Saturday, 7 March 2009

Hochkirch - part two

Firstly I apologise that this is a short post without the usual photos. This is down to frantic wargaming upheavals in getting the Ilkley Lads Crusades game ready for Sheffield Triples.

In the southern sector all hell was being let loose by the Austrians. Their numbers were beginning to tell. Within two turns of the re-start the Grenadiers were forced to withdraw from the village under withering fire from the Austrians massed against them. The counter attack of fresh Prussian troops was defeated in detail after gallantly trying to retake the Church sector. Zieten's cavalry were slaughtered regiment by regiment by overwhelming Austrian numbers and sent careering to the rear.

In the northern sector the Prussian last hope was to defeat the advancing Austrians and then turn south to retake Hochkirch. The grenadiers, with cavalry support, attacked with such fury that the Austrians before them were shattered. But the casualties taken during the attack were such that the Prussians were left without any hope of achieving victory. All it succeeded in doing was keeping the line of retreat open for the Prussian units withdrawing in complete disorder from the south.

The game was, as historically, a crushing victory for the Austrians. Their northern flanking manoeuvre was defeated as crushingly as the Prussians in the south had been, but it had served its purpose in preventing the best of the Prussian infantry marching south. Indeed, it was the early turn ends at the beginning of the game which did so much to create the circumstances for the overwhelming Austrian victory in the southern sector; if the Prussians in the north had of had the six move cards they lost, and they had managed to shift the northern force south into the vicinity of Hochkirch, the Austrians may well have lost before their encircling forces could achieve anything worthwhile.

I think that this scenario is much more finely balanced than the result indicates. Even with the odds and vagaries of the Piquet game turn it was still a ding dong of a battle, and if Wurttemberg had arrived early (he failed to arrive at all) it would have been even more so; this leads on to the only change I would make to the scenario - if Wurttemberg arrives the Prussians should get one or two extra morale cards; God knows they need all the morale chips they can get; the Austrians finished the game with over 20 morale chips to the Prussian's zero.

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