Monday, 12 September 2016

It's Derby Worlds in less than three weeks

Saturday 1st October is the first day of the Derby World Wargames convention at Castle Donnington.

The 1st of October is significant for something else, one of my favourite battles. On that day 260 years ago, a certain King Frederick II of Prussia launched an attack against the Austrian forces at the small Bohemian town of Lobositz.

The coincidence of date is just too good to miss. So, in three weeks time the Ilkley Lads will celebrate the Battle of Lobositz, fought on 1st October 1756, by putting on a demonstration game of the battle at Derby World Wargames.

Over the next couple of Wednesday nights we will run through the battle and finalise the special scenario rules.

For those who will be unable to go to Derby Worlds, I'm going to detail the development of the game here with plenty of photographs. 

For those who will attend, knowing about the game might spark your interest enough to drop by the table and say hi; it might even provoke the odd question or [hopefully] constructive criticism.

Two things that have been settled are the table layout and the order of battle. This post shows how the battlefield, less a few bits of scatter and such, will look on the day. 

The Battlefield

The tabletop and deployment plan (made using MS Paint)

The battlefield is set up on a 12' x 6' table. The basic layout will be a cloth thrown over hill shapes made from insulation board. All of the other terrain, a mixture of commercial and home made pieces, will be laid out on top of the cloth. Although nothing has been especially made for this battle in particular, the overall effect is effective and quite pleasing.

The Prussians deployed on the Lobosch (right) the Homolka (left) and in the valley between.
The Austrians deployed on the Lobosch (foreground) and between Welhotta and Sullowitz.
The Terrain 

A view of the Lobosch Berg from the Homolka Berg
The Lobosch Berg is a volcanic mound covered, on its lower slopes with vinyards and woods enclosed by walls of volcanic stone. We will treat the lower slopes (first two contours), on which the fighting takes place, as very rough terrain and heavy cover - in Piquet terms, type III. The upper slopes are so steep that they will be classified as almost impassible - in Piquet terms, type IV. 

Looking towards the lower part of the Holomka Berg
and Lobosch Berg from behind the Morellenbach.
The Homolka Berg is a big hill and its upper slopes are quite steep. The lower slopes (first contour) have no effect on movement. Movement will count as impeded from the second contour up - in Piquet terms type II. Its forward slopes (the slopes featured on the table) do not provide cover.

The Morellenbach stream and associated marshy surrounds (now drained) was a a serious obstacle, especially to cavalry - in Piquet terms, type III. It does not provide cover except to artillery firing round shot which is penalised (in Piquet terms, Down 1) for firing at targets in it and within 12" beyond it. Note: For reasons of space and aesthetics, only the boggy ground has been featured on the table.

The Graben stream was a serious impediment to movement - in Piquet terms it is type III.

The sunken road is a serious impediment to movement and provides cover vs firepower to troops on the road. It will cause any troops in melee to count a terrain disadvantage - In Piquet terms type III for movement when crossing the road and for cover, Down 1 for ANY troops in melee. 

The Elbe, featured on the table as one bank of a meandering elbow bend that runs close to Lobositz, is impassible.

Built up areas are all standard 'village sections'.

Order of Battle

Since the last play test of this scenario I have decided to simplify the command structure even more by removing Moller and Hadik as commanders. These will now be put into the 'casualty replacement pool'.

Commander in chief: Maximilian von Browne


  • 9 units of German Musketeers (representing 18 battalions)
  • 1 unit of Hungarian Musketeers ((representing 2 battalions)
  • 1 unit of field artillery
  • 6 units of Cuirassier (representing 6 regiments, less elites)
  • 1 unit of dragoons (representing 1 regiments, less elites)

  • 4 units of German Musketeers (representing 8 battalions)
  • unit of Hungarian Musketeers ((representing 2 battalions)
  • 3 units of combined grenadiers (representing 4 battalions)
  • 1 unit of Grenzers unit of Hungarian Musketeers (representing 1 battalion)
  • 1 unit of heavy field artillery

  • 2 units of Cuirassier (representing 2 regiments, less elites)
  • 2 units of elite squadrons (representing the elite squadrons of 10 regiments, approx)
  • 1 unit of Dragoons (representing 1 regiments, less elites)
  • 2 units of Hussars (representing 2 regiments)
  • 4 units of Grenzers (representing 4 battalions)


Commander in chief: King Frederick the Great

Henry Prince von Preussen
  • 5 units of Musketeers (representing 10 battalions)
  • 1 unit of Fusiliers (representing 2 battalions)
  • 2 units of Grenadiers (representing 3 battalions)
  • 1 large unit of heavy field artillery
  • 1 unit of heavy field artillery
  • 1 unit of heavy howitzers
  • 5 units of Cuirassier (representing 5 regiments)
  • 2 unit of Dragoons (representing 2 regiments)
  • 1 units of Hussars (representing 1 regiment)
  • 4 units of Musketeers (representing 7 battalions)

  • 3 units of Cuirassier (representing 3 regiments, including 1 guard)
  • 2 unit of Dragoons (representing 2 regiments)

So that is the basic set up. The next post will detail the special scenario notes and rules concerning, what Donald Featherstone would call, the "military possibilities" of the battle for the wargamer.


artourious said...

Good prep.....

Jonathan Freitag said...

Stunning layout and well-prepared scenario.

Colin Ashton said...

Looks great. Can't wait to read about the outcome.

David said...

Really looking forward to seeing this close up at Derby Worlds!

Keith Flint said...

Great map and the usual cracking photos. A great shame I won't be at the show, I would have loved to see the game and have a chat.

Looking forward to the rest of the posts on this subject.

Best wishes, Keith.

Chasseur said...

what a fantastic setup :)

Dave Franklin said...

Nice map and table. I'm curious as to your rationale for "bathtubbing" down the infantry at 1:2, but leaving the cavalry at 1:1?

Do the rules you use allow interpenetration? Otherwise, how do the Prussian cavalry in the center-rear get in the battle?


Dave Franklin said...

Nice map and table. I'm curious as to your rationale for "bathtubbing" down the infantry at 1:2, but leaving the cavalry at 1:1?

Do the rules you use allow formed unit interpenetration? Otherwise, how does the Prussian cavalry in the center-rear get in the battle...


Hi Dave,

Firstly my rules are regimental not battalion / squadron. A regiment (5 squadrons) of cavalry had roughly the same frontage as a two battalion regiment of infantry, so the frontages of each are right. I don't count heads, just frontages.

Secondly, yes, interpenetration is allowed without penalty. Too much is made of this by war gamers. It was a bog standard ability. See Nosworthy's book on tactics: The Anatomy of Victory. Your point about Gessler's cavalry is a case in point. Historically, it did pass through that front line with ease, why shouldn't rules allow it? It's a question a lot of rule writers have lost the plot on.



BTW, the cavalry regiments should be 12 troopers strong but they are only 8 because I couldn't get 12 into the frontage. To do so I would need to increase the frontage of the infantry units from 180mm to 240mm - I wanted tight packed infantry, so something had to give, the cavalry were made eights.

Also, I only game Prussia, Austria and Russia where the two battalion regiment was standard so this seemed reasonable. I have to make the odd fudge when it comes to grenadiers but my rules allow for 'small units' so it isn't difficult.

My main reason for going for regiments over battalions was one of figure / table size. Doing it this way I can game most battles, at home, at this scale. My table is 15 x 6 max and I have 2600 figures (3 armies) painted and ready to go. The only battles out of scope for me are Prague, Breslau, Torgau and Kunnersdorf, either because of table space or figures. Not bad, I'd say.


Dave, sorry, but I keep thinking of things to say.

On the interpenetration front, my rules are Piquet based. These use a turn sequence within which time should be seen as flexible. At different points in the turn troops can move, fire, move again, melee, rally, move again, fire, move again, rally, melee. Cavalry, infantry and artillery do so at different times in the turn on 30 or so cards that make up a move sequence for each side (about 60 cards total) in no set order. Only at the start of the turn and end of the turn is time equalised for everything everywhere.

It sounds complicated, but it isn't and actually makes a lot of 'game sense' when playing. It makes things very tense and calls for a lot of forward planning - that cavalry is three moves away, but if he turns three back to back cavalry move cards before I turn a card that means he is possibly here now! Because everything is so mixed up, because the move sequence is so mixed up, and because time is flexible within a turn, things like interpenetration is a largely mute point.