Sunday, December 18, 2022

Kavkaz campaign - ...

Following their second defeat at Kutaisi, the Izumrud-Zeleniyan Kavkaz Column resumed their retreat towards Zugdidi, where they might join hands with the Coastal Column.  Of great concern to their commander, General Count Ignatieff, was the depleted state of his infantry, which had taken very heavy losses over the past week.

Card draw:
Ace ♣  / Jack  / Ace

Over the next three days, 5th-7th June, 1875, these were the developments:

- Coastal Column at Zugdidi carries out reconnaissance of river and the enemy on the far bank.  Poor results (rolled a '2' - a dark and stormy night recon - learned nothing). 
- Kavkaz Column retreats, reaches halfway point between Kutaisi and Zugdidi.
- Convoy travels slowly to the south east of Sakhumi.


- Turcowaz Trebizond Command carries out attack across the river at Zugdidi
- TNS Hamidiye moves north, with orders to interdict the coastal sea lane from Sakhumi 


- Kars command follows up retreating Kavkaz column, but remains a day behind.
- Trebizond Command: news awaited of the result of the attack on Zugdidi 
- TNS Hamidiye changes course to NE by E, heading for the mouth of the Ingari River.

Note that

  • Aces permit all formations to move 1 grid space;
  • Naval units (at sea) are able to move whenever their own colour card appears.  However...
  • The Izumrud-Zeleniyan troops being transported by sea, once landed will move only if the Coastal column suit (club) turns up. In the likelihood of columns combining, attaching or detaching, the allocation of suits for movement will probably change. This will be explained in due course.

If the state of the Kavkaz column's infantry was concerning Count Ignatieff, the Turcowaz command had concerns of their own.  The Kavkaz column, having abandoned its direct line of communication with the towns north of the Kavkaz Mountains, were now in fairly close contact with the Coastal column, just two day's march away.  It was likely that the two commands combined would have the central position, and therefore able - with some risk to the safety of the coastal road, it's true - to attack the Turcowaz columns separately.  

With that consideration in mind, the commander of the Trebizond Column, Bashir ed Din Pasha, decided upon an attack directly across the Inguri River at Zugdidi.  If he could storm the town successfully, he would place the Izumrud-Zeleniyan expedition in a seriously comprising position: the Kavkaz Column cut off with all roads cut off, and the Coastal Column forced to try and break through to reopen the coast road north.

Turcowaz Trebizond Command: 
Command: Bashir ed Din Pasha (average commander) = 6SP

1st Division: HQ (1SP elite), 1st, 2nd, 3rd Regiment @ 4SP (average) = 13SP
2nd Division: HQ (1SP elite), 4th, 5th, 6th Regiment @ 4SP (average) = 13SP
3rd Division: HQ (1SP elite), 7th, 8th, 9th Regiment @ 4SP (average) = 13SP
IX Machinegun Battalion = 2SP (average)
1st Cavalry Brigade: 19th, 20th Cavalry @ 3SP (average) = 6SP
I, II/ 1st Field Regiment @ 2SP (average) = 4SP
III, IV/ 2nd Medium Regiment @ 2SP (average) = 4SP
101st Medium Transport Battalion @ 2SP /3CP (carrying capacity)
111th, 112th  Pack Transport Battalion @ 2SP /2CP = 4SP/ 4CP

23 Units (including command); activation 12 units per turn
67 Strength Points (SP); Exhaustion Point (EP) = -23, Rout Point (RP) = -34 
(represents an army of about 27,600 troops, 40 machineguns, 160 artillery pieces)

Izumrud-Zeleniya Coastal Column:
General-leytenant Malakhai Malodorovitch Kutizedoff (average commander) = 6SP
1st (Grenadier) Division - HQ (1SP elite) + 1st through 4th Regiments @4SP (elite) = 17SP
3rd (Rifle) Division - HQ (1SP elite)  + 9th through 12th Regiments @4SP (average) = 17SP
1st Light Cavalry Division - 1st through 4th Light Horse (Hussars) @3SP (average) = 12SP
1st Field Artillery Regiment - I and II (Field) Battalions @2SP (average) = 4SP
Naval Artillery Detachment -
     V (Naval) Artillery Battalion = 2SP (average)
     VI (Naval) Machinegun Battalion (Nordenfelds) = 2SP (elite)
4 Transport Battalion columns @2SP/3CP = 8SP/12CP .

23 Units (including command); activation 12 units per turn 
68 SP; EP = -23, RP = -34
(represents an army of  about 27,100 troops, 40 machine guns, 120 artillery pieces.

As the observant reader will notice, these forces are very evenly matched - the Turcowaz having a slight preponderance of artillery; the Zeleniyans the more powerful cavalry.

To be continued: Combat at Zugdidi.


  1. Replies
    1. Cheers, Peter.
      Microsoft paint is a useful piece of software!

  2. Interested to know more about how you are using the playing cards for the campaign moves.

    1. Hi Timothy -
      A fair request! I'll elaborate next time. I have given some hints, but I appreciate that they would be more meaningful to those familiar with Bob Cordery's 'Portable wargames' oeuvre. But the gridded campaign map movement system is really independent of the tactical battle system, so it is reasonable to explain it in this milieu, with my campaign-specific tweaks.

  3. Your drawings really are superb and add so much to an already interesting narrative. Regards.

    1. Thanks, Tony -
      A bit of an indulgence, and the second of the two is actually copied (loosely) from a cartoon on the cover of my copy of the Norman Dixon book 'On the Psychology of Military Incompetence'.

  4. I can do no better than agree with Tony - your drawings really are superb Ion 👏👏👏 The caricatures are especially impressive and remind me somewhat of the images of commanders from books like Cassell’s Illustrated History of the Russo-Turkish War.
    More please.
    I trust you’ll have a jolly pleasant festive period and hopefully your correspondents will soon be able to send news from the battlefields.

    1. Cheers, Geoff -
      Your comment led me to look up the Illustrated History you mentioned, and I do have one pic I don't think I've published (yet) that looks remarkably like Ali Pasha, Governor of Montenegro...

      I have yet to get around to fighting the next battle. The map has been drawn, and certain features 'programmed' (spoiler alert: a ford unknown to the defenders - I had to make the '2' on the Zeleniyan recon die roll mean something!).