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The Battle of Chotusitz, 1742


The Seven Years War, Piquet – Field of Battle, 40mm

Yes, I know the Battle of Chotusitz took place during the War of the Austrian Succession, but I don’t have a slot for that conflict. So, it morphs into the Seven Years War. This game was fought during the AMG 2016 weekend, a wargaming event featurin 18th century games, which took place in a hotel near Warwick. This was the last game I played during the weekend, and strangely the only one set in the conflict the weekend was meant to be covering!  The game was run by Mark Dudley and Steve Metheringham using their unusual but rather charming 40mm Prinz August figures, which were a joy to wargame with.In the real battle, fought between Frederick the Great’s Prussians and Prince Charles of Lorraine’s Austrians, the Prussians won, largely thanks to a counter-attack by Frederick’s hidden infantry and cavalry reserve around the village of Chotusitz. Would history repeat itself? My role was to command the cavalry on the Austrian left flank. We faced Buddenbrock’s slightly smaller Prussian cavalry force, and both sides charged each other from the start of the game. the melee swirled one way and the other, but slowly my Austrian cuirassiers gained the upper hand. It didn’t help the Prussians that directly behind them was the Cirkwitz marsh, so their battered units hadn’t the space to pull back and reform. Eventually they were swept from the field.. Pleasing though this was – and the cavalry figures looked fantastic by the way – this was very much a sideshow. the main event was taking place in the centre of the table. Here, Dave Hall’s Prussians and Graham Cummings’ Austrians squared up against each other, with Graham launching a full-on assault on the Prussian front line.  As you’ll see from the picture below, Mark and Steve substituted french for Austrians, but while the flags might be different the visual effect was the same – serried ranks of white-coated troops surging forward to the attack. The Prussians were outnumbered at this stage of the battle – their reserves were still off the table, and as the Austrian steamroller advanced it looked like they’d sweep everything before it. Somehow the Prussians were battered, and they lost a couple of units, but they held on – at least for a bit. That bought just enough time for the Prussian reinforcements to enter the fray. Dave formed his infantry into a giant rectangle – two lines, one supporting the other, with his flanks protected by units of grenadiers facing the flanks. This looked great, and was a sensible tactic given the circumstances, as not only was Graham’s Austrians getting ready to renew their assault, but my own cavalry was now forming up on the Prussian right flank. Over on the Austrian right the cavalry fight got off to a late start, but Waldow’s Prussian cavalry seemed to have the upper hand. then an Austrian counter-attack came in from the far bank of the Brslenka stream, and the fight continued, with neither side now able to gain a decisive edge. So, it was all up to the Austrian infantry, who had now begun an all-out advance, aimed at the Prussian rectangle. This was when the god dice deserted the Prussians. In Field of Battle the two sides sort of dice off against each other to fire and melee, and in just about every roll Graham out-rolled poor Dave. Sensing blood I unleashed my cavalry – quite a sizable force – and it bore down on the two Prussian grenadier battalions standing in its way. Once again Dave rolled appallingly, and the cavalry burst through the defenders, and into the giant rectangle. At this point we drew a veil over the proceedings, as Dave – or rather Frederick the Great – ordered a general retreat. It was a very enjoyable game, and not just because we won. I’d never played with Prinz August figures before, and the game was a real visual treat – old school wargaming at its finest. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and immediately signed up to do it all again next year!

 

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