Friday, August 3, 2007

The Bolshevik’s Booty

(Sorry I just couldn't think of a better title...)

After being forcibly refused refuge in China last week , General Bertolovski’s White Russian army crossed back into Russia to find the Bolshevik’s had pushed past in pursuit of other White Russian forces further east up the Trans-Siberian railroad. Some of his Cossack scouts reported a train full of supplies for the Bolsheviks was sitting at a nearby town and was very lightly guarded. Desperately in need of supplies Bertolovski headed for the town!

The renegade warlord General Kanu-Sun also caught wind of the lightly guarded supply train through his extensive network of informants and made for the village just across the border.

As each force drew near the town they noticed opposite them the other force, which obviously had designs on the same prize!

I really wanted to have a big battle of maneuver with all my toys… John and Christian were allowed to deploy up to half of their forces on the table within 6” of the table edge. The remainder would remain in reserve and could be diced for beginning on the third turn.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Turn One – the initial forces. John(General Bertolovski), on the left, brought on his two machine-gun detachments and three companies of infantry. In the center of the table were the Bolsheviks, played by myself (Comrade Commander Brownovich) had a force equal to one company split into two halves each defending one side of the village. The Bolsheviks also had a commissar and a single MG detachment. Christian (General Kanu-Sun), on the right, brought on three companies of regular infantry, his special assault company and his machine-gun detachment.

The Whites advance in extended line towards the village defended by the glorious heroes of the revolution.

Some of the defenders of the village… well of the train that happens to IN the village…

Another shot of those neatly dressed and formed up Russians.

The Chinese making their way towards the village.

John faired better with the reinforcements to start with. On turn three he got two of his three remaining companies of infantry and the squadron of Cossack cavalrymen.

A company of Chinese infantry sweeps around the east end the village to see a frightful sight; an entire battalion of Russians advancing towards them!

The best part about this game is I go to play the Bolsheviks: which meant I got to wear my Budenovka! HUZZAH!

Chinese and Russians clash east of the village! For the initial combats between the Bolsheviks and the Chinese we used the Close Combat rules out of the book (as we did last week, too), these tend to be long, drawn-out, boring, indecisive affairs with the two units standing very still slugging it out until one side utterly destroys the other. Starting with this we decided to bring back a modified version of the CC rules from Ever Victorious Armies – which all agreed worked a lot better – quicker, more decisive and allowed for a lot of back and forth movement!

This initial charge against the Chinese did some damage and forced the Chinese back. Afterwards they spent a turn of two firing at each other to try and soften the other up.

At the far end of the table John’s Cossack cavalry are making a sweeping flanking move. To the right of the picture are Christian’s White Russian mercenaries (which were not allowed to attack or fire upon the opposing whites without first being fired upon or attacked…).

More of John’s Russians advancing towards the town occupied by the Bolsheviks.

At this point the Chinese have, more or less cleared the south half of the village of Bolsheviks (the commissar and commander just would not die!).

The melee continues on the east end of town and the Cossacks were about to turn and run up the Chinese flank when…..

The Chinese cavalry FINALLY arrived and charged straight into the Cossacks. Though inferior in numbers (12-18) (…and tactical value …and morale) the ferocity of the Chinese charge caught the Cossacks off guard. Over three turns the battle shifted across the table and ended up with the Cossacks being completely wiped out (and a Russian Staff officer captured!)! There were, however, very few Chinese left (maybe six?).

After a turn or two of firing the Russians charged in again! A newly arrived company of Chinese also joined the fray. The Russians were repulsed for the large messy melee.

These are the White Russian machine-gun detachments. They spent the first couple of turns trying to take out the Bolshevik machine-gun. The were eventually successful and had an occasional clear shot for a turn or two afterwards but then sat for some time unable to do much…

The White Russians cleared the North end of town of Bolsheviks and then crossed the track to engage in a very big messy melee with the Chinese in the streets. The Chinese White Russian mercenaries, who had occupied the village just looked on not taking any part in the battle. After some initial success, pushing the Chinese out of the village as the melee continued the Chinese company to the west of town entered pushing the Russians back towards the center of the town where they ran into the Chinese specialist assault troops. Surrounded they eventually had to give up.

The remains of the Chinese cavalry rode down the Russian MGs.

The two Russian companies that had been engaged with the Chinese on the east end of town had been pushed back. The lead one was cut down by fire as they retired the second one ran into one of the reserve companies that had been slowly making its was across the open ground, harassed by the Chinese MG on the hill all the way. (two turns in a row they diced snake-eyes for movement?!). Here the remains of those two Russian companies prepare to receive the charging Chinese. The Chinese would be pushed back. But another company was making it’s way forward into the action

The remains of the Chinese Cavalry, with captured Russian Staff officer in tow, make their way towards the east end of town.

Realizing the situation was hopeless (and the hour was late) the Russians gave up and retired from the field….

The more I play this the more annoying I find the rules. Though simple enough and fun when playing with a group of guys that are of the same mind about things, they are not what I would call a “tight” set of rules. There is so much that is poorly written and open to interpretation. I’m going to have to get back to work on my house rules and clarifications while Amanda and the kids are away next week.

The village in the center was just way too big. Two buildings probably would have sufficed. The train was perhaps a bit long too…

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