Saturday, 4 February 2017


I've been working on some revisions to my venerable 'Rifle & Kepi' rules for some time, mainly to streamline the command and combat systems. The activation and movement system from OP14 seemed to fit the bill admirably as it activated each Corps rather than each division and also eliminated the fiddly action point dice roll. That does rather restrict it to multiple Corp sized battles, but hey, I'm a  big battle sort of guy.

I rather liked aspects of the old combat system where you could resolve an entire Corps sized engagement in a single step, but the mechanism of calculating the relative combat power of each division (modified by tactical factors and individual dice rolls) and adding all the scores up, was far too cumbersome. The close combat system in Simplicity in Practice came to the rescue, as a way of generating combat value scores using handfuls of dice instead.

So, with the various revisions at hand, time to try it out on some actual players..... We've done this particular battle before, The Prussian Elbe Army closing in on the Saxons and Austrians near the town of Munchengratz on the Iser in June 1866. It essentially consists of four separate Corps sized commands with no pesky cavalry to mess things up. John took on Crown Prince Friedrich Karl, Tom was von Bittenfeld, Jerry was the Elector of Saxony and Tim landed the plum role of General Clam Gallas, reputedly better at eating than fighting.

The battlefield from the east. The Saxons are over to the left down the Iser, while the Austrians have a cordon out covering their evacuation of Munchengratz, Each hex is around 1000m.

The Crown Prince marches his Corps on and the Saxons move up to cover the left flank of Munchengratz. As it is high summer the Iser is passable to infantry and cavalry.

One Prussian division siezes a bridgehead while the Saxon artillery shells the enemy. Sadly after this point the battlefield became shrouded in smoke and there was no visual record of what happened.

Once the smoke cleared, the remains of the Saxon Army were revealed to be in full retreat, although the Prussians had suffered heavy losses in the process. One Saxon division had routed and the Elector had decided that enough was enough. The Austrian reserve brigade had moved up to fill the gap in the meantime.

Over on the road from Torgau, Von Bittenfelds Corps mounted a frontal assault against the Austrians entrenched behind the river. All very unpleasant. On a diamond, deployed units can't cross obstacles (like steep hills, woods and passable rivers), but the Austrians weren't planning on leaving their comfy trenches.

The fighting was so unpleasant in fact that the Prussian Army became shaken and the troops all went to ground. Having suffered 50% losses, it was understandable.

Corps dither (do nothing except defend themselves) if they draw a spade picture card for activation. If a Corps does dither, the HQ can issue an extra card to one subunit to activate at least a portion of the Corps. The Saxons are clearly unsure of what to do next...

The Austrian brigade south of Munchengratz succumbs to the Crown Princes concentric attack. Meanwhile the Austrians in the town have spent the last six hours (!) digging in (indicated by the little dice). Prussian casualties are around 40% at this point.

Back in the north, one Prussian division rallies and manages to fight its way across the river, supported by artillery. Less than half Von Bittenfelds Corps is left on its feet.

And in the south, the Crown Prince threatens the Austrian lines of communication. Night fell at that point and we called it a day.  The Austrians had managed to keep their communications lines open and inflicted heavy losses on the Prussians, even though the Saxons had scuttled home. So a well earned victory for Clam Gallas, and his Corps can withdraw overnight to meet its destiny at Koeniggratz.

I was pretty pleased with this, it all seemed to go smoothly and although I forgot a couple of things in the heat of the moment, it all hung together OK. Playtesting with people is always useful as it highlighted some ambiguities and inconsistencies to iron out, but the revisions are only minor. The challenge is still to keep the rules to one side of A4, but I seem to have managed it. Once I'm happy with the revisions to the revised version I'll post them as a file download here.

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