Friday, 15 June 2018

A Grim Fairytale: Reichenberg, 21st April 1757

In an earlier post I introduced the wonderful terrain that Mark put together for this refight of the Battle of Reichenberg.

The 'soft lens' effect was a mistake due to me mucking around with my camera, but it looks a treat, I reckon. Gotta love serendipity!

The Battle

If you are not familiar with this small action of the Seven Year's War, then I recommend the description on the excellent Kronoskaf website.

To set the scene, the Austrian commander, FZM Christian Moritz, had split his army between the heights around Reichenberg, south-west across the River Neisse to one side of the hills that creates the valley around Rosenthal and still further south-west in the hills (mountains) around Franzensdorf. He had spread his army of a mere 13 200 foot and 3 500 horse over a frontage of some 4 km, albeit behind fieldworks.

Map of the Battle of Reichenberg. Source: Project Kronoskaf (original source Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume III by the German Grosser Generalstab).

Seeing his opportunity, Prussian general von Bevern ordered an immediate attack, his 3 100 horse against the larger Austrian force and 11 450 foot, supported by 12 heavy guns, against the centre of the Austrian divided defence.

The Game

Never one to be predictable, Julian, commander of the Austrian right wing, performed one of his 'Julian manoeuvres'. To be fair, he did so to avoid casualties from the Prussian artillery, but in doing so abandoned his earthworks and set himself a race against the clock to get back into position.

Prussian cavalry (at centre-left of photo) advance to attack their more numerous and heavier foes, also advancing.

In the historical action, the Prussian cavalry swept the Austrian horsemen from the field, causing Moritz to lose confidence and order a retreat. This was not to be in our case.
The Prussians lead hussars and dragoons lost the opening mêlées to Mark's Austrian dragoons. Most of the supporting units panicked and retreated with their countrymen!

Fortunately, for me, the Prussian cavalry rallied. The infantry advanced over the hill to prepare to attack the Austrian positions across the valley.

With strength reduced from the earlier mêlée, the Prussian dragoons took on the Austrian cuirassiers.
Julian got lucky—or perhaps timed it perfectly?—reoccupying the earthworks just in time.

The Prussian infantry's onslaught commenced.

Success in the centre, less so against the earthworks. A Prussian army test at 1/3 losses was duly passed.

Then, a critical moment. Mark's weakened unit in the earthworks (top right of photo) won a close-fought mêlée (which required a complete calculation of the die-roll x figure score for each side, something that we don't often have to do).
My 'brave' Prussians retreated in disorder, joined by several of their lily-livered mates!

The Prussians had gained the upper-hand against the Austrian right, apart from the earthwork, but it was not enough.

Pressure was mounting on the Prussian right as the cavalry had failed again.

With losses at 1/2 for the Prussians and 1/4 for the Austrians, both armies took an army morale test. Fittingly, given the battlefield situation, the Prussians failed and so would retreat.

An Austrian win, against the history.


Prussian 118 from a total of 228
Austrian 66 (from a slightly larger total that I forgot to record)

It was a most enjoyable, close-run game; the Prussians seemed to have it 'in the bag' until the Austrian critical defence of the central earthworks tipped the scale.

Thanks to Mark for organising and setting up the game and to Julian for hosting at ANF HQ.

(As an aside, this was the last game on the battle-worn terrain sheets. The next land battle at Julian's will feature the renovated version.


  1. An absolutely wonderful table and battle!

    Best Regards,


  2. Beautiful looking game Fish and the terrain spruce up is an overwhelming success!

    1. Thanks Carlo. Actually the boards in these photos are pre-reno., so will look extra grand for the next game!

  3. Were the Austrian defenders of the earthworks lucky or just good? No matter, they are certainly heroes of the battle. Fine looking game, James!

    1. The earthworks made them harder to beat, appropriately. The close-run, critical mêlée was won and lost on the product of fighting factors and dice roll, so yes a better dice roll would have resulted in a Prussian victory, but it was not straight good luck for the Austrians.
      A most enjoyable nail-biter!

  4. Looks great,even with the "honorably worn" terrain boards. I played one of the Prussian commanders, leading some of Eric's beautiful 15 mm troops in his version of this action at Historicon last July. It was my first 7YW action ever!

    1. Thanks Peter. I see that the Prussians did a better job of recreating the history in your case!

  5. I have to ask - what, precisely, is a "Julian manoeuvre"?

    1. This 'in joke' began after our game of Hohenfriedberg ( Julian can always be banked upon to do the unexpected. At that game (Hohenfriedberg) he about-turned the Austrian cavalry. This astounded the rest of us. Even more so as he got away with it.
      We all said, "How did you get away with that?"
      He could not understand why we were bemuse as it was "the only thing to do under the circumstances"!
      The term now refers to any 'interesting' manoeuvre that Julian does! :)

  6. Congrats to the Austrian side...and to you, what a beautiful and fantastic report, great pictures for a great period to play...