Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Setting Up the Battle of Kunersdorf

Russian Observation Corps on the Muhlberg
After much planning, research, and an August 2019 anniversary battle goal that slipped through my fingers, I finally snapped into action to put the Battle of Kunersdorf onto the table.  Tactically, the situation for Frederick at Kunersdorf is similar to what he faced at Zorndorf, only worse.  A larger Russian army is dug in on a series of hillocks surrounded by difficult terrain.  These earthworks encompassed nearly the entire ridge.  Avenues of attack are limited and this is not good cavalry country.  Having not much in the way of earthworks, two orders to Battlescale were placed.  After finishing 40 pieces of earthworks, I was ready to begin.

Preliminary work on an Order of Battle had been formulating for some time. When I got down to work in earnest, the result was an eye-opener.  Kunersdorf is HUGE.  I thought the Zorndorf battlefield fought in an earlier series of battles was huge.  Kunersdorf is even larger with 50+ BMUs per side.  The battlefield takes up the entire 12' x 6' table.  
Russian gun emplacements on the Grosser Spitzberg
As one of my battlefield map guides, I used the map presented on BritishBattles.com.  Some of the period maps showed variation in the terrain but for the most part, I stuck with the map below:
Kunersdorf from Britishbattles.com
The Muhlberg upon which the Russian Observation Corps is deployed represents a salient to the Russian positions.  Most of the Prussian guns are positioned on surrounding hillocks all having the Muhlberg as their target.  If the Muhlberg falls, the Russian position remains formidable.  Kunersdorf with the string of lakes and marshes protect the Russian center. Attacking the Russian positions from the opposite side is broken up by marshland.
Major terrain features of Kunersdorf
Think of the ridgeline as an arrow with the Muhlberg as the arrowhead.  The arrow would point to the northeast.  Looking down upon the battlefield from the northeast, the exposure of the Observation Corps situated on the Muhlberg is apparent.  Historically, the Observation Corps collapsed quickly when the Prussian grenadiers (center formation) attacked from the Walkberg.  The Russians on the Muhlberg salient retreated back to the main body.  Luckily, the main Russian body was able to stabilize the situation before the Prussians could mount their next attacks upon the heights.
Initial dispositions
Russian right with Austrians behind the Juhlberg
Prussian left and center
Prussian right
The battle will pose challenges to both combatants.  Pushing troops around the battlefield could begin this weekend.

47 comments:

  1. I am really looking forward to this!

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  2. Looks splendid! What rules will you all be using for this magnificent spectacle?

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    1. Thanks! Honours of War will be the rules of the day.

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  3. That's an impressive set up, Jonathan. Troop formations and terrain are spectacular.

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  4. Nothing better than a well dressed table with toy soldiers arrayed for a game. Will be interesting to see how your system handles the always vexing problem posed by fortified positions and complex terrain.

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    1. I agree! Sometimes, after setting out the terrain and figures, I am hesitant to actually begin the game and disrupt the scene.

      Attacking fortified positions can be difficult for sure. It may take a try or too to refine the scenario rules.

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  5. Wow, that's a pretty impressive looking table. Can't wait to see how the scenario plays out with HoW.

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    1. Thanks, Steve! I think the overhead photos look good. HoW is my favorite set for SYW. It has not been out on the table in a while so i look forward to the game too. Most likely, Kunersdorf will be played multiple times.

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  6. Fantastic set up that is definately a game I would love to play, will watch how it develops🙂

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    1. Thank you, Matt!

      Since you physically cannot participate, maybe I ought to consider starting a multi-player battle having remote generals issuing orders while I carry out those orders on the table?

      Would this be of interest to you or anyone else?

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    2. That would be an interesting experiment. Worth trying. Could count me in. 😀

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  7. Yikes!

    Assaulting Russians dug in on a hill seems an ominous proposition!

    Beautiful set up! What a sight to behold!

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    1. Kunersdorf proved too difficult for Frederick too. Glad you like the setup!

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  8. That's an impressive set up Jonathan!

    Christopher

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    1. Thank you, Christopher! The overhead view looks convincing me.

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  9. Quite the Seven Years War Spectacle, Jon!
    I do not envy Frederick on this one, though!

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  10. Absolutely fabulous mate,

    A cracking looking game with lots of nicely painted miniatures.

    I have not played a 7YW game in three years so moving on my front rank figures to new homes slowly, as they are not part of our business model.

    Cheers
    Matt
    French Wargame Holidays

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    1. Thanks, Matt! It must be difficult letting go of your SYW Front Rank collection.

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  11. Lovely, a real sense of the real battle - Your crowning glory for 2019 without doubt.

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    1. Thanks, Norm! The overhead photo provides a real sense of the overall battle, for sure. Crowning glory? I thought San Martino looked pretty good too!

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  12. Great looking enormous game! You've certainly whetted our appetite!
    Best Iain

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  13. Goodness but that looks impressive! All those lovely uniforms on display and ready to clash.

    Really looking forward to reading how your version of this battle plays out sir!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragements! Still working on scenario details but once finished will dive into a game.

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  14. Impressive! Congratulations on a great effort and very much looking forward to your AAR.

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  15. That looks good, looking forward to the report.

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  16. Super awesome impressive! That’s gonna be one great game.
    Judging from the map and the pics of the set up, you did an amazing job recreating the battle. 😀

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    1. Thanks, Stew! You always provide me much support and encouragement to press on.

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    2. Awww shucks... as you do to me.
      And this comment is in no way geared towards catching Norm in the commenter tally. 😀

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    3. If you your goal is to catch Norm, go for it!

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  17. Very impressive. The Russian positions look very formidable indeed, and the marshes on the approach only complicate things further. I think I'd be tempted to sit this one out if I were Frederick.

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    1. Lawrence, my opponent and I were discussing the same. Frederick needed a better scouting party. He seemed to enjoy attacking difficult positions.

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  18. Very impressive Pictures. It's easy to see how important it is to choose the right scale, to get such a large battle on the table.

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    1. Glad you approve of the battle layout and photos. You are spot on; choosing the correct scale for battle recreation is an important choice.

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