Monday, August 14, 2017

Marengo mat, brand new

This is what we'll try on Thursday the 24th, Marengo. The paint is still wet on this canvas mat, 5 X 4 feet. I have some small details to add when it is dry.

The crossroads (perhaps better called a fork) is where Desaix put in the counter-attack that wrecked the hitherto victorious Austrians. I'm working with brigades as basic units, each base = 500 troops and 12 to 18 guns. The Austrians will use the 18 guns per base due to the small caliber of most of them (3 lb). Also most of them were battalion guns and so did not have the command structure to mass and move. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

It will be a first test of my nascent scenario and we'll see if it needs work. The map is based on the detailed maps in the Osprey Marengo book by Hollins. I've played Marengo over the years with Volley & Bayonet and a since abandoned home-brew set, among others. Having a really detailed map makes a big difference - all the marsh and vineyards! I recall the first map I ever saw, in the West Point Atlas of Napoleonic Wars. It shows mostly open ground with a spurious ridge running down the center of the field.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Kurudere 1854, one more time (with feeling)

Last night the Corlears Hook Fencibles took a second try at the 1854 Crimean War battle of Kurudere using the Bloody Big Battles rules. Since we don’t have the right troops, Blucher’s Prussians stood in for the Russians while 1870 French played the part of Turks. Be warned, uniform heresy is revealed in the photos below. I led the Turks, aided by Rick while Jay led the Russians, aided by Ken. Rick missed the last session. Everyone else switched sides since then. The culprits can be seen below.
This battle in the Caucasus was fought between Russians and a large, poorly led Turkish army that was trying to raise the siege of Kars, a major fortress.

The situation started as a tie; each side needed to capture an objective (blue and red stars) for a win. The Turks moved first.

By the third turn Turkish artillery started to find the range and the Istanbul Rifles caused some damage to the Russians.
Russian light cavalry attacked the Rifles front and flank. The rifles emptied their cartridge boxes into the front group and routed them; then the flanking force rode them down. It was a short but brilliant fight.
Turkish reinforcements arrived and made life stressful for the Russians.

I figured the battered Tula Regiment was toast and charged. It seems the Turkish attack wasn’t very impressive (die roll 1) while the Russians fought like heroes (die roll 6). I was lucky my attack was only repulsed and not handled worse.

And then we seized an objective!
And what a charge the Redif made!


I figured the Russian flanking move around the Turkish right was toast. Again, I had not figured on the lackadaisical Turkish cavalry (rolled a 1) and the valiant Russians (rolled a 5).
Rick kept up the pressure on the Turkish left, hampered by crappy dice.

The caption below is wrong – the Turkish cavalry was defeated with loss.

The Turkish cavalry rallied and attacked, a mistake as it turned out.



The situation was still a tie as the Russians started their half of the last turn. There was a slim chance that the Belevski Regiment (disrupted, low on ammo and spent) might rout the equally beat up Arabistany unit in front of them that the Russians could take the Karaval plateau and win the game. When those tired worthies refused to charge we called the game a tie and stopped.

We played for 2 hours and 15 minutes before dinner, and slightly over an hour after for about 3 hours and 20 minutes. The game was a blast. I have ordered Rank & File 15mm Turks and hope that next time we play this they will be on the table instead of French. Do not hold your breath.

Turkish losses were 7 infantry with 1 ran off, and 5 cavalry with 2 ran off. The Russians lost 10 infantry stands with 1 ran off, and 6 cavalry with 4 ran off. It makes no difference in the game but we Turks consoled ourselves with having caused more Russian losses.


Next game will be in two weeks. We’ll see what ends up on the table.