Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Mini-map movement - prelude to battle

Back at my 'Soldier King' Campaign, we left our  Austrian defenders of Rahden pulling back to the city after a narrow victory over the smaller Prussian attacking force - and having crucially lost one of their two Heavy Cavalry units. 

Now the larger Prussian army was bearing down from the North, having marched 'towards the sound of the guns' as any decent commander would, and  reached the wooded terrain square as the battle played out to the South-West ( I allowed two map moves to be taken during the eight or nine table-top moves of the battle ).  Knowing that fighting was going on not too far away, a degree of caution entering the woods was in order. If you'll excuse the wear and tear that occurs very fast on a very simple paper map ( using blu-tak to hold the counters in place doesn't help! ) , the situation as the Austirans reached the city was as shown: 

Regrouping after the battle: threat from the North

So, the Austrians reached the sanctuary of the city, leaving their recent opponents exhausted and regrouping to the West, while the Prussian main force was known to be marching down that northern road. Messengers soon reached the  Prussian commander with news of the outcome of the recent battle. 

A 'decision point' seemed to have arrived for both armies: for the Prussians, their main force commander knew that he outnumbered the Austrians by 7 units to 4, including 3 Heavy Cavalry to 1 - but the wooded terrain certainly did not favour his cavalry. Their choice looked to be to either halt and consider their options, being wary of an ambush in the woods, or to boldly advance on the city. 

The Austrians' now had  local intelligence knowledge of the advancing  Prussian force , and knew they were outnumbered by fresh troops.  Their choice appeared to be  to try to hold the city against a storming; to  'go out and fight' at poor odds;  or to try to escape southwards, back to home territory.

How to decide : the dice gods will choose, of course! After a little thought, I came up with options as follows: 

Prussians:  roll 1 or 2 -  caution, hold position. Roll 3/4/5/6 : vorwarts! 

Austrians : roll 1 or 2 : retire South. Roll 3/4/5 : hold the city. Roll 6: attack! 

Taking a deep breath, the dice were rolled :  red for Austria,  Blue for Prussia

that's pretty decisive

Six and One, that's a clear decision! The Prussians would  advance on the city with characteristic vigour; but the poor Austrians had let their doubts get the better of them, and would make a dash for the exits. Could they get away? 

So, on map turn 11, the Austrians  hurriedly departed the city by the Southern Road, while the Prussians briskly marched from the North, their cavalry going ahead and reaching the gates, which were immediately opened to them as liberators!  No time for festivities, though - onward march. The Austrian force being a mix of horse and foot, was proceeding at the pace of the slowest - at least the cavalry stuck around to protect their comrades -  so on the next turn, the Prussian cavalry caught them up.  The Prussian main force foot were some way behind,  but in the meantime the remnant of their force to the West had just re-grouped when  the Austrians were sighted  issuing from the city gates:  the two tired Prussian foot units gathered their strengh and  hurried to intercept.  Which left the situation like this: 

Contact made: action imminent

Now my mini-campaign map  uses 4 by 4  small squares as the size of the game table, so we have a fight on our hands. Prussia has 3 Heavy Cavalry and 2 Infantry vs. Austria's 1 Heavy Cavalry and 3 infantry within a 'table area', - but the Prussians have no less than 4 Infantry units hastening through the city to join in. It looks tough for the Austrians, but there may be a chance.. 

I will pause there, for now : I first thought to have tried to fight out the table-top battle straight away,  but the weather intervened - my free day was Monday and it was 20 degrees and sunny outside, no day for staying indoors!   So, we'll have to wait for the next post. The upcoming Easter weekend forecast is reassuringly cold and damp, so I expect to find some time.  In the meantime, keep safe, and well, everyone. 



  1. Like the way you go about setting up the battle. I’m always happy to let the dice gods do the deciding for me as well. Looking forward to the batrep.

    1. Thank you! I like to imagine the dice represent the hurried conferences of the respective commanders: I just have to work out the rough probabilities, and roll.
      I was quite happy that the result for the Austrians was certainly not the one I would have chosen myself! Battle should be joined over the Easter weekend.

  2. Interesting campaign, looking forward to seeing what occurs next..
    I had a Zoom game yesterday and it was the nicest weather it had been for days, typical. However I guess these weekly games have helped kept me sane or what passes for it.

    1. Thanks, Alan; Hope you had a good game, anyway!
      I was at least able to make those map moves etc while sat in the garden - with the map stuck to the table in case the breeze caught it..