Kriegsspiel News 60 April 2003

April 2003


Only one person had strong feelings on the new layout in KN 59, and they liked it. So it stays.
The letter section has a message from Bill raising the issue of how we should publish Kriegsspiel material in future. He is well into his 60s now, and is looking to ease back from the grind of doing all that stuff (although he still wants to play!). Hopefully this will lead to a discussion on how we go forward.
The March game was run by Richard Madder, and was our first foray into the Seven Years’ War. See Sections 4. to 6. below for more about this.
Richard had also brought along some of the Prussian military maps produced by a team under von Muffling in the 1820s, which were recommended to us by Harald Heller. These looked very good, and we may well base some future games on them.
The subject of the May game has been changed, with Vince Chan and Arthur Harman running and army level game, using a variant of Paddy Griffiths’ ‘Generalship Game’ (see Section 2, below).
If you are planning to come, can you please contact them both NOW at:

1. Forthcoming games
2. May 2003 Kriegsspiel from Vince Chan & Arthur Harman
3. Free Kriegsspiel using the matrix game approach by Francesco Francini
4. March 2003 game – Manoeuvres about the Camp of Hohenzell by Richard Madder
5. Prince Henry’s Plan of Attack by Vince Chan
6. The Report of the Manoeuvres at Hohenzell, by Field-Marshal Saltykov of the Imperial Russian Army (by Arthur Harman)
7. Letters (or should I say the Francesco Francini ‘write-in’)
8. Contacts

1. Forthcoming games
Saturday 18th May 2003 Hemel 2.30 pm Generalship game from Vince Chan & Arthur Harman – change of subject
Sunday 21st September Hemel 2.30 pm Late Napoleonic corps level battle
Saturday 22nd November Hemel 2.30 pm To be advised

If you fancy running a scenario, let us know, as we are happy to re-jig the list to fit it in. We will also provide assistance with the design and umpiring if you need this.
Games are usually held at Bill’s house. Pick up from Hemel Hempstead railway station (and drop off) can normally be arranged. Games finish around 7 pm. If you are interested in playing, give Bill a ring or email as early as possible before the game so we can plan the numbers. If we know you are coming we can also let you know if there are any last minute changes to arrangements.
For some games we send briefings out prior to the game, so early contact means you are more likely to get a key command.

2. May 2003 Kriegsspiel from Vince Chan & Arthur Harman
Vince Chan and I will be presenting the May game at Bill’s home.
It will be an Army-Level game, but a radical departure from those presented by Martin: each turn will represent a day, rather than fifteen minutes; Corps, rather than Brigades or Divisions will be the level of resolution; maps will be highly stylised, with little or no topographical detail and point to point movement, and the focus will be on how the General chooses to spend his time, hour by hour, during the day.
Will his headquarters [and hindquarters!] be in the saddle as he undertakes a personal reconnaissance of a prospective battlefield? Will he review his troops and make a morale-boosting speech? Will he sharpen his quill to draft orders to his subordinates, write letters of condolence to the families of officers who have fallen on the field of honour? Or will he repair to his mistress’s boudoir to engage in less martial manoeuvres?
Players, the choice is yours! On your personal twenty four hour activity track, simply indicate what you, the general, want to do throughout the day – you will have an opportunity to change your plans for the remainder of the day when new intelligence arrives, or your troops engage the enemy. But beware! If you neglect to eat or sleep for several days, you will collapse from exhaustion…
The game has been adapted from The Generalship Game in Paddy Griffith’s Napoleonic Wargaming For Fun [Ward Lock, 1980, pp. 78-93]. I have devised new Combat Results and Casualty systems, based upon the principles of my favourite, Strategos, which were tested at the recent Chestnut Lodge Games Weekend. The original game was intended for two players, each commanding an army, but I can see no reason why the structure cannot also accommodate players as Corps Commanders, which is what we propose to do in May. By then, I shall have run such a game at Chestnut Lodge and should have a better idea of how the system works in practice.
If possible, we would like to issue pre-game briefings and have the Army Commanders issue orders before the day of the game, so, if you want to take part and can guarantee to turn up, please contact both Vince and myself now!
Arthur Harman

3. Free Kriegsspiel using the matrix game approach by Francesco Francini

For those who have never played Matrix games, they adopt a free-form style. Players take it in turns to state what is to happen next, putting an ‘argument’ of why their desired action should succeed. Arguments are rated as ‘strong’, ‘weak’ etc, depending on how well supported they are. The umpire then roles a dice to see whether the argument succeeds. In some cases counter-arguments are allowed by the opponent(s). Arguments and actions must still conform to military reality for the period. Martin
The action is set at the end of the colonial era (XIX cent.) in an imaginary Afghan country. The opponents are a battalion of a European army (British style: 10 companies, 2 figs each, plus one officer, one standard bearer and one bugler). We shall call them the Reds. They’re steady, disciplined, well trained, armed and confident. On the other side the tribesman. Not well armed but determined to defend, up to the last man if necessary, their country from the invaders. We shall call ’em the Zouagyr.
The Red HQ decided to reinforce a garrison, distant 3 – 4 days’ march, on the western border by sending a battalion after receiving reliable information that a Zouagyr chief intends to raise a revolt in that region. The battalion is now in the middle of hostile territory, 3 days away from the capital, so it is not possible to receive reinforcement. Its arrival at the garrison is expected for the next day. Everything appears calm during the march under the hot oriental sun … too calm… !
While marching on the only possible path that leads to the garrison, leaving a small hill on the left, the column, still in march mode, spots a numerous group of horsemen ready to charge. They’re estimated to be several hundreds(actually the equivalent of 3 European squadrons, or 9 figures). The Reds just have the time to deploy in line, meanwhile the horsemen, with terrific battle cries, start to charge. The Reds open fire at extreme range (two 6’s come up, but the opponent saves both arguing that they’re firing at extreme range, at a target in movement while changing formation, so they’re still in disorder and their fire is ineffective). Very strong ! The argument succeeded. The Zouagyr advance and within a few moves they will be upon the reds!
Two lucky turns allow the Zouagyr to cover a lot of ground (so reducing the time under fire). The Reds argue that the charge is ineffective and disordered because the tribesmen are not soldiers and have no idea on how to conduct a cavalry charge against a modern European army! The Zouagyr player answers that even though they don’t wear uniforms nevertheless they’re well motivated to fight and their military skills have been improved! An European in search of fortune, a former German officer trained ’em! Two arguments in conflict! The second one succeeds and the Zouagyr progress effectively with the charge.
At close range, anyway the Martini Henry rifles are deadly and the impetus of the courageous cavalrymen is shattered by a wall of fire. The tribesmen suffer very heavy losses (and no argument succeeds in saving ’em). At this point the Red claims a morale check on the Zouagyr. His argument fails. They’re fanatics and they’re fighting an holy war against the hated invaders! (German military training and the search for martyrdom is a very dangerous mix!). The reds fire again. This time at very close range (so they hit with 5 or 6). Just few horseman survive (2 figs.), and the hand to hand combat that follows has a foregone conclusion!
The Reds, still engaged to their front are unaware of the danger on their left (the Zouagir player used here a secret argument to move his troops unseen). Beside the small hill there is a warband of Zouagyr on foot, which attacks ’em on the flank! The reds, surprised by the cavalrymen, simply have had no time to scout properly the surroundings.
It is worth pointing out that the Reds are not in cover – i.e they’re deployed on open ground. Only the steadiness of the Reds avoids a (fighting) retreat, even though they suffer significant losses (the Natives are armed with antiquate flintlock muskets, but many of them have received modern weapons from a Belgian smuggler). The Reds succeed in turning, and the battalion redeploys to face the new threat, now coming from the left, while they still leave 2 companies to face in the previous direction. They can’t be sure the horsemen won’t be back for another charge!
In this way the fire capability of the Reds is split in two, as the the Zouagyr close on foot! Once more the Reds are saved by their Martini Henries at very close range (5 or 6 to hit). The Zouagyrs, after seeing their chief killed, are rather shaken and confused. The red player claims a morale test on the Zouagyrs, which succeeds. The Zouagyrs are driven back, suffering other losses while retiring in disorder (retreat is the most dangerous moment of a fight).
The reds suffered very heavy losses from the unxepected flank attack on flat ground (about 1/4 of their original strength, 2 coys – 400 men, have been lost!) Assuming no further assaults on the march, the Reds will probably arrive at their destination, but it will be a very sad sight for their comrades in the garrison which will surely undermine their morale!
Well this was one of my first, simple Matrix games! I have been astonished by the amount of the details and the number of arguments a player can put in the game as well as the extreme reality of the play in general!!! And this goal have been achieved with just few simple rules! What more can I say?
Thanks Francesco. Can you give me an idea of how long the game took, and whether using the matrix style made any difference to how quickly it played?
About 30-40 minutes, not more! I think this depend on several factors. Krgspl is surely more accurate. Nevertheless the Matrix game is very close to Free Krgspl, just add arguments. I think both can probably give realistic results, if the players know the period they’re playing. In the next few days I’ll send to you a battle report of the scenario n° 5 (taken from the Krgspl scenarios) “Recce and battle” that I’ve played with both Krgspl and Matrix.
30-40 minutes for a game is quite a ‘strong’ argument in itself! A comparison between the results of both “Recce and battle” games would be very interesting. Martin

4. Manoeuvres about the Camp of Hohenzell by Richard Madder

The March game was a Seven Years War scenario fought between the static Russian and manoeuvrable Prussian armies. It was my intention to set-up a scenario where the Prussians would attack a Russian fortified position, but the game didn’t work out in quite that way. Nevertheless I learned several lessons about game design from the experience and I am grateful to the players and my co-umpire for their enthusiastic participation.
Below is presented the briefing material followed by a description of the game and the lessons that might be learned from it.

Stolen from the web at prusian2.htm
General Situation – midnight 13th August 1759

Hohenzell Mar 2003.GIF
The strategic situation is shown in the map above. Matters look desperate indeed for the Prussians!
Frederick is ill, but though largely inactive the position of his Royal Army serves to frustrate the Austrian intention to unite with their allies the Russians. The presence of Glogau and the difficulty of crossing the hilly and heavily wooded Grosse Forst make it most unlikely that the Austrians can affect a junction with the Russians for a week or so.
Meanwhile Frederick’s brother Prince Henry has gathered a sizeable corps and marched swiftly east, apparently with the intention of attacking the demoralised Russian Army, that was defeated in battle near Glogau on 1st August. The demoralised Russians are encamped somewhere south of Seedorf. For Henry time is of the essence because Russian reinforcements are known to be less than a week’s march east of Seedorf.

Footnote – appearance

Most Prussian Infantrymen wear blue coats and tricorns, their Grenadiers and Fusiliers wear pointed caps. Their Dragoons wear distinctive bright blue coats and the Cuirassiers wear white coats.
All Russian Infantrymen wear green coats, the line infantry wear tricorns and Grenadiers wear pointed caps. Their Dragoons usually wear green or white coats and the Cuirassiers wear mainly white coats.
Hussars of both armies can wear uniforms of any colour, red, green, blue or white are the most common colours.
Independent light corps employed by the Prussians usually but not always wear green uniforms.
Cossacks might be dressed in a variety of outlandish ways.

Footnote – tactics

Prussian Army – You may find it useful to look at Frederick’s instructions to his generals at
Kunersdorf and Zondorf are typical Prussian vs Russian battles of the period

Prussian Briefing

It is shortly before midnight on 13th August 1759.
Prince Henry’s Army is camped about Wollstein, 6 to 7 miles north west of Seedorf. It is in good order, although the 2nd line is composed largely of garrison regiments who may lack resolve in a desperate situation. The Cavalry and Grenadiers are acknowledged as some of the finest troops in all Europe and the entire army is well drilled. By contrast the Russian army though brave is poor at battlefield manoeuvre and demoralised by defeat in battle 2 weeks ago. The Russians usually have more artillery than we do.
The weather is good and there has been little rain in the last few weeks. Dawn is at 7a.m. Dusk is at 7 p.m. and nightfall around 8 p.m.
Yesterday mounted outposts of the Russian army were sighted south of Seedorf, but details are sketchy because Cossack demonstrations prevented adequate reconnaissance and our penetration into their position was halted at Nennweiler and Alt Goldberg.
It is imperative that the Russians are attacked and soundly beaten before they can be reinforced and assume the offensive.

Prussian Order of Battle (Blue) C-in-C Prince Henry
Advance Guard Friekorps Von Knotel 2 Btns Friekorps Jager,
1 Regt Friekorps Hussars,
6 Horse Guns in 1 battery
N.B. These men wear green coats 1,000 Infantry
500 Cavalry
First Line Infantry
Lt Gen Von Finck 3 Rgts Line Inf
3 Btns Grenadiers
12x12lber Guns in 2 batteries 4,500 Infantry
Second Line Infantry
Lt Gen Von Hulsen 3 Rgts Garrison Infantry (1G,2G,3G),
1 Rgt Line Inf
6 x12lber Guns in 1 battery 4,000 Infantry
Right Wing Cavalry
Prinz Wurttenberg 1 Rgt Cuirassier
1 Rgt Dragoons
1 Rgt Hussars 1,500 Cavalry
Left Wing Cavalry
Lt Gen Von Gottlieb 1 Rgt Dragoons
2 Rgts Hussars 1,500 Cavalry

Total 9,500 Infantry
3,500 Cavalry
24 Guns

Pre-Game Preparation

Write a detailed plan for 14th August. Your forces may enter the map on any suitable road from Wollstein (north west of Seedorf).

Russian Briefing

It is shortly before midnight on 13th August 1759.
The Army is entrenched in a strong position south of Der See. It is in relatively poor spirits having been defeated by a Prussian force under King Frederick two weeks ago. Nevertheless the Army is exceptionally brave and can be usually be trusted to stand under heavy attack. Unfortunately it must be considered wholly inadequate in the art of battlefield manoeuvre many men seeming not to understand the difference between left and right!
The Prussians are exceptionally well drilled and have shown themselves adept at complicated marches in the face of the enemy. Prinz Henry commands the force approaching and it would be at odds with the usual Prussian practice they were the best troops in their service.
The weather is good and there has been little rain in the last few weeks. Dawn is at 7a.m. Dusk is at 7 p.m. and nightfall around 8 p.m.
Yesterday Prussian Hussars coming from the direction of Silberberg made attempts to reconnoitre our position, but they were held back largely by the efforts of our brave and terrible Cossacks at Nennweiler and Alt Goldberg.
It is imperative that we hold our position so that we can be reinforced then affect a junction with the Austrians and resume the offensive.
P.S. Disappointingly the reinforcements are at least 1 week away and consist of only 6,000 untried troops.

Russian Order of Battle (Red) C-in-C Field-Marshall Saltykov
First Line Infantry
Lt Gen Rumanyev 4 Rgts Infantry
2 Btns Grenadiers
18 x 12lber Guns in 3 batteries 5,000 Infantry
Second Line Infantry
Lt Gen Tottleben 3 Rgts Infantry
12 x 12lber Guns in 2 batteries 3,000 Infantry
Right Wing Cavalry
Lt Gen Von Platen 1 Rgt Dragoons
1 Rgt Hussars 1,000 Cavalry
Left Wing Cavalry
Lt Gen Demidov 1 Rgt Dragoons
1 Rgt Hussars 1,000 Cavalry
Advance guard
3 Rgts Cossack 1,500 Cavalry

Total 8,500 Infantry
3,500 Cavalry
30 Guns

Pre-Game Preparation

Use the map to draw up a defensive position anywhere in the 8 squares CII, DII, EII, FII, CIII, DIII, EIII & FII. The position can include redoubts, trenches and other field fortifications, it should take account of the line of retreat in case of defeat. Please note that the position must include space for your camp and baggage.


Vince Chan was the Prussian C-in-C whom I must say had a creditable debut in charge, Dave Stanforth as Prinz Wurttenberg assisted him. Arthur Harman played the Russian C-In-C and Bill Leeson took the role of Lt .Gen Demidov. I umpired with Martin James.


The Russian plan was simple, they built a fortified camp on the hill at Hohenzell, on all approaches they deployed Cossack patrols, and on the four most likely approach routes they constructed small defensive works, manned with a few artillery pieces and a company of infantry. Their intention was to slow down the Prussian advance at the outlying posts then resist fiercely once an attack took place on the fortified camp.
Their choice of campsite was governed by consideration of their line of retreat east via roads between Saldorf or Honenau. The main shortcoming of the Russian plan was that their baggage had to be placed outside the camp (at Tiefenzell) because the centre of their position
contained a village. Fortified positions in this period would usually be constructed with villages or other military obstacles guarding their flanks.
The Prussian plan by contrast was much more complex. Initially the main Prussian infantry strength was to advance to positions North of Der See, in anticipation of the Russians being encamped just South of that place. The Cavalry and Light troops were to advance on a more southerly course to divert Russia attention and possibly fall upon them from the rear. In many respects this lack of consideration of the true enemy situation was similar to Frederick’s own behaviour!


The attached map shows when and where the contending forces advanced. I will leave detailed explanations to the respective commanders.
Russian attempts to delay the Prussian advance were partially successful, but as much because of the caution of the Prussian commanders than any tactical reason. However delaying actions by Demidov’s cavalry near Karlsdorf and Platens cavalry with infantry support north of Tiefenzell it transpired provided adequate protection for the Russian position.
The Prussian plan was hampered because a player did not command Von Finck’s 1st line, the result was indecision and missed opportunity. He easily overran resistance at Munchshof in the morning, but did not press much further till that afternoon.
At two points the umpires thought that the Russian train was about to be overrun. Firstly when it looked like Von Fink was about assault Tiefenzell while the wagons still crowded the village streets and late in the day when the Prussian cavalry might have advanced on Kroppen when the train was retreating through it. Neither of these events happened, and I am sure the Prussians didn’t realise the opportunities that were lost.
By 14:00 hours the Prussian 2nd line and Cavalry had been marching for 8 hours, they were exhausted and in no fit state to attack the enemy fortifications. As a result they were ordered take a position facing the enemy one mile south east of Grossmau and rest.
Having not marched that day the Russian army was able to march away overnight, letting the tired Prussians have no chance of preventing their escape. One must conclude that the Tsar would reflect of a successful day and King Frederick would be upset that the threat to his eastern flank remained in being.
I fully agree with Arthur (see his report) that the outcome of manoeuvres that did not result in battle had a distinctively eighteenth century feel.

Lessons for the Players

Both sides failed to ensure adequate communication between Commanders. In several instances messages were sent from sub-commanders to the position of their C-in-C, only to find he had moved elsewhere without telling anyone. The result was that some messages, which should have taken half an hour to arrive, did not get to their destination for an hour or more!
The Prussian advance was a lesson in how not to split your forces in the face of an enemy, at no point were all 3 Prussian columns in supporting distance of each other, in the face of a more manoeuvrable enemy this deployment could have spelt disaster!
It was often the case that the columns of an army in the Seven Years War close to the enemy would march almost in battle formation. Either by wings or by lines with baggage on side roads furthest from the enemy, as illustrated below. The formation by lines was preferable because the army merely had to wheel to right or left to form the line of battle. This is not to say that exceptions to the linear art were extraordinarily uncommon, because they happened often enough.
Lessons for the Umpire

The game was intended to result in a battle over a fortified camp. I expected the Prussians to locate the enemy, bombard the camp and send in several attacks. They would prevail or fail depending on their skill in selecting the defence’s weak point and combining their infantry and artillery in the attack.
In actual fact the Russian camp was located too far east for the Prussians to attack on the day and as a consequence the game ended with the Prussians camped in 2 positions both about a mile away from it.
If I had stood back and looked at the initial position I would have seen that with the Prussians starting 8 miles away from the main Russian position they might be expected to take a full day to reach it. Armed with such forethought it might have been practicable to push the action on to a second day and concluded the game as originally intended. Alternatively advance notice of the actual Russian camp position could have been provided to the Prussians, allowing them to start nearer and revise the day’s orders.
The Prussian briefing didn’t make clear the likely Russian line of retreat; this is a very important consideration to real military commanders. If this fact had been made clear it might have critically altered the Prussian commanders’ plans.
The linear tactics of the SYW were not really adhered to, but that is not a fault, it is just the realistic outcome of a game between players that have better knowledge of later periods.
It was nevertheless an enjoyable game with a sensible outcome, the escape of the Russians, and I am sure I will run other eighteenth century games in future. There is certainly plenty of source material for game ideas.

5. Prince Henry’s Plan of Attack by Vince Chan
Overall Strategy:

Our mission is simply to completely destroy the Russian Army. To this end I envisage our forces to be divided into three main groups to deal the decisive stroke once the preliminary maneouvres have been conducted. At present we are uncertain of Russian numbers, composition and location. Flexibility will be the order of the day until we can assess the situation under greater light. Hence, as C-in-C, I will only give orders stating what I want done; the how part will be left to the individual commanders since they will be more aware of the immediate requirements. Furthermore, I know our Prussian training and professionalism easily outclasses that of our Russian counterparts. I expect my commanders to seize opportunities that present themselves in context of our overall plan.

The overall strategy will be as follows:
I. Send out scouts as early as possible (preferably leaving before dawn to start scouting at about dawn) to locate, identify, and assess enemy movements.
II. Dispatch both wings of cavalry with the Advance Guard as support just before dawn (expected to make contact about after half and hour after) dawn to isolate and destroy small advance forces (expected at Nennweiler and Alt Goldberg). Furthermore, Russian cavalry patrols are to frustrated and eliminated where possible. When complete all these forces, except the two Dragoon Regiments are to concentrate in the region of Karsdorf if the main Russian forces are concentrated around Kippringen (or the area to the north east) or if the Russians are making their stand further east, then to concentrate around Waldhof. The Dragoons are to be assigned to the First and Second Line Infantry for the main attack.
III. The Second Line Infantry are to advance to Neu Goldberg. Their role will be to tie down the Russians, but not to make any major engagements only opportunistic, probing attacks, until the main attack in the late morning/noon time. My concern is the lack of resolve with these Garrison Infantry. I anticipate the Russians to make their stand just to the south east of Neu Goldberg as it is the most defensible position in the area. Should there be very little or no resistance, they are to advance further to Kippringen.
IV. The First Line Infantry are to advance to Seedorf. Should Russian forces be seen, these are not to be engaged unless the commander believes he can achieve a quick victory under overwhelming superiority. Ideally the First Line Infantry are to position themselves to the east or north east of the main Russian army, out of artillery range, but as close as possible.

Main Attack
The Preparation Phase is expected to be complete by mid to late morning if all go to plan. After a brief rest and assessment of the situation, I expect our forces to be ready for the main attack by before noon. There will be three main forces. Their roles will be:
• Second Line Infantry (Attack from the North West)
With the less seasoned infantry, this group main role will be to attempt to draw the main Russian forces into engagement where we will hopefully fight a defensive front. A regiment of Dragoons will be added and if the opportunity presents itself, the Commander is to win the battle of attrition.
• The First Line Infantry (Attack from the North East)
This group will bear the main burden for producing our decisive victory. They role will be to breakthrough the Russian flank and hopefully ‘roll up’ the Russians.
• Advance Guard (Attack from the South)
Along with the Cavalry Wings, the Advance Guard is to make opportunistic and daring attacks on the Russians. Furthermore, this groups is expected to destroy any routed or disordered units and cut off any escaping Russians. This will be one of the most difficult role and will demand great initiative from the commander.

6. Report of the Manoeuvres at Hohenzell, by Field-Marshal Saltykov of the Imperial Russian Army (by Arthur Harman)

Hohenzell, 14th August 1749
Your Imperial Majesty,
I have the honour to report that the Forces under my command will tonight evacuate the fortified camp at Hohenzell, east of Die Selz, which has been rendered untenable by the advance of Prussian forces from Silberberg, and march under cover of darkness to rendezvous with the column
At a quarter past eight o’clock this morning I received the following message from the commander of the detachment of artillery and Grenadiers at Kippringen: ‘Cossacks inform me of a large enemy column about to enter Altstedten at half past seven o’clock, likely to be making for Nennweiler.’
Half an hour later he wrote: ‘Further Cossack patrols report that the column is marching SE towards the crossing [it is a large column of all arms presumably – the Cossacks are not inclined to get too close but they say it is headed by a strong cavalry detachment].’
About an hour later I received reports of cannon fire to north, and rode towards Monchshof, where I had previously placed an artillery detachment and a company of Grenadiers, to observe the situation for myself.
There, at about a quarter to ten, I discovered the Prussians had already taken the gun emplacement at Monchshof with at least two battalions, driving the Grenadier company back across the canal. I therefore ordered the 1st Infantry Regiment, guarding the Baggage Train at Tiefenzell, to form a defensive line on the ridge north west of the village, and for Demidov’s Dragoons to charge the Prussians should they advance, whilst the Hussars remained in reserve. I also ordered the Baggage Train to withdraw to Kroppen, but for some unaccountable reason the order, I later discovered, went astray, and was not implemented until much later.
Half an hour later the Prussians had brought artillery onto the Monchshof position and opened fire.
Judging, however, that they would not press forward in another attack at this time [which supposition proved entirely correct] I rode to Das Untere Feld to observe the situation there, but en route, at about half past ten, I received intelligence from a Cossack patrol that a Prussian column was marching towards Monchshof by way of Seedorf, and could also hear heavier cannon fire from the direction of Monchshof.
I rode to Kippringen to observe the current situation there, arriving shortly before eleven o’clock to discover that no enemy had appeared on the opposite bank of Die Selz before the village, but that Colonel Leesonovsky, the officer in command of the artillery detachment and the Grenadier Company at Kippringen, had taken Platen’s cavalry south towards Karsdorf. Firing could still be heard from Monchshof; I concluded that the enemy was still engaging in a desultory bombardment of the position north west of Tiefenzell, deceived by the show of force mounted by Demidov’s cavalry and the 1st Infantry Regiment, and was unlikely to attack.
Soon afterwards, I was joined by Leesonovsky and the cavalry, who had been forced to withdraw, after achieving some success, by a strong Prussian column, which had crossed Die Selz by the bridge on the Nennweiler-Karsdorf turnpike.
About eleven o’clock we agreed that Demidov should reform on the high ground at Kippringen to face the oncoming Prussians, redeploying his artillery to fire southwards, to discomfort them for as long as possible before retiring eastward to Hohenzell, spiking the guns and mounting the Grenadiers behind the cavalry troopers. I rode to Hohenzell, having also ordered the detachment at Das Untere Feld to retire southwards and rendezvous with Demidov’s command on the Kippringen-Hohenzell road, to observe the enemy’s advance and, if possible, engage him.
As I was riding to Hohenzell, at a quarter past eleven o’clock, I heard heavy cannon fire to the north-east and observed that Prussian troops had crossed the canal immediately east of Der See and were now advancing across Die Lange Hohe. I have had no further communications from, nor intelligence of, Demidov and his detachment, and must conclude that he has either fallen in the field or been taken captive by the Prussians. I commend this gallant and enterprising officer to Your Majesty.
Actually he was not heavily pressed, and survived to lead his command back to Hohenzell, and then on to rejoin the main Russian army during the night. Martin
Back at Headquarters I learned – from a message written an hour previously – that the troops north west of Tiefenzell were under a heavy bombardment, and that at least six Prussian battalions were forming on the Monchshof hill, apparently intending to attack [though it was clear that no such attack had yet taken place], so I ordered the 1st Infantry Regiment to fall back onto the hill south-east of Tiefenzell, setting the village afire after they had passed through it to delay the enemy and conceal their movements.
By noon the cannon fire had ceased. I ordered Colonel Bumpovsky, the officer commanding the 1st Infantry, to withdraw to Kroppen to guard the Baggage Train, which I had no reason to doubt was already moving thence. The Hussars were to take post on the hill immediately north-west of Kroppen to guard the Baggage, while the Dragoons were to march southwards to occupy Waldhof and contest the advance of a Prussian column reported to be advancing in that direction, to protect my line of communication via Kroppen and Hohenau.
I subsequently received the following message from him:
Field Marshal,
‘My poor infantry regiment has been decimated by the Prussian guns.
‘I have retreated to Tiefenzell and the Prussians have not followed us yet.
‘The Wagonmaster reports it will take at least an hour to get all the baggage moving.
‘Shall I destroy it?’
I immediately instructed Colonel Bumpovsky not to burn any wagons unless the enemy was pressing forward so closely that it would be otherwise impossible to prevent them falling into his hands, believing that the Prussian troops were unlikely to render such a precipitate course of action necessary. I venture to suggest to Your Majesty that Colonel Bumpovsky is too easily panicked by the appearance of the enemy, and would be better employed in some staff position far from the theatre of operations…
At a quarter to one no Prussians were visible from Hohenzell, but the enemy was reported to have occupied Waldhof.
I rode to Tiefenzell half an hour later to acquaint myself with the current situation there, to discover that, although the enemy was deployed in strength upon the Monchshof position, he was making no attempt to advance, and appeared unlikely to do so. I concluded that this manoeuvre had indeed been, as I had first surmised, a feint to distract my attention from his main thrusts via Karsdorf and Die Lange Hohe.
By half past one the Baggage Train was – at last! – moving off towards Kroppen. The enemy was still doing nothing, so I returned to Hohenzell.
At two o’clock the Baggage Train was reported to have cleared Tiefenzell, but within a quarter of an hour the enemy were reported to be marching on Kroppen from Waldhof, compelling the Dragoons to withdraw…
It had become apparent that the Prussians had observed our fortified camp and considering that it was too strong to be carried by an assault, were attempting to sever our line of retreat by way of Kroppen and Hohenau. I resolved, therefore, to order the Wagonmaster immediately not to proceed to Hohenau, but to turn off to the north-east by the road through the Kroppener Wald and march by way of Altschloss and Kirchberg towards our reinforcements to the north east. Under cover of darkness tonight, I plan to evacuate the camp, leaving burning camp fires and dummy sentries, and march by way of Die Eichen Wald to Kirchberg and thence to join our reinforcements.
I have the honour to remain, Sire,
Your humble and obedient servant,
Saltykov, Field Marshal

Comments on the game

The Russian briefing informed me that my force was ‘in relatively poor spirits’ and ‘wholly inadequate in the art of battlefield manoeuvre’, whilst the enemy, estimated to outnumber us by several thousand men, was ‘exceptionally well drilled and … adept at complicated marches in the face of the enemy’! Nor could I count on any reinforcements arriving during the game, for they were ‘at least one week away and consist only of 6000 untried troops.’ I was somewhat demoralized by this situation, and so put most of my infantry and artillery inside a strongly fortified camp at Hohenzell, where I hoped they would be safe from being outflanked by the Prussian ‘oblique order’ and would be able to withstand attack.
In the event, the camp proved sufficiently daunting to discourage the Prussians from contemplating an assault and, although they came close to severing one of my possible lines of retreat, I was able to take advantage of the enemy’s exhaustion after a long march to withdraw my Baggage Train unmolested and to plan an evacuation of the camp by night.
For most of the game I had relatively little to do, but at the end I was able to derive some comfort from the fact that, while I had been unable to hold the Hohenzell position for more than a day in the face of the enemy, I had preserved most of the forces under my command to rendezvous with the reinforcements, albeit somewhere further to the north east.
Whilst the game may not have developed as Richard had intended, the outcome – one commander deciding he had been out-manoeuvred and withdrawing without offering battle under what must have been extremely disadvantageous circumstances – had a distinctly eighteenth century feel, and both sides had the pleasure of claiming a partial success!

7. Letters

From Francesco Francini

While I was trying to refight the army level game presented in the last newsletter I became aware of the following matter: the Kriegsspiel Table (Repulsed, Defeated, Totally def.) is perfect for a detachment game that involves small forces and that comes to an end in a relatively short time but, probably, such table doesn’t fit for a game that involves larger forces since the result that the table gives can bring a larger unit, as a brigade or a division, to a too fast and abrupt result.
In other words it seems to me unlikely that a brigade or a division is totally defeated in just 30 minutes (I don’t say it can’t happen but that I just don’t think it happens so often as the table, written for smaller games, reports). That said, it seems to me unrealistic that a division is destroyed in just a game turn while it is more likely that such bigger unit passes through different degrees or steps of loss of morale and cohesion.
When a division or a brigade is involved in a fight this doesn’t means that literally all the brigade is involved but that, probably, just its front battalions are involved while the others are in support. If the front battalions are repulsed this doesn’t means that the whole brigade or division is repulsed. In simpler words: a detachment game is a matter, while a brigade or a division game is not a game with more battalions, but is something of different. If I adopt the usual RDT table I risk to see a brigade destroyed in few minutes. Now my question is: how do you ascertain the combat outcome for an army level kriegsspiel? Is there another table to consult? And if so, is there any good soul that would share it with me?
You are quite right of course. You cannot expect an engagement between large forces to be decided as quickly as an engagement between a battalion or two. Clausewitz says (Book 4, chapter 6) “that the resistance of a division of eight to ten thousand men of all arms, even against a significantly superior enemy and on not very favourable terrain, lasts for several hours; if the enemy is only slightly superior or not at all it may last half a day.” Bill
Yes you are right. The Reisswitz tables were designed for a detachments game, and do not work well with larger forces (they are also too time-consuming). We therefore use different approaches for such games. Arthur Harman likes the ‘Strategos’ approach, developed by US Army officers in the late 19th Century, whilst I tend to use some guidelines & tables which 4 of us brainstormed several years ago. You can access the latter on our website, under ‘articles’. Both approaches have their merits, and are quick to implement! This is particularly important where you have a large number of players, which is more likely to be the case with army-level games. Martin

From Bill Leeson on maps & his other publications

I would be quite happy to hand this business over to someone else who would be prepared to do them possibly making a small profit for the group. (It would be quite good for the group to have some cash in hand if it ever wanted to start doing things on a grand scale involving use of hall facilities.
Probably better than producing them on paper would be producing them on disc which could be used on screen or printed out. Geoff Eyles was thinking of this some time back but he was thinking of the larger scale maps which would require an A3 scanner. A normal copier would be able to handle the smaller maps and one could probably get all 50 sheets on a CD.
It might be necessary to experiment a bit with the colouring in to get best results. I would be happy to do this.
There are a few other things that could be made available in the same way. Some of the titles – The Reisswitz Story, for instance are on disc and could be sent out to people as email attachments.
Raising money for the group might require a degree more formality than we are used to – possibly involving a committee. But I don’t think that would be a bad thing.
I would be very interested in people’s reactions to the above. Bill is (how shall I put this?) not as young as he was, and is no longer actively into publishing his maps and other material.

From Maurizio Bragaglia

For your info there is a brand new set of Nap Grand Tactical rules just out called “La Grande Armee”
Please also remind Arthur to post his Strategos Grand Tactical rules.
This looks to have some interesting ideas. The following extracts are lifted from the website. Has anyone played with these rules?
No time scale: Games have variable numbers of turns, each turn has a variable length, and the total length of the game is unpredictable. Players “spend” time in the form of Command Point (CP) chits, representing an army commander trying to exert control over his forces. The structure of the game is governed by random chance and by the choices made by the players.
Variable Movement: You only know roughly how fast your units will move each turn. It’s variable, based on your level of
control of those units, the presence of the enemy, the weather, and the terrain. (Terrain penalties for movement are also unpredictable.) And once your units get in close with the enemy, they may or may not attack, in spite of your wishes.
Weather is extremely important, not an optional add-on at the end. Visibility is central to the game’s command and control system, and ground condition affects everything.
No Written Orders: Using the CP chits, each player makes decisions about the control of his forces. Those which aren’t controlled may or may not behave as he wishes.
Chaos: You’re the army commander. So you can’t control things like skirmishing, opportunity charges, evasions, and so on. All these things happen randomly, often in ways you didn’t want or expect. If you expend your precious CP chits to
micro-manage one portion of your army, control slips in the other parts. You can only do so much at once, and for the rest you hope for the best.

From a philosophical John Acs on teenage boys and the attractions of Warhammer
Yes with Warhammer the weapons and the characters and magic are the issue and the attraction – if you don’t know what you are doing – zap em! Of course there is an art to this also.
Those that learn the new rules AND have a tactical sensibility do make good players. Peter has had just about every Warhammer army going and knows the rules off by heart. He is a difficult opponent to beat.
The books give a lot to learn – which frankly I can simply not be bothered to do – that is my shortcoming not theirs. I also get irritated when a seemingly good plan is thwarted by the hidden hero with magic weapons, incredible toughness and skill and general constitution of a godzilla, who leaps from the enemy ranks and proceeds to single handedly dismantle your entire unit. Yes I DO have a bee in my bonnet about that…
On the other hand it does say in the Warhammer rule book- that the rules are for bending – so playing UMPIRE is as pleasant a way to spend the wargaming day as any and takes away the frustration of having to learn all the nonsense about fictitious weaponry and unearthly manifestations.
People have little regard for history – we live in a new age – every age after the last is new – in a society which has corrupted everything traditional we should not expect more. History is just that. Happened over and gone.

From Francesco Francini again

There are several translations of Austrian skirmish actions in Flanders 1793-94 against the French Armee du Nord available on Geert van Uythoven’s site:
Very good source on all things 19th Cent , Peruvian and Military. Excellent source of Naval info to by the way. Unluckily no maps included !

And again

My compliments for your news letter and for the army level game !!!!!!! Really interesting !
I’ll try to re-play this game by the matrix system and I’ll send you the battle report.
I find that the basing system that the group worked out is really clever and cheap! To base properly my army, I need to know the size (in inches or centimeters) of the counters for a 1: 25000 map. In other words I need to know how mach space occupies a counter on a 1: 25000 map. By the way, can I have the Tom Mouat fonts via e-mail in word format?
You can download the fonts from Tom’s site at There are plenty of other interesting things there, including NATO map symbols and wargaming stuff.
You second question is capable of several answers, so let me ramble for a while.
We have first to decide what kind of formation the brigade counter represents. I took the view that although the counter represents typically 4 or 5 battalions in general purpose column (what Nosworthy refers to as ‘waiting columns’), the spacing would normally allow for deployment in line when the enemy was nearby. There are therefore quite large gaps between the columns. For a cavalry brigade, the squadrons are deployed much closer to those on either side.
I assumed that the brigade would deploy in 2 lines
of battalions/squadrons. This seemed reasonable as, although sometimes brigades deployed in only 1 line, a second line was normally provided by another brigade in such cases.
The space depends on the number of battalions/squadrons in a brigade, but also of the size of individual units. Establishment strength of battalions could vary from c500 to over 1,000, and actual strength would differ from that. Things would also vary depending on whether 2, 3 or 4 rank lines were used.
For the November game I assumed battalions of 700 and squadrons of 170. This gave a frontage for a 4 battalion brigade, in 2 lines, of about 1 inch. An 8 squadron cavalry brigade had a similar frontage.
Other formations were possible of course. Late Napoleonic infantry sometimes operated in ‘brigade mass’ , a formation where the battalions were deployed very close to one another. This has been held to a reflection of poorer training and Allied cavalry superiority. I also produced counters for brigades with battalions in line and in square, although I don’t think we actually used these during the game. The umpire just had too much to do, so players received a verbal briefing if some of their battalions were, say, in square. Maybe in the future.

From Richard Madder

On last weeks trip to France to look at the battlefields of 1814 I discovered that the map available to Napoleon was the Cassini map, from surveys originally undertaken for Louis XV, scale is 1/86400.
It has been digitally scanned and is available in a 2 CD set (North & South France), so I have ordered the CD for North France. Attached is a picture I shot of one sheet of the map at the Musee in the Ecole Militare at Brienne-Le-Chateau. I ordered my copy from the link below.
It is possible to export areas of map from the disc, so we can use Staff Map Assist to play an e-mail game using part of the map.
This looks good. I would be very interested in playing on these maps, and I’m sure others would be too.
Stop press. Richard is about to umpire a trial game using these maps between your humble editor and noted author Paddy Griffith.

From Arthur Harman

I checked out LEGO website, but whilst one can buy 100 red squares, one cannot get blue bricks other than as part of a set. Stern letter to LEGO,
I think LEGO is the way forward for easy troop counters that are less fiddly and have the merit of fixing together to stack when closed up.
There might be an argument for enlarging
traditional Kriegsspiel maps so that a half battalion becomes the size of a 2×4 brick…
I’ve often thought of using Lego bricks as troop blocks myself. Instead of the 2×4, why not use 2×1? Then we wouldn’t have to enlarge the maps.
I’m not sure of the full range of sizes and colours. They certainly produce quite a nifty grey, so you could also do ACW.
8. Contacts

Anything in this newsletter is freely available for you to use and disseminate for non-commercial use, as long as attribution is maintained. The aim is to share fun and enlightenment.
There is no charge for the newsletter, but if you would like to receive future issues you will need to send some SAE envelopes to Martin (or even better let me have you email address). New players are very welcome. If you would like to know more about what to expect, give one of us a ring.

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