zaterdag 25 juli 2015

6. Reichenberg, Bohemia 1757

The Battle at Reichenberg marked the start of Fredrick’s Bohemian Campaign of 1757. The campaign was unique in that it featured a four pronged attack spread across a front of 200 miles traversing the mountain ranges bordering Bohemia.  

Several years back, we played this campaign starting with Reichenberg and ending with Köningsegg’s arrival at Prague. The campaign used a WRG rule set which meant unit representation was greatly reduced (24 figure bns.).  
Now, with the revised DBA-HX to 3.0 the Battle of Reichenberg can be played with every unit present on a properly scaled battlefield.

Right wing under Major-General von Lacy
Cavalry under Lieutenant-General Count Porporati

1 x Cuirassier,  1 x Elite Cavalry,  3 x Cavalry,  2 x Light Horse,  2 x Grenadier,  14 x Line Infantry, 2 x Grenzer Skirmisher , 2 x Heavy Artillery.
For a total of 13,200 foot and 3,500 horse.

Infantry under Lieutenant-General von Lestwitz
Cavalry under Major-General Eugen von Württemberg

4 x Cavalry (including Hussar), 3 x Grenadier, 10 x Line Infantry, 2 x Conscript, 2 x Heavy Artillery.
In reserve, 1 x Cavalry (Hussar), 1 x Grenadier, 4 x Conscript.
Total force (excluding detachments): 14,500 men (11,450 foot in 15 bns and 3,100 horse in 20 sqns and 12 heavy field pieces

Victory conditions.
Königsegg must hold the Prussian advance until 11.00 hours. This will afford enough time for outlying detachments to destroy supply depots lest these fall into the hands of the enemy. Detachments are also preparing the line of retreat with defensive positions and marking key crossing points along the Iser River.

Historically, the battle started at 07.00 hrs and the Austrians began their retreat by 11.00 hrs. For this game the Austrians must duplicate the period of time so detachments can complete their tasks.

0700 – 0800 hrs.
The Austrians choose not to move out of their positions, so the first hour was marked by the slow cadence of the Prussian wall moving toward the earthworks.

Prussian artillery concentrated their fire on the Austrian artillery position to the flank of their line. Viable targets were screened as the Prussian main line moved closer toward the entrenchments.

0800 – 0900 hrs.
Now in range, the Prussian infantry were firing on the exposed Austrian formations deployed between the entrenchments. On the Prussian left, three battalions of Grenadiers were now the target of enemy artillery and infantry volley fire.

Far to the right, the Prussian cavalry were not eager to start a general cavalry action. They would wait patiently until the infantry would take the heights before moving forward.

0900 – 1000 hrs.
Up to this moment, casualties were very light despite the volley fire and cannonade. In this period, the Prussian Grenadiers ceased their musket fire and assaulted the Austrian line with the bayonet. The Musketeer battalions on the right were successful in taking the north entrenchments. This was a critical moment that was relieved by the elite cavalry units positioned nearby.

Seeing the elite regiments moving away General von Württemberg launched his cavalry regiments against the Austrian Hussars deployed nearby. Joining the Dragoon regiment on the right the sudden attack had the desired effect of eliminating the Hussars and evening the odds.

1000 – 1030 hrs.
The Austrian was holding up well against the repeated charges by the Prussian Grenadiers. The Prussian second line was now adding their weight to the attack. A counter-stroke by the cavalry was needed to balance the situation. Count Porporati collecting the elite regiments moved all his cavalry into one final battle.

General Württemberg, still seen leading the Dragoon regiments lead his squadrons to shatter the Austrian cavalry leaving only the elite regiments to fend off a Prussian pursuit. With the Prussian Grenadiers approaching the Reichenberg road, at 10.45 Königsegg called a general retreat.

 In DBA scoring terms, the Prussians scored a 6 – 3 victory demoralizing a command. From a historical viewpoint, the length of time that the Austrians were engaged with the Prussians was nearly identical and for that I am extremely pleased.

Despite the slight advantage of numbers, the Austrians were not in a position to commit to a long protracted battle. All Austrian columns on the frontier were ordered to gather at Prague to fight the decisive battle against Frederick.

Our replay of the campaign involved a series of rear guard actions, night marches and force marches which resulted in Bevern and Schwerin delaying their meeting by two days. In those two days, Königsegg saved much needed supplies to be sent back to Prague. 

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