|Attacks on the Muhlberg neck|
Back on the Muhlberg, itself, the Observation Corps begins to withdraw from the northwest face of the earthworks. Having suffered from musketry and artillery, the battered Russians pull out before the smoldering abatis and defensive works can be stormed. Poised for action, the Prussians await their chance to attack.
|The burning of Abatis slows Prussian attacks|
|Prussians climb over the earthworks|
The first Prussian musketeer regiment over the rampart is given an unpleasant greeting of a devastating volley. The musketeers recoil and stream back down the hill in search of safety and a chance to reform. While disrupted by the retreating musketeers, another Prussian musketeer regiment takes its place in the attack. Considering the Prussian force sufficient to overwhelm the Muhlberg defenders, reinforcements set off in search of another place to attack.
|Battle on the Muhlberg continues|
While the Muhlberg holds much of Frederick's attention, battle lines are being drawn on the flanks. On the Prussian left, Platen and Wurtteberg's cavalry form up in the plain opposite the Russian masses. Kanitz's infantry brigade makes its way through the marshland to lend support. The Russians form up as well. With Russian cavalry formed up on the Russian far right, nearly a dozen Russian infantry regiments plug the gap between the horsemen and the heights.
|Prussian left builds a bridgehead|
On the Prussian left, a succession of charges and counter charges bring the two cavalry forces into collision. Some cavalry regiments are destroyed while others recoil to recover and lick their wounds. Many Prussians retire only halting when they reach the watery obstacles. One Prussian cavalry regiment is put to flight and retreats back across the narrow pathway between the marshlands. Prussian musketeers are disrupted as the cavalry stream through their positions.
|Overhead view of the Prussian bridgehead|
|The Prussian bridgehead builds|
On the Prussian right, Schorlemmer's large cavalry formation confronts Jeropkin's heavy cavalry wing at the foot of the heights. Penned-in by the ridgeline on one side and the water meadows on the other, the two foes stare each other down like gunfighters in a shootout. Who will twitch first?
|Cavalry stand off on the Russian left|
|Prussian grenadiers hit the Russians hard!|
|Prussians take control of the Muhlberg|
|Muhlberg defense collapses|
|Prussians pursue the withdrawing Observation Corps|
|Russians withdraw from the Muhlberg|
|Prussian left is beaten back|
Trying to make good their escape from impending disaster, the Prussian left makes its way through the difficult ground and reforms in a defensive line with the wetlands to their front. A number of Prussian regiments will not make it back to safety having been shot up by overwhelming firepower of the many Russian musketeers. As Prussian batteries are brought up to this new front, any Russian attempt to force this position will be met with failure.
|Mopping up the Muhlberg|
Looking down the battlefield from the northwest, the Russians are giving ground sparingly in the center while their flanks stiffen. The Prussians have taken the Muhlberg. Losses in the Observation Corps are high but a number of units slip out of the Prussian noose. The way in which the armies are arrayed, a Prussian breakthrough today is unlikely.
|Overview of battle from northwest|
With time growing short in this gaming session, we switch from play to commentary on the present state of the battle. After a number of likely "what if" discussions, we decide to end the game at this point in the action. As in Game 1, Game 2 ends in a situation reminiscent of the historical battle. That is, the Prussians have taken the Muhlberg. The battlefront stabilizes in a line running west to east in a line driving straight through the grund, Kunersdorf, and the lakes and marshes. Further gains will be unlikely given the large number of Russian reinforcements on its way to bolster the Russian line.
|Battle lines are formed|
Refighting these big, historical battles provides much to think about and brings accounts in the history books alive. Add Kunersdorf to the list of SYW battles already tackled on the gaming table. With Kolin, Mollwitz, Zorndorf, and now Kunersdorf in the books, what is next?
- The Battle of Kunersdorf is huge and requires miles of earthworks.
- Frederick's recon of the battlefield beforehand did not provide a good assessment of either the ground or Russian dispositions.
- Terrain really dictates the strategy. The constricting terrain channels Prussian attacks and limits options.
- Kunersdorf does not offer good cavalry ground with the exception of the plain to the south east of Kunersdorf. That position, as we saw, is a dangerous position for the Prussians to find themselves.
- Attacking strong defensive positions is a hard task and preparatory bombardments are ineffective at disrupting defenders protected by earthworks.
- Large battles can be fought effectively with only two players using Honours of War.
- We both effectively withdrew damaged units out of the front line to be replaced by fresh troops. Infantry casualties were much reduced from the first battle.
- Frederick chose a bad place to pick a fight with an enemy, superior in numbers.
- While Frederick was quick to criticize the Russian Army and underestimate its fighting capability, he never beat it in battle. Perhaps it was this hubris that led to the battle of Kunersdorf?
For now, time to return to the painting desk as I can now safely negotiate the stairs on crutches.