Friday, June 23, 2017
Tapio-Bicske 1849 with Bloody Big Battles
Last night the Corlears Hook Fencibles started playing again after a lengthy vacation break. I chose a small scenario (about the smallest Bloody Big Battles scenario I’m aware of) that had simple terrain, to ease back in after a 6 week layoff. I figured we could play it twice in an evening. The game was the 1849 battle of Tapio-Bicske which sees a Hungarian column attack a Croat force during the abortive Hungarian Independence War.
Rick commanded the Hungarians while Ken led the Croats. Ken started off with an attack on the lead Hungarian infantry unit in the town. Cavalry assaulted the Hungarian flank but were shot down and dispersed by well-served Hungarian artillery.
The Otochaner Grenzers went in with a mighty cheer (a 6 on the assault die). Dipold’s Hungarian infantry must have been rounding up livestock or something (they rolled a 1). They were badly beaten and thrown out of the village. The Grenzers exploited on and caught Bobics’ troops in road column, beating them badly too. The limbered artillery behind snarled while attempting to turn around – something about a wheel in a road side ditch (lousy movement dice). The Grenzers shot them down as the surviving gunners cut the traces and rode off with whatever horses could still move.
The isolated Grenzers fell back as the second echelon of Hungarian infantry arrived.
The remaining Croat cavalry spent at least 4 turns marking time, perhaps impressed by what had happened to their Hussars.
The fresh Hungarian infantry were made of sturdier stuff and began to fight their way into the village.
The Hungarian cavalry charged, with mixed results.
Mesterhazy and the Dragoons fought each other to oblivion. A second charge by Kaszonyi’s cavalry forced the Croat battery to withdraw. The Croats managed to win in slightly over 2 hours (8 turns).
Considering the small numbers of troops, losses were astounding: Croats lost 3 infantry stands (of 8), 2 cavalry and the remaining 2 run off while the Hungarians lost 5 infantry and 2 run off (out of 16), 2 cavalry and one run off (out of 5) and 1 artillery unit (of 4). We broke for dinner.
Ken declined to play the second game so Rick decided to reprise his role as Hungarian commander. I took the Croats: all the photos from here on are taken from that side of the table. On my first turn I tried to crush the head of the Hungarian column but was rebuffed.
My dice heated up and the lead Hungarian unit was riddled with musket fire.
Now I threw in my major effort. My Hussars attacked Mesterhazy’s cavalry to keep them busy (and negate their zone of control) while my Dragoons (who look like uhlans) would flank the Hungarian guns on the hill. I figured they would ride down the first battery and exploit into and ride down the second one. Instead they narrowly drove off the first one and stopped on the spot, apparently looting the kit left behind by the gunners.
The second battery pulled up stakes and retreated as the large Hungarian Hussar unit fell on my Dragoons, dispersing them in a sanguinary brawl. My Hussars and Mesterhazy fought themselves out.
This did break up the concentration of Hungarian artillery, though none of them were overrun. It cost all of my cavalry. The second echelon of enemy infantry came on strong.
A bayonet charge drove the Banal Grenzers back, forcing Rastic (me!) to leap into a roadside ditch and get some truly foul stuff on my uniform. However will my attendant get those stains out?
A last turn cavalry charge was shot down by our gunners, with help from nearby infantry.
We held the village for a win with the same points as the previous game.
We played the 8 turns in slightly under 2 hours. Again losses were heavy and nearly the same as the first game. My Croats lost 3 infantry bases, 2 cavalry with the remaining 2 ran off. Hungarian losses were 5 infantry bases, 3 cavalry bases and two ran off.
This is the smallest BBB scenario I’ve played, tiny by comparison to most anything and yet it was a cracking good game. It makes me think of Sabine Crossroads (1864). But I have other scenarios to do first…
If all goes as planned we’ll be having games every Thursday right through the summer. Stay tuned.