This game is set in the 1st Schleswig-Holstein War, 1848-50, which seems to me to be an overlooked conflict, even among the overlooked conflicts of the mid-century. The published game material that there is on the S-H wars all focuses on the 2nd S-H War, 1864, which was a lopsided affair, tactically speaking, that seems to me to a less viable choice for gaming when compared to the 1st S-H war, in which the Danes gave as good as they got, actually won some battles, and where the forces were much more evenly matched in armament, doctrine, and training. There are other opinions, I'm sure, but my main point remains that his particular conflict is overshadowed by the the less balanced 2nd S-H War for gaming purposes.
On to the game. This game is based on the Battle of Dybbol, 5 June 1848. The background for which is as follows: on 28 May, 1848, the Danes attacked out of their bridgehead across from Sanderborg into the Sundeved Peninsula and drove the Prussians back past the Nybel Mill. On 5 June, the Prussians and their allies (German Confederation forces and the breakaway Schleswig Holsteiners) counterattacked to retake the positions and to try and eliminate the bridgehead. A seasaw battle ensued, in which the Prussians advanced to the Dybbol Hill but the threat of a Danish counterattack drove them back to their start lines. This game is inspired by that battle--I say "inspired" because what I do is take a historical situation and make a game out of it, so you may or may not see, in these things, a direct correspondence in the orders of battle, for instance, to the historical event. Enough qualifiers: on to the game report! As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX in the below.
ABOVE: The initial set up and overview of the field of Mars. The Germans/Prussians don't all start on the table, but are displayed (Above left) in their starting areas for illustration. The Germans in this game consisted of a Prussian division and an Allied division, the latter composed of a brigade of German Federation troops and a brigade of the Schleswig-Holstein army. The Danes start on the main line of defense forward and also in depth, as they did in the actual battle. To win, the Prussians have to take all three towns (Nybol, Stenderup, and Ragebol) or take one town and the Dybbol Hill. The Danes win by avoiding these results. Simple!
|Wacth Am Dybbol: The Danes Deploy.|
ABOVE LEFT: Danish Hussars face down Federation Dragoons on the end of the line. As was the case in this period, the cavalry mainly fought the other cavalry. ABOVE RIGHT: The view from behind the Danish Jagers on the extreme right of the Danish line--these would be trouble for the Prussians all game.
ABOVE: The crisis of the battle. At the top of the picture, Von Bob's German Federation troops have secured Nybol and Von Ralph's Prussian 2nd Brigade has achieved a breakthrough at Stenderup (although it would soon waver due to casualties). The Prussian 4th Brigade is standing by to follow up. The Danish 2nd Brigade has been all but wiped out, and the Danish Reserve is still too far off to influence the action. The Schleswig Holstein Brigade has taken a beating but has done its job and held its place in front of the Danish center. The Danish 4th Brigade has been committed to fill gaps. The Danish 3rd Brigade, on the Danish right, still holds its own, the Jagers in particular causing the Prussians to back off.
ABOVE LEFT: The view from behind the Danish Dragoons as the Prussian 2nd Brigade breaks through. ABOVE RIGHT: The Danish Dragoons and Hussars of the 2nd and 3rd Brigades cover the withdrawal of the Danish right in the face of he Prussian breakthrough.
ABOVE: On the Danish left, General AJØrge launches an all out counterattack against the German Federation Brigade at Nybol in a bid to reverse the tide of battle. It was a gamble that could have produced tangible results, but, General Dice was not with the Danes here, and 2 out of 4 units failed their pre-melee morale, which put an end to this gambit.
At this point, it was getting late and it was agreed that the Prussians had the day. Thanks go out to the players for their input and good cheer. There will be a few tweaks to the system before I roll it out on game day. I'm also very pumped that I was able to debut my 19th Century collection on the table for the first time and validate that the Chocolate Box Wars configuration could be repurposed for other rules sets.
As far as the rules, this was a variant of VnB that I have put together for the 1st Schleswig-Holstein War, 1848-50. It features a stripped-down version of the reference sheet that excludes material from other eras. For those familiar with Volley and Bayonet, you can download the QRS here (this is a first pass--it will be adjusted with more use). For those familiar with Volley and Bayonet, consider yourself warned: you will notice many departures upon closer reading of the QRS as well (at some point, I'll add a content page to this blog with a more full explanation).