Friday, July 28, 2017

Crimean War battle, Turks and Russians only

Last night we played the Crimean War scenario of Kurudere, a Russia vs. Turk scenario set in the Caucasus in August 4, 1854. Warning: we don’t have any of the correct figures for this but other BBB guys say the game is a blast. We substituted Blucher’s Prussians for Russians and 1870 French for Turks. If that truly offends you, please avert your eyes now. If you can stomach that, read on. The game was a hoot and will deserve repeat attention from us in the future.

Jay decided to play the Ottoman leader Mustafa Zarif Pasha, seconded by Ken. I played Russian leader Prince Bebutov. The Russian force is small and quite good. The Turkish host is rather bad but numerous. Nearly half of the Turkish force arrives between turn 2 and 4, depending on the dice. The Russians need 4 objectives for a victory. They start with 3. I needed to clear the Turks off the highest Karayal plateau for a win and then get back in time to keep the 2nd Division from taking the objectives I started with.


The Turks stepped off crisply, even though they are all rated passive. My lads moved at a moderate pace. Early shooting showed low dice for the Russians. This would continue until halfway through the game. My assault dice would be moderate to hot. The bayonet is a good boy when wielded in deep formation. But the 36-gun Turkish battery on the hill would break up my early bayonet attacks.
Flanking fire by the smartly moving Turkish infantry would halt more and cause serious losses. Who knew they could maneuver so well?

The Erivanski Grenadiers used cold steel to good effect.

Some of the Turkish Reserve escaped the wrath of Erivanski.
Back at the Karaval plateau, things went from bad to worse. My infantry had to pull back to refit, beyond the long range of the Istanbul Rifles. The Belevski Regiment was on life-support.



Following label is wrong: this is the Russian right flank.



My fire dice lit up.
And on my left:





On the Russian left:

On the last turn, the Turks failed to take any of the 3 objectives I held during their half of the turn. We decided to only play my left flank, where I had a wisp of a chance of taking the Karaval plateau and gaining a win. It seems the valiant Erivanski Grenadiers were exhausted after winning 5 assaults.
And here’s the game end situation. Off-camera to the top, the small Dragoon regiment is threatening the Turkish rear. Earlier they won 2 assaults.
We played 8 turns in 3 hours and 30 minutes. Russian losses were 6 infantry stands (of 27) and 1 cavalry (of 14), about historical losses. The Turks lost 10 infantry and 4 more fled (of 47), 9 cavalry and 3 fled (of 14) and 2 guns (of 6). Turkish losses were less than the historical casualties. But then the Russians won the real thing.

After playing numerous games with rifled artillery or better, I was looking down my nose at smooth-bore artillery. Well, at effective range they can be quite deadly when they are massed. They broke up my early attack on the left and kept giving me trouble during most of the game, ceasing briefly when they wheeled around to face the Dragoons dancing behind them. I ended up making my final attack with the weakest elements of my force, Cossacks and Muslim Irregular horse. Those are the folks who should have been raiding behind enemy lines. That said, it was great fun having the Grenadiers smash through the Turkish Reserve. I would love to play this again some time, either as the Russian or commanding that big, crappy mob of Turks.


Fatigue has set in and we’ll be playing games every other week for a while, rather than weekly.

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