Friday, 8 January 2016
Chotusitz, a tale of two halves.
I've often noticed that after a particularly close and exciting wargame I have trouble sleeping that night. Our refight yesterday of the Battle of Chotusitz was no different and caused me a sleepless night.
Chotusitz is a relatively small battle from the wars of Austrian Succession against that prig, Frederick.The Austrians were beaten after a closely fought struggle, where once again the Prussian infantry showed why they were the best in Europe.
Yesterday I represented Duke Charles of Austria, ably assisted by Colin who led one half of the army.Facing us was John my old adversary and general thorn in ones side, and the talented Dave Jarvis representing Frederick. This was our third game using the excellent Honours of War rules, and was the first of the New Year.
The Brigadier in question, just prior to his demise and replacement.
Although a little rusty after the Christmas lay off, we soon got back into the groove, and success came quickly to the Austrians on both flanks, where they had much better quality cavalry led by decent commanders. A key feature of Honours of War is the role of the brigade commanders, who as long as they are of sufficient ability can influence a battle greatly. Their role comes at a price however as they are constantly at risk when their command is fired upon. The feature is similar to Blackpowder, but the game mechanism is a tad more subtle and for me personally seems a lot better.Please dont ask me why, it just does. Anyway, things were going to plan for Colin was gaining clear success on his wing, whilst I was pushing back the Prussians on my wing.
In the centre, where our infantry were situated, things were progressing and for a change were led by Dependable Brigadiers, which in the rules makes them solid but not too spectacular. Basically a decent typical Austrian. So by the lunch break, the Prussian right wing had all but collapsed, the Prussian left wing was retreating, and in the centre the Prussian infantry were pressed against the village of Chotusitz with the Austrian infantry advancing steadily, facing only a large heavy artillery battery and the dregs of the Prussian army.
I should perhaps mention that the majority of the Prussian infantry had yet to come on table in their centre, but John was already bemoaning the quick collapse of his command and was on the brink of throwing the towel in.
So prior to lunch I stood on the brink of wargaming glory, with my Austrian infantry poised to apply the coup de grace. Never again will I stop for lunch, certainly when I am on the brink of kicking Frederick's backside.
Following our return,the victory was snatched away by a devastating volley from the Prussian artillery against our infantry. My infantry suffered several hits, but not sufficient to cause them too much trouble, but the risk to my brigadier was there for all to see.
In Honours of War, the opponent who has caused the causalities has the honour of throwing two six sided dice to see if they have hit their opponents brigadier.The risk is not too high as they need either an eleven or a twelve. True to form Mr Jarvis cheated up a score of 12!
Again in the rules, after a commander is hit,he naturally needs to be replaced, and a simple dice roll decides of what ability he will be. You know where this is going, I threw my customary 1 which allows my replacement commander to have the abilities described in the rules as Dithering, but in this battle they should have been described as Daft if not down right dangerous.
For the next three moves this brigadier and his command failed to move.
I was to fail three command roles in succession, so whilst my centre stood, the Prussians gleefully poured fire into them, causing my command to simply melt away taking their supports with them.
The irony was that no matter how many times the Daft Brigadier was tested to see if he was hit, Jarvis couldnt throw the correct score. The offending general stood like an immortal, impervious to all dangers. God knows I tried to get him killed.
So in the end, with the arrival of the Prussian reinforcements, the battered Austrian Army had to scramble to obtain a draw, and even that was only just. So my sleep was destined to be disturbed thinking of that one small incident and that inept Brigadier.
The Prussian heavy battery, just prior to it sweeping away the Austrian infantry.
[ Colin on his blog, Carry on up the Dale, will no doubt provide a more accurate and balanced report of the game]