Thanks for all the great appreciation shown for the First part in which I gave a bit of historical background, the scope of our game, and a lot about making the customised battlefield. In this part I will give the game context and briefs, orders of battle, opening dispositions and get the troops on the table.
|Langensalza in full swing. Richard made us laugh and then took a sneaky photo! Of more interest than me is the magnetic map board behind me on which we tracked the opening off-field movement.|
(Photo: Richard Newcombe)
As I said in the first part, the Kronoscaf site has more or less all you need for Langensalza 1761. However it is short on actual numbers. I estimated that working on roughly one 28mm figure to 50 actual men should give us between 25 to 30 units per side which was more than enough for 2-3 wargamers per side in one day using "Honours of War" rules. That could represent up to 30,000 men per side. The Prussian force was said to be about 7000 men so should be around 140 figures and was maybe a quarter of the total Allied force. That was the only number I had to go on apart from the histories suggesting the Saxon Corps fluctuated around 10, 000 men, and there were supplementary French units I could call on for balance, such as a corps of Grenadiers. Probably the Saxons/French should be outnumbered (in Army Points anyway) but not by too much.
HoW works best for us with standard size units of between 24 and 36 figures for infantry and 12 for cavalry: depending on how closely the figures are based we tolerate a width in line formation of 20-25cm for infantry or cavalry. Anything bigger is a "Large" unit and anything smaller is "Small". Therefore (at my ground scale of 60cm = 1 km) the footprint on the table top is around 350 metres wide for a standard unit. So each unit would represent 2 to 3 battalions, or maybe two regiments of cavalry. Since regiments of cavalry could be anything from 2 to 5 squadrons I was not going to beat myself up about accuracy! Within the parameters I had set my aims became:
1. Make sure the overall balance of numbers was about right given we were allowing for all the forces on the Kronoscaf Orbat. Work out sensible "brigade" sizes to match the historical units and generals.
2. Ensure a balance of sizes and capabilities of units taking into account any supposed terrain advantages too. (To my eye although the bridges and marsh would slow the allies a lot, they had a lot of cavalry, and the Saxons did not have the numbers to defend the whole area so were potentially vulnerable to a breakthrough and surrounding as in the historical battle). I am aided in balancing orbats by my sliding scale of "Army Points" depending on size and quality - Inferior Trifling unit is 0.5 through Standard everything at 3 up to Large Superior on 5. I don't use the HoW rulebook system.
3. For the same reason give a balance of commander numbers and capabilities to ensure the right amount of tactical options and the chance of some fun for the players (Too many "Dithering" generals in HoW is not fun however realistic you think that might be!)
4. Use as many of the contributing wargamers' units intact as possible (especially the newly painted ones!) but don't be afraid to reduce them in size if required.
You can find all my documentation in the 18th Century Historical section of Downloads in the right hand side bar, or here Langensalza game documents. For the more casual reader here is a tabulation of the main features:
|Saxon/French allowed deployment zones|
|Saxon/French actual deployments and arrival plans|
|Allies - allowed deployment areas|
- I had allowed Von Reden's cavalry brigade to march up the flank off the table and arrive at Schonstedt, but it still needed to start off in Area G at 0700. Given that news Paul opted to bring them on in Square A1 and advance up to Schonstedt frontally from Move One. I think he hoped to put the wind up the small Royal Nassau Hussars.
- Any troops except artillery could cross the marshes and river at half speed but Paul assumed they all had to queue up for the road bridges. So I realigned his troops in Areas F and N to make better use of the available baseline entry places directly to their fronts, with the artillery to catch up later via bridges. (I sometimes stretch HoW's "out of command" rule when I think it obvious a follow up order has been left with brigaded artillery.)
- I forgot to remind all the players to do a double move when in march column and more than 60cm from the enemy. That was very relevant in the first few moves and we made up for lost time, so don't be too fooled by the opening photos!
|Allied deployment (but see Point 1 above about von Reden)|
The Opening Moves
To kick us off to a good start Paul and Guy came the evening before the main game to sort out the figures, most of which they contributed, set up those on the table and do the opening manoeuvring on the magnetic wall map. The following sequence is a tour round showing the opening move, give or take a bit more for some due to my initially forgetting the 60cm distance rule.
|A general view from the western end above Schonstedt village. The Royal-Nassau Hussars in the foreground are well placed to spot any Hanoverian movement off that part of the table so no need to conceal the map from Guy.|
|Von Hodenberg's cavalry make a fast move from Thamsbruck bridge to the ridge top and so Guy had to put on the table the formerly concealed infantry of the Comte de Solms. Paul's cavalry now knew they faced Saxon converged Grenadiers and Foot Guards|
|Guy had sent the other Saxon regiment to occupy part of Langensalza|
|At Merxleben bridge the Zieten Hussars and Leib Carabiniers did not make such quick progress|
|A nice view of some of Guy's new Saxons. De Borck's Brigade march towards Schonstedt hoping to create a broader front to thwart the likely Hanoverian outflanking move reported by the Hussar outpost|
|Comte de Stainville's Division made an appearance. |
Baron de Klingenberg's Saxon infantry
(assisted in the representation by some of my Imagi-nations and French troops)
march on South of the Judenberg hill
|The cavalry of Baron La Bruggen hold the extreme right flank of the French line opposite the Merxleben Heights|
|In the opposite corner to them. Luckner's light troops can be seen crossing the marsh and the Suthbach while in the foreground the front of Reden's Hanoverian cavalry has just made it into "Square A1"|
|Martin receives his top-up briefing on arrival while the glasses raised on head shows Richard is taking it all in......|
|Martin's first line of von Syburg's Prussian force. Freikorps infantry, |
Carabiniers and Cuirassiers, and a small contingent of the Zieten Hussars
(visually Paul B's heavy cavalry 5-wide don't cross bridges easily! )
|I love this photo, I feel as if I'm going through the marsh with them. Beautiful Paul B Minden Prussians act as line Freikorps and my tried and trusted (!) Foundry Freikorps make yet another appearance as light troops|
|And here they are deploying, with Grenadier battalions following on|
|On the other side of Langensalza Guy is about to use a double move with de Borck's brigade to extend the Saxon line up towards Schonstedt.......|
|....while Paul decides charging Grenadier bayonets is not|
advisable and wisely switched the emphasis of
von Hodenberg's cavalry advance towards the right
The cavalry having vacated the crest Guy's Grenadiers evidently think "we'll go up there then,