After its defeat ( and loss of its commander ) at Vier Arme, the Prussian forces were retiring towards their own territory, pursued by the victorious Austrians. Reaching the river at the border, von Jemander's tired units aimed to cross at two fords and re-group on the hill known as Heiligtumshugel. But their pursuers caught up just as they reached the fords, and a sharp fight developed.
The Prussians divided into two groups, with their von Kleist Freikorps Uhlans and Foot on their right ( at the East ford ) and the two battalions of the 44th Fusiliers on the left ( West Ford ). They enjoyed one turn's head start on the Austrians, but any Prussian unit remaining North of the river at the end of Turn 2 would be judged to have been overrun and surrendered. So, over the fords they hurried - one unit per turn, so the second unit on each flank ( Uhlans and 2nd Fusiliers ) found themselves in mid-river, facing the oncoming Austrians.
In their turn the Austrians divided more or less in two, with 1st Hussars, Grenzer foot and Rifles on their left ( East ) and 2nd Hussars and both Jager battalions on the right ( West ). Without further ado the 1st Hussars, led in person by General Dachs, charged straight into the Uhlans at the East Ford. Seeing the disadvantage of his lancers fighting from mid-river, von Jemanden joined them pour encourager, so the two commanders met at the outset in close combat - and the Uhlans came off worst, losing one strength point - first blood to General Dachs.
|Battle is joined - cavalry clash at East Ford (top left)|
(i) a unit moves into the river on turn A and stops,then moves one grid area out of the river on turn B
(ii) units in rivers cannot fire
(iii) in close combat a unit that is in a river reduces the D6 die roll score by 1.
So getting across the ford against determined opposition would be slow and dangerous - and so it proved.
( It's also worth mentioning that I realised I had been inadvertantly playing a 'house rule' in previous games, having not noticed that 'a unit that is firing this turn reduces its movement by one grid area' - oops. With the line formations used by 7YW infantry in battle having a movement allowance of just one, this means that they may either move or fire, not both. I think that actually reflects the inflexibility of linear formations pretty well - really should have noticed it before! )
Therefore, following that brief cavalry fight, on Turn 3 Prussian units stepped back from the fords, daring the Austrians to try to cross under fire and suffer the consequences - though the Austrian Jagers got their 'first volley' in, and 2nd Fusiliers lost one SP when unable to retreat after a hit. Losses at the end of Turn 3, therefore : Austrians 0, Prussians 2 ; with exhaustion point at only 7 SP, not a good start for the Prussians.
|End of Turn 3 - 'Come on if you think...'|
The battle developed, logically enough, in two separate fights, one at each ford. At the East ford the Hussars and Uhlans fought a real ding-dong melee, with Hussars being forced back and then charging back into the ford, eventually being reduced to 1 SP. But it was an uneven fight, with the Austrians now bringing up their 2nd Hussars, and 'Grenze' infantry and Rifles sniping at the Uhlans when 1st Hussars fell back - and on turn 7 the Uhlans were destroyed. With the Von Kleist foot pulled back out of range, the East ford was open!
|Not a fair fight at East Ford - Uhlans about to be destroyed|
At the end of Turn 7, losses were Prussians 4 SP, Austrians 5 SP.
|West Ford - a tough crossing under fire|
But with East Ford now open to the Austrians and the fresh 2nd Hussars moving to cross the river, the Prussians were in danger, and needed to pull back towards the hill or be outflanked. Von Kleist's foot having already been forced back, at least found it easy to simply step back further and take a stand on the hill. At West Ford, Prussian 1st Fusilers pulled back, bravely covered by 2nd Fusiliers who stood their ground and fired with some effect, taking another 1 SP from 2nd Jager in Turn 8.
|Turn 9 : Prussians under pressure|
|Hussars charge Frei Korps in the flank - but no breakthrough!|
At the end of Turn 11, losses stood at Prussians 5 SP, Austrians 9 SP. General Dach's men had reached Exhaustion Point, and their attack ground to a halt.
|Final Situation : Austrian Exaustion|
But of course, I had a lot of fun, and enjoyed the challenges and conundrums that the scenario gave to both sides. I hope you've enjoyed my account, too. So, here's to Neil Thomas and the late, great Don Featherstone for their inspiration!
Next time, I think a little review of where to go next with the 'Portable Seven Years War'.