Thursday, 30 January 2014

Measuring the line - the Russians at Zorndorf

Earlier this month I booked the Zorndorf demonstration game into Triples 2014. When booking the table size I had to do some 'back of a fag packet' calculations. I bargained that the deployment would be somewhere between 12 and 14 feet long. Some spare table space is always handy to put things on, so I crossed my fingers and booked for a 16 foot long table. I'm glad I did cross my fingers - it only just fits.

Although I still have eight units of Russians to paint I have enough (with some Prussian stand-ins) to set up the Russians in their deployment. I have set the Russians up on a 14 foot table (The deployment might be 14.5 feet on the day - with the extra 6 inches on the Russian left; this is the Russian's 'long flank'). 

Luckily, empty flank areas are not required to re-fight this battle as the Russian line extends beyond the Prussian line on both flanks, the Prussians attack the Russian right and centre but do not attack beyond the Zabern Grund (the Russian right), the Russians have a long left flank, and the Russians are defending.

I have set the troops out on the arid side of my TSS terrain tiles to make it easier to see the lie of the deployment. I think it looks quite impressive - 732 Russian infantry go a long way! My only thought is to pull back the lines a two inches and decrease the space between the lines by withdrawing the front line a further four inches. This will mean that the Russian deployment will extend 28 inches from the baseline (it extends 34" here).

 The Russian right. This is the hard flank. The Zabern Grund (the stream) will be almost impassible where the Russians are deployed.
 The Russian's long left. This Russian flank extends beyond the initial deployment of the Prussians by nearly 4 feet. 
 The Russian infantry and guns.
The Russian infantry on the right. Note, there should be three units of cavalry between the lines here - 11 squadrons - but for game purposes they are represented by two units (10 squadrons). A similar fudge has been made on the Russian left - I have the units, but they would unbalance the ratio of heavy cavalry between the sides (the Prussians should have three times as many).


Phil said...

Very impressive!

rct75001 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rct75001 said...

They look superb and menacing. As usual your work is full of inspiration

Der Alte Fritz said...

Have you considered doing only one of the flanks? This would give you more deployment and maneuvering area. Even on the Russian right there was room for the Russian cavalry to counterattack and for Seydlitz to move thru the Zabern Grund . Also the second wave of the Prussian attack veered off course to their right and ultimately into the center of the Russian line. This might reduce the wall to wall look of the set up so far.



The Russian cavalry attacked to the Russian left of the Zabern Grund.

Seydlitz came across the Zabern ground before (in front) of the Russian position because the Grund at the Russian end was too treacherous to traverse. He was halted by the Grenadiers of Regt 1, I think. The only reason I added this flank at all was for Seydlitz to initially deploy on - the cossacks here didn't do anything - he could just as easily arrive from off table.

The second wave (Kanitz) did veer off to the Prussian right and ended up fighting the Russians around the Stein-Busch - and will probably be forced to do the same on any move cards following the turning of an 'uncontrolled advance' card during a game turn (forced oblique right).

But, IMHO, this doesn't alter the fact that Zorndorf, for all of the fancy marching around the Russians before dawn, was a frontal assault using the oblique order with weighted left that went very, very wrong and ended up as a time staggered frontal assault along the length of the Russian line (Russian right to left).

I do have one other option. I could use the entire 16 foot of table for the game (my cloth will cover 16'), and take a wallpaper pasting table to put the gubbins on if there is floor room.

I know what you mean about the wall to wall look of it - but that was big battle SYW in a nut shell; gaps between battalions had shrunk to just a few yards. I think it will look less wall to wall when the Prussians are deployed because their right is almost 4 foot in from the end of Russian's long right flank' - their flank is well and truly hanging out into the blue.

I've used the map in the Osprey on p.60 for initial deployment except that the Prussians will be further advanced. The initial bombardment (2 hours long) will be done as a series of rolls before the game starts proper because its boring. The game starts with the Prussians having just advanced to within effective (within 24") range of the Russian guns - forget the borscht, it's cats and pigeons to start.

Colin said...

Have always wanted to do this battle with my Prussians and Russian armies but don't have the space or quite enough men! I will make a point of dropping by at Triples to say hello.

Carlo Pagano said...

What a wonderful set up you have. Truly inspirational and I cannot believe I have not happened upon your blog until now!! Will visit frequently I promise.

Bluewillow said...

fantastic, looks very grand, like a 7yw battle should!