crunch i just cannot win the significant combats...............
    Ah the joys of gaming :-)

    1. For a change I didn't feel like I made any major mistakes...other than turning up for the game that is. Sigh..

  3. Excellent report, Lee! You may been unlucky in defeat but you put together an enjoyable battle account. Who says history is written by the winners?

    1. You've rumbled me! There's a reason I keep a blog and it's not for my health.

  4. Oh, those Prussians ;) Looks like a good (if ultimately frustrating) game. Figs looked great, what make and scale, please?

    1. The scale is 15mm. The Russians are from Essex Miniatures and the Prussians are from FreiCorps (thanks to Ray for the info).

  5. Great linked scenarios and a lovely looking game. Better luck next time!

    1. Ray has posted his batrep of the first half of the game here amd the second part I assume is coming shortly.

  6. Robbed again Lee! I do like a linked scenario, it adds a certain jeopardy to the day.

    1. The linked games did make it more interesting. Postie has been doing this more recently... a new trick for the old dog!

  7. Those dice gods mate, you were robbed!

    1. I need to sacrifice a goat before the next game.

  8. Great report Lee. It was a great game. Both our dice were pretty mediocre for all the game, except if course my last two charges against your Dragoons. Hehehe!
    Apart from that the game could've gone either way?

    1. It felt close for most of the game, which made your emphatic victory at the end all the more dramatic. A good day out for me, although a victory would have made it better!


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