Monday 22 December 2014

Battle of Mollwitz

I have had a couple of requests to show one of our games - so here goes - we played this yesterday..............

The game was fought using the Maurice rules; I took the Austrians and one of my regular opponents, Quinton Dalton, the Prussians.

The Map

I chose Mollwitz as it is a very simple battle, so I could set it up with minimal effort.

This is an extract from 'The Army of Frederick The Great' by Christopher Duffy.
(It is upside down to tie in with the photos below - honest!)

I decided that we should start with the two armies in their historical layouts.

The Forces

I organised this game in a rush, so just did a very quick conversion of the figures in Duffy's books, and scaled it to give an infantry line  which covered the right amount of the map/table. This ended up with  simple one unit for each 1000 men.


16,800 infantry - 16 units (I was generous with the hussars), two being elite grenadiers
4,000 cavalry - 4 units
500 hussars - 1 unit
50 guns - 5 unit


10,000 infantry - 10 units, one of grenadiers
8,000 cavalry - 8 units
1,000 hussars - 1 unit
10 guns - 1 unit

Troop types

I classed almost everything as 'trained' (I was in a rush), with just two exceptions:

  • The grenadiers were made 'elite'
  • The hussars were classed as 'conscript' fighting in the battle line.

The next time I play this I will put a bit more thought into it.

I did make an effort to reflect the characteristics of the two forces using the following 'National Advantages':
  • To reflect their better cavalry, the  Austrians were given the 'Cavaliers' card, which allows them to re-roll poor combat dice when they are charging
  • The Prussian infantry had much better fire discipline, so were given the 'Lethal Volleys' card which allows re rolls of missed shooting dice.

The armies were set up in near historical positions, with a unit of grenadiers interleaved with the right wing cavalry, which historically caused problems. 

The Figures

The Prussian infantry were mostly Prussian figures, with six units from the new range and the rest Karoliners. There are also six new units of Austrians, with the rest Karoliner French.

All of the cavalry are old HE, Karoliner or Rossbach figures, many of them French.

The Cavalry Battle

The battle started with Austrian cavalry making an attack down their left flank. I loaded the game in this area by giving the force a couple of notables to allow them to move and charge easier.

The Austrian cavalry charged into the fray, and with with a a useful hand of cards (two 'stirrups in' cards, which give advantage to charging cavalry), and the 'Cavaliers' advantage (plus some luck dice) soon add the upper hand.

The Prussian cavalry were totally destroyed, however the Austrian cavalry were shot. The dice behind the units are casualties, five hits kills the unit, so you can see they are in no position to exploit their success. 
The Prussian right wing cavalry had gained time for their right wing infantry to redeploy and link up with the isolated grenadier unit. In Maurice cavalry is only effective against infantry when the cavalry is fresh, and the infantry carrying some hits - so time to beat a hasty retreat.

Unfortunately they then became victim of the table edge syndrome, the Prussian infantry could pin them against the edge, so only option was to head back to their own lines. Rather than move away from the infantry - or better still go around the back!

The Infantry Battle

Prussian infantry then filled the full width of the table and attacked the Austrian centre. The attack came on in two divisions, this made it far less effective. The split was due to two reasons, the cavalry attack had made the infantry drift to the right, and to avoid masking the artillery battery in the centre. 
Eventually the Austrian infantry were able to hold off the Prussians, and caused enough casualties on the attacking Prussians to win the battle.


A thoroughly enjoyable game.

The Maurice card system was very effective at breaking the battle down into a series of actions, first the Austrian cavalry attack on the flank, and then the advance of the Prussian infantry once the cavalry had been neutralised. This is a far more realistic sequence than the usual everyone attack at once - or having to write special rules to prevent everyone jumping off at the same time.

We intend to play this again, and I will put a bit more thought into the armies to better differentiate the troop types - perhaps make the cuirassiers elite?

Also, I think I will refight it with less units, and leave the Prussian right a little more open.

As always, comments welcome.

And everyone have a good Christmas.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Using 40mm semi flats for wargaming

Which rules do we use?

'Old school' wargaming.

The new PA range are a development of original HE semi-flats, which were the work of Holger Eriksson, who also sculpted the Spencer Smith range of figure. These figures feature prominently in classic wargames books such as ‘The War Game’ by Charles Grant, or ‘Charge’ by Brig. P Young & Lt. Col J.P Lawford. Both of these books are still available in paperback reprint - but if you can afford it treat yourself to a second hand hardbacks - they look so much better on the bookshelf!

Both of these use large units, which certainly look very impressive, however they are a lot of work - and you will need a big table!

A display game using large units of 40mm ‘Karoliner’ (mostly) figures.

We dallied with 'old school' rules for a couple of years, but found them 'hard work', needing a lot of time, and we rarely finished a game - so we don't use them much now. The thing is though that I really do want them to work - perhaps I just need opponents with lots of time on their hands?

More recent rules-sets

Having given the 'old school' a fighting chance we decided to go for more recent rule sets.

Field of Battle

Initially we used  ‘Field of Battle’ (FoB) by Brent Oman; we already used them (along with 'Shako') for 15mm Napoleonics, and they work fine with the semi flats. These are an interesting set of rules based on the Piquet rules system and use a variable move sequence which is card driven.


More recently we have been using  'Maurice’ by Sam Mustafa; these are a fun set, and again the action is card driven. They also contain a simple campaign system. A ‘lite’ version of Maurice is available for free download from:

Both sets have their places, Maurice is best for just two players, whereas FoB can be used with multiple players on each side.

Both of these rule-sets work well with small units of 16 infantry and 8 cavalry, and can still look very impressive. This could be either Maurice or FoB - the troop scale and basing is the same.

There are many other sets available - we have settled on these two.........for now.

Basing and organising figures into units

You might think that 40mm figures need a big table to play on, but that isn't really the case. As the figures are semi-flats,  the width is no more than full-round 28mm figures, so a 20mm  wide base works well for both infantry and cavalry. The bases do need to be a bit deeper than for 28mm, and we have found 30mm for infantry and 60mm for the cavalry to be about right. This is a period of linear warfare with relatively shallow battle lines, so the deeper bases aren't really a problem. The figures have been designed to fit neatly into units on these base sizes.

After a lot of heart searching, I decided to base up the figures so that they could be used either as a single 32 man unit......

.... or two 16 man units, which is all they have been used as so far.

I must do a battle report.................