Category Archives: Seven Years War

Hapsburg Eagles

Field Marshal von Daun sat uneasily upon his horse as a stiff wind blew across the Bohemian countryside in the spring of 1757, the war had been raging for a year now. Opposite him line upon line of blue uniforms stretched across the countryside around a mile and a half distance. As he sat upon his horse he contemplated much. How would his army perform? Would it drive the Prussian foe from the field as the Emperess Maria Theresa expected? However, his thoughts were cut short by the interruption of his aide. “My Lord, General Sincere reports a significant movement against our right and centre, as you expected”. Excellent he thought, there was a chance, despite the terrain that he could secure a victory against Frederick after all. He moved his horse forward, battle was to be joined.

Constrained by the Roslomitz stream on his left and the rising ground at his front, the Bousov, and a heavy wood immediately to his centre rear von Daun was left with few options but to form a line running from the stream northeast towards the town of Kuklena, bending at the Bousov. His three infantry divisions moved forward as directed. 

Above, the general situation with the Austrians on the left. The town of Kuklena is in the right foreground, the Bousov in the centre and the Roslomitz stream in the distance.

The Austrian left was held by General Marshall who directly commanded the 1st Division, and was nominally the deputy army commander. This division contained four infantry regiments and was reinforced by 12 medium guns and the reserve heavy artillery also of 12 guns. A total of 24 guns, excluding the lighter pieces allocated to support each infantry regiment. The Austrian centre was formed by General Starhemberg’s Division and also contained four infantry regiments. Initially the rising ground of the Bousov, conical and perhaps 700 yards in width at its widest point, was to be held by a regiment of the left and two regiments of Starhemberg’s Division with his divisional artillery and another regiment extending to the right between the high ground and the town of Kuklena. The final regiment, Infantry Regiment 26, formed a reserve. The Austrian right was held by General Sincere’s Division and was the strongest with five infantry regiments. To the rear of the infantry divisions were the three Austrian cavalry divisions. Namely those of Luetzow, Stampach and Serbelloni. In all Daun had deployed some 16,500 bayonets, 7,500 sabres and 48 medium and heavy guns.

Above a view of the Austrian right viewed from the Prussian left. While below a view from the Austrian centre and left. Here the Prussian centre is clearly visible, while the Prussian right is still some distance away.

Daun was expecting an determined Prussian attack on his centre and this was soon confirmed when the telltale headgear of the Prussian Grenadiers were seen some 1200 yards from the Bousov.

Below, another view from the rising ground of the Bousov.

Soon after the Austrian regiments deployed the Prussian grenadiers and a regiment of 1000 dragoons hit the Austrian centre.

Austrian Infantry Regiment 4 and 13 were the focus of two Prussian Converged Grenadier Regiments, while Infantry Regiment 47 was to face Prussian cavalry. Below, the Prussian attack.

The ensuing engagement was bloody. While Austrian Infantry Regiment 4 threw back the attack by the Prussian Grenadiers Infantry Regiment 13 was swept away by the second. The Prussian Dragoons attacked with great elan and decimated Infantry Regiment 47. In just 30 minutes Starhemberg’s Division had suffered the loss of two of it’s four infantry regiments.

Daun was far from demoralised by the ferocity of these attacks and over the next two hours would order several counterattacks by cavalry and infantry in an attempt to hold the high ground, or at least contest it.

Meanwhile on the Austrian right the battle was equally ferocious. In an attempt to support the Prussian attack on the centre several Prussian regiments advanced forward and began an exchange of musket and artillery fire with Sincere’s Austrians. One Prussian regiment secured the town of Kuklena from which it poured fire, though ineffectively on the Austrian flank. However, it was now the Prussians who were constricted by terrain and facing a withering Austrian fire. Muskets, light cannon and heavier field guns belched death at the Prussians opposite. 

Above, a view of the Austrian right flank. Prussian infantry have seized the town of Kuklena, visible in the right foreground.

Then, about 4pm General Sincere ordered three of his regiments, held in reserve, on to the offensive. Regiments 42, 21 and 48 marched with great discipline to the northeast with flags flying and drums beating where, on their arrival, they fell upon the Prussians with great determination.

Below, the Austrian attack underway. Infantry Regiment 42 has just failed a morale check while the Prussian defenders are also still disordered after seizing the town.

The Prussians not expecting such ferocity fell out of the town in considerable disorder. Worse for the Prussian left this defeat, combined with previous casualties, resulted in the Prussian left falling back in some disorder and exhausted by the fighting.

Yet Field Marshal Daun was unable to capitalise on this stroke of fortune. His right was clearly victorious but his centre remained precariously weak. Below, the Austrian left where it rests on the Roslomitz stream.

To his consternation his left was being pressed by more Prussian formations. A Prussian cavalry attack on Infantry Regiment 7, already shaken by concentrated artillery fire, forced Daun to bolster his line with his last fresh cavalry reserve. Simultaneously Daun ordered a final cavalry charge by the converged Cuirassier Brigade comprised of the Cuirassier Regiments 5 & 20 which he accompanied personally. The Prussians were driven back.

However, by 7pm the situation had become completely untenable and Daun, now somewhat despondent, reluctantly ordered his army to retire from the field – covered by the threatening demonstrations by General Sincere against the now outflanked Prussian left.

It seemed that Maria Theresa’s Legions had been badly handled by Frederick, but the Emperess had not lost hope and von Daun would soon take the field again.

This was the first outing for my Seven Years War Austrians, so certainly their first game was worth recording, despite the result. Interestingly it was the first Seven Years War battle for my opponent’s Prussians, though they have frequently found themselves engaged in 1806 Napoleonic games. With both armies limited in numbers it was a smaller game, but certainly had a very different feel than the Napoleonic games we often play.

Casualty wise the Austrians had taken a hammering. Two infantry divisions were near exhaustion, while the third was fresh. In addition the Austrian cavalry divisions were spent. One had collapsed, one was exhausted and the last near exhaustion. Of the Prussian divisions one was exhausted while the Grenadier Division was also near exhaustion.

The figures are all of course 6mm and from the excellent Heroics & Ros ranges, the Austrians from my collection the Prussians from Alastair’s.

Maria Theresa’s Legions

Over recent weeks I’ve been slowly working on my latest Volley & Bayonet project. Specifically my Seven Years War Austrians.

The figures available were purchased second hand some years ago unpainted for something of a bargain. Regular readers will know I use 6mm Heroics & Ros almost exclusively for my Volley & Bayonet armies. Why you ask? Well, in my view they are both a good physical size allowing a reasonable number of miniatures per base, while anatomically well proportioned. However, before I could start the project I really needed to sort through the figures, they have after all been in my lead mountain for rather a long time.

Finding where to start such a project can be difficult. Specifically, how many troops should I paint and which units? Should I focus on a specific battle or build a more generic army? In the end for this project I decided to primarily focus on the Battle of Kolin, partly as a result of having visited the battlefield in 2017 and partly as it seemed a reasonable sized battle to start with. However, while in the planning stage I decided to allow a little variation from the Kolin order of battle for variety.

I further decided to break the overall project into manageable portions. First off was some 13 infantry regiments. Of these 13 regiments 12 were at Kolin and the remaining one was added to provide some variety with facing colours. These regiments would provide the core of the regular infantry.

I’m of course using Volley and Bayonet and use “half scale”. Therefore each regiment is mounted on 1.5” wide base which is 0.75” deep. After some experimentation I felt that 16 figures per stand would provide a good visual representation and at the same time ensure that the base provided sufficient protection when handling the bases.

Above, an Austrian Infantry Division containing five regiments. In the foreground from left to right are IR 12 Botte, IR 4 Deutschmeister and IR 59 Leopold Daun. Each regiment carries the correct facing colours and are labeled on the rear.

Above a another view of the infantry showing the labels. IR 12 has now fallen into the second line. Below, the initial batch of Austrian infantry regiments without commanders.

The first cavalry and then artillery were next on the painting queue, as were a number of commanders.

As is my custom I now place ten cavalry on each brigade base, which are 1.5” square. Interestingly many of the Volley & Bayonet Austrian cavalry stands at Kolin are composite formations formed by a combinations of various regiments. Sometimes these composite brigades contain both cuirassiers and dragoons. All these factors, as well as having a limited number of dragoons available, meant I would again deviate slightly from the composition at Kolin defined in Frank Chadwick’s Kolin scenario. With limited cuirassiers I would initially paint four stands of cuirassiers and two stands of dragoons.

The cuirassiers are generally in the same uniform with the regiments being differentiated by the saddle cloth edging and standards. The exception being Cuirassier Regiment Alt Modena (18) with blue cuffs which at Kolin order of battle is brigaded with CR Gelhay (16). As way of clarification I have tended to use the regimental numbers introduced in 1769, but where disbanded before this date I have used the numbers listed at the very useful Kronoskaf site.

Above and below the Cuirassiers. Inspection of the labels shows the brigaded cavalry. The most obvious is the Cuirassiers Regiments 16 Gelhay and CR 18 Alt Modena in the right foreground below.

The dragoons are a more interesting and colourful mix. I opted to model initially two brigade sized amalgamations merging the DR 37 Kolowrat-Krakowski and DR 9 Prinz Savoyen to form one brigade and then DR 19 Hessen-Darmstadt and DR 39 Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld to form the second.

With plenty of Horse Grenadiers present I included a couple of Horse Grenadier figures on each base. Later I will complete a converged Horse Grenadier brigade, which promises to be colourful drawing companies from several regiments. Below, DR 19 and 39 are on the left while DR 37 and 9 are on the right.

At Kolin there were around 150 Austrian cannon comprised of various calibers. While the infantry regiments had supporting artillery attached to them, the more concentrated heavier pieces are represented in Frank Chadwick’s Kolin scenario by four of the five infantry divisions having artillery. For my purposes I painted four stands of artillery with stand nominally representing around 12 guns.

Of course I am well short of the full Kolin order of battle but with the addition of various commanders I would at least be able to use the army for some fictional games while I paint more units. To that end I completed several divisional commanders (one mounted figure per stand), a couple of wing commanders (two figures a stand) and an army commander (three mounted figures). All the commanders were based on a base 0.75” square.

Above and below more generic photos of elements of the army arranged for battle. Visible, and supporting the infantry and cavalry, are several artillery stands and various divisional, wing and of course the army commander.

Next on the production line are the Grenz Regiments, some Hussars and a few additional commanders. On the way from Heriocs and Ros are some additional figures to further supplement Maria Theresa’s Legions.

Korbitz, 21st September 1759

There are a few excellent Volley & Bayonet blogs on the Internet, one is the Seven Years War blog run by Fabrizio Davì called the Torgau Project. Here Fabrizio documents his research and army building, in 6mm. Recently Fabrizio has posted a four part series on the scenario and mini campaign for the Battle of Korbitz which is now packaged up as a full scenario and published here. To set the scene I will hand over to Fabrizio.

At the beginning of September 1759, a Prussian relief corps under Maj.Gen. Wunsch was sent to counter the Austro-Imperial invasion of Saxony: despite arriving too late to prevent the Dresden surrender, it recaptured however most of northern Saxony. With the help of a corps commanded by Lt.Gen Finck, Wunsch recaptured Leipzig: the two reunited corps marched then on Meissen. To counter them the GFML prince Friedrich von Pflaz-Zweibrücken, commander-in-chief of the Reichsarmee, left 16 battalions to garrison Dresden and marched with his army, reinforced by the Austrian corp of Hadik to attack them. The whole operation was supervised by Field Marshal Serbelloni.

The plan was to fix the Prussian left wing in front of Meissen with the Reichsarmee whereas Hadik was to flank the Prussian position with his corps. The Wunsch wing contained the Reichsarmee ineffective attack: in the meantime Hadik attacked the Finck wing. The approach march of Hadik wing was delayed by the very poor terrain conditions and Hadik asked repeatedly to call off the attack. However Serbelloni ordered to proceed and Hadik troops arrived piecemeal on the battle scene.

To continue with the background and see the full scenario click here or visit the Scenario Section of this site.

Strehla, 20th August 1760

Fabrizio Davì has recently sent in a new Seven Years War scenario for publication here on “The Volley & Bayonet Page”.  Indeed Fabrizio, on his excellent blog, describes the action as one of those lesser-known, middle-sized, uneven and asymmetric actions between the Reichsarmee and the Prussians which makes some delightful war-game scenarios. While I haven’t played the scenario it certainly looks interesting. As way of background I will hand over to Fabrizio who describes the situation further…

In the August 1760, on the Saxony theatre, the commander of the ReichsArmee, Prince Michael of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld was at the head of an Austro-Imperial army of about 25,000 men. Since his forces were almost twice of those of the Prussian Lieutenant-General Georg von Hülsen, he resolved to attack him in his fortified camp at Strehla, on the Elbe river.

Most of the Prussian units were in field fortifications on the plateau immediately to the west of Strehla. The right wing of the Prussian positions was positioned on the Dürren-Berg. The gap between these positions was covered by the cavalry.

The Reichsarmee commander planned a typical attack by different columns. The Reserve of Prince Stolberg, supported by the Grenadier corps of Guasco and by Kleefeld’s Austrian auxiliary corps was to attack Prussian right whereas the main Imperial corps would put a demonstration against the fortified camp near Strehla with the Imperial cavalry skirmishing on the Prussian left flank.

The complete scenario can be found here. In addition Fabrizio provides a summary of one of his playtests of the scenario on his blog.