Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Battle of Lehmhausburg

This past Saturday, a few of us gathered to field figures for the Seven Years War using the Black Powder rules. Andy, Bear (for a while) and Mark pushed Prussians, while Martin and I handled the French-Allied side. Kevin and Beth kibbitzed and made helpful suggestions. I enjoy the gaming and I like being with my friends. I don't even mind losing so often... but I'd enjoy winning a bit.

Enough whining! 

Martin and I won the toss and had the Prussians set up first. Actually both sides set up their cavalry brigades and then their infantry brigades. The Prussians had Frederick the Great as their over-all commander (Command rating of 9) while the French-Allied side had some letter Bavarian light in command (Command rating of 8.) The other Prussian generals rated "8" and the French and Allies had two lesser generals at "8" and the rest at "7". (The SYW Russians have to have a few generals rated at "6" and are referred to in the rules as "idiot generals." It'd be like having Yosemite Sam with narcolepsy leading your troops.)

So we deployed and even got the first move. Martin's French dragoons moved forward in a very pleasing manner while my Bavarian dragoons, kurassiers, and hussars took a nap, completely failing their command roll.

Andy's Prussian dragoon and kurassier regiments.
As with most gamers I know, Andy dislikes painting horses (I dislike it too although I'll do it), so these
troops are from my collection. (One of the dragoon regiments is actually Russian. Shhhhh!)

The Bavarian cavalry under my command are actually my wife's troops who did much of the painting herself.
Two dragoon regiments, one kurassier regiment, and one hussar regiment.

Martin's French dragoons - two from Andy and one from me.

One of Andy's photos of his Prussian line entering the field.
Mark took the right flank and Bear had an appointment with another game that started later.
You can see the buildings of Lehmhausburg in the distance on left. It was so named because Andy provided some ceramic buildings. ("Lehmhausburg" = "Clay house town" Oh, so clever!)

So as you can see, things started off badly for Allied side from the word "Go."  The Prussian infantry is "superbly drilled" according to the rules and I was playing the Saxon/ Reichsarmee Bierstube units as "freshly raised" which means that their abilities are unknown until they fire or go into hand-to-hand combat... which they never did. I kept failing my command rolls so getting them to move and pull their tiny pewter thumbs out of their... never mind. It's not worth it.

My first Bavarian infantry brigade with a half-way competent commander moves up
after being delayed by a small stone wall.

Bierstube battalions of the Reichsarmee's Swabian Kries (or Circle)
Fun figures to paint and great flags to do up, but they continually surprise me with their incompetence on the table. 

On the other hand, the Prussian infantry can walk, chew gum, do cost accounting, and write novels on the march.
Some of these are Andy's who based them for Warfare in the Age of Reason, 6 to a base, while mine were based for Koenig Krieg, 4 to a base, with two battalions strapped together for the sake of the game.

Martin's French infantry from Andy's collection.
They formed a brigade square when Mark's cavalry threatened them.

Mark's cavalry from my collection
Death's Head Hussars, Freikorp hussars, and the Garde du Corps kurassier.

The Bavarian infantry
Front unit - Freikorp 15s, rear unit - Old Glory
I've always been pleased with how they turned out.

With my cavalry stalled on the right and one of my two Bavarian infantry brigades held up by lack of orders getting through, my advance was ponderous at best. The Reichsarmee troops moved into the town and three of the five regiments immediately got lost in the maze of street. The church was looted, the tavern emptied, and every goldfish in the town turned up pregnant. The two units that obeyed orders blocked one of the entrances to the town and held it under Prussian artillery fire and severe mockery from the Prussian players.

A Saxon regiment serving with the Reichsarmee squeezes between a wall and the forest on their way to defend the town.

Prussians menacing everybody.

Andy's cavalry with infantry not far behind.

My two competent Reichsarmee units cut off a slower unit and some artillery while the Reichsarmee brigadier directs traffic ...or orders another schnapps. The way "he" rolled command, it was probably the second!

With the Baden regiments defending the road and standing up to artillery, the Saxon-Reichsarmee unit blunders to their left.
On the command roll, a double 6 ("Boxcars") was rolled, indicating a blunder for the unit. A d6 was rolled and the regiment was required to march to its left, which bottled up the road. From their vantage point of looking into the church door, they decided to stay there for almost the REST OF THE GAME and practise modern interpretive dance... or something.

Andy's cavalry begins its left hook. They destroyed the hussars and chased off a dragoon regiment... without ever actually fighting.

Martin's reinforcements - The Irish brigade, the Brittany regiment, and a combined Bavarian/Irish Brigade grenadier battalion plus that big gun standing there.
 Martin's reinforcements marched left to guard against Mark's cavalry turning the flank while his French Brigade held in square atop a small hill. A lot of artillery was fired but I don't remember any musketry.

Prussian grenadiers, musketeers and fusiliers continue their advance. The troops had to break into skirmish order to enter the woods. We made a "house rule" of sorts that any infantry can enter the woods after paying the cost to change into skirmish order and then moving slowly in the woods. Once they come out of the wooded area they MUST reform since they aren't skirmishing infantry. We did this for mounted cavalry in an American Civil War game. I personally don't think that cavalry in the SYW or Napoleonic Wars could do this. Maybe they could but the disorganisation  and reform cost would be tremendous!

"What do you mean, you're 'out of schnapps'? So early in the day? I shall take my custom elsewhere, my good man
...after a cheesesteak sandwich with poutine on the side."

Although the French are streaming over the hill before them, the Prussians have not even broken a sweat
 ... accept for the gunners.

The Bavarians of my first brigade with their attached French battery.
As it ended up, the Allies conceded the field to the Prussians. It was curfew time and we had some planning to do for next week's Waterloo-ish game. (Martin has been busily painting his uncle, Marshal Lefevbre's division. Andy had a batch of French. Beth has Italians who will pinch-hit as French. I have French, British, Prussians, and Americans who will sub in as Dutch-Belgians. All for Shako. I'm looking forward to this.) 
Andy and I confessed to the group that we find "Horse-and-Musket" to be our favourite period of gaming. Martin likes it as well but prefers "Pike-and-Shot" which runs a close second for me. Kevin will play just about anything, as will Bear, although I suspect they like WWII. Hey, it's all fun!

The Bavarians stood their ground as good soldiers.

The Prussian advance through the woods.

Mark's cavalry - the hussars facing the French and the kurassiers of the Garde du Corps begin their end run.

The Prussians with "sell-sword" Russian dragoons in the service of Prussia for the afternoon behind them.
This would be Tsar Peter III's dream!

Mark set himself on the hill and just below it for maximum firepower.

The Bavarian line and a noodnik Saxon-Reichsarmee unit who moved into place and then froze... in column... broadside to the Prussian artillery. Amazingly they didn't take too many casualties when, by rights, they should have been slaughtered.

The brave/fool-hardy Bavarian kurassier sit atop a hill while the Bavarian dragoons fall back
in the face of the Prussian left-hook.


  1. I think my Bavarians held the ground well, in spite of everything.

  2. Outstanding report, John! Love it! Just the motivation I needed to get those Prussians and Austrians painted up!

    1. That's why I did it, Steven! Thanks for the compliment.