|Berlichingen's Cavalry Wing Turning the Prussian Left|
In the rematch, we switched sides with Jake taking command of the Prussians while I commanded the White Menace. Having several weeks between games, we both had plenty of time to rethink strategies and prepare for the day of battle. For Jake's thoughts and strategies on Mollwitz, see Operational Design in Wargaming.
Like Mollwitz Game #1, Game #2 is resolved under the Honours of War (HoW) rules. With no terrain objectives to target, the object of the battle is the destruction of the opposing army. In HoW, an army breaks once it loses half of its total number of BMUs. For the Prussians, Army Break Point is 11 units. For the Austrians, the Army Break Point is set to 10 units. Being Prussian, Frederick holds an advantage in both first movement and first fire.
The Battle of Mollwitz, provides a challenging tactical problem for both combatants. With both Prussians and Austrians deploying in a traditional battle line with infantry in the center and cavalry on each wing, the setup initially looks balanced. Looks are deceiving! The Prussian cavalry wings are poorly led and poorly trained while the Austrian cavalry wings are well-led and well-trained. The infantry lines in the center are the opposite. That is, the Prussian infantry is well-led and well-trained while their counterparts are poorly led and a bunch of rabble. With a strong infantry center and weak cavalry wings, the Prussians must close with the Austrian infantry and defeat that body before the Austrians can defeat the weaker Prussian cavalry wings and turn their line. Of course, the White Menace must do the opposite. Destroy the Prussian cavalry wings before the Austrian musketeer rabble in the center is pushed back onto Mollwitz and exterminated.
With those thoughts in mind, on to the battle. While the Prussian line holds steady, Romer leaves the Austrian battle line and begins his slow advance through the snow to the Prussian right. The Austrian hussars move up to screen their infantry from the Prussian 12 pounders. Both hussars suffer for their bravery.
|Initial dispositions with Romer having already moved out of line.|
|Hussars retreat to safety while lines close.|
|Prussian infantry face the Austrian cavalry|
|Clash of the dragoons|
|Romer wins the first cavalry clash|
|Austrian line falters.|
|Romer tries to turn the Prussian right|
|Austrian cavalry destroy a second Prussian dragoon regiment|
|Romer gets into the Prussian backfield|
|King Frederick has seen enough!|
|Austrian cavalry in the Prussian backfield|
|Cuirassiers vs Grenadiers|
|The isolated Austrian infantry are Done For|
As noted at the beginning of the Battle Report, Mollwitz presents a challenge to both sides. In retrospect, the Austrians have a much bigger challenge. While the Austrian cavalry wings are powerful and well-led, the Austrian infantry are all classified as Inferior. In HoW, that is a big hurdle to overcome. Inferior units have less resolve in both fire and melee and have great difficulty in recovering hits once sustained. Getting the Austrian infantry beyond the 30cm requirement for rally proved difficult.
With that being the situation, why did I order the Austrian infantry to advance in the face of such adversity? Well, that is a good question! My original thought was to advance to pin the Prussian center while my cavalry wings turned the Prussians on both flanks. If the Prussians continued to advance on Mollwitz, the Austrian line would give ground gradually while trying to minimize Austrian casualties. Once committed, I found an orderly withdrawal was not possible since an Austrian regiment only seemed capable of sustaining one or two Prussian volleys.
The Austrian hussars were sacrificed with no real purpose. While they did protect the Austrian infantry briefly, the hussars fell back after only a short encounter with the Prussian guns. Not only did they fall back quickly but they retreated through the inferior infantry causing casualties to the musketeers they passed through! Ouch!
After two games, I suggest an Austrian victory is almost out of reach. Still, a fun evening on the miniature battlefield even in the face of defeat. Having a number of games under our belts, I see tactics beginning to emerge on the gaming table. As the number of games increases, our tactics evolve making for more interesting play and more, nail-biting decision points. HoW rules produce a bloody, decisive, yet interesting game. HoW should remain in a frequent rotation.