Saturday 16 March 2024

The Attack On Wurstburg 1758

It's well past time that I recorded some plain, old-fashioned wargaming on this blog, if only for my own benefit.  So to start with, this is a report on a game from just a few days ago, played with some old friends and using a scenario from one of the stalwarts of the now-defunct Honours of War website. Thanks then to Konstantinos Antoniadis for this scenario and the many others he has posted over the years. Some of them (including this one) can now be sampled by joining the Facebook Group. Just go to the Files section.

Konstantinos' map is shown above. His forces were French vs. Prussians - in my game the Austrians replace the French. The Austrians are defending the town of Wurstburg and the countryside to the west. They appear to be a little unprepared as the vital bridge is only lightly defended by inferior Bavarian troops, and the outlying units to the west are also weak. In addition to the bridge, there are alleged to be two viable fords across the river, one east of the bridge and one to the west. In the original scenario a pontoon bridge is to be built west of the bridge ('d'), but as I have no suitable troops I went for the ford option. The Prussian attacking force outnumbers the defenders by about 30%. The map shows the opening dispositions.

The great attraction of the scenario is the steady arrival of reinforcements for both sides, in particular the strong corps of von Kleist which arrives from the west ('h' on the map). This gives a game full of action, manoeuvre and choices. It also turned out to be very well balanced. The scenario was written for Honours of War, but I played it using my Post of Honour rules (also available for free download on the Facebook Group). The maximum turn allowance was reduced to 10 moves, which turned out to be fine, and I simplified the victory conditions by using objectives. These are shown by red dots on the map. Four of the six objectives would need to be claimed by the Prussians in 10 moves to win. Of course, if either side reached its breakpoint before then (9 units for the Austrians, 12 for the Prussians), they would automatically lose.

The Game in Pictures
The game opens with Prussian hussar detachments searching for the two fords, whilst the Prusian main forces either commence crossing via the bridge or wait impatiently for the hussars to be successful. Konstantinos had his own rules for the latter process - I produced what I called my 'Find The Fords Table'.
In the pre-game dice rolls for quality of brigade commanders, the Prussians had aquired a glittering array of 'dashing' commanders, and seemed full of confidence. The Austrian players (of which I was one) were rather more sober in outlook, hoping to hold on and praying for the reserves to arrive (or perhaps the other way round).

I'm afraid the opening moves remained unphotographed as I led the other 3 gamers through the rules, but the images below should give an idea of how things progressed post-lunch.

We join the game as von Kleist's Prussians arrive via the western table edge (foreground).
To the left two regiments of Austrian dragoons throw themselves into the fray to buy time.
Adam appears well satisfied by Prussian progress.
Or perhaps finishing the last of the Custard Creams accounts for his expression.

The Prussians have crossed the river in force and are building the pressure against Wurstburg.
Austrian reserve infantry are arriving on the left of the photo.

The Bavarian battalion in Dumhof was quickly smashed by Prussian artillery.
Now the remainder of the brigade is in trouble as the position on Windmill Hill is unhinged.
They have turned to their rear, but are still being connonaded from across the river.

A bettter view of the Austrain infantry reserves arriving in Wurstburg.

The Austrain reserve cuirassiers hover behind Trommler Farm waiting for a suitable
time and place to intervene (bottom right), as von Kleist's advance continues.

Now the Prussians have broken into Wurstburg. At top left the Austrain grenadier reserves are arriving, whilst at top right the Prussian grenadier brigade has crossed the bridge and are about to enter the fray.

Overview during the end game. The Prussians have claimed 3 objectives (bridge, Windmill Hill, and Wusrtburg north), and are disputing 2 others (Trommler Farm and Wurstburg south). But the Kaiserlichs have sacrificed too many units whilst holding back the Prussian tide, and have reached their breakpoint. Reserve biscuits have arrived at top left.

The Austrian Grenadier detachment bravely continue to dispute control of Trommler Farm,
but have been bypassed by the Prussian cavalry on their right, and Freikorps on their left.

The concluding positions around Wurstburg.

The north of the town is lost to the Austrians, whilst the Austrian grenadiers have their bases
firmly planted on the southern town objective marker. But the game is up.

So, a Prussian victory in the final turn. Their set of dashing commanders had produced a run of double moves which had greatly aided their triumph. On the other hand, von Kleist had arrived later than hoped, and the Austrian dragoon brigade had done wonders against the Prussian cavalry on the Austrian western flank, before being finally crushed. So Austrian hopes of victory had not been dashed too early.

This was a fine game, and all four of us enjoyed ourselves immensely. This is a scenario I would recommend for any Horse and Musket gamer, regardless of the actual period.

The Post of Honour rules worked very well, I thought. In essence, they are Shadow of the Eagles for the 18th century, and are in fact the rules from which SotE were developed. Of course, Honours of War would have been just as good!

Thanks for visiting. 'Til next time!


Dindin said...

My joy cannot be fully described seeing my scenario played again and producing such a vivid game! Well done!
Dinos Antoniadis

Duke of Baylen said...

A most enjoyable report and a fine looking display of troops and scenery.

Steve J. said...

Great looking game as always Keith and the scenario certainly provided for a close game, which is of course good to see. It certainly seems to have plenty of replay value and I should try and give it a run out at some point. Shame I couldn't make it but glad to see you all had fun, and biscuits of course!

Keith Flint said...

Steve - it's even better at the Cirencester club. You get chocolate Mini Rolls there with your cup of tea.