Monday, October 3, 2016

Kolin. The refight with Maurice: Part II, the Battle

An overwiev of the starting positions with place names:

The Prussian moves the cavalry in the plain to his left and attacks the Austrian right wing cavalry. This starts a see-saw battle which runs for some turns.

In the following picture an example of how a tipical Combat works: Prussian cavalry C engages Austrian cavalry A. Prussian cavalry D engages Austrian cavalry A and artillery B. D is not outnumbered because A is engaged also by C:

The Austrian response is two-fold: move aggressively their left-wing to distract the Prussian and send two cavalry units to the menaced wing. 
The main Austrian problem appears at this stage: the front is huge and to activate a force on the wings a lot of activation points is needed. Five cards are very few. The Austrian has indeed a real command crisis which requests a couple of Pass to be fixed.

In the meantime the Prussian presses the cavalry attack which is unsupported by infantry: the volley fire from the Croats garrisoning Kreckhorz disrupts most of the attack.

The leading cavalry unit panics and retires backward, disrupting itself and another unit (the cunning Austrian plays “Confusion!”). Behind their cavalry the Prussian columns move to wheel to their right and aligns in echelon, whereas the Austrian cavalry reinforcements with a back-breaking cavalcade arrives on the right wing, taking Disr in the stream crossing.

The Austrian is forced to spend a card to move Daun where the action is:

The final Prussian cavalry push is confronted by the regular infantry unit which advances in front of its cavalry to stop the Prussian. (A “Passage of line” card is welcomed for such a move). 

The subsequent volley fire take an huge toll on the Prussian cavalry, whose remains, to make room for the infantry attack, are retired by using a “Retrogade” card.

There is a lull, in which both armies plays either Pass or an Event, to replenish the card pool for the incoming main phase of the battle. The terrain, already wet, was reduce to a quagmire by the repeated cavalry charges. At least this is the effect of the Austrian plays of the most-dreaded Maurice card: “That’s not on the Map!” and in a very Prague-like fashion the two elite infantry units find a big patch of very soft and wet terrain in the direction of their planned advance.

Nevertheless, Frederick moves towards the area and finally orders the whole infantry of the left and center to advance towards the Austrian position. This is intended as the attack that will break the Austrians: unfortunately, as we shall see, this attack shall broke the Prussians.

This is the crisis of the battle, but not that intended by the Prussian. In the ensuing firefight, the Krezchor garrison and a regular infantry are destroyed but subsequently bad rolls and cleverly played cards destroys two prussian units of the center. The leftmost elite units wins their fights but remain stranded with the back to the swamp and loaded with Disr results.

The cards are running fast from both sides and the Morale becomes low: 3 for the Prussian and 5 for the Austrians (the rule which make the morale loss impredictable worked very well to bring both armies on the verge of exhaustion )
At such a point the Austrian centre counterattacks “a là Torgau”, whereas the cavalry reinforcements on the right wing awakens too and attack their Prussian counterparts (The austrian played “Coordinated”). The heroic death in the heat of the charge of FML Graf zu Wied inspires the Austrian soldiers in their attack. (the Prussian plays “Death of an Hero” reduceing the Austrian morale to 4, but the Austrian plays “Rogues! Do you want to live forever?” bringing it to 6): such a combined attack breaks the Prussian morale.

The battle is lost, the Austrians too tired to engage in pursuit, and the remains of Prussian army stream in some kind of order towards Prague along the Kaiser Strasse, their right wing still uncommitted. (All of this was obtained with only 1 Card Deck, which finished exactly when the Prussians broke).

It was smooth and fast play, very interesting and with only a modicum of book-keeping. In the next post I will write my analysis of the refight with these Rules and some comments.

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