Before starting our campaign, we had taken an inventory of the Seven Years War collections from the various club members in our area. As a reflection of many clubs, there are gamers who have similar interests in the period, but may not prefer rule set X and would rather use rule set Y. So, we could expect a diversity of rule preferences in addition to base sizes and figure ratios differences.
Rather than find a common rule set, the solution seemed obvious, we supply the scenario and the club members would play out the battle using their preferred rules. The scenarios would illustrate the latest intelligence of enemy strength, terrain features would have a hand drawn out map of the battlefield and of the surrounding area, camp location, own order of battle listing the commands, general orders or guideline as given by their respective head of state. We receive the results and hopefully with some nice pictures that can be posted to the blog. We expect the campaign to offer two or three large battles, but certainly a host of smaller conflicts. That prompted me to explore the DBN-SYW variant. I had played a lot of DBA and collected nearly 80 full armies, but had never considered playing outside the 3000BC – 1500 AD period.
One evening, after reviewing the DBA Humberside expansion set, I played a few battles of Prussians and Austrians and looked at this as a viable option to deal with all the smaller conflicts. Resolution was quick and in an evening we could play out several engagements and continue our campaign without too much loss of time.
The following report is of one such small conflict between Prussians and Austrians. The composition of troops follow the army lists and for both sides this meant the majority were 4Ms, some 3Kn, a 3Dr a cannon for the Austrians and artillery for the Prussians. Flanked by woods, the deployment area offered sufficient space for lines of infantry and cavalry, but artillery required a good field of fire. Both sides deployed in near mirror image of the other, with both lights opting for opposite flanks.
Somewhere in Silesia 1757
From the opening, both lines of infantry forward with cuirassiers supporting. By turn 2, light troops were entering or hugging the woods and the Austrian cannon were ranging in on the Prussian line. By turn three, the Austrians had completed the wheeling of their line to allow a greater field of fire for their artillery and this brought them into Prussian artillery range. Turn four, both sides settled down to bombarding and musket salvos of each other’s line, unfortunately, the Austrians got the better of the exchange. Up one for white.
Turn five, the Prussians were not able to redress their lines well enough, but had enough pips to prepare for the Austrian cavalry approach by moving the hussars from the left flank and have the Prussian Frei battalion engage the exposed Austrian line. Musket volleys did prove effective enough to force gaps in the Austrian line.
The Austrians countered the light troops harassing the Austrian line by moving the Dragoons forward. On the opposite flank, the cuirassiers inched forward, while the Grenzers moved out of the woods to fire on the Prussian cavalry line. During this turn, half the Austrian battle line wheeled to concentrate their fire on an already disorganized Prussian wing. Up two for Austria.
Dogged by low pip throws, the Prussians were able to launch a desperate charge by the cuirassiers, while return fire disrupted the Austrian battle line. Prussia now behind by one.
That Mollwitz feeling
Despite the low pip roll, the Austrians were able to redress their battle line and move forward. Part of the Austrian line had to deal with the nuisance Frei battalion at the woods which now claimed the attention of the Dragoons and infantry. However, the steady musket volleys now delivered the decisive stroke. The Seydlitz Hussars, who had remained immobile due to insufficient pip numbers, became the cause the subsequent mayhem of the recoil, which killed their general. Game officially ended, but the Austrian cuirassiers added icing to the cake by delivering another casualty. Austria four, Prussia one.
I liked the DBN-SYW variant and have used this fielding other armies which we use for the 18th century Sojourn. As you may have noted, the base sizes are different as we use the WRG 1685-1845 rule set. With a slight variation, we opted for a 1:25 historical ratio to allow for double ranks and larger battalions and regiments. However, that no way detracts from the DBA system. I look forward to trying out the big battle option using three commands.