|The action as we left it in the previous post.|
We left the narrative last time with the action having reached a momentary deadlock: both flanks stalled, and in the centre the battle raging for the ridge just southwest of Vladicin Han. Stranded on account of the field battery between themselves and a safe retreat, 5th Bejelan Infantry found themselves flailed by incoming rifle fire from the ridge and from the woods overlooking their left flank.
|The field of battle.|
|9th Turcowaz Infantry and 2nd Cavalry sideslipping|
to their right to prevent any crossing via the railway
bridge. 10th infantry occupy the woods flanking the road
|Bejelan 8th and 9th Infantry arriving; |
1st Fld Arty withdrawing to the east side of the river.
|Having cleared the high ground, 6th Bejela|
Infantry strike Turcowaz field artillery in flank
|Firefight near the railway bridge, but the |
Turcowaz centre had been driven in.
The fact is, in this battle, the martial shortcomings of Ali Riza Pasha became painfully apparent. In his previous battles, he had been fortunate in his initiative and activation dice rolls. Not this time. In initiative he was probably out-rolled two to one, or close to it. But his initiative rolls were woeful. With a minus for his ability rating, half his rolls at least must have been low, and I remember but one high roll, and that late in the day. His far more 'able' counterpart, General Bojovic, rolled rather more than his fair share of high activation rolls, again especially as the battle wore on. When you can activate 9 units for your opponent's 6, matters are likely to go fairly well, even when they have gone ill hitherto...
|Bejelan forces regroup into line: 2nd and 4th |
Infantry lining the east side of the river; that
line continued on the opposite bank by 8th and 6th.
|The 6th Bejelan Infantry scattered by rifle fire; but|
the Turcowaz Army reforms a thin -
and gunless! - line to the south
|Close of the action: the Turcowaz draw off, |
Bejelans too exhausted to pursue...
According to none other than Carl von Clausewitz, there are times at which the cost of victory may be such as to compel a retreat. Such was the case, as General Bojovic surveyed the damage. His army (46,000) had also lost some guns (2SP worth), though fewer than had the enemy, but all of 8,500 (17SP, halved) dead, wounded and missing. There would be no march to Monastir, no summons to surrender, no siege. Resting upon the field overnight, his exhausted army began the next day their weary march back to Vardar Province. By some miracle, Ali Riza Pasha had in defeat pulled off something approximating a strategic victory...
To be continued: Convoy!