The Battle of Langensalza
27th June 1866

The battle of Langensalza was to be the last battle for the Hanoverian army. It had been hastily mobilised and was attempting to march south to join it's Bavarian and VIIIth Federal Corps allies. Unfortunately it was operating in the growing belief that its path was blocked in all directions by the pursuing Prussians. Therefore it paused to rest for a while to consider its options. Meanwhile an ad-hoc Prussian force had closed on it and attacked. What exactly the motive was for this attack is still an area of some contoversy. One thing is for sure though it pinned the Hanoverians in place and helped convince them that they were surrounded. Leading to there eventual capitulation a short while later.

The purpose of this page is to provide the details for refighting this battle, using modified 'Fire and Fury' rules. The modifications to the rules are at Fire and Furia Francese, while the campaign modifications are at War of 1866 Rules.

The charge of the Hanoverian cavalry at Langensalza

Scale and Notes:

This scenario is in the 1 stand = 150 men scale. The game starts with the 10:00 Prussian phase and finishes with the 16:30 Hanoverian phase. The Hanoverian's move first in each turn.

Orders of Battle:

The Prussians

The Prussian Infantry are armed with the Dreyse needle gun (NG), except for those marked with an * which have MLR. Roll a D6 for each unit that does not have an 'E' leader. On a roll of a 6 cavalry, landwehr or depot units have an 'E' leader, on a roll of a 5 or 6 all others have an 'E' leader.

Army Commander: von Flies 1 Ldr. (Arrives 11:00 Prussian phase)

Reserve Artillery: 1 Foot gun (BLA). (Arrives 11:00 Prussian phase)

Advance Guard: von Fabeck 1 Ldr.

  • Combined Cavalry: 3 / - / 2
  • Saxe Coburg Gotha Regt: 10 / 8 / 5
  • 1 Foot Battery (BLA)

Main Body: Baron Hanstein 1Ldr (E). (All arrives 11:30 Prussian phase in any formation)

  • 1st / 25th Infantry Regt: 6 / 5 / 3
  • 2nd / 25th Infantry Regt: 6 / 5 / 3
  • 1st / 11th Grenadier Regt: 6 / 4 / 2
  • 2nd / 11th Grenadier Regt: 6 / 5 / 3
  • 3rd / 11th Grenadier Regt: 6 / 5 / 3
  • 2nd / 32nd Landwehr Regt: 4 / - / 3 *
  • 1 Foot gun (SA)

Reserves: von Seckdorff 1 Ldr. (All arrives 12:30 Prussian phase in any formation)

  • 27th and 32nd Landwehr Regt: 8 / 7 / 5 *
  • 20th Landwehr Regt: 8 / 7 / 5 *
  • 71st Regt Depot Btn: 3 / - / 2
  • 1 Horse battery (SA)

The Hanoverians

The infantry are armed with a MLR, the artillery as noted. Roll a D6 for each unit that does not have an 'E' leader. On a roll of a 5 or 6 units have an 'E' leader.

Army Commander: von Arentsschildt 1 Ldr (P).

Advance Guard Cavalry: 3 / 2 / -

Reserve Cavalry: 4 / 2 / - E

Reserve Artillery: 1 Foot gun (BLA), 1 Foot gun (SA), 1 Horse gun (SA).

1st Brigade: von dem Knesebeck 1 Ldr.

  • Guard Regt: 8 / 5 / 3
  • Leib Regt: 7 / 5 / 3
  • Guard Jager: 3 / 2 / - L
  • 1 Foot gun (SA)

2nd Brigade: de Vaux 1 Ldr.

  • 2nd Infantry Regt: 8 / 6 / 4
  • 3rd Infantry Regt: 7 / 5 / 4
  • 1st Jager: 3 / 2 / - L
  • 1 Foot gun (BLA)

3rd Brigade: von Bulow Stolle 1 Ldr.

  • 4th Infantry Regt: 8 / 6 / 4
  • 5th Infantry Regt: 7 / 5 / 4
  • 2nd Jager: 3 / 2 / - L
  • 1 Foot gun (BLA)
Hanoverian Jaeger, 1866
4th Brigade: von Bothmer 1 Ldr.

  • 6th Infantry Regt: 8 / 6 / 4
  • 7th Infantry Regt: 7 / 5 / 4
  • 3rd Jager: 3 / 2 / - L
  • 1 Foot gun (BLA)

Notes: The Hanoverian army is described as having sent the recruits to the rear. Therefore I have reduced the size of the units to account for these unknown number of absentees. If you wish to, and enjoy kicking a man when he is down, you can use the full OOB. It is at The German States Forces in 1866.

Deployment and Reinforcements.

The Hanoverians:

 The Hanoverians deploy first, except for the Advance Guard Cavalry (see below), in any desired formation.

1st Brigade and the Reserve Cavalry: Off table, arrive within 6" of Point B when activated.

2nd Brigade: Within 12" of Merxleben and north of the Unstrutt.

3rd Brigade and the Reserve Artillery: Within 18" of Thamsbruck and north of the Unstrutt.

4th Brigade: Within 18" of Nagelstadt and north of the Unstrutt.

Advance Guard Cavalry: Anywhere to the south of the Unstrutt. Between 6" and 12" away from the river. Deploy after the Prussians have deployed.

The Prussians:

 The Prussians deploy after the bulk of the Hanoverian army but before the Advance Guard Cavalry.

Advance Guard: Deployed on table within 6" of the southern most point of Langensalza.

The remainder: Enter the table within 6" of Point A.

Terrain:

The River Unstrutt: There are 3 sections to this feature. The Western and Eastern main parts of the river, ie those sections either side of the two central bridges. Along with the three smaller streams, two exiting of the Western edge and the one near to Merxleben.

The main sections are impassible to artillery and cavalry. They count as a 2" wide river for infantry. in addition when an infanrty unit cross the river it must dice to see if water has entered it's equipment (see River Crossing in special rules below).

The western section of the Unstrutt also can provide troops with cover, it conveys a +1 modifier in fire and melee combat.

The smaller streams are normal 1" wide streams.

The Villages: All villages count as difficult going and give a +1 combat bonus.

Woods: The 'woods' are in fact orchards and gardens for the adjacent Bath house. They function as normal woods in all others ways but they do not count as difficult going.

Marsh: Marsh counts as difficult going and gives a +1 bonus in melee combat only.

Special Rules:

River Crossing: Any unit that crosses the main section of the Unstrutt river must make a dice throw to determine if it has effected it's equipment. Roll a D10 per unit, 1 to 5 there is no effect, 6 to 10 the unit receives an 'Out of Ammo' marker. A -1 dice modifier if it has an 'E' unit commander or higher commander within command radius (Max -1).

Hanoverian Activation: The bulk of the Hanoverian army starts the game unactivated. While in this state units may only move within the limits of there deployment area. The Advance Guard Cavalry is always active and my move from the start of the game. The Reserve Artillery is semi activated during the 12:00 turn, unless it has already been activated as below. From this phase onwards it may move to anywhere North of the Unstrutt, once the army is activated it may move as normal.

Except for those units mentioned above the army must be activated before it can have freedom of movement. Starting with the 11:00 Hanoverian phase, and at the start of the phase, the Hanoverans roll a D10 for activation. On the 11:00 turn a 10 is needed, 9 or 10 at 11:30, 8, 9 or 10 at 12:00, etc. A dice roll of a 1 is always a failure. The Hanoverians may add +1 to the dice if any unspent Prussian unit is within 6" of  the Unstrutt river, +4 if an unspent Pussian unit is north of the Unstrutt.

On the phase that the army is activated the Army Commander and the Reseve Artillery may move as normal. In addition the 1st Brigade may advance onto the table within 6" of Point B. In the following phase the 3rd and 4th Brigades may move as normal. While the Reserve Cavalry appears at Point B on the second phase after activation. The 2nd Brigade may move as normal on the phase after all the infantry units of the 1st Brigade have crossed to the southern side of the Unstrutt.

Victory Points:

The normal victory points for 1866 battles are awarded, ie as the normal schedule but with the suggested modifications for light infantry, cavalry and Prussian artillery. In addition the following scenario specific rules apply.

Prussians:

1 v.p per turn that they have an unspent infantry unit in Langensalza, or were the last player to have such a unit there.

1 v.p per turn that they have an unspent infantry unit with 6" of the Unstrutt river.

2 v.p's per turn that they have any unspent units on the Northern side of the Unstrutt river, plus an additional 1 v.p per turn per unspent infantry unit that is North of the river. ie If they have two unspent infantry units north of the river they will get 2 v.p's (any unit unspent across the river) + 2 v.p's for there being two such units.

The Historical Battle:

After an intitial period of manoeuvre, when elements of the army were sent forward to gain an idea of their strength, the Hanoverian army pulled it's main combat units back behind the Unstrutt. They had noted the Prussian advance, but had no idea about the strength of their foe, they therefore adopted a defensive stance in their strong position and awaited events. Meanwhile the Prussians were moving to the attack. Why exactly they should do this remains some what of a mystery. They knew that they were outnumbered and just by holding their positions they were pinning the Hanoverian army in place until further Prussian force cold arrive.

Nevertheless advance they did! First the Advance Guard, then the rest of the army as it arrived pushed on towards the river. The artillery positioned itself on the Judenhugel hill and soon became engaged in an artillery duel with the Hanoverian reserve artillery on Kirchberg. Meanwhile the Prussian infantry used the cover of the orchards and gardens around the Bath to approach the river. Several attempts were made to cross the river at and near the central bridges but the Hanoverians numbers proved decisive.

While these events were proceeding the realisation grew in the Hanoverian command that they had misread the situation. The Prussians were not very numerous and in addition they had become 'bogged down' in front of the Unstrutt. So the order was given to advance to the attack. Patchily at first but with growing force the Hanoverians pressed forward and over the river.

The outnumbered, and by now tired, Prussians had little choice but to fall back. This they did fighting all the way and putting up a stiff resistance in Langensalza itself. Yet by 14:00 hours the town had been cleared of Prussians. The final act was then played out. The Hanoverian reserve cavalry, which had been late coming up for the action, was released to pursue the demoralised enemy of the field.

In the face of this onslaught some of the Prussians formed into the anacronistic square formation. Yet the superb Hanoverian cavalry was still capable of of 'trumping' this anacronism with there own. They charged in, in the manner of their predecessors, and managed to break two of the squares and capture 6 Prussian guns!!! So much for the changing face of 19th century warfare.

Despite losing the battle the Prussians had succeeded in their wider aims. The battle itself, recovering from it and the continuing doubts about the position and strength of the Prussians all combined to pin the Hanoverians in place. Giving the Prussians the time to amass sufficient forces to force the Hanoverians to surremder.