Thursday, June 29, 2017

Nagy-Sallo 1849

Last Thursday we played the battle of Nagy-Sallo, a scenario of the 1848-49 Hungarian Independence War. The scenario is in the latest issue (#411) of Miniature Wargames magazine and available from their online downloads. The table is a compact 4X4 feet with quite a bit of terrain. We got off to a late start but the game went quickly. Bill and Rick commanded the Croats-Austrians while I led the Hungarians. Croat-Austrians are in italics in the photos.

I began moving to threaten the central village of Nagy-Sallo and the enemy artillery lit up with smoking dice.

Both sides rolled hot fire fight dice.
Bill’s dice went cold during assaults.
I rolled some hot fire dice.

Poor focus, smashing attack.

Reinforcements began to arrive and march forward towards the fight.

It was the last turn of the game. I had to take one objective for a tie, two for a victory.
I kept one – could I hold the other?

In a little over two hours, the Croat-Austrians lost 5 infantry stand and 1 run off from 14 engaged. Brigade Theissinger did arrive but didn’t see action. The Hungarians lost 5 infantry stands (1 run off) of 20 engaged. One artillery unit was destroyed. A number of cavalry appeared late in the game and were enveloping the enemy right flank as the sun went down. A few turns earlier and they would have dislocated the enemy line.

I’m off for the July 4th weekend early tomorrow. This game may get played again next week because I probably won’t have time to take it down and set up another.

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.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Cape St. Ignatz, a naval engagement

Back in town after a long trip to Maine, I decided to have a small naval battle. We used the “It Is Warm Work” rules since they are fairly fast and simple. We haven’t played these since 2014 or so and were a little rusty. Ken took the French squadron and I the British. I had intended to umpire but Rick was late and the other Fencibles are out of town on vacation. My scenario is crude and simple, 5 French ships of line vs. 4 British. The British have crack crews and that is the only advanced rule being used. The wind is the same for both sides and we decided against wind changes for this trial run.

French ships are in italics in this report and the photos.

We advanced towards each other. The French moved first as we got close and I headed downwind to rake the Bete Noire at close range, rolling an impressive array of 1’s and 2’s.
Ken responded by trying to break my line a la Nelson at Trafalgar.

Incontinent managed to damage Couchon Gros but after both ships passed, found herself downwind from the main battle and spent the rest of the game trying to tack back into the fight. The main scrum saw heavy damage on both sides. There were a lot of boarding actions and I will have to re-read that part of the rules again, not sure we did it correctly.
The Bete Noire slowly ground down the crew of the Misanthrope through a series of ties in the boarding fights. Misanthrope eventually cut the grappling hooks loose and sailed off, vainly trying to recapture the lost Disreputable. My camera decide it was time for a break.
We had been playing slowly and all concerned thought it was dinner time, so both squadrons broke off the fight. I figure the Admiralty would not be pleased to have lost one His Majesty’s ships of the line, even if we had captured a wrecked French one in exchange.

Ken (who has actually sailed boats) wondered about the sequential movement. I said we could get rules that had simultaneous movement but expect the game to slow down a lot more. I hope to get some more games of this under our belts in the future and may even find better scenarios.

We have various other things waiting later this month, more Bloody Big Battles games, a trial run of the new edition of Twilight of the Sun-King, etc.