By Paul Stevenson
Eight stalwart men and true from across the snow fields of Durham converged on the sleepy model village of Mollwitz nestled within the hallowed walls of DWG HQ to assume command of their respective little armies soon to be locked in battle and steered by the fickle fates of Black Powder wargames rules.
Okay let’s cut the crap and cut to the chase.
Robbie, the Austrian commander assembled his three brigadiers, John, Nigel and myself in the tea room to discuss our plan of battle whilst Colin, commanding the Prussians dished out his orders to his subordinates, Dave, Graeme and Ian. We Austrians decided to advance onto the table in march column and deploy the infantry in two lines covering Mollwitz in the centre of the line. Cavalry would cover the flanks – boringly conventional but safe and sound. Our one battery deployed on the left of the battalion defending Mollwitz – both units assisted by the grenadier battalion to their right were to prove to be instruments of Prussian destruction.
John and Robbie felt that Colin would be reluctant to commit his cavalry and this proved correct as Ian’s Prussian heavy cavalry remained idle spectators throughout the battle unwilling to come into range of Nigel’s infantry. And God bless ‘im, how Nigel tried to get his fellows to move within musket shot – but to no avail. Only the Prussian Hussars were prepared to come to grips mixing it with Robbie’s and, drawing support from their heavies, were able to hold out for several rounds of melee until they finally succumbed.
To the right of his cavalry Colin showing true Guard grit pushed his Prussians right up to close range and gave the Austrian defenders his first fire – four dice hitting on 3+. The men in white were but little phased standing nobly to their task and with the assistance of the battery firing canister commenced to bring an end to the Guards’ existence. Another Prussian battalion fell to Nigel’s brave boys and Colin now had a broken brigade. Meanwhile Graeme’s three Prussian batteries hammered away at my unflinching lines of Austrian infantry from a distant hilltop but enjoyed little success.
“And what was Herr Jarvis doing, all the while?” I hear you ask. Well he was arsing things up on Colin’s right. Opening fire at long range, a traffic jam ensued as Graeme’s Prussian brigade awaited their turn to get onto the table. Apart from being seriously held up, one battalion fled to the rear. Another broke under fire. By now Graeme was able to squeeze his marching columns around the rear and right of Dave’s disintegrating lines.
To add further consternation to this tale of Prussian woe, from over the hills came John Roemer dodging the whistling musket balls at the head of his heavy squadrons which then crashed like a sledgehammer into the Prussian infantry who were struggling to make a front to face them. Graeme managed to get one battalion into position which took the full force of a cuirassier charge, merely denting the Austrian breastplates with their volley and taking a beating in the subsequent melee but luckily rolling a perfect ten in the morale test saving him further embarrassment.
Such was not the case with DJ however as embarrassment led to humiliation when he boldly led his now rallied recalcitrant regiment into the very teeth of another of John’s cuirassier regiments paying dearly with its loss. With two brigades out of four broken now broken with another down one regiment the Prussians were beaten. The Austrian infantry was by now moving forward to capitalise on their gains.
After the carnage, the Austrians assembled in and around the quaint little church in Mollwitz for a Tu Duem. The miserable stooped figure of “Fredrick the Not So Great Now” could hear the strains fading into the distance as he fled the field, (even before the last turn of the game), “Twooo – nil, too nil, two nil, two nil…”