Friday, July 18, 2014

SYW Mega Battle

This week my military history class staged an epic SYW battle that saw over 1,200 figures grapple over a a 5X12 foot table for five days.  On one side were the Austrians and their French allies.  Their task was to halt an invasion into Austrian territory.  The invaders were comprised of  Prussians and Hanoverians.  12 players and two wonderful aides pushed the miniature battalions and batteries into the fight.  Each player started with a brigade of either infantry or cavalry.  By the end of the week, about 14 additional brigades found their way to the table as reinforcements.  We used the Die Kriegskunst rules, and they served us well.  Below are some pictures and a brief account of the battle.

Day One:
The table before guns start blazing.  Austrians and allies are on the right, Prussians and Hanoverians on the left.

Hanoverian cavalry awaiting orders.

A combined brigade of Hessians on the left flank.

The Austrians, though with a defensive posture, aggressively attacked a strategic hill.

On the Austrian left flank, Prussian cavalry made life very difficult for an Austrian brigade trying to defend an important village.

Large Austrian force that spent most of the battle marching instead of fighting.  Young commanders struggled with decisiveness for most of the week.
At the end of day one the Prussians were making significant gains on their right, but found the going much more difficult on their left.

Day two:
Hanoverians attack in the center.

This village on the Prussian left was a key objective.  Both sides wrestled for it for the entire game.  At this point, half is occupied by Prussians and half by Austrians.

A major cavalry action was fought on this road.  The two woods forced both sides to fight in very constricted formations in a piecemeal fashion.

Bavarian reinforcements arrive on the Austrian left flank.
Day three:
The battle swayed back and forth all week on this, the left flank, of the Prussian attack.

A look down the table from the Prussian left.  The kids playing were amazing. Some were as young as nine years old, but they were totally engaged in the game and at no time lost interest.  Very impressive!
Day four:
The Prussians had applied pressure all along the line but had not really gained an advantage.  But on this day they had shifted a large proportion of their forces to their right and destroyed the Bavarian brigade that had entered there.  The Austrian left flank was in grave danger.  But help was on the way.
The Austrians tenaciously hang on to the village on their left flank.

The French have driven out some Hanoverians from this village on their extreme right flank.

A lone brigade of French infantry is all that stands between three Prussian brigades gaining the highly sought after breakthrough.

Day five:
The young generals arrived to find the last reinforcements had arrived.  Each received an infantry brigade and a cavalry brigade.
The two fresh cavalry brigades crashed into each other hoping to secure the middle of the battlefield for their respective sides.  The Austrians suffered from Prussian artillery fire  coming from the hill to their right.

Three fresh regiments of Prussian hussars swept down the hill into the lone French brigade which had wisely deployed into squares.  Despite suffering sever casualties, the men in light gray stemmed the tide and kept the Prussians at bey.
It was determined that the Austrians had prevailed in this epic contest, but only at great cost.  It was clear to all that if the contest had continued for even one more day that the Prussians would have broken the Austrian defenses in at least two places.  But they didn't in the time permitted, so the young Austrians celebrated a hard-won victory.  All of the participants were great sports and, most importantly, were sorry to see the week end.  They had a GREAT time.

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