Monday, November 2, 2020

First Blacklands War - A peculiar battlefield.

Hellenic Army on its start line.


The long march from Epirus to Salonika by the Turcowaz Fourth Army - and even longer by the Hellenic Army from Athens - were at last ended when Halepi Zeki Pasha determined to take a stand at the picturesque town of Khalkidona, not far west of the Vardar River.
Map of the battleground.  This did look rather an odd 
battlefield, with the Hellenic army arriving from the West.
The town did look rather picturesque, though.
Placing a good half his infantry in the town, flanked by another each in the marshlands to the north and the small hill to the south, he covered the refused northern flank with his cavalry and half his mountain artillery, and the southern with 22nd Infantry regiment at Platy Station, backed by the remaining field artillery on the rising ground east of the river.
Looking SW from behind Turcowaz lines. 
The Pasha had with him:

Turcowaz Fourth Army:

  • Command (rated 'Good') = 6SP
  • 6th Infantry Rgt (veteran) = 4SP
  • 12th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd Infantry Rgt (Trained) @ 4SP = 20SP
  • 6th Cavalry Rgt (green) = 3SP
  • 11th, 12th Mountain Artillery (trained)  @ 2SP = 4SP
  • 7th Transport Column = 1SP
11 Units, median = 6 + 1 ('Good Commander') = 7
38 Strength Points, Exhaustion Point = -13SP.
Looking NW from behind Turcowaz lines.

Both commanders were acutely aware that the Hellenic Army was scarcely more powerful than that to its immediate front. The position chosen by the Pasha was strong in the centre and weak on the flanks.  Could that somehow be exploited?

The Crown Prince could call upon -

Hellenic Army:

  • Command (rated 'Average') = 6SP
  • 1st Infantry Rgt (veteran) = 4SP
  • 11th, 12th, 13th Infantry Rgt (trained) @ 4SP = 12SP
  • 21st, 22nd Infantry Rgt (green) @ 4SP = 8SP
  • 101st Machinegun detachment (trained) = 2SP
  • 1st Cavalry Rgt (trained) = 3SP
  • 1st Field Artillery Rgt = 2SP
  • 10th Mountain Artillery Rgt = 2 SP
  • 51st, 52nd Transport Column @ 1SP = 2SP
13 Units, median = 7
41 Strength points, exhaustion point = -14SP

Invited to attack an army, the Crown Prince detailed two regiments - 1st and 21st to carry the railway station; the Cavalry and 22nd Infantry to attack the northern wing, supported by 1st Field Artillery, with 12th and 13th intended to storm the north face of the town; whilst the 11th Infantry, supported by the machine-gun detachment and mountain guns were to attack the western face, and the small hill beside the railway line.

The Turcowaz plan was to present weakish flanks to the enemy, with the view to mounting strong counter-attacks against the internal flanks that would, with luck, present themselves as the Hellenes pushed by.

Early developments...

We'll see how these respective plans worked out, next time.

Special note:  On this occasion, the eagle-eyed reader might notice that the small river is aligned more or less along the edges, rather than the centre, of the grid area.  A large river would indeed occupy a line of grid areas, rather than grid lines. Minor streams such as depicted here present an obstacle of varying difficulty, that might be defined according to the requirements of a given scenario.  One method might be to suppose that, absent a bridge or ford,  a test for fordability might be made for a given section of river once a unit reaches a grid area beside it and 'asks the question'.  

To be continued...


  1. Archduke Piccolo,

    You’re teasing us with this pre-battle, scene-setting blog post. I can hardly contain my excitement!

    All the best,


    1. Hi Bob -
      Aye, well... Just to bring things to fever pitch, I have worked out how to bring all eleven naval vessels into battle WITHOUT recourse to miracles of repair work to 'Mesudiye' and 'Hydra'...

      Watch this space...
      Archduke Piccolo.

  2. That's a lovely, terrain-filled table Ion. I'm a bit more patient than Bob (haha), but am nonetheless keen to find out what happens.
    Regards, James

    1. Hi James -
      The terrain was generated by a version of Bob Cordery's system for I think 'undulating' country. But I rolled huge for swamps/ marshes, and for built up areas. The main town, as it became, I thought rather picturesque!
      Archduke Piccolo

  3. Looking forward to the land and sea battle reports!

  4. Plenty to come, Maudlin. There is this write-up to complete, another land battle to be fought in South Chervenia (that one could be very interesting!) - and THEN something at sea.
    Archduke Piccolo.

  5. This is a very interesting campaign Ion, I never really got into Bobs Portable War Game, I think I will give it another look.
    Anyway I am enjoying watching your battles.

    1. Hi Paul -
      Everyone has their favourite game systems - and their unfavourites (my unfavourite is Volley and Bayonet - never could get my head around its conventions and game mechanics, and not keen on their huge stands, yet it is a very popular game system in this country). Glad to see you're enjoying the action, though!
      Archduke Piccolo.

  6. Hi Archduke- A very nice Battlefield you've constructed- good to see the MERIT Pines- looking forward to your Battle Report. Is everything Fictional to your own design-the Armies and Lands? Regards. KEV.

    1. Hi KEV -
      Not everything is fictional, or at least, I skate as close to fact as this fictional campaign can reach. I've had to make it an imagi-nations type of campaign as I was never going to create actual Balkans Wars armies. But the map is 'real' except that many - not all - locations have been renamed.

      The army lists were based on what Bob Cordery published in 'Wargames Illustrated 78' for the Balkan Wars. The naval vessels are all based on the inventories of the Greek and Turkish navies. There will be one slight exception concerning the sister ship of 'Mesudiye', which having been built in a British ship yard, was never delivered and entered the Royal Navy as HMS 'Superb'.

      It all goes with my 19th century 'Chromatic Wars' - the historicity of which are highly variable!
      Archduke Piccolo.

  7. Using grid sides and centres is an elegant way of differentiating between small and large rivers. Looks good too.

    Regards, Chris.

  8. Using grid sides and centres is an elegant way of differentiating between small and large rivers. Looks good too.

    Regards, Chris.