Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Cavalry Charge

Date: 1 December 1762/2012
Location: Someplace Near Breslau,Silesia
Situation: Russians vs Prussians
Previous Battle:

Rules: BAR Batailles de l'Ancien Régime (1740-1763) See:
After we complete 4-5 tabletop games in as many regions, Cycle #1 of the Seven Years' War will end for us. Last July the first game was in East Prussia. See the link above. The second encounter was yesterday in Silesia. In the coming months we will repair to somewhere near Bohemia, followed by western Germany and then perhaps to Canada. Afterwards Cycle #2 will restart our version of the SYW.

I write this report mostly from the perspective of my personal command miniature posted in the rear in central reserve. More happened than the title of this post implies.

Somehow folks hereabouts think my favorite things to command in tabletop games are highly mobile combatants; horsemen and armored fighting vehicles. True!

Thus, I asked for the honor to command my newly raised Saxon Leibkürassier Garde. These lovely miniatures are Eureka 28mms. In response Russian commanding general, John M. said, yes Bill and....

You will command all the other cuirassier squadrons too. Well WELL! That's the ticket! Naturally I agreed. Seven squadrons are shown above with three more off image to the left. My Leibkürassiers are on the right side of the photo. We are on the Back Table in central reserve awaiting orders.

Opposing me on the Main Table was a Prussian Brigade with a battery of 12 Pdr. Brummers commanded by Keith L.

To their left the Prussians extended their line on top of a gently sloping ridge. (Think Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg.) Todd B. was posted here to the end of the Prussian line.

My armored horsemen became impatient to charge as Keith's Brummers took out twelve cuirassiers over several turns with long-range fire. There was no place to go to avoid this fire. I wanted to charge but orders were orders. I waited....

While far to my left Prussians led by Chris K. advanced through an open wood on our extreme left flank. These would eventually push our soldiers back, back....

And back as seen at the top of the image. However, by mid-afternoon....

On my far left an amazing column of battalions in line advanced forward disposing of Earl K's Prussians who formerly occupied the field at the top of the image. Russian Commanders were Brent O. and John B. To their right....

More Russians pressed forward while....

To my right Russian heavy forces commanded by Michael M. advanced onto the Main Table at mid-afternoon. Previously horsemen had been battling in the open wooded area in the top center and right of the image.

When units march from the Back Table onto the Main Table it is sometimes difficult to ascertain just where something is. In the above image a clipboard was inserted under terrain boards to place an artillery battery that had not quite gotten onto the Main Table yet. Helpful.

What about my cavalry? Orders arrived to advance near 3:00 pm. Thoughts of the French cavalry at Minden danced in my head. Okay. I would try something different. With a little luck!

I sounded the charge. Four squadrons led at the gallop. The others hung back in the intervals at the canter. The Prussians fired everything they had! The battalion fired poorly. The luck I needed happened.

This image shows the moments after the first melee round.The squadron with the bright blue coat failed to charge due to losses. The other three went in. 

In the upper left one squadron fell back to rally. The central squadron did better electing to remain in contact. The right hand squadron lost ten of twelve riders to Brummer canister fire, amazingly held morale and cut down the crews. If you look closely you will see two cuirassiers amidst the guns a la Balaclava.

If you look deeper at the top of the image, Prussian cuirassiers are riding to the rescue. Lots of 'em.

Never mind. I knew they were coming. However my personal miniature could not see them. He ordered last reserves to sweep the Prussian musketeers off the ridge.

When my Leibkürassiers topped the ridge they immediately saw the Prussian Garde du Korps and switched to attack them per the rules. We won the first round. To their right my remaining heavies crossed sabers and bayonets with the infantry. The blue coats would lose with survivors routing away. Fortunately two things happened next.

#1 A die throw prevented the Russian cuirassiers from pursuing the routing infantry. Had they done so, the rules would have required a cavalry engagement with the Prussian horsemen coming on strong that turn.

#2 It was 4:30 pm real time. Quitting time for the turn in progress. Game over.

From left to right Michael M., John B. (seated) , Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz), Brent O. (seated), Todd B., John M., Chris K. (seated) and last Bill P. Not pictured: Earl K. and Keith L. Participants came from Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.


1. At 4:30 the Russian extreme left held on with trouble, our powerful near left was unstoppable and would break through to the Prussian Back Table and my cavalry was temporarily victorious on the ridge. The Russian right was sweeping forward.

2. My opinion? I thought Prussian cavalry opposing me would be needed to cover a withdrawal aided by several battalions posted on the blue coat Back Table. My cavalry for the moment was greatly weakened and disordered - not much of a threat. I don't know if anyone heard me say this or agreed. However,....

3. The others thought the Russians won the day. No one disagreed.

4. Reader remarks are welcome below.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2013 PLANS

1) Finish Cycle #1 of the SYW.
2) Commence Cycle #2 of the SYW. We start over.
1) Saxon Prinz Xavier Bn. (60) Lovely Eureka 28mms.
2) Saxon 6 Pdr. artillery sections.
3) Saxon von Schill Hussars (12)
4) Saxon command officers.
5) Add third Saxon Leibkürassier Squadron (12).
6) Add to Lady Diana Pettygree's Hussars. (Hinterland Miniatures)
7) The Eureka music ensemble.
8) Finish Bercheney Hussars dismounted sections, combatants and horse holders.
1) Goal = TEN.
2) New blog stories/personalities.
CONTEMPLATIONS (Perhaps - Perhaps Not)
1) Trial balloon to stockpile combatants for India.
2) 2013 SYW Assn weekend in South Bend?
a) Naval descent on an island.
b) Finish Cycle #1
A fine thing on paper, eh? Your remarks are welcome below.

Thursday, November 1, 2012



Change of pace, time-out, hiatus, reset, resting or pause?
Yes all that.
What's Next Then?
We are finishing seven years in real time doing Seven Years' War-games so we can start another seven year span of games.

Specifically we are finishing Cycle I with 4-5 last games. One was fought in East Prussia on 21 July, 2012. See:

A second occurs in Silesia on 1 December 2012. The next three games will occur through the Spring of 2013 in Central Germany near Bohemia, then Westphalia and last possibly in Canada. Afterwards we'll decide who won the SYW, allowing one point for each win. Something like that. So far it's 1 point for Russia/Austria/France and 0 for Prussia and Great Britain. Should we have a party?

Cycle II will restart the SYW possibly using Murat Campaign System Maps, carrying casualties forward with reinforcements and so forth. It will be a super easy system.

In 2012 we played many different kinds of games. Most are listed off to the left of this screen. Scroll down a bit.

In my case I also completed the amazing Colonial Adventure Photo Story, Expedition To Alexandrapour on the General Pettygree blog. See the last chapter, Buried Alive, here:

Plus I have a new six month old grandson and puppy. Here is the Rocket's October photo at five months old.

In the immediate future we are preparing for a Napoleonic game in Iberia on 10 November. Jim and I are painting new British for it. Our Napoleonic blog is here:   Take a look.

After the November game I will be painting SYW Saxon cavalry for the 1 December game.

Randy has been painting and raising Colonials for our Mafrican Continent and doing amazingly well. Jim is painting feverishly and keeping his exquisite Fife and Drum Miniatures Company progressing prodigiously. See:


1. Look for new stories, vignettes, personalities and intersting images in the coming year. See you again sometime in December, if not sooner.

2. Just thought some of you might like to know what's going on.

3. Thank you very much for looking in. We sincerely appreciate your interest. Your remarks as always are welcome below.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

To The Coa River Bridge Part 2

For this story Der Alte Fritz (Jim P.) and I are moving our Napoleonic game activities to the blog Campaigns In Iberia.

The story To The Coa River Bridge Part 1 posted on 7 September concludes here:


Thursday, September 6, 2012

To The River Coa Bridge #1

Date: 25 August, 1810/2012

Location: Between Almeida and the Coa River Bridge

Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien Régime {BAR} adapted to Napoleonics

Situation: An outnumbered British force at first stands to fight and then must scramble to the Coa River Bridge to escape.
There is a problem but not like you might think.

When gaming pards become highly skilled in deployment, maneuver and rules, it becomes harder to surprise each other. Unforeseen and entertaining blows become fewer and fewer because both sides have become nearly evenly matched. Parries are frequent. We know each other too well.

One more thing and this is BIG. As players we tower above the tabletop seeing everything. It therefore becomes even easier to counter enemy plans. Legerdemain almost entirely vanishes. Players on one side often huddle to change plans, move reserves or do just about anything to impossibly stop the foe in unrealistic moments.

The solution is to introduce Tactical Orders and Couriers. What does this entail?

1. Each player is given a mission such as take the hill, use refused wing tactics, swing wide right, hold the village area, etc. These are Tactical Orders. Obey them.

2. Each player is represented by a miniature officer. You as that miniature officer will honorably make decisions only about what that little fellow can actually see or be told down on the table.

3. Each player will have couriers to send orders, information, ask for help, etc. It is important couriers are well-mounted and skillful riders simulated by double or treble light cavalry open order speeds. Thus, if centrally placed commanding General Alexander perched atop a high hill can actually see a dangerous enemy move on a flank, he can write a message, fold and place it under a courier and send off the galloper to the reserve to order a static regiment to the flank to help. The officer receiving the message can react the turn after receipt.

Let's see how this was reflected in the following game.

Stand quietly boys and do your duty.
The French are coming.

Two kilometers to the left of the quiet Coa River Bridge is the Fortress of Almeida. Between the two we played a fun, stimulating and companionable 1:10 Napoleonic game in Iberia. This bridge was British extreme right flank.

Meanwhile near Almeida French line infantry and chasseurs a cheval busily approach the British extreme left flank held by riflemen.

 The same riflemen view the French advance.

Deeper inside the left flank is Der Alte's new 94th Regt.
Note distant riflemen of the previous two images.

Center: Major General Pettygree, staff,
more riflemen and the 9th Regiment.

A later view of the same rifles and the 9th Regt.

Better view of the 9th. Regt.

British Horse Artillery Battery on the unopposed right flank.
This would soon change.

The Coa River Bridge on the extreme right flank.
Captain Magoo's 5th Foot Grenadier Company
guards the bridge.

The End Of The Beginning
In the beginning French forces were not allowed to deploy opposite the British right flank. They instead deployed opposite the British left and center. Reasons were because French numbers nearly doubled those of their foe. The British did not need the French appearing everywhere! Plus, the French were not initially posted there historically. That soon changed.

As Polish Lancers shockingly arrived to disrupt a supply train heading for the bridge. The bridge is to the upper right of the image less than two feet away.

They were followed by two squadrons of French dragoons making for the bridge. You can just see a corner of the bridge in the upper right of the photo.

One squadron then turned to canter up and over the bridge. Would the other squadron follow and burst through Captain Magoo's unsupported Grenadier Company? Afterwards would the French dismount closing the British escape route?

Now Back To The Problem And Our Solution

This closer view of the 9th Foot reveals two mounted officers. The green jacket officer in charge here spotted a brigade of enemy cavalry crossing his front left to right about four feet away. He decided to send a courier shown with a message under the horse to his rear alerting....

The horse artillery battery to move forward and deploy to protect the right flank. Note the courier in the upper right of the photo. The courier delivered the information and then rode to the rear several more feet to advise Lord Paget to bring his British light cavalry forward as well.

Lord Paget obeyed. The 15th Hussars led the 16th Light Dragoons from the British Back Table to the Main Table on Turn 4.

On about Turn 5 the artillery is unlimbered and the light cavalry has arrived to act.

Here's the thing. As Bill, I knew French regiments of cavalry were heading for the British right flank on Turn 2. I could have shifted the artillery and Paget's cavalry earlier than turns 3 and 4. I did not because the officers on the table had to discern what was happening from their perspective an inch above the table, a courier needed dispatching and recipients needed time to react. Thus, real world reasonable delays were built into my response.

As a result, Captain Magoo's grenadiers were feeling very isolated and lonely. Nobody else was there to stop a French breakthrough. Had I not played the game with delays described, this moment would never have happened. Paget would have gotten here before the French dragoons cantered onto the bridge and this exciting moment would never have occurred.

Come back next time to see what happened!

Closing Remarks:

1) Some of the information for our scenario was personally provided by Charles Grant, "from his next publication, Wargaming in History - Peninsular Actions  -  which will be out well before Chritsmas." Jim and I sincerely thank him for our adaptation of his Coa Bridge scenario. We like this scenario so much we plan do it again in two months. Seven players are needed for our version.

2) See: for information about The Fortress of Ameida and its geographical and tactical importance in the region by Robert Burnham.

3) Most miniatures are Elite Miniatures: Others are from Peter Gilder's Connoisseur available from Bicorne Miniatures:

4) The bridge is from Miniature Building Authority:

5) Your remarks are very welcome at "Comments" below.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Bridge

Date: 14 August 1762/2012
Situation: French Retreat - Allied Pursuit
Or: Testing A Future Scenario

Our local group is fortunate to be able to participate in a variety of games after work on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. On the 14 of August we played a Seven Years' War Batailles de l'Ancien Régime 1740-1763 (BAR) game using three battalions, two light guns and three squadrons per side. Numerical differences were minor.

The scenario was suggested by Der Alte (Jim P.) In a way the game below was a test of a Napoleonic battle occurring on 25 August.

The French needed to retreat to this bridge, cross and retreat off the field on the road in the right of the image. A battle rages near the top of the image beyond the large trees.

The only sensible way across the river would be to use the bridge. The river is shallow but is supposed to be stricken with many rocks. Assuming the French reach the bridge, some should cross on the bridge while others form a rear guard to cover that retreat. Crossing through the water was not allowed especially because both banks are supposed to be very steep.

French Left Flank and Center: De Saxe Lanciers in the upper left engaged Prussian hussars, lost and were routed. Regiment Berry anchors the left flank. On it's right is Regiment La Sarre. The French infantry are atop a long ridge.

The French Left Flank was pressed hard by two enemy battalions and two squadrons of Prussian hussars. Above is Regiment Berry.

It is possible to just obtain an idea of the valley separating the two sides. Using a terrain mat such as sold by The Terrain Guy accomplishes this effect. Gamers can place all kinds of things underneath....

To achieve slopes and heights as shown above. Easy!

French Left Flank: Berry and La Sarre surged forward but were unable to break the Hessian Isenburg Battalion. Both retreated. During the retreat Berry was lost.

 French Center: La Sarre atop a ridge.
 The Allies press the French Left Flank hard.

Todd's British 60th Regiment of Foot with two 6 Pounders were coming on fast and there was no way to stop them. Time for the French to leave.

French allies maneuvered around to keep open the way to the bridge. Shown are two squadrons of Saxon von Brühl Dragoons doing this. In the upper left is Prussian Regiment von Bungle having a hard time with French Regiment Royal Roussillon. Both suffered terrible casualties. However, we agreed von Bungle had one more turn before destruction or rout. Two ranks faced Royal Roussillon whilst the third about faced to shoot at the the Saxons. Chuck actually turned around the third rank to do this. Easy to do when miniatures are individually based.

Closing Remarks:

1) We started the game at 7:30pm finishing at 9:40pm.

2) Todd B. and Chuck L. opposed yours truly in a fun, friendly and stimulating engagement. Not all our games are large.

3) Had one more turn been played, the way to the bridge would have been opened.

4) See for information about the rules Batailles de l'Ancien Régime 1749-1763 {BAR}.

5) Your considered remarks are entirely sought and welcome.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Date: 21 July 1762/2012 Game
Location East Prussia Near Danzig
Situation: Last Battle In The East
Specifically: Encounter Battle
See a very good AAR by Michael M. with briefly captioned photographs dated 24 July 2012 here:


Our group has been fighting the Seven Years' War since about 2005-2006; nearly seven years. Der Alte recently proposed restarting another seven year cycle enhanced with some super-easy campaign concepts such as casualties being carried forward.

Agreeing I proposed finishing up with one game each in East Prussia, Silesia, Middle Europe (Bohemia, Saxony or Thuringia), Westphalia and Canada. At the end we'll review the results and see how each nation ends the conflict. We expect to end cycle #1 in the first quarter of 2013.

Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien Régime 1740-1763 {BAR}
See:    for information about BAR.

Foreground: Western Flank. Background: Eastern Flank.
Prussians will arrive from the left; Russians from the right.
Main Table: 6'x26' with Back Tables 2.5'x26'.
Formerly this was an around the wall model railroad layout.

This fordable stream in the middle of The Main Table separated the two flanks. The two flanks played at their own speed.

 A Terrain Guy table mat allows placement of books, towels, blankets, hills, boards, etc. underneath so the top surface has undulations plus taller/broader hills than we usually have. See:

Prussian players at start.
Mission: Force the Russians out of East Prussia.

  Russian players at start minus yours truly taking the photo.
Mission: Maintain a hold in East Prussia for the negotiation table.

Photos below are solely from the Western Flank.

Prussians flood onto the Western Flank. 

The mighty Prussian Army! 

Prussian Heavy Battery of 12 Pdr. Brummers. 

Prussians are crossing to the Russian table edge. 

My red-coated French Gendarmes pretending to be Russians on the Western Flank Back Table. They would soon cross to The Main Table, interpenetrate a Russian battery, become disorganized and yet surge forward into the Prussian Brummer Battery causing it to fire and evade. Intervening Prussian heavy horse stopped the surge but whilst hand to hand lasted, the Prussian attack was stalled. Eventually the red-coats were defeated and fell back.

Seated left to right: John M. (IL), Don D. (WI), Earl K. (IL), Brent O. (MN) and Randy F. (IL). Standing left to right: Der Alte Fritz Jim P. (IL), John B. (WI), Michael M. (WI), Todd B. (WI), Keith L. (IL), Curt B. (WI), Todd P. (WI) and yours truly Bill P. (WI).

IL = Illinois, MN = Minnesota and WI = Wisconsin

NEW DISPATCH -- DATED 25 July, 1762/2012

Der Alte Fritz (Jim P.)

The Prussian Ministry of War would like to correct some of the misinformation gleaned in the Russian AAR. [See posted 24 July 2012 by Michael M.]

“The Prussians had "roughly" (our spies weren't totally effective) fifteen battalions of guards, grenadiers, elites, jägers and the occasional ordinary musketeer unit.”

I think that our efforts at subterfuge and misinformation have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams as the Russian commander is of the impression that our forces were stronger than they actually were. Creating fear and doubt in your opponent’s mind is winning half the battle before it even begins.


On the Prussian left (Russian right), Lt. General von Frye had 7 infantry battalions, 5 sqds of cuirassiers, 5 sqds of dragoons and I think four 3-pdr battalion guns. With regard to the infantry in that sector, there were 5 musketeer btns, 1 elite Jager btn, and one undersized unit of Wedell Grenadiers (48 figures instead of the usual 60 figures). So clearly the majority of infantry were common veteran musketeers. The jagers earned their “elite” status in previous battles by doing many heroic things on the Field of Mars. Their elite status was somewhat offset by the fact that they were not allowed to be “formed infantry”. A simple bayonet charge would have wiped them off the face of the earth.

On the Prussian right (Russian left), Der Alte Fritz collected the cream of his army in one sector so as to deliver a decisive attack on the Russian left and hopefully swing around and outflank the strong Russian position on the high ground in the other sector of the table. We had no intention of attacking a Russian army, armed to the teeth with cannon, perched atop a steep hill. So we intentionally made our left sector weaker than our right sector. This seems to have turned out well for the Russians as our left was defeated in totality.

So here we had 8 battalions that included 2 x grenadier btns and 1 x elite musketeer btn (status earned in prior battles) and 5 veteran musketeer battalions. We elected to place all of our field guns in this sector. Note that in the rules, guards/grenadiers receive the same +1 bonus for firing and that guard and grenadier status are NOT CUMULATIVE (i.e. a guard grenadier btn only gets a +1 bonus). There was also one reserve battalion of the Prussian Lieb Garde that was held in reserve and did not participate in the battles. Admittedly, this was an elite unit and a guard/grenadier unit so it would have had a +2 bonus on its firing. As already noted, the King did not permit his Garde to participate in the battle.

At the end of the day, however, the cannon makes no distinction between guards, grenadiers, musketeers or the lowliest of low quality troops of any kind. They all die the same way. Since I like to attack and be the aggressor more often than not, when you face me across the table, there is a high liklihood that my sector will have more, if not all, of the better quality troops within my army. I am only emulating King Frederick in that regard.


All that aside, it was a well-played game by all participants and I have to admit that around the lunch hour, I was certain that the Prussian attack on the right was going to get crushed. There was one key cavalry melee that we had to win, or else the Russian/French cavalry could have swept around our flank totally unopposed. Fortunately for Prussia, we did win that melee and slowly the cavalry tide shifted in the Prussians’ favor. I would also add that for most of the game, the Prussians had a long string of unfavorable card draws on the right (Russian left). I would say that 9 out of 10 times, the Prussians drew the first movement card and the second firing card. Thus the Russians always got to react to our moves AND get the devastating first fire on many a turn. Towards the end of the game, the laws of probability kicked in (in that most of the red cards in the deck had already been drawn) and we started getting a lot of black cards for the first fire card drawing.

My assessment of the battle is that it was a crushing Russian victory on our left and a hang-on-for-dear-life Prussian win on our right, thus averting total anihilation of the Prussian army. On a strategic level, the battle would be an overall Russian win as the King’s army would most likely have retreated to a strong defensive position after the battle in order to keep the whole army intact.

Your servant,
Count Schadenfreude
Minister of War, Kingdom of Germania

Concluding Remarks:

Prussia won the Western Flank. Russian won the Eastern Flank. Result: Draw but at the Peace Table in Paris (theoretically in 1763/2013) Russia can claim she has forces in East Prussia. Advantage: Russia.

The blue four page Quick Reference Chart (one sheet of paper folded over) in the previous image was consulted 95% of the time to resolve turns and look things up. Page 4 is a drill manual and rarely used. The main rule book {BAR} was consulted perhaps twice. The game commenced at about 10:30am and concluded at 4:25pm with a half hour plus for lunch. The East Flank finished at 2:30pm. Approximately 2,000 miniatures were deployed.

Are the rules {BAR} only for BIG battalions?   No.   Twenty-four man battalions work just fine. We simply want the feel and look of larger formations and we are extremely fortunate to have three home venues in which to game in our group with large tables in our basements.

Do you need a giant table? No.

Will 15mm miniatures work with BAR? Yes. There is second set of Quick Reference Charts for 15mms and/or for more average sized tables. Movement rates and weapon ranges are shortened.

Do you have to use three ranks? No. Suggested minimum is two for the look.

You can do all this too with variations mentioned above.

The next game will occur in Silesia.

Comments welcome below. Thank you for looking in.