Saturday, October 1, 2022

War of the Imperial Succession - A Chance Encounter

M'yasma Horse leading the march:
Pavlograd Hussars, Tchernigov Dragoons.

As the forces of M'yasma and Ursaminor were reaching their impasse at the border town of Hardbitten, the second, smaller invasion force had effected an unopposed crossing of the Unstroll River several miles upstream from the embattled town. The Ursaminor First Column, led by Feld-Marschall Lars Slaggahand, had encountered unexpected delays on the road from Bjornberg, and were approaching the market village of Schlippensleiden from the north just as the M'yasma invaders came in sight from the south.

Kopparberg Hussars and Rikswacht te Paard 
on the road
The south road up from the river, and the north road down from the ridges fringing the river valley joined the main road that ran parallel at some distance from the Unstroll on the Ursaminor side of the river. Between both road junctions, lay Schlippensleiden, a sizeable village, which, if held by an enemy, would present a considerable obstacle to anyone marching along the valley road. So, to seize, take or carry the village was vital to both armies.
Rikswacht te Paard
The sapient and well-read reader might have observed already that this action owes a great deal to the  '#41. Chance Encounter' scenario in the C.S. Grant's 'Green Book'. The respective forces were, in order of march:

Grand Duchy of M'yasma:

General Ivan Glupiev
Pavlograd Hussars - 19 figures
Ingermanland Dragoons - 19 figures
Tver Infantry - 36 figures
B Battery, 1st Artillery - 9 figures, 2 guns
Apsheron Infantry - 36 figures

119 figures (72 foot, 38 horse, 9 gunners, 2 guns), representing
2380 officers and men (1440 foot, 760 horse, 180 gunners, 8 guns)

The general view looking north
Ursaminor horse flanking the village.

Principality of Ursaminor:

Feld-Marschall Lars Slaggahand
Kopparberg Hussars - 15 figures
Rikswacht te Paard Cuirassiers - 15 figures
Artillery Company - 9 figures, 2 guns
Stalhandske Infantry - 30 figures * (slightly overstrength)
Livgarden Grenadiers - 28 figures
Tevastehus Infantry - 28 figures 

Totals: 125 figures (86 foot, 30 horse, 9 gunners, 2 guns) representing
2500 officers and men (1720 foot, 600 horse, 180 gunners, 8 guns)

The two forces were very nearly equal in numerical strength, Ursaminor having the more infantry; the Grand Duchy the more numerous cavalry. But Ursaminor had a small qualitative edge as well, in their Lifeguard (Livgarden) infantry and their heavier horse. It was also clear that the Ursaminor forces would reach the village first.  

Rikswacht te Paard again.  Italieri French 
Carabiniers - lovely figures..
So it transpired. The Ursaminor horse swung off the road to flank the village on either side - the hussars to the left, and the cuirassiers to the right between village and the outlying tavern house. The artillery followed the hussars. Following them, the Stalhandske Infantry turned into the valley road that would form the main street of Schlippensleiden.  
General view looking northwest from behind
Ursaminor lines
Marching up from the south, Pavlograd Hussars swung off the road the moment they came within sight of the village, and formed line. They soon descried the yellow pelisses of the enemy hussars emerging from behind the village. Following them, Ingermanland Dragoons marched straight on as far as the Manor House, before forming line facing the Rikswacht te Paard moving up towards them. Tver Infantry soon presented a front with their left flank resting upon the Manor House enclosure, whilst the artillery and Apsheron Infantry moved up to prolong the line.
Looking northward up the south road

The first engagement was a cavalry fight. No sooner had the respective heavy horse sighted each other than the dragoons seized the initiative (lower priority chit number) and charged. The fight was close and bloody, both sides took hard knocks, neither could gain a significant edge. The dragoons' numbers were at least partly offset by the cuirassiers' superior weight. When both sides drew apart, the cuirassiers had lost 3 figures; the dragoons 4 - not enough for the former to claim a decisive victory from the encounter.

Clash of the heavies: dragoons vs cuirassiers.

Heavy losses to both sides - the cuirassiers get
very slightly the better of the fight
But the losses were heavy enough for both sides to take a reaction test. The dragoons having the initiative meant they could count as 'advancing'. Although the cuirassiers would no doubt have advanced to meet the enemy, I don't trouble with measuring a 'halfway point', and make no adjustment (unless other factors supervene) for horse caught standing. However, who 'receives' the initial charge doesn't get the advancing bonus and looks to the 'standing' column of the reaction chart (in my rule set).

As it turned out, both sides fell back in good order, facing the enemy.
General view looking westward

General view looking eastward
Meanwhile, the opposing light cavalry were also eager to come to grips, the Grand Duchy enjoying the superior numbers probably the more keen. The Kopparberg Hussars were in fact covering the deployment of their artillery. The time for Pavlograd Hussars to strike was now - at once, before the enemy drew aside to unmask their battery. 

The clash of the light horse (upper right of the

To be continued:
How will the outnumbered Kopparberg Hussars fare against their light horse adversaries? Ursaminor seizing the unoccupied village, can the Grand Duke's infantry wrest the place from them?


  1. Developing nicely, with troops numbers that are very manageable for most of us to ‘copy’ the exercise. I do like the look of your towns on the table.

    1. Thanks, Norm. I thought the battlefield might actually be too cluttered, but that proved manageable too. But I also have a vague feeling that sometimes battlefield WERE at times awkward to fight in, with a lot of build-up areas and plantations to deal with.
      At any rate, this was a nice size for my little 4ft 4in x 4ft table.

  2. An interesting scenario game. I was quite surprised that your table top is a tad over 4x4ft. The game seems to look a lot bigger, and agree with Norm, the town looks splendid.

    1. Hi Peter -
      The other battles of this War of the Imperial Succession so far have been fought on my 6ft x 4ft board. But that is none too convenient in this house - heavy and awkward. Doable, though. But my 'middle-sized' 4ft more-or-less square can accommodate quite respectable battles. This early 'Retreat from Smolensk' battle was played out with over 500 figures on this board:

  3. A great “old school” looking game Ion. Very nice.👏👏
    Your Kopparberg hussars look especially dashing…
    In my mind your table looks bigger than 4x4ft - but perhaps that’s because I’m (mostly) used to games with 15mm or smaller scale figures. I look forward to reading more…

    1. Geoff-
      Maybe the table size looks the larger for the figures being the smaller (and older) plastics: Airfix, Revell, ESCI and Italieri. The units are quite large, though, and the armies originally designed for a projected 8ft x 6ft table (of which my 6x4 was the first instalment, actually). Unfortunately, the 8 x 6 - in my view the 'ideal' war games table - has had to be taken right off the agenda...

      But we can still fight some decent battles with the small tables - an early 'insurrection' action (using much the same figures I'm using here - was fought on the kitchen table surface - even smaller than my 40-inch square 'little' table.

  4. Another exciting battle report. I agree the table does look bigger than 4 by 4....must be an optical illusion but a good one.... Regards

    1. Hi Tony -
      The Woodscrew armies campaign battles were all fought out over this 4 x 4 table. I think the scales we were using made the field seem large. The huge penultimate battle - Camp Supply - was fought over square miles of terrain, and involved well over 60,000 troops. One tended easily to forget that the battlefield was actually a little over 16 square foot! Come to think of it, one of the Retreat from Smolensk battles would have involved over 100,000 troops.

      One feels that, having a 4 x 4 table one may style oneself as 'king of infinite space'.