Sunday, January 3, 2016

Not All Cavalry Are Borne The Same - The Seven Years War, Battle of Kolin

One of the things that is great in this war game is that the tactical battles start with a lot of room to maneuver. A lot of real estate before deployment, and you can use your cavalry units to force the enemy to deploy in a wide front or into a kill sack.

The Seven Years War is a one man show that consolidates elements from Europa Universalis, Scourge of War and the Total War series. Here is a vignette about the use of dragoons in the Battle of Kolin, which I fought as the Prussians.

Navigating through the order of battle is very important, as in any war game. Those white portraits are clickable and will take you to the unit of your choice. This is II Division (infantry), which has 3 infantry Brigades, each one with an artillery unit.
I Division (infantry), a tad smaller and with just one artillery unit in the 1st Brigade. All infantry.

The III Division (cavalry), a powerful cavalry formation with 3 Brigades.
On the left, the IV Division (cavlary). This is a smaller cavalry Division with just two brigades.

My plan for this battle was relatively simple: IV and III Divisions (both cavalry) would move and aggressively push towards the two towns on our left flank (only one of these two towns is shown in this screenshot, note the smoke billows). The I Division (infantry) will move towards the farmstead in the center of the screenshot and wait of the II Division (infantry) to clear the town on our right flank (background). Both I and II Division would then encircle the hills beyond that road that bisects the battlefield. The blue icons represent the regiments' destinations.
One hour into the fight, in our left flank, the IV Division (cavalry) enters its objective and finds an enemy infantry regiment. Fighting ensues. The enemy is pushed out to the edge of the town and assumes an unassailable square formation.
I sent a Dragoon Regiment to the other side of the town (selected in blue, yellow is their field of fire) and with their guns they broke the enemy square.
It's a pity that my troopers had to hold the town and not pursuit the routed enemy (red flag).
For the III Division (Cavalry) the inertia on moving out led to egregious losses. Note how the enemy (units with yellowish flags) has almost surrounded the town.
The IV Division (cavalry, left flank) was then ordered to take the hill on the rear of the enemy, where they succeeded dislocating two enemy artillery battles and defeating two enemy Cavalry regiments.
The infantry, did not advance at a good pace. In the town on our right flank, they were attacked by enemy cavalry and infantry. In this screenshot, the II Division (infantry) repulses a cavalry attack (note the amount of enemy casualties on the left of the town) and readies for an infantry assault.

Despite our edge in the attrition side of the battle (own casualties at 5K, enemy casualties at 10K) we are in no shape to continue the offensive. I retreat from the battlefield in short order.

So, recap: the combined action of the medium and dragoon cavalry during the assault of the leftmost town forced the enemy to break their square formation. The enemy was routed some minutes later. Those cavalry divisions are big for a reason, make sure to use each regiment according to their best capabilities.

In addition to that, cavalry units do not have staying power. I procrastinated pulling out the III Division (cavalry) from its objective and the enemy infantry assault destroyed it beyond recognition.


No comments: