Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Date: 21 July 1762/2012 Game
Location East Prussia Near Danzig
Situation: Last Battle In The East
Specifically: Encounter Battle
See a very good AAR by Michael M. with briefly captioned photographs dated 24 July 2012 here: http://www.campaignsinminiature.blogspot.com/


Our group has been fighting the Seven Years' War since about 2005-2006; nearly seven years. Der Alte recently proposed restarting another seven year cycle enhanced with some super-easy campaign concepts such as casualties being carried forward.

Agreeing I proposed finishing up with one game each in East Prussia, Silesia, Middle Europe (Bohemia, Saxony or Thuringia), Westphalia and Canada. At the end we'll review the results and see how each nation ends the conflict. We expect to end cycle #1 in the first quarter of 2013.

Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien Régime 1740-1763 {BAR}
See:   http://oldregimerules.com/    for information about BAR.

Foreground: Western Flank. Background: Eastern Flank.
Prussians will arrive from the left; Russians from the right.
Main Table: 6'x26' with Back Tables 2.5'x26'.
Formerly this was an around the wall model railroad layout.

This fordable stream in the middle of The Main Table separated the two flanks. The two flanks played at their own speed.

 A Terrain Guy table mat allows placement of books, towels, blankets, hills, boards, etc. underneath so the top surface has undulations plus taller/broader hills than we usually have. See: http://theterrainguy.com/gamemats.html

Prussian players at start.
Mission: Force the Russians out of East Prussia.

  Russian players at start minus yours truly taking the photo.
Mission: Maintain a hold in East Prussia for the negotiation table.

Photos below are solely from the Western Flank.

Prussians flood onto the Western Flank. 

The mighty Prussian Army! 

Prussian Heavy Battery of 12 Pdr. Brummers. 

Prussians are crossing to the Russian table edge. 

My red-coated French Gendarmes pretending to be Russians on the Western Flank Back Table. They would soon cross to The Main Table, interpenetrate a Russian battery, become disorganized and yet surge forward into the Prussian Brummer Battery causing it to fire and evade. Intervening Prussian heavy horse stopped the surge but whilst hand to hand lasted, the Prussian attack was stalled. Eventually the red-coats were defeated and fell back.

Seated left to right: John M. (IL), Don D. (WI), Earl K. (IL), Brent O. (MN) and Randy F. (IL). Standing left to right: Der Alte Fritz Jim P. (IL), John B. (WI), Michael M. (WI), Todd B. (WI), Keith L. (IL), Curt B. (WI), Todd P. (WI) and yours truly Bill P. (WI).

IL = Illinois, MN = Minnesota and WI = Wisconsin

NEW DISPATCH -- DATED 25 July, 1762/2012

Der Alte Fritz (Jim P.)

The Prussian Ministry of War would like to correct some of the misinformation gleaned in the Russian AAR. [See http://www.campaignsinminiature.blogspot.com/ posted 24 July 2012 by Michael M.]

“The Prussians had "roughly" (our spies weren't totally effective) fifteen battalions of guards, grenadiers, elites, jägers and the occasional ordinary musketeer unit.”

I think that our efforts at subterfuge and misinformation have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams as the Russian commander is of the impression that our forces were stronger than they actually were. Creating fear and doubt in your opponent’s mind is winning half the battle before it even begins.


On the Prussian left (Russian right), Lt. General von Frye had 7 infantry battalions, 5 sqds of cuirassiers, 5 sqds of dragoons and I think four 3-pdr battalion guns. With regard to the infantry in that sector, there were 5 musketeer btns, 1 elite Jager btn, and one undersized unit of Wedell Grenadiers (48 figures instead of the usual 60 figures). So clearly the majority of infantry were common veteran musketeers. The jagers earned their “elite” status in previous battles by doing many heroic things on the Field of Mars. Their elite status was somewhat offset by the fact that they were not allowed to be “formed infantry”. A simple bayonet charge would have wiped them off the face of the earth.

On the Prussian right (Russian left), Der Alte Fritz collected the cream of his army in one sector so as to deliver a decisive attack on the Russian left and hopefully swing around and outflank the strong Russian position on the high ground in the other sector of the table. We had no intention of attacking a Russian army, armed to the teeth with cannon, perched atop a steep hill. So we intentionally made our left sector weaker than our right sector. This seems to have turned out well for the Russians as our left was defeated in totality.

So here we had 8 battalions that included 2 x grenadier btns and 1 x elite musketeer btn (status earned in prior battles) and 5 veteran musketeer battalions. We elected to place all of our field guns in this sector. Note that in the rules, guards/grenadiers receive the same +1 bonus for firing and that guard and grenadier status are NOT CUMULATIVE (i.e. a guard grenadier btn only gets a +1 bonus). There was also one reserve battalion of the Prussian Lieb Garde that was held in reserve and did not participate in the battles. Admittedly, this was an elite unit and a guard/grenadier unit so it would have had a +2 bonus on its firing. As already noted, the King did not permit his Garde to participate in the battle.

At the end of the day, however, the cannon makes no distinction between guards, grenadiers, musketeers or the lowliest of low quality troops of any kind. They all die the same way. Since I like to attack and be the aggressor more often than not, when you face me across the table, there is a high liklihood that my sector will have more, if not all, of the better quality troops within my army. I am only emulating King Frederick in that regard.


All that aside, it was a well-played game by all participants and I have to admit that around the lunch hour, I was certain that the Prussian attack on the right was going to get crushed. There was one key cavalry melee that we had to win, or else the Russian/French cavalry could have swept around our flank totally unopposed. Fortunately for Prussia, we did win that melee and slowly the cavalry tide shifted in the Prussians’ favor. I would also add that for most of the game, the Prussians had a long string of unfavorable card draws on the right (Russian left). I would say that 9 out of 10 times, the Prussians drew the first movement card and the second firing card. Thus the Russians always got to react to our moves AND get the devastating first fire on many a turn. Towards the end of the game, the laws of probability kicked in (in that most of the red cards in the deck had already been drawn) and we started getting a lot of black cards for the first fire card drawing.

My assessment of the battle is that it was a crushing Russian victory on our left and a hang-on-for-dear-life Prussian win on our right, thus averting total anihilation of the Prussian army. On a strategic level, the battle would be an overall Russian win as the King’s army would most likely have retreated to a strong defensive position after the battle in order to keep the whole army intact.

Your servant,
Count Schadenfreude
Minister of War, Kingdom of Germania

Concluding Remarks:

Prussia won the Western Flank. Russian won the Eastern Flank. Result: Draw but at the Peace Table in Paris (theoretically in 1763/2013) Russia can claim she has forces in East Prussia. Advantage: Russia.

The blue four page Quick Reference Chart (one sheet of paper folded over) in the previous image was consulted 95% of the time to resolve turns and look things up. Page 4 is a drill manual and rarely used. The main rule book {BAR} was consulted perhaps twice. The game commenced at about 10:30am and concluded at 4:25pm with a half hour plus for lunch. The East Flank finished at 2:30pm. Approximately 2,000 miniatures were deployed.

Are the rules {BAR} only for BIG battalions?   No.   Twenty-four man battalions work just fine. We simply want the feel and look of larger formations and we are extremely fortunate to have three home venues in which to game in our group with large tables in our basements.

Do you need a giant table? No.

Will 15mm miniatures work with BAR? Yes. There is second set of Quick Reference Charts for 15mms and/or for more average sized tables. Movement rates and weapon ranges are shortened.

Do you have to use three ranks? No. Suggested minimum is two for the look.

You can do all this too with variations mentioned above.

The next game will occur in Silesia.

Comments welcome below. Thank you for looking in.