Two Kings, a Kaiser and Koniggratz: The War of 1866
 
In this articles on the Mid Nineteenth Century European Wars, I shall look at the war of 1866. I will give details of the armies engaged in this conflict, concentrating on how they would function using the modifications I suggested in my first article. In addition a scenario for recreating the battle of Nachod is provided. I do not intend to go into details about war itself as these are relatively easy to obtain elsewhere. In the war of 1866 Prussia, Italy and a number of small German States were allied together. Against them were ranged Austria and her German allies: Saxony, Hanover, Bavaria and the other larger German States. The Prussians emerged victorious not only against Austria, but also in Southern Germany against Austria's allies. These victories overshadowed those the Austrians achieved in Italy. With complete victory within reach the Prussian chancellor Bismarck negotiated a peace treaty before France could intervene in the war.
 
The Austrian Army of 1866
 
Weapons: Austrian infantry are armed with the Lorenz Rifle a MLR. The artillery was rearmed with rifled guns counting as RA. In addition they continued to use a small number of rocket batteries. On the very rare occasions that Austrian cavalry can dismount they will count as Confederate cavalry for firing.

Tactical Doctrine: Reacting to their defeat in the war of 1859, the Austrian sought to imitate France's successful tactics of that war. All infantry therefore use assault tactics when in column of attack formation. Indeed the infantry were trained to operate at all times in this formation. All infantry should therefore suffer a -1 on the manoeuvre chart when they in line or supported line. Jaeger battalions are light infantry and can use skirmish tactics, as can the few units of 'Grenzers' that saw action in the war.

Troop Quality: The majority of the Austrian army should be rated 'Veteran'. Depot units and 'unreliable' infantry, such as units raised in Italy, should be rated as 'Green'. While the Jaegers and the elite infantry units such as the 4th Regiment and the 'Iron Brigade' deserve 'Crack" status. Cavalry were of high quality and should be rated as 'Veteran' or higher.

Leadership: The command of the Austrian Army was, on the whole, abysmal. Many of the corps and cavalry division commanders owed there position to social status, rather than any degree of competence. In addition the army fought without infantry divisions, the infantry brigades being directly subordinate to the corps commander. This further handicapped the command structure. Therefore Austrian 'divisional' commanders are in fact brigade commanders. About half of the Austrian commanders should be rated as 'Poor" commanders. None of the 'divisional' commanders and few other commanders: corps, cavalry division and unit, should be 'Exceptional".

Organization: The following is the 'standard' organisation of Austrian formations in 1866. Obviously there were many exceptions to this in reality, particularly on the Italian Front. The number of stands depict the units at full strength. In brackets are the number of stands if the unit is skirmishing. While the first number is appropriate to the 1:300 scale and the second to the 1:200 scale, if different.

Infantry Corps

Corps HQ
1 Leader (Corps Commander).
Corps Artillery: 1 / 2 Horse Batteries, 1 Rocket Battery, 1 / 4 Foot Batteries.
Corps Cavalry: 1 Unit of 2 / 3 cavalry stands, mostly Uhlans with some Hussars .
 
4 Infantry 'Divisions' each
1 Leader.
2 Infantry units of 10 / 15 stands.
1 Jager unit of 3(4) / 5(7) stands.
1 Foot Battery.
 
Cavalry Division
Divisional HQ: 1 Leader.
Divisional Artillery: 1 / 2 Horse Batteries.
2 Cavalry Brigades each: 1 cavalry unit of 5 / 7 stands (Light Divisions). or 1 cavalry unit of 6 / 9 stands (Reserve Divisions)

 

The Prussian Army of 1866
Weapons: The infantry were armed with the famous Dreyse Needle Gun, counting unsurprisingly as an NG. As should the cavalry on the very rare occasions they dismount. The classification of the artillery is more difficult. It consisted of both smoothbore (SA) and breechloading artillery (BLA). Unfortunately there does not seem to be any agreement on the proportion of each. The Prussians were in the process of introducing the new Krupp Breechloading Guns at the time of the war. Different sources suggest between 25 % and 75 % of each type of gun. During the war the Prussian artillery did not perform well and was outclassed by it's opponents. For this reason I favour the lower proportion of BLA's, you will have to make up your own minds!.

Tactical Doctrine: During this war the Prussians were very timid in their use of artillery. The artillery was usually at the rear of the line of march, so took a long time to arrive. When it was in action it frequently withdrew if fired on. This was because it was thought a great dishonour to lose your guns. To reflect this I suggest that 2 or 3 victory points are awarded for the destruction or capture of Prussian Artillery. With half this for a damaged battery. Jager units may use skirmish tactics. All infantry units may use assault tactics when in column of assault formation.

Troop Quality: Line units should be mainly "Veteran' with a proportion of "Crack" infantry units. I usually rate the Grenadier and Jager regiments as "Crack", as this gives about the right proportion, The Guard units should be rated as "Elite", while the Landwehr units are "Green" or "Levy".

Organization: See notes on Austrian Organisation.

Infantry Corps

Corps HQ
1 Leader (Corps Commander).
Corps Artillery: 1 Horse Battery, 2 / 3 Foot Batteries.
Corps Light Infantry: 1 Jager unit of 3(4) / 5(7) stands.
 
2 Infantry 'Divisions' each
1 Leader.
4 Infantry units of 10 / 15 stands.
2 / 3 Foot Batteries.
1 Cavalry Regiment of 2 / 3 stands.
 
Cavalry Division
Divisional HQ: 1 Leader.
Divisional Artillery: 1 / 2 Horse Batteries.
3 Cavalry Brigades each: 1 cavalry unit of 4 / 6 or 6 / 9 stands

 

The Italian Army of 1866

Weapons: The infantry are armed with MLR's, while the artillery have SA's. On the very rare occasions that Italian Cavalry can dismount they will count as Confederate cavalry for firing. Tactical Doctrine. Bersaglieri (light infantry) may use skirmish tactics and are impetuous, when not skirmishing. I am unsure whether the Italian army at this time were operating with a tactical doctrine. I suspect they are using a similar system to the Austrian's. So if required they could operate with the same restrictions as noted above.

Troop Quality: The Italian Army was of low quality compared to the other participants, especially the newly raised regiments not part of the old Sardinian Army. Units of the old Sardinian Army should be rated as "Green". These were the first 18 infantry regiments, the 1st and 2nd Grenadiers, all the Heavy cavalry and 5 of the Light cavalry. The rest of the army, including Garibaldi's troops, should be "Levy". An exception to this is the Bersaglieri, which were excellent troops and should be "Crack".

Leadership: The leadership of the Italian Army was another great handicap the army was saddled with. It was even worse than that of the Austrian Army. There should be very few 'Exceptional" commanders and these should only be unit commanders. All other commanders should be "Poor", with some normal commanders.

Organisation: See notes on Austrian organisation. In addition the Italians varied the number and location of support troops. For a more detailed examination of the organisation, see the excellent article by Steve Shann in W.I. 112.

Infantry Corps

Corps HQ
1 Leader (Corps Commander).
Corps Artillery: 6 / 9 Batteries.
Corps Cavalry. 3 / 5 to 6 / 9 cavalry stands.
 
4 Infantry 'Divisions' each
1 Leader.
4 Infantry units of 8 / 12 stands.
2 Bersaglieri battalions of 2(3) / 3(4) stands
 
Cavalry Division
Divisional HQ: 1 Leader.
Division Artillery: 1 Horse Battery.
2 Cavalry Brigades each 6 / 9 stands of Heavy Cavalry.

 

The Minor German States

Details of the various states that were allied to both sides are difficult to obtain. Also the details available are often contradictory and confusing. So I will only give a quick overview here, for more details click below. The minor German States that fought with the Prussian's were mostly organised and equipped as the Prussian's were. In contrast the states aligned with Austria were equipped with a variety of equipment. Hesse - Kassel infantry were armed with Dreyse Needle guns. While the armies of Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, Wurttemburg, Baden, Nassau and Hesse - Darmstadt had various MLR's. All of these states had a mixture of smoothbore and rifled artillery, SA and RA.

More Details on the German States

 
The French
As mentioned above the French had intended to intervene in the war. They were in the process of mobilising on the Rhine when the war ended. So as an interesting 'What if" you could use French forces to reinforce the Austrian allies in Germany. They would still be organised, equipped, etc.. as they were in 1859 (see my forthcoming article).