Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Zorndorf: Once More Into the Breach Part II


When we last left the Zorndorf battle, Schorlemmer and Demiku's cavalry wings had fought a furious clash of steel on the Prussian right.  In the center and left, Prussians steadily advanced to within killing range of the long and seemingly solid Russian lines.

From the Prussian left to right, Manteuffel's grenadiers were poised to attack Saltykov's grenadiers while von Kanitz and de Biaix's brigades were bearing down on the Russian line in support.  Skirting the east end of Stein Busch, Dohna was approaching Browne's Observation Corps. The Phony Battle of long range cannonades and swirling and indecisive cavalry actions was about to end.  The action resumes with Turn 7.  
Dispositions Turn 7
Prussians advance on the left while the Russians wait
Battle lines looking from the west
Turn 7:
Fermor, the Russian CiC, gets the first move and Demiku's heavy cavalry fall back toward the safety of the grund.  Demiku's hussars opt to charge the isolated Prussian hussars on the east bank of the grund.  For the Prussians, Von Kanitz makes a double move to position his lead regiments to threaten a Russian battery. 
Demiku's cavalry fall back
In the Fire Phase, the Prussians draw first fire initiative.  Kanitz inflicts damage to the Russian guns to his front but return fire from the Russian gun line is brutal.  Leading Prussian infantry regiments take heavy losses with IR#3 destroyed in the exchange.
IR#3 Destroyed from heavy artillery fire
On the Prussian right, Dohna's brigade comes under heavy fire from the trio of Russian batteries as it advances into canister range.  Suffering under a terrible fire, Dohna's combined grenadiers can take no more.  Now carrying four hits, they are forced back. 
Grenadiers targeted by Russian guns
Grenadiers retreat through their supports
N.B. In HoW, the ability to get the First Fire Initiative can be an important consideration.  Since fire is by brigade, having two brigades in firing position provides positive options even when First Fire Initiative is lost.  Army deployment is important as well.  Is it better to deploy brigades abreast (Prussian deployment on the Prussian left) to improve command control or in tandem (Russian deployment) to maximize fire when activated?

In the hussar clash on the far right of the battlefield, even with support, the inferior quality of the Russian hussars is no match for the Prussians. Taking four hits in the clash, the Novoserbskiy Hussars retreat out of contact with the Prussians.  Suffering from the results of the clash, themselves, the Ruesch Hussars do not follow up in pursuit.
Russian hussars suffer in their attack on the Prussian right.
Turn 8.
Prussian left within striking distance of the Russian line
Frederick receives the Move Initiative.  With the three Russian guns facing the Prussian left all having heavy casualties (3 hits each), should the guns be assaulted or driven off through musketry volleys?  A tough choice.  If the Prussians choose to assault the guns, the guns will fire first during the approach to contact.  If the Russians receive the Fire Initiative, the guns will be able to blast the Prussian infantry before they can return fire.  Frederick decides to engage in a firefight and prays for Fire Initiative.
Situation Turn 8 before the lines erupt in fire
Fire erupts on the Prussian left as smoke belches from musket and cannon.  To Frederick's relief, the Prussians get first fire and Kanitz's lead regiment fires into the battery facing his troops.  The fire is too hot for the guns and they will be forced to retire.  The Russians counter by unleashing their guns against the advancing Prussians.  Casualties mount.  Manteuffel's brigade joins into the firefight causing more destruction among the Russian guns and grenadiers. Then, Saltykov's entire first line unleashes a massive volley.  
Casualties mount on in the firefight on the Prussian left
The combination of musketry and cannon from the Russian line breaks Kanitz's lead regiment and it will be forced to retreat.  Taking a deadly one-two punch from Russian musketry and artillery, Manteuffel's 38/43 combined grenadiers scatters as it accumulates five hits and is Done For.  Manteuffel returns the favor with his two remaining combined grenadier battalions.  The Russian grenadiers anchoring the right of the Russian line are driven back in retreat.  As units retreat, panic spreads through those supporting units passed through. 
View from behind the Russian line as casualties mount.
Formations retreat through their supports.
N.B. While the damaged Russian guns may have preferred to limber and retire voluntarily out of harms' way to avoid more casualties, they could not do so.  Interpenetration rule locks a unit in place when within 10cm (15mm scale) of an enemy unit.  No limbering and falling back voluntarily through supports or moving a support up to cover the wavering friendly unit.  The only way to retire is through forced movement having received four or five hits.  A lesson learned in having supports too close.  Sometimes, close support is necessary.  

Russian line uncovered with retreat of guns
On the Prussian right, having driven off the closest threat in the Prussian grenadiers, Russian artillery turns its attention to Dohna's other lead musketeer regiments.  Two musketeer regiments get the worst of the exchange against the three Russian batteries.  Notice Seydiltz' cavalry is finally making an appearance on the Prussian right. 
Casualties escalate on the Prussian right
Turn 9.
Prussians get Move Initiative.  Having forced two of the Russian guns to abandon their positions in front of Saltykov's line and forcing back one of the Russian grenadier regiments, the Prussians on the left advance.
Prussian left advances to close range
Frederick maintains the initiative in the Fire Phase too.  Suffering is great as volleys are exchanged at close range.  One Russian battery, one musketeer regiment, and one grenadier regiment all reach heavy casualties and must retreat while one Prussian regiment is driven back.  
Firefighting is heavy as casualties escalate
Manteuffel's grenadiers lay in a deadly fusillade into another front-line Russian grenadier regiment charged with protecting the right of the Russian line.  Taking five hits, the grenadiers scatter.
A Russian grenadier regiment is Done For
With four Russian units in retreat or rout, panic among the ranks of the adjoining and supporting units catches.  As the fleeing Russians give ground, their panic spreads.  Having taken punishment in the firefight already, these now wavering units are pushed beyond the brink.  They join in flight back toward safety.  A second Russian grenadier regiment breaks and is Done For.  The flight of a portion of Saltykov's First Line reveals a large, gaping hole.  Seeing the destruction of his First Line including many of his prized grenadier regiments, Fermor has seen enough and abandons the field. 
A large hole on the Russian line
With Fermor abandoning the field, Saltykov takes over as commander of the Russian Army.  Is Fermor's departure a blessing in disguise?  With Fermor rated as Dithering and Saltykov rated as Dashing, perhaps Saltykov can instill confidence in his troops and recover from the calamity on the Russian right?  Although the Russian First Line has been broken by Prussian attacks, Galytsin's Second Line stands firm.  The Prussians are not unscathed, however.  Many Prussians are wavering as well.
Situation end of turn 9
With the Russian First Line broken on the Russian right and a change in command at the top of the Russian Army, this seems a fitting point to break off the action for this episode in the Battle of Zorndorf.

In the next chapter, find out if Saltykov can salvage the situation on the Russian right and whether the Prussians on the other end of the battlefield can pierce the Russian left.  Stay tuned...

44 comments:

  1. Always a pleasure to see your games, Jonathan. Impressive battlefield deployments on a grand scale.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dean, for taking the time to stick with this battle report.

      Delete
  2. Sounds great, beautiful and impressive lines of battle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Phil! No animation as in your fine BatReps but glad you enjoyed it.

      Delete
  3. Once the morale goes, the army can go, very nice again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true! Since I am fighting this solo, my opponent's morale NEVER breaks! Glad you like the battle report.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Yes but I think the Prussians threw in the towel too early in that game.

      Delete
  5. A close run thing. It could go either way!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice report. It sounds like a very enjoyable game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peter, the game has been very enjoyable especially when played at my leisure.

      Delete
  7. Those guns are brutal! and the 'run in' to contact seems a dire business for the Prussians, though the Russian front line collapse had something of a domino effect, so maybe just staying with it must be the Prussian mantra.

    I wonder what difference there would have been had the Prussians not won that important initiative roll.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Guns can be deadly but less so than close range musketry. That is brutal. Artillery at ranges beyond canister can produce losses but being distant from enemy units, many of those loses can be recovered during rally.

      Since the Prussians have a number of smaller brigades, Fire Initiative is important in selecting the highest value target. With an alternating fire system by brigade, after that initial fire from the Prussians, the Russians can unleash their entire front line brigade. While it is beneficial to having first fire, brigade size makes a difference as to the impact of that fire.

      Delete
  8. Really impressive Jonathan, you've certainly got your money's worth out of this battle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mike, you are spot on about getting my money's worth! This is Game #4 for me and Zorndorf.

      Delete
  9. Wonderful looking game Jonathan! Curious to see if the Russians hold on or the Prussians grind it out.

    Christopher

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Christopher! The battle is in the balance at present. We will what see what happens in the next installment.

      Delete
  10. In spite of the change of command, my money's still on the Prussians. I know what it is like to have one's supports up too close, a mistake I have to make a very conscious decision to avoid in our Napoleonic games having blundered into it more times than I care to remember.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These Zorndorf battles have seen victories to both but backing the Prussians may not be a bad bet.

      As for close supports, that is difficult when the guns arrayed ahead of the battle line. Very dangerous to leave them too isolated for fear of being overrun.

      Delete
  11. Interesting outcome. It seems to be more of a general attack by the Prussians than I first thought. When I rand this scenario solo I had a much easier time turning both the Russian flanks by wiping out their cavalry. Did you adjust the crossing points on the Grunds to limit access to the Russian rear/flanks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This has been an enjoyable exercise thus far. It has been an interesting contrast between Prussian small brigades firing in alternating volleys vs the big line of Saltykov unloading everything at once.

      Yes, the grunds are impassable behind the Russian First Line. Flanking the Russian right was already difficult. Now, flanking the left is difficult too.

      Delete
  12. Great report! Reads and watches with pleasure!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Tune in next time to hear Saltykov say “No, I ordered the White Russian” while Manteuffel retorts “Stop Prussian me around!” in the next exciting chapter of The Battle of Zorndorf.

    I’m enjoying this series of post on the battle. 😀Mostly bc of the pretty table and figures.
    Was this a solo game?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stew, good to see that you are enjoying the battle report.

      Yes, this version of the battle is a solo refight with likely one more installment remaining.

      Delete
  14. Superb looking game, Jonathan, and a great report. The Russians may be on the back foot, but things really are still in the balance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mark! Yes, the battle is still undecided with plenty of opportunities for both.

      Delete
  15. This is an outstanding narrative Jonathan - it really reads like a very abridged version of a real battle - great stuff! Cant wait for the next exciting instalment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Keith, for your supportive comments! It is difficult to assess how to construct an engaging battle report without feedback. I often wonder if the narrative is read or if only the photos are given a glance.

      Delete
  16. Great set up Jonathan, Zorndorf is a toughie and I have only played it once as a Russian naturally. No nasty Prussians for me.Lovely account by the way, well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Robbie! Your encouragements are much appreciated.

      Zorndorf is a toughie. With the static nature of the Russian position, it makes for a good solo exercise and an interesting puzzle to solve.

      Delete
  17. Really nice read and of course it looks great! Head says Prussia,heart says Russia!
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Iain! When playing solo, I must keep my heart out of the equation! Zorndorf has come out both ways on my table. We will see what the outcome of this trial is soon.

      Delete
  18. Excellent report. Let's see if the Russian second line can recover the situation--after all, isn't that what a second line is for? I also like that this scenario developed as opposed the earlier where the Prussian center marched into the Stein Busch, which struck me as out of the norm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ed!

      Yes, let's see if the Russian Second Line can take on its role. As for the previous game and the Stein Busch, well, I am to blame for that decision. Wanting to avoid Russian artillery on the approach, I headed for the woods. Did not realize my brigade would get severely bogged down in there!

      Delete
  19. Yep we’ll have to see if the ruskies can pull out a recovery 🤔

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think the Russians will hold on. THose wavering Prussian units will fold and then the attack will stall. 10 internet cookies on the boys from the East.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good! Your assessment may be correct. The Prussians may need one more brigade in reserve (which they do not have) to crack the Second Line on the Russian right. I have you down for 10 cookies on Russia!

      Delete
  21. Splendid stuff Jonathan.

    All the best. Aly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Aly! Refighting Zorndorf is an enjoyable exercise for me too.

      Delete
  22. Such a beautiful game, Jon. I think the key, if the Prussians are to win, is will Seydlitz's "grand tour" conclude in time to tip the fine balance of the action?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like the game presentation, Peter!

      Seyditz’ Grand Tour may indeed tip the game balance to the Prussians. Will Prussian attacks on the left have ground to a halt and repulsed before then?

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...