Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Austrians in Retreat!

Last night I wandered over to my friend John Bertolini’s to hang out and play with some of his toys – which I haven’t done in FAAAAAAAAR too long! We broke out his home-cast 40mm 1850 Russians and Austrian “toy soldier” and played a game with Wargaming Nineteenth Century Europe 1815-1878 - a fun little set of fast-playing rules for… well… Wargaming Nineteenth Century Europe 1815-1878….

I've been in a bit of a wargaming funk the last little bit. It was nice to get out and roll some dice and play with little toy soldiers... and I didn't even have to put much thought into which ones to use or what scenario to run - because it was at John's and he'd taken care of all that!

Galicia, August 1850


War has broken out between Russian and Austria. An Austrian regiment leading the advance has found itself themselves too far ahead of the main column and facing and entire Russian brigade with no hope of reinforcement in the immediate future and thus have to execute a fighting retreat to rejoin the main force.


The Austrians deployed in an area in, more or less, the middle of the table. The Russians began at the “Eastern” end of the table (It was really the western end of the table… but it makes more sense to say they were coming from the East…). The Austrians has to hold their ground for five turns before falling back and exiting as much of their force off the Western edge of the table.

We didn’t really set up any clear “victory conditions”… we just set out the scenario above and started playing… to see how it turned out.


1x Light Infantry
2x Regular Infantry
2x Artillery
1x Dragoons

6x Regular Infantry
2x Artillery
1x Dragoons


I ended up playing the Austrians and John played the Russians. It was a fast game and I was having too much fun to take too many pictures…

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

The Austrian forces. My light infantry are in the foregroun, beyond them are the two regular infantry units and artillery batteries, and in the distance the Austiran Dragoons.

Another shot of the Light Infantry. These guys were true heroes of the day – they ended up causing grief to two Russian battalions without taking any casualties!

The Russians forces preparing to advance.

As the Russians advanced into artillery range I let loose with the cannons. At long range I got to roll two dice. Cavalry, being rather large, eas-to-hit targets I needed only roll a 2 or better to score hits on each....


Ah, it’s going to be that sort of game is it…?

Actually despite this initial appalling roll, the Austrians made a pretty good account of themselves! 

The other battery faired a little better – causing a casualty amongst the advancing Russian infantry.

Russian on the advance. Austrian cannons firing away.

My Dragoons rode out to meet the Russian Dragoons

We drove them steadily backwards, nearly driving them off the far end of the table… after these lads wiped them out they turned around and galloped past the Russian guns and infantry to make it off the West end of the table with, I think, two of their stands remaining!

Things looked a little dicey when the Russian Horde got to within rifle range and opened up - causing pretty severe losses among the Austrians! Rather than try and shoot it out with them I turned tail and RAN (like I was SUPPOSED TO - it was a "fighting retreat" scenario after all!!)

The Austrians falling back across the big hill, Russian in hot pursuit!!

With a bit of  a traffic jam on the far side of the hill, one of the Austiran battalions turned to fire on the Russians again to give the guns and the other battalion time to get sorted out and off the table.

In the end both of my regular infantry battalions made it off the table with about half their original number. The guns and my light infantry made it off unscathed (well… except for one gun team – they’d lost one crew man…) and, as mentioned before the Austrian dragoons made it off the table with two of their stands remaining!

The Russians lost a lot of infantry, nearly twice the number of Austrians, and the Russian Dragoons were wiped out.

I think they Russian could have done with some more cavalry (and guns?). We also could have made some impassable terrain (or at least bad going) that the Austrians would have had to funnel through to give the Russians a better chance to catch them. Once turn five rolled around I pretty much just had to walk away – the Russians going the same speed would never catch up, and not being able to move and shoot couldn’t even shoot my guys as they ran (as I would have quickly – within a turn – been out of range of their rifles)!?

Still… good times! I’m definitely looking forward to playing again! 

Playing with these toy soldiers always gets me thinking I should start modeling some of my own!? DOH!?

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Not sure… I have a game of Axis and Allies lined up for this weekend… perhaps a report on that? Painting has ground to a halt, once again, as the temporary painting station upstairs had to be dismantled as the top floor had to be evacuated for the impending renovations that will seriously start any day now… any day now… seriously… 


  1. What a beautiful looking game!, I love the old school look, a very inspiring blogpost.

  2. Great game! Lovely toys. Please pass my compliments on to John.

    -Ross Mac

  3. Nice looking battle and troops. Quite an interesting little scenario for play testing. The 'impassible terrain' idea is not a bad one to make the Austrians think about how they are going to effect a retreat. It might be interesting to see to what extent the rule sets allows - or can be adapted to allow - for a more measured form of 'fighting retreat'. Would a 'leapfrog' type defence work? What I have in mind is the two guns, or maybe a gun and an infantry unit bugging out early to form a line to the rear, whilst the remainder of the rearguard hang on until the rear line is nearly ready. Then they bug out in turn and form on or behind the new line.

    Much depends on timing using this method, as you want to impose a delay upon the enemy but wait too long and you might find what falls back ain't gonna stick around... This is one of my favorite kinds of scenario, and tends to be my yardstick for any rule set. If the thing can be done, OK rule set. If not... not.


  4. I hate to say this but I think that (according to my groups reading of the rules) your light infantry battalion should have had only 2 stands? Simply fantastic looking game - lovely 'old school' figures!

    1. No, I had noticed that in my quick glance through the rules as well. Of course John has his units organized as six-stand battalions - where, I think, in the rules they're supposed to be four? I only used three dice for them (because they were in skirmish order) to the regular battalions six! This worked out okay. As it was the light infantry didn't take a single hit, so the extra stands did make them last any longer or give them any more firepower... so...

      I suggested just using light infantry units of 3 stands (half the regular infantry battalion size - as in the rules) next time.