Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nádasty versus Zieten At Leuthen

You can do this too. Don Featherstone once contemplated a giant cavalry game. His idea was to gather cavalrymen in his collection from multiple time-periods and have a game with only them - never minding differing uniforms. Thereby a mixture of 17-19th Century cavalrymen could have been one possibility. Fast, easy and fun!

The action below was a large cavalry battle. It was part of a larger battle set up by Der Alte Fritz using his magnificent wintry terrain. It's now time to mount up and ride with us, if you please, to Leuthen's southwest flank. Click on photographs to enlarge them.

Austrian General Nádasty(forward center) sees two massive lines of Prussian Kürassiers in the distance. From the Austrian perspective we are on the extreme left flank. The Saxon Rutowski Chevaulegers are in the foreground. The Austrian hussar screen is ordered forward followed by the red coats.

A shift is made to the Austrian oblique left. The respective forces come closer. The hussars in open order are screening a distant Prussian line of infantry inching closer.

A charge and hand-to-hand combat. The Austrian hussars take the most casualties, fail morale and will rout.

That's okay. The Prussians threw 1D6 = 2 on the "Pursuit Table" and are required to pursue the hussars. They are disorganized as the Rutowskis intervene. As things turn out the Rutowskis throw back two groups of Prussians, pursue them and then rally back when they come too close to the Prussian second line seen in the distance.

The Rutowskis are rallying back disorganized (not routing). You see the left of the von Brühl Dragoons on the right covering the withdrawal of the red coats. The first line of Prussian heavies have been thrown back but they performed very well. Meanwhile, more Prussians come forward from their second line and there is a third line now too.

The Saxons get ready to charge.

More swordplay.

Von Brühl suffers terrible casualties; 27 of 50 riders. However, they make morale. Note the Prussian square (rare in the SYW) prudently awaiting the result.

At this point the game ended. The reason is because off screen to the right on the main table it was determined the Prussians could not acquire the village of Leuthen in spite of one of the scariest charges of Prussian cavalry since the celebrated charge of the Bayreuth Dragoons.

Not shown behind the Saxons were four squadrons of Austrian Horse Grenadiers who would have intervened except for the scary Prussian charge just mentioned.

Closing Remarks:

1. Nádasty was played by yours truly, Bill.

2. Zieten was played by John.

3. We had a lot of back and forth action, pursuits and counter-charges. John's pressure was always strong. Ultimately several feet behind Nádasdy an Austrian battalion formed the last line of defense with some Austrian Kürassiers.

4. We had enough soldiers to command just one branch each, the cavalry arm on this flank. This helps focus on one type of activity rather than several. It is amazingly centering. Easier and we suppose more historical if one dons the tricornered hat of a brigadier or cavalry wing commander. Fun too!

From left to right: Chuck, Matt, Jim (Der Alte Fritz), Rob, Jim, George and barely visible, Earl. John, Chris and yours truly are not pictured. The cavalry action just described occurred on the back table in the upper left of this photo. That's the famous church that still stands today in Leuthen on the main table.

Das Ende. Danke. Comments welcome.


  1. Great combination of photos and description of the frey! Thanks...Bill

  2. Wow, what a dramatic spectacle to behold!!!

    Best Regards,


  3. Thanks for sharing the game with us. The cavalry action looks truly epic in scale!

  4. Fantastic pictures and report, Bill. Many thanks and I'm looking forward to pictures of the rest of the battle.


  5. Bill it looks like Jim organized a great game! I wish I could have been there. Randy

  6. I particularly liked the combination of the second and third photos . . . they really gave the feeling of the rapidity of the closing lines of cavalry.

    -- Jeff

  7. Wow! I am lost for words in my admiration for your efforts.Snow is forecast here for tonight and I shall watch the snowflakes fall and think of Leuthen...
    best wishes
    p.s thanks for posting this for us all to enjoy. Sometimes I wish I lived across the water- this indeed was one of them...


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