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The Battle of Emsdorf, 1760

The Seven Years War, Black Powder, 28mm

This week’s game was another “learning the rules” game using Black Powder, which is fast becoming our rules set of choice for Horse & Musket games. This time we refought the small encounter at Emsdorf (1760), which is the introductory scenario in our Seven Years War rules Die Kriegskunst.emsdorf%2001It involves an Allied attack on a French encampment – we didn’t have tents, but we used the same layout and forces as described in DKK. The game was therefore unusual in that Black Powder suggests using much larger “standard-sized” infantry units – 24-32 men rather than the 16-20 man infantry units we favour for our Seven Years War games.emsdorf%2019We were fortunate enough to be joined by a visitor, Graham Knight, who was visiting Edinburgh, and he took charge of the French infantry brigade, while I commanded the Bercheny hussars and jaegers. Dougie Trail and Bob Chapman served as the Allied commanders. Well, the battle began in a fairly straightforward way, with the Allies getting a free move, to simulate taking the French by surprise. On Turn 2 the French infantry roused themselves and formed up into an “L-shaped” defensive formation, with part facing north and the rest facing west, as the enemy were approaching from two directions.emsdorf-05Turn 3 proved disastrous for the French, as Bob rolled very low for initiative, giving Luckner’s Hussars a three move turn, which they used to advance clean across the table and hit a French battalion in the flank. It managed to retire in disorder, but the hussars kept going, and broke the next unit in the line. While all this was being played out the Allies advanced on the French position, and engaged in musketry, while the Elliot’s British Light Dragoon lurked on the flank.emsdorf%2014The Allies fired then advanced, driving the French line back up and over the small hill where the encampment should have been. The only bright spot was the breaking and routing of the British cavalry, scared off by skirmish fire from the Bercheny Jaegers. My own hussars seemed to fail every movement die roll they had, and by the time they reached a position to charge the enemy the French foot were in dire straits. They had been pushed back steadily, and outgunned and outnumbered they suffered casualties, causing one break test after another.emsdorf%2009One by one the infantry broke and fled, until by the end of the game only a single battalion remained in action, out of a five battalion brigade. The hussars charged, and succeeded in breaking Luckner’s Hussars, but by that stage of the battle it was clear that the French cause was lost, and victory was duly accorded to the Allies. fortunately the demise of Dougie’s nicely-painted Allied cavalry prevented any unseemly gloating.emsdorf-04Once again the rules worked well, despite their quirks. Graham – who games with the Brussels Club – was impressed by them, and even Dougie and I admitted that we fought the game to a conclusion, but that we’d have been hard-pressed to do the same  using our own rules. Once more Black Powder gets a cautious thumbs up.





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