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The Defence of Königswinter, 1757


The Seven Years War, Die Kriegskunst, 28mm

Having tinkered extensively with the draft set of Die Kreigskunst 2 (DKK2) we thought it was time to try out the rules again. So, in this battle, my Reichsarmee were pitted against the forces of Hesse-Kassel. The game was very loosely based on a Charles Grant scenario – “The Rearguard (2)” from Scenarios for Wargames (1980), which in turn was based on the Battle of Corunna (1809). We changed the sea to the Rhine, and mucked around with the size of the table (we just used a 6×4 footer) and the forces involved, but the tactical problem of holding on until dark stayed the same. In our game, the Reichsarmee forces of the Upper and Lower Rhine Circles had their backs to the Rhine, and were waiting for night-  and the arrival of boats to ferry them to the safety of the west bank. Until dusk then, they had to hold on to the riverside town of Königswinter. We were outnumbered, but at least we had a reasonable defensive position. We needed every unit though, so our only reserve was our cavalry. Michael supplied the Hessians, and the Reichsarmee was mine. Peter and I had four Reichsarmee battalions under our command – two from Koln, one from Mainz and the last from Pfalz-Zweibrucken, holding the hill on our far right flank. Behind them were our cavalry – a single mixed regiment, while the village defences were propped up by a battery of Palatinate guns. In charge was Prince Friedrich of Pfalz-Zweibrucken. Opposing us, Bart and Michael commanded six battalions of Hessian troops, including one of veteran grenadiers, a regiment of British light dragoons, a battalion of veteran jaegers, and two batteries of guns. They were led by the Landgraf Friedrich II von Hessen-Kassel (Bart’s command base). His aim was to take the town before nightfall – or in our case 10pm – packing up time. The battle began with an artillery bombardment – two turns of it. I was a little surprised by this, as the Hessians were up against the clock, but our opponents were being cunning. In DKK2 (working title!), the orders system is largely based on General d’Armee. In it, you need ADCs to give units orders, and can concentrate these ADCs for special tasks. One of them in boosting your artillery. in our rules, this means you get to fire twice in a turn, rather than once. So, that meant that for those two turns our units defending the town – a Koln battalion and our guns – were pounded hard. Then someone sounded a bugle, and the Hessians began rolling forward. We tried pour best to rally off some of our hits before they arrived, while over on our right the Pfalz-Zweibrucken battalion on the hill began to take accurate fire from the Hessian jaegers, lurking in a nearby wood. Things were starting to look grim. Probably what saved us from simply being rolled over was alcohol. Most of us were drinking as we played, and Michael produced beers with vodka chasers. I reciprocated in my turn with gin, and Peter bought bourbon. The result was a very clear slowing of the game’s pace! Still, we were under pressure. In front of Königswinter the leading Hessian unit – fusiliers by the look of them – took a lot of hits, but managed to rally therm off thanks to some nifty staff-work. this though, delayed their advance for a couple of turns. On the Hessian left, Michael’s brigade was slow into action too, as he kept rolling badly to activate them, and they kept becoming “Hesitant”. Eventually though, the Hessian line closed to within musket range. In the exchange of musketry that followed we managed to push back the Hessian fusiliers,  and they moved back to rally behind their reserves. these though, were the veteran grenadiers, and after this brief delay to redress their ranks they began the advance again. Over on the Hessian left Peter was all for abandoning the hill, as he had no antidote to the jaeger’s rifle fire, but in the end we decided to hold on, as to lose the hill was to lose the flank, and the game. So, we held on. In the centre, Michael launched an all-out attack with two battalions of Hessians, supported by a third one, and by his guns. The attack stalled thanks to some nifty shooting by the Koln Wildenstein battalion, and once again the Reichasrmee line held. Time was pressing now – we only had to hold out for another 40 minutes, and dusk would have fallen, and ended the game.Hold on we did – somehow. Again, Bart’s brigade went Hesitant twice in a row, and all he could do was to shoot at us – and get shot at back. On the last tun though, the Hessians launched a charge – this time directed at our guns. Closing fire though, led to the attackers being disordered and shot up a bit – and they failed to charge home. Over on our left the white-coated Mainz battalion shot steadily, and never managed to hit a single thing!  It wasn’t helped of course, that by this stage, Bart was the only sober player left. Michael had more luck on the Hessian left though. He charged the Koln Wildenstein battalion, and after a sharp melee the Rhinelanders broke and ran. they couldn’t exploit though, as the Reicharmee’s sole cavalry unit stood firm, threatening to charge anyone who came close. As usual, the attackers claimed they could have rolled us up – they just needed another couple of turns to do it. they were probably right, but in our game were were saved by the arrival of nightfall. So, the beleaguered Rhinelanders could slip across the river under cover of darkness, and life to fight another day. The real aim of the game was to playtest out our changes to the orders system, and to firing – both by regular units and by skirmishers. It all worked well enough to keep these changes. We also came up with a few other things to change, like removing the ability of firing units to “self-harm” by rolling a double “1”. The more straightforward shooting systems also seemed to reflect the firepower of Seven Years War units, so we think we’re on the right track there. However, only more playtesting will really show whether we’re on the right track or not. The plan is to have a fully workable draft version of DKK2 by the end of the year

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One Response “The Defence of Königswinter, 1757”

  1. Mark Moriarty
    17th November 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Great Stuff! Looking forward to more AAR!

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