I got out to play Wargaming Nineteenth Century Europe 1815-1878 with John again. We played another scenario set during an imaginary war in Europe circa 1850 – following on from our previous game.
This time we actually played one of the scenarios out of the book. We decided on a meeting engagement and then rolled on the appropriate tables to determine forces and table edges and whatnot.
I like the scenario generation system. There are five basic scenarios; the Pitched Battle, the Meeting Engagement, the Rearguard Action, the Flank Attack, and the Mini Game. For each scenario, you roll on a table to determine the make up of your force – a much better system that simple point buy system – though you need to own six infantry, two skirmish, three cavalry and three artillery units for any given army to be able to cover all of the possibilities…
Galicia, Late August 1850
After executing a brilliant fighting retreat, the Austrian commander, Gen. Felix von Breunner, has regrouped his men, received reinforcements and been resupplied and is now ready to meet the Russian forces under General Yuri Yaroslavich Bertolovski. Shortly after the general advance had been ordered, a message arrived at the General HQ that a force of Russians has been spotted advancing on the right flank! Von Breunner ordered forces diverted to meet the Russian advance.
As I mentioned we chose to play the meeting engagement. With most scenarios the meeting engagement is meant to be played on a `4’x3’ table using centimetres, we played on a 4’x8’ table using inches. There were three objectives placed about the table. At the end of turn 15 whoever held at least two of them would be the winner.
We dice for force make-up, who would be attacker and defender and which side of the table the defender would set up on (the attacker would set up opposite).
Each side is to start with three units on the table, the remaining units were to be organized into columns of two units. Then each commander had to determine what order he wanted each of these columns to arrive in. arrival of columns would be diced for at the beginning of each movement phase.
Austrians (under Gen. Felix von Breunner)
2x Light Infantry
4x Regular Infantry
Russians (under General Yuri Yaroslavich Bertolovski)
6x Regular Infantry
We diced for the forces we would get (see above). Then we diced for who was “defending” – that was me – in this case it just meant John went first. Then I diced to see which end of the table I was defending – it turned out I was defending the east end – one of the short ends of the table. I was to set up three of my units within 15” of the east end (one infantry, one skirmish, and one cavalry). John would do the same, except the Russians apparently don’t get skirmish units… So I think he set up an additional regular infantry unit.
(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)
The starting Austian forces. Infantry, Cavalry, and Jäger/Light Infantry (skirmishers).
The Russian Forces at the end of their first move – one infantry unit already in possession of the town (one of the objectives).
John moving his Rusians. This is probably turn two or three. Russian cavalry is already in possession of the hill (one of the other objectives).
The third objective is the village in the foreground. One of my Austiran infantry units is beside it. I originally planned to pass it by and deploy in line before it in the fields between the two towns, or veer towards the hill with the infantry as it seemed it would be the most contested objective. Unfortunately I didn’t get ANY reinforcements for the first three turns, whereas John got ALL of his reinforcements in the first three or four turns!! By the timeI was about to pass the village, there were Russian guns about to set up on the opposite end of the field which would blow away my infantry in the open, so they made a shorp turn into the village shortly after this and awaited the arrival of reinforcements.
The cavalry battle! There was a great cavalry battle for the hill that went back and forth for more than a few turns as we both rushed our cavalry forward to secure that objective! This is a few turns into it as we’ve both lost a few stands!
Things looking bad for the Austrian cavalry; taking serious losses and more Russians advancing quickly up to the battle!!
Finally Austrian reinforcements started arriving around turn four. I think I had reinforcements two turns in a row, but the rest didn’t come on for a few more turns..
The Austiran Jägers – they didn’t want to venture too far from the safety of the woods with all those Russian cavalry galloping around! Later they would be a major pain in the side of the Russian infantry and artillery defending the hill.
Austrian Cavalry reinforcements finally arrive!
I finally got one of my guns past the village and set it up to fire into the flanks of the advancing Russians heading towards the hill. It did some serious damage to the Russian cavalry!
Mental Note: keep cavalry out of the line of fire of artillery!!
The battle slowly developing.
The Russian cavalry in the open near the top of the picture recently retreated from a battle with the Austiran cavalry and overran one of their own infantry units destroying it!!
Mental Note #2: Keep infantry units out of the way of potentially retreating cavalry!!
This was probably turn ten or eleven. The cavalry forces have more or less shot their bolt. The Russians have infantry on the reverse slope of the hill, my infantry are still advancing towards it taking fire from two Russian artillery batteries. My artillery batteries had also been firing at Russian infantry and cavalry headin towards the hill, but at this point are just shooting at the Russian artillery.
Four Austiran infantry battalions converging on the hill defended by two Russian infantry battalions and a gun – though there are Russian guns firing from the Austrians flank and more Russian infantry on the way as well. All the Russian Cavalry was wiped out by this point.
I think it was on the next turn that Russian infantry marched up onto the hill. The Austrian Infantry was being mauled by the Russian guns firing canister. The two closest Austrian battalions had to deploy into line and try and shoot it out with the Russian infantry and guns and hope that the other two Austrian Infantry battalions advancing on the Russians flank would make it there on time!
On the very last turn (Turn Fifteen!) one of the Austrian Infantry battalions charged up the hill attacking the flank of a Russian battalion that had been taking fire from the front and flank and were considerably weakened. The Austrians drove them off, taking the east end of the hill. The last remaining element of Russian cavalry charged the Russian guns from the rear and wiped them out.
At the beginning of the battle John predicted that we would never make it to turn fifteen – that it would all be decided will before that… At Turn Fifteen it was a draw. We both held on village, but the hill was still contested.
It’s hard to say which way it would have gone if we’d played on another few turns. My Austrian infantry in front of the hill had been mauled and only had open or two stands left. I had a full strength battalion a turn or two away from the hill and another in pretty good condition ON the hill. But John also had an infantry battalion still on the hill, and, I think, two more advancing towards it! I still had my two artillery batteries, john had lost one and the other had taken some hits… I just don’t know… could have gone either way.
I Do know it was a LOT of fun. We played fifteen turns in about three hours – what other game of this size and period can you do THAT in!? I’m definitely looking forward to the next engagement…
Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:
While I was at John’s I picked up a unit of his 40mm 1914 French to paint up for him and I am working on those now. I haven’t been able to get much other work done on my own 1914 masters, but hopefully I will get back to them shortly. After painting the 40mm 1914 french I’m hoping I’ll be able to quickly finish up the rest of my own 28mm 1914 French as I only have one infantry unit and one cavalry unit left and then they are DONE! Or as done as they’re gong to be for the foreseeable future – I have no plans to add anything else to the force any time soon (unless I found a suitable mounted general officer or two to command the force… Maybe I could use the French High command and /or the French communications team from Scarab Miniatures - though I’d have to carve off the Adrian helmets from two of the signalers as they weren’t used in 1914…