Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Some thoughts on Neukatzberg

So, the first try-out of Might & Reason has been successful. The whole battle probably took about 4 hours to play out, which would have been less but for the constant pauses to read and re-read the rules. I’ve made a summary reference sheet though, which should greatly speed things in future. I’ve split the report over this (and previous posts) to post it a bit more easily, so if you’re starting to read this here – stop, and scroll down!

These things are always more informative from the losers’ perspective, so – what went wrong for the Luftberg army? Given the disastrous nature of the rout, some of the dazed survivors might be more tempted to ask ‘what went right?’ The cavalry virtually self-destructed, the artillery were galloped over by enemy horse, which left the infantry fighting alone against a full ‘combined arms’ force of the enemy. Still, the Aschenbach army’s pre-battle plan was for an outflanking move – something which quite definitely didn’t happen, and instead turned into a head-on attack. With better Luftberg handling, the whole thing might have fallen apart for them. After much pondering in the debating salons of the Luftberg capital, the following points have been singled out as the ‘big three’ lessons to learn:

Infantry can’t fight alone!
The Luftberg army advanced into the space left by the Aschenbach army’s slower infantry, which – along with the refused flank – stretched their line out to the full with only the grenadiers in reserve. In future, a double line seems obligatory. Also, as the cavalry failed to watch the flanks and the artillery was at the ends of the line, they were quickly swept away. Placing cannons in amongst the infantry seems a good option for the future, and their canister fire should help even up the firing with the enemy’s infantry.

Don’t despair over the Cavalry!
This was really down to bad luck and unfamiliarity with the rules, which meant the cavalry attacked and didn’t seek to gain outflanking advantages or any other tactical ‘edge.’ It went so badly they were routed before they could recover. It fell entirely to the reserve force under La Spezia, a deeply average commander (his stats were literally ‘+0’ which says it all, really) to hold the flank. The amazing thing is they did. By evading and flanking they managed to hold themselves together despite regularly becoming ‘Inactive’ and were just unlucky to not rout any enemy cavalry along the way. The next battle should see them perform better…

Don’t fight in the open!
Did you notice the irregular infantry in that battle? Me neither. The terrain was so open that to get cover they were in a wood off on a flank, which became totally isolated once the cavalry routed. In the history books, apparently the Austrians regularly frustrated Frederick’s plans by positioning themselves in strong positions based on rugged terrain where he couldn’t attack them (apparently he said that the Austrian Marshal Daun must have been born on a mountain, as “he had but to see one to rush up it and stay there” ). It seems a bit more notice will need to be taken of historical Austrian methods, forcing the Aschenbach infantry to struggle through rivers and woods.

The first fight was a bit of a ‘one-off’ fight, so we will presume that the struggle took place at the very tail-end of the year. For the following season’s campaign, we will have a much better idea of how to handle things.


Fitz-Badger said...

Interesting battle report and review of rules! Did you play this solo?

Well, you got a battle in after barely a month of blogging. I've had my blog going for over a year and have yet to get any fighting in (I hope to remedy that before the year is out!).

Andrew said...

thanks for sharing the details; I've been thinking of getting these rules - did you like them?

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Great campaign background, battle description, photos, maps, and debriefing. What's next on the imaginary front?

Best Regards,


Capt Bill said...

Excellent battle report, photos and maps. What did you think of Might and Reason? We mounted our armies to use these rules, but did not like the massive advantance the Prussians have. Best regards...Bill

Bluebear Jeff said...

I enjoyed the battle photos, accounts and rule comments . . . thanks for sharing.

I am not familiar with the M&R rules . . . but, like others, would be interested in what you liked and didn't like about them.

Congratulations on reaching the battlefield so soon after beginning.

-- Jeff