Saturday, 2 April 2022

Maurice - Seven Years War Austro-Bavarians vs Prussians

Heroics to the front as the infantry get close and personal in our Seven Years War clash using Maurice

Last month, Maurice featured at the Devon Wargames Group, as Martin entertained us with a Seven Years War Prussians vs Austro-Bavarian clash, using his Pendraken 10mm collection that got its first run out on JJ's Wargames, see link below, as Steve M and myself reacquainted ourselves with a favourite set of rules.

Our club game was a much larger affair that saw the Austro-Baviarian force lined up on a long ridge overlooking an important river crossing before a small village with two bridges, one leading through it and the other further upstream.

The Bavarian division man the hill directly behind the village on the river. These four battalions would be in the thick of the fighting before the games end.

The Austrian general in command was busying himself overseeing the extraction of a rather important convoy of foods and munitions that were hastily assembling in the village, together with some important nobles and their ladies, keen to avoid an early introduction to the Prussian General Staff; and to cover their withdrawal a brigade of Austrian cavalry supported by Croatian Grenz covered the approaches.

The rear-guard force cover the withdrawal of the supply column

Important nobles and their ladies gather their belongings ready to join the retreat

Croatian Grenzer

Croatian Grenz cover the bridge, and road into the village 

Steve M and Gregory were tasked with administering the Austrian rear-guard, as Vince and I prepared to lead the charge on the behalf of the King of Prussia as our advance guard came up the road ready to challenge the Austrian possession of said village with jaegers and cavalry to the fore, closely followed by the main army ready to exploit an early success by crossing the river to challenge the main Austro-Bavarian army lined up on the ridge beyond.

Jagers and Prussian Hussars lead the advance guard of the Prussian army

Martin had managed to squeeze an exquisite level of detail out of these very small miniatures that only added to the enjoyment of our game. 

The early card play in Maurice is very often a case of one army getting into a position where it is ready to contest with its opposition.

The Prussians in this case, were forced to spend their cards trying to orchestrate the movement of their forces whilst the opposition did its best to frustrate and disrupt those movements, looking to create an opportunity for a counterattack or to weaken a later enemy advance.

Further along from the Bavarian division on the ridge beyond the river lay the main Austrian army supported with some very well laid artillery covering the approaches to the bridges.

With the village an obvious route of advance on perhaps the weaker part of the Austro-Bavarian army, we decided to clear the village with one part of the Prussian army while the other part got across the river upstream and shook out into battle order ready for an advance.

Austrian cavalry in force completed the army over watching the withdrawal

The battle for the village and its bridge became a fierce skirmish between the Grenz and Jaegers with the later able to shoot their way into the village and clear it with the sword bayonet and both the opposing cavalry stared at each other as the battle progressed.

With an early indication of the accuracy of the Austrian gunners, the main Prussian infantry force of elites and grenadiers together with the bulk of the cavalry quickly crossed upstream of the village and sought shelter in the lee of nearby woods as the jaeger cleared the village of Grenz opponents

The Prussians were also quick to support the river crossing with their own force of heavy guns

With the village cleared, the second division of Prussian infantry crossed over the river and deployed close to its outskirts, whilst the other infantry force and main Prussian cavalry were sorting out their messed up crossing behind the woods close by,  caused by rather accurate Austrian gun fire during their passage.

The second division of Prussian infantry followed the jaeger and light cavalry to support their advance and to threaten the Bavarian flank

As Gregory pulled the Bavarian cavalry back from the village, Vince spotted an opportunity to exploit the move by ordering up the Prussian infantry to advance in pursuit in line, a formation that, provided the flanks are secure, is a very dangerous threat to any opposition, given the deadly firepower of Prussian infantry of this era.

The move by the Prussian infantry proved to be the principle attack of the Prussian army leaving the other flank quiescent as the attack demanded the limited pool of activation cards to support it and seeing the Bavarian cavalry with its back pinned against its infantry that had come down from the hill behind in its support, as the Prussian muskets went to work.

The Grenz are forced back into the village by accurate Prussian rifle fire and would be destroyed later by the follow up close assault

The Bavarian infantry looking secure in their lofty perch above the village soon to find themselves in front of massed Prussian musketry

The front Bavarian cavalry regiment was decimated before the Prussian fire, and as the Bavarian infantry came forward to cover the retreat of the remaining horse, they to found themselves battered by a similar musketry fusillade followed by a charge.

In desperate need to turn the tide in their favour the Bavarians traded activation cards to bring up their single artillery piece to help, but it was too little too late as the Prussians traded battalions for battalions, whilst relying on Gregory to continue to throw sixes every time a units was destroyed, further adding to the loss in army morale points that inevitably followed.
With the Grenz hard pressed and eventually broken around the village, the Bavarian general ordered the cavalry rear-guard to withdraw on his main force

The Prussian second infantry division consolidate the hold on the village with the Grenz destroyed and the Bavarian cavalry withdrawing. Then Vince ordered the advance!

Behind the woods space was a premium as the main elite Prussian units sorted themselves out beyond the reach of Austrian guns

The really clever piece in card play with Maurice is that combat inevitably consumes cards rapidly in activations and event moderations, and the need to pause the fight as both sides attempt to rally off their disruptions.

In those pauses the other quieter parts of the front may get the opportunity to influence the battle within a battle by causing the enemy to react to other units elsewhere doing other threatening moves which forces card play in response.

Having crossed the river the Prussian guns deployed in preparation to cover the next phase of the advance, with a weather eye on that advancing Austrian cavalry, top left

The sudden withdrawal of the Bavarian cavalry offered an opportunity to exploit and the Prussian general in charge martialled the infantry to prepare to advance in hot pursuit.  

Thus the Austrian main cavalry advanced out into the plain, seemingly looking to threaten the main Prussian line and cause a reaction to take the pressure off the Bavarians.

Sadly the Prussian line responded with its first infantry division and artillery mutually covering all approach routes that the Austrian cavalry might close through and thus stymying this advance allowing card play to return to the battle before the Bavarian hill.

The Prussian advance on the Bavarian hill

The table overview at the close of our game shows the advance of the second Prussian Infantry division on the main Bavarian position as it moved off in pursuit of the Bavarian cavalry that withdrew from the village. To try and threaten this advance the Austrians advanced their cavalry but halted before getting in sight of the Prussian gun line. Note the Prussian infantry in line behind the woods to prevent any cavalry advances in that direction

The same overview from the Austrian positions

As our game came to its inevitable close and with the pub beckoning, the Prussian second infantry division and the Bavarian division lay battered at the foot of the hill behind the village, with both sides desperate to replenish their hands of cards, looking to rally off disruptions, bring up much needed supports and keep on killing the enemy, but unable to do all of it at the same time!

This is another glorious modelling of this type of linear warfare, artfully captured in the play, and it was the card play that had the last laugh as with the opportunity to cause the Austro-Bavarian army to teeter yet closer to calling a withdrawal, the Prussians played the 'Death of a Hero' event card which seemed very appropriate amid the carnage in front of the Bavarian position and more morale dropped from the Austro-Bavarian army card in the last phase of play.

The early decision point as the Prussian infantry lie battered before the Bavarian line having lost two battalions and the third one on the extreme left of picture teetering on three disruptions (red die) but with its Bavarian opposition in a similar state. The other two Prussian units accounted for two Bavarian infantry units and a cavalry regiment destroyed by their musketry, added to the two Grenz units destroyed in the fight for the village. Not the other Bavarian cavalry unit teetering on four disruptions, and both generals in close attendance.

The opposite flanks of the two armies were comparatively quiescent as the fighting on the Bavarian flank consumed the bulk of card play and activations

At the close the Prussian army morale was still riding high on the success of the assault by the Prussian infantry down five army morale points on a start of eighteen

What a game and its leaves me a little exhausted writing it up a few days later, but adding to the catalogue of memorable games played with this clever set of rules.

The Austro-Bavarian force in comparison was in a desperate state with a loss of twelve points, added to in the last turn with the Prussian play of the 'Death of a Hero' card that saw another two point decline as an important Bavarian officer was seen to fall at the close.

Thank you to Martin for bringing along his glorious collection of figures and terrain to provide all the fun and to Vince, Gregory and Steve M for making an enthralling and entertaining encounter in the Seven Years War with Maurice. 

Good times



  1. An excellent AAR and fantastic photo feast of SYW soldiers.


  2. What a great looking game. Table is fanstastic, and loads of extra details - the baggage train is lovely.