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The Battle of Die Wildnis, 1759

The Seven Years War, Die Kriegskunst v2, 28mm

This week we were off to High Germany, for our first proper playtest of Die Kriegskunst 2, or Son of Kriegskunst, or whatever we’re going to call it. Essentially the rules are a modified version of Dave Brown’s General d’Armee, with a lot of the original Die Kriegskunst thrown into the pot. Although the rules keep evolving, and we’re trying out different things every time we play a game, the basic system is gradually coming together. So, it’s time to see if it works. This week the battle was fought largely to work out if we’d got the firing system right, and to get people used to the Staff orders system. It was a clash between the French and the Western Allies, fought out around the particularly bleak road junction of Wildnis Kreuzung (Wilderness Crossroads). The Western Allied army consisted of six infantry battalions, six cavalry squadrons and a gun battery. The whole army was Hanovarian, apart from three battalions – two of which were Hessian and one British). This force was divided into three brigades-  two of infantry and one of cavalry. Their job was to hold the key crossroads, while the rest of their army march forward in support. The French were there to dislodge them, and to seize the crossroads for themselves. Incidentally the crossroads was marked by a marvelous stone roadside cross, produced by Michael Scott of Supreme Littleness Designs. The French also had two infantry and one cavalry brigades to play with, but their force was slightly larger – eight infantry battalions and eight squadrons, plus a gun battery. Michael, Michael and Michael commanded the Allies between them (we had some fun with that one), while Campbell and Peter took charge of the French. I did my level best to play the part of the impartial umpire and rules supremo, and as all the figures were mine, I really didn’t have a bias for one side or the other. Well, perhaps a little. Allez les Bleux! The game began with the Allies forming up into some semblance of a neat line, with their guns in the centre. German Michael kept failing his brigade activation rolls, so his Anglo-Hessian brigade spent the first three turns rated as “Hesitant”. As he wasn’t doing much other than defending though, this probably didn’t matter. MDF Michael was a little more adventurous with his cavalry though, advancing on the right of the Allied line, to confront his French counterparts, which were moving forward along the edge of the North Woods. Campbell had two more squadrons, but while both of Michael’s regiments (the Breidenbach Dragoons and the von Grothaus cavalry) were rated “battle cavalry”, Campbell’s mounted brigade was more of a mixed bag. The Dauphin cavalry were rated Veteran “battle cavalry”, Chabrillan were line “battle cavalry”, and the La Reine Dragoons were slightly inferior, and rated as “campaign cavalry”. This was really to see what difference the various ratings might have on the coming fight. Both sides seemed a little reluctant to get stuck in, but when Campbell’s brigade failed their brigade activation and became “Hesitant”, Michael seized his chance. The four squadrons of the Breidenbach Dragoons charged their red-coated counterparts in the La Reine regiment, and gave them a fairly rough handling. The melee ended with the French dragoons in retreat. The von Grothaus regiment moved up to do its bit, and took aim at the Dauphin regiment, which had been the sole target of the Hanovarian guns as the French army advanced across the table. For the moment though we’ll leave the cavalry, to see how the infantry clash was developing. The Hanovarian brigade at the crossroads had stood its ground, its line centred on its accompanying gun battery, while to its left, German Michael’s brigade was starting to move – erratically. Its units moved sideways a bit, then back again, while the sole British battalion actually advanced into the South Wood, on the edge of the table. The reason was that the French advance had come close enough to pose something of a threat. The French guns had unlimbered when they got into effective range, and began pounding away at the Hessian Leibregiment. To the left of the guns Campbell’s infantry brigade – two battalions each of the La Mark and Conde regiments – were deploying from column of march into column of line. In Kriegskunst this involves turning sideways to the enemy, so Campbell wisely did this before his men got within effective range of the enemy guns! Behind the guns Peter’s brigade (two battalions of Touraine, and one each of the Tournaisis regiment and Dillon’s Irish) began deploying in support of them, ready to advance on the Hessians, the troops skirting the edge of the South Wood.  That explained why Michael’s British 25th Foot had advanced into the woods – to protect the flank of the Hessians – but there were too many enemy troops around, so in the end he withdrew, shadowed through the trees by the Irishmen from Dillon’s. It was now clear though, that Peter was going to rely on firepower to win the day – his guns were doing all the fighting, and his infantry were really just there to support them with long-range musketry. Meanwhile, there were developments over in the cavalry battle being fought near the North Woods. First, Von Grothaus had charged the Dauphin Regiment, and routed it from the table. It was now free to choose another target, but with not around it swung round to threaten the flank of Campbell’s infantry, which were now approaching the crossroads. behind them, the Breidenbach dragoons had charged the Chabrillan regiment, and forced it to retire. However, thanks to another bout of nifty die-rolling Campbell not only rallied both the remaining French cavalry, but the Chabrillans charged the Hanovarian dragoons, and forced them into retreat.  This cavalry clash had been a real yo-yo affair, and a hard-fought one, but it now looked as if the French were gradually gaining the upper hand. Back at the crossroads though, Campbell’s infantry charged home, with a battalion of Conde regiment on the left, fighting the von Wangenheim regiment, while on their left the blue-coated Germans of the La Mark regiment took on von Diepenbroik’s men. Both French regiments were supported by their second battalions, while in the Hanovarian ranks the only available support came from the Jung Zastrow regiment in reserve – and the guns. After a couple of hard-fought melees the Conde regiment drove their German opponents back, while La Mark eventually pulled back a little, as both sides decided to resolve the issue using musketry. Unfortunately that’s where we finished the game. As a playtest the aim was to try things out, and to introduce five players to the new-look rules, but the game actually turned out to be a real hum-dinger, and there was still everything to play for. The rules – despite a few page-turning moments – worked well, and the players soon picked up the game’s rhythm, which was dictated in no small part by the allocation of Staff Officers, by Initiative, and by the propensity of brigades to go “Hesitant” at key moments! So, for me it’s back to the rules tinkering, but we’ll fight another battle soon, and so the struggle between La Belle France and her Germanic neighbours will continue. 





34 Responses “The Battle of Die Wildnis, 1759”

  1. Keith Massey
    19th August 2017 at 10:25 am

    Sounds like a great game.

    Photos look very impressive.

    Is it your intention to publish the Mk II version commercially?

    • 19th August 2017 at 7:18 pm

      Yes Keith … eventually…

    • 17th December 2017 at 12:25 pm

      Yes, eventually.

    • 22nd December 2017 at 12:44 am

      Yes it is . .. probably towards the end of next year.

  2. Will Harley
    20th August 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Excellent looking game Angus, thanks for sharing.

    Will H

    • 20th August 2017 at 11:21 pm

      Thanks Will.
      My photos don’t really do the toys justice … particularly a few hours into the game when my alcohol cells have been topped up…

  3. Stephen Konynenberg
    21st August 2017 at 9:47 pm

    I really look forward to more reports on the development of the rules. I first found you site when you were putting the first Ed of DK together.

    • 21st August 2017 at 9:58 pm

      Thanks Stephen. Could we tempt you into doing some playtesting?

      • Stephen Konynenberg
        22nd August 2017 at 7:09 pm

        I must admit I would love to playtest but I think my value would be limited to solo play as next week I pack 2 of my sons and players off to college.

        • 23rd August 2017 at 9:09 am

          There’s no hurry, Stephen. This is a playtesting project that’ll run well into next year.

          • Stephen Konynenberg
            23rd August 2017 at 9:22 pm

            Count me in then, I have all the 1st and 2nd Ed General de Brigade rule sets and a very worn DK book and 3, 4ft by 6ft tables that combine into 8×6 or 6×12. Took years and a coupl moves to find the right combo!

  4. Will Harley
    22nd August 2017 at 4:20 pm

    You drink alcohol, I don’t believe it Angus.

    • 22nd August 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Only on days with a “y” in them…

  5. Chris Packer
    23rd August 2017 at 8:55 am

    Hi Angus.
    Great news regarding DKK2.
    I would love to help with playtesting, given I did the same with V1.
    I think the rules should cover the years 1700-1763 – just a thought.

    • 23rd August 2017 at 9:13 am

      Absolutely to the playtesting, but my feeling is tactics changed a fair bit, and while the 1740’s might work, the early 18th century might require its own set. Similarly, I’d be wary of extending it to include fighting in the Americas, India or against the Jacobites in the ’45, as again they were all fought in a slightly different way, using troop types that might be considered exotic in mainland Europe.

  6. John Van den Hoeven
    26th August 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Excellent news,we still use the original DKK here in Upper Hutt NZ and we would be interested in playtesting too.

  7. Mark Moriarty
    10th October 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Hello Angus,
    If you are still looking for playtesters. The Great Lakes Wargaming Coalition uses Die Kreigskunst as their SYW rule set. Would love to be able to give you a hand with DKK2.
    Take care.
    From sunny Indiana!

    • 11th October 2017 at 12:35 pm

      I am Mark, but it’ll be the end of the year before we’re ready to start. Thanks, and I’ll add you guys to the list!

  8. 15th October 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Hello Angus,
    Last five years have been consumed painting SYW Prussian and Austrian armies, which are the pride of my collections. Very much like the original DKK ruleset, and would really like to try out the DKK2 version. Am President of Essex Warriors in Writtle, Essex and many of our members have played the DKK although they seem to like the BP rules – perhaps because these rules are a bit simple and cover such a huge span of time/periods. Pls keep me in mind when the rules are ready to try out.

    • 15th October 2017 at 7:36 pm

      Thank you, Rafael for your kind offer. I’ll certainly rope you guys in for playtesting, now that you’ve rashly volunteered for it!However, it’ll be the end of the year before we’ve got to that stage.

  9. Mark Phillips
    5th November 2017 at 3:43 pm

    SOGS(south oxfordshire generals) volunteer to assist with playtesting.
    Played DKK1, Honours of war and General d’armee so send the DKK2 our way

    • 5th November 2017 at 8:08 pm

      Well done guys. It’ll probably be late December before we’ve got the draft playtest version in a state where we can send it out, but you’re now on the list. Thanks for volunteering!

  10. Kev Smith
    1st December 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Hi Angus,
    My name is Kevin Smith, I am the Chairman of the Wessex Wargaming Society in Southampton. I am the person who put the “Experiments with the 1745” thread on the GdeB website a fair while ago.
    Our club use and play DKK regularly and have played battles including Kunersdorf on a battalion for battalion basis with the forces , players available and enthusiasm for the period within the club.
    It is with great interest and dare I say excitement that we read you are thinking of releasing a version DDK II . If you are still looking for a group to play test the new version of the rules we at the Wessex would be more than happy to do so if we could. It would be a pleasure and to do so.
    If we can help in any way please do not hesitate to contact me .
    Thanks Angus,
    Best Regards,
    Kev Smith

    • 1st December 2017 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks Kev … and I’ll definitely take you up on your offer. It’ll be after the New Year though, before the first playtest draft of DKK2 is ready.

      • Kev Smith
        21st December 2017 at 6:48 pm

        Awesome Angus. Whenever you are ready just get in touch. Look forward to t. Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you.

  11. 16th December 2017 at 9:25 pm

    I have a long therm interest in SYW in Europe, been buying Prussians and first version of DKK. But my friends just did not.
    Now you got me interested again, and I think I will start on Austrians now. (I still have the Prussians!).
    Any idea when the rules would be ready for sale? and would they come via Reisswitzpress too?

    • 17th December 2017 at 12:28 pm

      I can’t see them appearing much before the end of 2018, but if you can’t wait then you’re more than welcome to get involved in the playtesting. As for a publisher, that still has to be confirmed.

      • 21st December 2017 at 11:42 pm

        Thanks for the offer, but I first have to paint an Austrian army!

        If they are ready in time, I will contact you again, but as I’m not the quickest painter, and also working on probably too many projects…

  12. Peter Tsokas
    25th March 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Playtesting DKK 2nd edition

    Hi Angus – if you need any more play testers, my group are keen as we have several 15mm syw armies and gamed dkk a few years ago.
    We are in Australia!

    • 25th March 2018 at 3:10 pm

      That would be great, Peter. However, right now work is seriously getting in the way of play, and I haven’t had the time and freedom to work on the rules. This should improve fairly soon though, and when it does I’ll rope you in as a playtester.

  13. 1st March 2019 at 10:10 am

    Any news on this project? We will be happy to buy the rules. Are there any chance to extend to the War of Spanish Succession?

    • 4th March 2019 at 12:17 am

      Still playtesting, I’m afraid. Also, no plans for the WSS, although it shouldn’t be too hard to convert them.

  14. Richard Goettel
    19th April 2019 at 12:21 am

    Hi Angus, Waiting with baited breath for the version Deux. DKK is all we use here and from time to time questions arise and we’ve talked about that. I have about 2000 Seven Years War with both an Austrian- Prussian army and a western army as well. Several of the regulars in the club like the DKK rules and would be willing to play test. Others in the club have interests not totally horse and musket but are happy to jump in.

    All the best,

    Dick Goettel

  15. 27th May 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Playtesting DKK 2nd edition

    Hi Angus

    if you are in need of more play testers, our Club is ready to help, we played AOR for many years but would like something new. Playing DB General D’Armeè for Napoleonic.
    We own several 28mm Syw armies (full of dust) and never played dkk
    We are in Genoa Italy!

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