Sunday, 12 August 2012

Battle of Paltzig

I had the extreme good fortune on Saturday to be involved in a re fight of the battle of Paltzig, 1758, Prussians against Russians. I knew very little about the battle apart from the Prussians were outnumbered and got beat. The lack of knowledge made the game for me. Give the role of Prussian C-in-C by my erstwhile colleagues Dave and Neal, we thought we had come up with a cunning plan. Concentrating our small force, using the Hussars to screen the advancing infantry, protecting them from the numerous Russian guns, we aimed to smash into the Russian Left wing. Dave with a small force of cavalry and Infantry would use a small ridge to hide his progress to hit the same Russian position in the flank.

Mick, our host had already set the Russians up in their original positions, they looked rather numerous, however what we didn't know was due to the nature of the terrain we could not see what was behind these Russian positions and boy did we get a surprise. Our initial attack was all we could hope for with the added bonus of the Hussars knocking out 3 Russian batteries. Dave's cavalry got to grip with some Russian hussars and cossacks forcing them from the field. Neal's infantry attack got stuck in and after some fierce Russian resistance their line broke. We had captured a ridge and continued the advance. This was when a second Russian line appeared and we slammed straight into it.

So far the Russian left wing had remained stationery, silly I thought, if they turned and marched on our flank it could prove very problematic. It wasn't until game move 14 that they eventually began to move, their duty done. They had screen yet more Russian and Infantry which moved to support their right wing.

As our attack continued the Russian right began to fragment, Neal continued to push on breaking a second and then a third Russian infantry line. Myself with the reserve continued to cover our right flank, the cavalry getting heavily involved with more  Russian Hussars and Cossacks before sending them packing. It was then that what we thought was a decisive moment when the Russian heavy cavalry appeared on their Right and slammed into the attack. Dave first held them before forcing them back and destroying the formation. With most of our units now nearing exhaustion, the whole Russian army was revealed. We hadn't been just outnumbered, it was between 2 and 3 to 1 odds. Russian Infantry, thousands of them counter attacked and after a desperate struggle the Prussian infantry was forced back, committing the last of our cuirassiers to check the Russian assault. Our position on our left was still strong but the centre was fought out, the Russain numbers began to tell and we called it a day. We had failed in our objective of smashing through the Russians and re opening our lines of communication to Berlin.

We did though take a moral victory, we had performed substantially better than the Prussians had on the actual day. We inflicted between 30-40 % casualties on the Russians but to no avail. Great game with great opponents and friends.

A few photos of the game for you.

Starting set up
Russian left wing

Prussian assault on the Russian right wing
The link below shows more photos of the game. Photos


Rodger said...

Wow! What a game Scotty. Great photos too.

peter said...

Great review and pictures of the game! Thanks for sharing!

What a big gaming table!



Thanks very much for this, Neil.

I'm thinking about doing this battle as a demo at Derby this year. Should be different and I just have enough Russian infantry to do it at twelve figs to a battalion, though units will be in 24s (2 Btn. Regts.).

It's not a battle you see that often - possibly because of the odds but, it's kind of set up with all the Prussians concentrated Vs the Russian right (south) and the Russian left (north) will have miles to move to get into the action. So it should be quite hard fought for the most part.

I guess the trick will be in forcing the Russian player not to move his centre until his extreme left finally gets stuck in. From my reading it seems to be that the whole of the left (north) snaked its way southwards following units from the extreme end of the line; the unengaged part of the line didn't just do a 90 degree turn and march south (which would be what most gamers would have it do). A formalised order of march was obviously very important to the Russians, more so than would at first seem reasonable to us dice chuckers.

again, thanks,

James Roach (Olicana)