Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Portable White Mountain (2)

 So begins the narrative of White Mountain: a refight of the battle that kicked off a European-wide war that lasted 30 years. The text will be by way of captions for the pictures immediately preceding.


Facing the Imperialist host, the Bohemian Confederation Army lines the forward slopes of the Witteberg - White Mountain. Observe the very Swedish look to the Confederation Army. I had to use Swedish 'proxies'. I could instead have called the feature 'Cremefarbenberg' - Off-white Mountain - and the armies the bitter enemies, the Austerian Empire and the Kingdom of Severia.


Before them, the Imperialists advance: gun batteries in front; horse interspersed among the tercios. Note that, absent horsed teams, the guns of neither side can move. A bit of a nuisance for the infantry, but no real obstacle to friendly cavalry.



Beginning with the initiative, the Imperialist activation dice roll is truly dismal. The number of dice rolled is equal to the number of generals (three) plus whole multiples of 6 units (23/6 => 3), that is to say, 6 dice. That score is divided by 2, so the 6 dice must have rolled 14 to get to the 7 displayed in the battle box. All four gun batteries having fired, that left just three units to be activated. The Imperialist right flank cavalry, two cuirassier and one harquebusier units, move forward. That's it.

The second cuirassier unit beginning near the rear of the Imperialist army has a long way to catch up! The hope is that the Confederation's line might be outflanked and rolled up.

Well... the Confederation's activation roll wasn't a whole lot better than the Imperialists'. But as the artillery, masked by tercios in front, didn't fire, the army has a lot more flexibility. Question, then: should they wait on the defensive, or take the fight to the enemy? I'll give you three guesses...


Of course, they take the fight to the enemy. On the left, four cavalry units thunder out to meet the three oncoming Imperialist horse units. Close by the Remy hamlet a swirling cavalry fight develops that was to last more than half  the duration of the battle, with heavy losses on both sides.


In the centre, two Confederation horse units attack one of the Imperialist gun batteries. They do some damage, but are in turn  counter-attacked by couple of harquebusier units.  Partly to clear the front of the centre gun emplacement, the centre Confederation tercio pushes forward and veers to their left, aiming for the gap between Remy and the nearby copse. The Imperialist gun battery there has already taken some toll upon the left hand Confederation tercio, standing guard over the left flank.  


A couple of Confederation cavalry units attack the cuirassier and harquebusier units on the Imperial left in front of the Ruzyne village. Both sides take early hits.

Turn three: the Confederation activation roll is pretty good this time. The situation on the Imperialist left and left-centre: under attack by four Confederation cavalry units, with more coming up. Gradually the forward Confederation tercios also grind forward.





General view after three turns. Cavalry battles have developed all along the Imperialist front, which has the effect of stymying their push forward. The fighting is pretty savage, with most 'hits' being counted as SP losses. They mount up pretty quickly!


Reaching the Imperial battery between Remy and the wood, the Confederation tercio come under attack from two harquebusier units. The harquebusiers don't charge home; they do what they do best: engage the enemy in a fire fight. 


Behind the battle lines about Remy, stand an Imperialist gun battery and tercio, awaiting the outcome...


The cavalry battle on the Imperialist right is thinning out, with fearful losses to both sides. The Imperialist harquebusiers have disappeared, and one of the cuirassiers units is badly depleted. The Confederation cavalry is in not much better shape. One of their cavalry units has also been dispersed, another - faced by a fresh cuirassier unit - is barely staying in the fight.


To the left of the copse, the Imperialists mount a telling fire action counter-attack upon the two Confederation cavalry units there. The latter badly need help, but it is not forthcoming.


The opposite is true about Ruzyne. Somewhat isolated beyond the village, the two Imperialist horse units find themselves under attack by Confederation charging Confederation cavalry. Both have taken hits. 


Much of the Confederation's cavalry having carried the fight to their opponents, they are holding up the Imperialist advance. Meanwhile, the bulk of the Confederation stands to await the outcome. This was partly due to the generally woeful activation rolls on both sides, the Confederation Turn 3 roll being something of an exception. The early exchanges marginally in Imperialist favour, during Turns 3 and 4 the losses were fearful. Both sides lost heavily, but the Imperialists got the worse of it. The 'score' so far: Confederation lost 17SP, the Imperialists 21! 

The larger picture shows the general situation at the end of Turn 3.

By now the Imperialist horse on the right has been badly worn down - just 3SP remaining of the 11 they began with. The Confederation horse still have 7SPs of their original 12.  


Then, at the beginning of Turn 5 (and a reasonable - that is to say, about average - activation roll by the Confederation) one of the cuirassiers breaks and scatters, leaving a tired lone unit facing three, and odds of 6 to one.




Turn 5 and one of the better Imperialist activation
rolls: just half a pip-score below the
statistical average!
Even so, the last remnants of the Imperialist horse don't go without handing out a few licks of their own. Surrounded, facing odds of five to one, they finally break. But just 5SP remain of the Confederation horse, and two of the three units are badly depleted. The fourth unit has long since disappeared.


Meanwhile, on the other flank, matters are also going well for the Confederation. The harquebusiers conquered, three cavalry units assail a lone, battered unit of cuirassiers. The nearby tercio might have plodded around the village to lend a hand, but not whilst the situation nearer the centre remained problematic. 

 

Instead, a unit of harquebusiers began filing across the river bridges and through the town...


... to fall, betimes, upon the flank rear of the Confederation unit itself attacking the flank of the cuirassiers.



Matters begin looking up for the Imperialists in the left centre as well. Although taking heavy losses themselves, the harquebusiers have been gradually asserting an ascendancy over their adversaries, helped of course by the musketry of the tercio between the two horsed units. 


The encounter between horse, foot and guns near Remy was also stalled in a prolonged fire fight. Between them, the two harquebusier units have lost half their strength. Although having lost 2SP themselves, the Confederation tercio, with another looming up to assist, is maintaining itself amid gunfire and assaults from front and flank.

At this point, the end of Turn 5, we will defer the conclusion for another time. Losses have been heavy on both sides, with the Confederation down 25SPs, the Imperialists down 27. Pretty steep, considering that the Imperialist tercios in particular have hardly seen action!

To be concluded...

Monday, June 10, 2024

The Portable 'White Mountain' - A 30YW Battle.

Early action, from behind Confederation lines:
cavalry fights on both wings and in the centre

Exasperated by the Emperor's project to reassert the authority of the Church of Rome, Bohemia determined to break off from Catholic Austrian Empire and to form its own independent  kingdom. This rebellion against Imperial authority led to the first major battle of the Thirty Years' War: Witteberg, or 'White Mountain'. Led by Count Johann von Tilly, Charles du Bucquoy and Guillermo Verduga of Spain in a thrust towards the home of  Bohemian revolt, the Imperialist Army of the 'Catholic League' found itself intercepted by the forces of the Protestant Confederation at the White Mountain.

Drawing up along the forward slopes trending downwards toward the Scharka Stream, the Confederation emplaced several batteries behind earthworks. These were, it seems, masked by horse and foot, according to some sources I have encountered. This may have been deliberate, possibly to protect the guns and to conserve powder and shot until the Imperialists might have forced their way through, over, or by, the masking forces. The Confederation right was covered by a walled plantation of some sort; the left was open.

The Imperial Army's front was somewhat impeded by a copse or small wood in front of their centre, and slightly further off in front of the right wing, by the hamlet of Repy. The stream covered the Imperialist left, the somewhat isolated left wing reinforceable via the Razyne bridge crossings.

Altogether the Imperialist Army was slightly the larger, with more foot and guns than the Confederation possessed. Although the Imperialist had more horsed troops, the overall strength in this arm was almost equal, and the Confederation had the extra unit. Here are their Orders of Battle:

Lookin along the Imperialist start lines


Imperialists:

4 x Cuirassier (Reiter) 6-figure units @4SP  = 16SP
8 x Harquebusier 9-figure 'Dutch cavalry' units @ 3SP = 24SP
7 x Tercio 8-pike, 12-shot foot units @ 6SP = 42SP
4 x Artillery battery units @ 2SP = 8SP
3 x Commanders (Tilly, Verdugo and Bucquoy) 

23 units + 3 commanders => 6 Activation D6s
Strength Points overall: 90SP 
Exhaustion Point: minus 30SP
Rout Point: minus 45SP


The view from beyond the Confederation left wing



Bohemian Confederation:

13 x Charging Cavalry 6-figure units @ 3SP = 39SP
6 Tercio 8-pike, 12-shot foot units  @ 6SP = 36SP
3 x Artillery battery units @ 2SP = 6SP
3 x Commanders (Anhalt, Schlick and Thurn) 

22 units + 3 commanders => 6 Activation D6s (22/6 + 3 => 3+3 => 6)
Strength Points overall: 81SP (the gun emplacements might add 6SP to strength)
Exhaustion Point: minus 27SP
Rout Point: minus 41SP.

Overall there were 474 figures on the table: 258 Imperialist, 216 Confederation.

Before embarking on the narrative, a comment seems called for about the game system I used for this action. This action used the Portable Pike & Shot rule set but with changes I suggested at the and of April concerning the artillery and the horsed troops.

Artillery:

All were the heavier 4-figure stands that I use, that have a range of 6 (hex) grid areas. The firing arc is the hex immediately in front, and beyond that includes the row of hexes adjacent either side up to a maximum of 6 hexes from the gun. Short range is 2 hexes.

Cavalry:

My sources suggesting that the Confederation horse favoured the 'cold steel charge', I made them cognate to the 'Swedish cavalry' - calling them 'Charging Cavalry' - as defined by the rule set. The Imperialist horse comprised Cuirassiers and 'Dutch cavalry', the latter favouring fire action.


Close combat: Imperialist cuirassiers (4SP) vs 'Bohemian' charging cavalry (3SP).
The Bohemians (white die) score a hit. Had the dice been reversed,
both would have scored hits.

Close combat not being compulsory, the harquebusiers could shoot in their own turn at enemy horse to their front, but were able to contest the close combat in the enemy's turn. The charging cavalry receiving a +1 for fighting other types of cavalry have of course the edge over the other types (even the cuirassiers for all their extra SP). But the harquebusiers able to shoot without reply in their own turn more than makes up for that (between them, a 6% difference in 'hit' probability taken over 1 IGoUGo Turn). Probably the equalising factor is the charging cavalry's option of following up upon successfully destroying or forcing back the enemy. At any rate I am pretty satisfied by the method I have come up with. Note that forcing back the enemy only through fire action does not entitle the victors to follow up.

My convention for bringing on a close combat is to move the attacking unit such that the front edge crosses the hex grid area occupied by the enemy. This counts as a whole hex as part of the attacking unit's move. A cavalry unit beginning 4 hexes from its intended victim takes its whole 3-hex move to stand immediately adjacent to i. v.'s hex. Having completed its move it may not 'move' that extra part-hex to bring on a close combat. It will have to take whatever incoming from the enemy, then charge home. 

What is happening internally is that the cavalry clashes are brief, with the harquebusier pistoleers using their caracole technique as the opportunities present. Their more belligerent opponents will, of course, be gathering themselves for another go at getting themselves within sword-point reach.

Early cavalry action near Remy village. Both sides 
have take some stick.  The Confederation has lost 3SP:
the Imperialists 4SP.

In the course of the action, a large cavalry battle developed upon the Imperialist right flank that absorbed the attentions of three Imperial and four Confederation horse units. The latter were victorious, but badly depleted.  The survivors were eventually driven off by gunfire.

This seems a convenient moment to pause, to begin the battle narrative next time.
To be continued...





Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Hex Shambattle - a Rule Set

Late last year I posted some ideas about playing the Shambattle game on a gridded table.

The Hex-celled Grid:




The gimlet-eyed reader will notice that the Vermilion City and Blueburg I have placed, per the original Shambattle map, right up against the river banks. I'm rather taken with the idea of urban fighting being required to force a crossing.  Whether this adds or detracts from the action, we would have to see.

This being a larger game area, a larger OOB is required, and a commensurate change in shooting ranges as well. Each stand represents a battalion.

OOB Hex-celled Map:

Ruberia:
General Officer Commanding: General Sir Arthur Reddesley 6SP
12 Infantry stands @ 4SP = 48SP - Rifle range: 2 grid areas 
6 Cavalry stands @ 3SP = 18SP - Carbine range: 1 grid area
3 Machinegun stands (Gatlings) @ 2SP =  6SP - Shooting range: 3 grid areas
3 Artillery stands @2SP = 6SP - Shooting range 8 grid areas
1 Engineer stand plus Engineer Train @ 3SP = 6SP - Rifle Range: 2 grid areas
2 Field hospitals (horse-drawn wagons)
1 Fixed hospital (probably in Scarletton).



Azuria: 
Commanding in Chief: Marshal Andre Azuréna
12 Infantry stands @ 4SP - 48SP
6 Cavalry stands @ 3SP = 18SP
3 Mitrailleuse stands (Nordenfeldt) @ 2SP = 6SP
3 Artillery stands @ 2SP = 6SP
1 Engineer stand plus Engineer Train @ 3SP = 6SP
2 Field Logistics stands (horse drawn wagons)
1 Fixed Centre of Operations Logistics unit (most likely in Cerulean City)

Of the 25 units on each side (discounting the logistics units and the Army Command), 12 Strength Points would have to deploy at the outset in the towns, each having at least 3 units by way of a garrison.

Strength Points.

Hex Grid Armies SP values:
12 Rifles @ 4SP: 48SP
6 Cavalry @ 3SP: 18SP
3 MG (Gatlings, Gardners or Maxims) @2SP: 6SP
3 Artillery @2SP: 6SP
1 Engineer plus Engineer Train @3SP: 6SP
1 Fixed location logistics Centre of Operations: 0SP
2 Mobile (commissariat/ordnance/medical) Trains: 0SP
1 Army Commander @6SP : 6SP
Total: 90SP/ Exhaustion Point: -30/ Rout Point -45   


Activation of units: 

The whole game is IGoUGo, but in each pair of turns roll for which side goes first.
 
Procedure:
1.  Artillery and Machinegun fire (both sides, count as simultaneous)

2.  Roll for initiative, high roll going first and completing moves and combats for all units as in 3. and 4.

3. Roll for 'Treachery' in the enemy army:
    See below:
  
4.  For each unit: 
    Movement (artillery and MGs if not having fired this turn)
    Rifle fire and outcomes (moving side only)
    Close Combat and outcomes (both sides)

5. Low initiative roll determines 'treachery' (3) and completes moves and combats (4) for all units.

2 units - infantry, machinegun - and the 
Army Commander in one hex-grid area.


Movement:

Riflemen: 2 hexes in clear areas or on roads; otherwise 1 grid area only.
Cavalry: 3 hexes on roads or clear, otherwise 1 grid area only
Machine guns: 2 hexes on roads or clear, otherwise 1 grid area only.
Artillery: 2 hexes on roads, 1 hex in clear or in towns, otherwise impassible.
Trains: 2 hexes on roads, 1 hex in clear or in towns, otherwise impassible.

In the above picture, the MG could shoot out to 3 grid areas; but at 2 grid area range, the rifles can be added.  The Army Commander's presence putting them on their mettle, would add +1 to the units' SPs for shooting or close combat.

Combat:

I propose using my own version of the 'Command-&-Colours' combat method for shooting or close combat.  A grid area may hold 1 or 2 units, of any type - 2 infantry, say, or 1 infantry and 1 gun).  The following results count only if the target type happens to be present.

1. Artillery, Machineguns, Engineers or Engineer Train lose 1 SP
2. Cavalry retreat 1 grid area, or lose 1 SP
3. Cavalry lose 1 SP 
4. Infantry retreat 1 grid area, or lose 1 SP
5. Infantry lose 1 SP
6. Infantry lose 1 SP, and retreat 1 grid area.  Hazard to Army Command if present.

If Army Commander is in the target grid area, he may be hit.  A separate roll of '6' means the Army Commander is toast (one could roll to determine whether he is KIA, WIA, or POW). Note that in this version, the Army Commander is at hazard only if a '6' is rolled for a hit upon the unit he is accompanying.

Engineers count as infantry for shooting and close combat purposes. The SP value for their Train counts towards its capacity as well as for its combat strength. See below; Engineers.

The number of dice rolled in combat is equal to the stand's SP values. If there is more than one stand in a grid, their combat power may be added together. The following modifications, per stand, apply:

-1 Any of close assaulting across river, up hill, or in or into a town, forest or brush area. Not cumulative.
-1 Any of shooting into cover, or whilst on a bridge or in a river (ford).
-1 Machine guns or artillery under a close assault. Neither may bring on a close assault.
-1 Engineer Train under close assault. May not bring on a close assault. Engineer Train does not shoot.
-1 'Poor' unit shooting or close combat (optional).
+1 Machine guns shooting.  Range: 3 grid areas.
+1 Artillery shooting. Range: 8 grid areas.
+1 'Elite' unit shooting or close combat (optional).
+1 Army Command in same grid area.



Engineers in combat:
As the engineers themselves and their train are always in the same grid area, a combat die roll of '1' will hit one or other of them but not both. SP losses accumulated are taken in turn, beginning with the Train. So two combat rolls of '1' in the same turn will take 1SP from both engineers and their Train.

2 units, plus Army Commander, in one square
 grid area - as much as the area can accommodate.
An enemy attacking this grid area would hit the artillery 
on a '1', the infantry on a '4-6', and possibly Sir Arthur
Reddesley on a '6'.

Close combat
 is initiated by a force attempting to enter a grid area occupied by an enemy force. This is signalled by the front edge of at least one stand being placed slightly over the edge of the target grid area.  Close combats are automatic, both sides rolling, and, if continuing, take place in both sides' turns.  The posture of the respective sides will indicate who is the attacker.

Only the rifle infantry, cavalry and engineers may initiate a close combat. Artillery, machine guns and the Engineers' Train, may never bring on a close assault. The Engineers may shoot, but the Train does not.

Engineers, function:
At all times, the engineers are accompanied by their Train.  Their Train supplies the needs for mine laying, constructing field works, demolition and bridge building. The SP value constitutes their capacity. 

1SP by the Train may, in one turn:
  • Lay minefields in 1 grid area 
  • Construct fieldworks in 1 grid area
  • Prepare 1 bridge or building for demolition
  • Construct 1 pontoon bridge section (2 being required to complete the river crossing).
    Construction occurs in the same grid area where the engineers and train stands, or, in the case of river crossings, in a bridge approach grid area.
Note that at 3SP there is an overcapacity for building one bridge, but insufficient to build two. One has, of course, to take into account losses to enemy action! 
Note also that the rate of construction is fixed, and may not be accelerated by the 'expenditure' of extra SPs in the same turn.

A final note: you will observe that SPs spent upon engineering tasks will add to the overall SP wastage incurred by the battle, and hence towards reaching the Army exhaustion and rout points. 

Treachery...
It is tempting to subvert the adamantine river line by including the possibility of treachery in the enemy ranks.  As I'm playing these games solo, how this is done would have in some way to be programmed. I'm thinking less in terms of 'spy' and more in the way of 'Fifth Column'.

Procedure:
At the beginning of the Game OR (better yet) at the appropriate time each turn (optional), identify the miscreant unit:
  • Roll for arm: 1 = artillery/ machine guns, 2-3 = cavalry, 4-6 = infantry
  • Roll for unit: There being 6 cavalry and 6 guns and machine guns combined, simply allocate a number from 1-6 for each and roll according. There being 12 rifle stands, roll for pair, and then for individual within the pair, or, as I did, 1 roll for which 'brigade' of 4 stands, then roll for the unit within the 'Brigade'. 
1.  Each turn, roll a die to determine whether there is disaffection within the army. See 'Activation of Units' above. A roll of '6' implies a unit's loyalty has come into question. 
(It has suddenly occurred to me that this would be best carried out turn by turn, with the non-phasing side rolling for the enemy army. That way the defecting unit immediately comes under the control of the enemy army)
2.  Unless identified at the beginning of the game, roll to identify the disloyal unit.
3.  Roll to determine what action the disloyal unit will take:
  • 1-2 Mutiny! The unit will refuse to take orders, will neither move nor shoot, except to defend itself and/or stay away from the fighting.  Its SPs are lost to the army, but are not accrued by the enemy.
  • 3-4 Defection! The unit plans to change sides, but will do so only if it contacts or is contacted by an 'enemy' unit.  This is effected by moving into a grid area adjacent to one occupied by the 'enemy' unit. Having thus made contact, the unit is now under the command of the enemy army. Its SPs are lost to their former army and now accrue to their new command.
    (In a 2-player game, the 'enemy' takes over its movements, but the aim is primarily to make contact with an enemy unit. It may not attack its former comrades, nor may be attacked by them). 

    However, the army they are trying to contact may engage them in combat, bearing in mind that any SPs they lose will be SPs foregone. The defecting unit may also be expected to fight back if engaged in close combat. (I make these last remarks for the 'sake of completeness': I doubt in a 2-player game that the receiving army would want to shoot up approaching friends. In a solo game, that is a whole other matter, of course!)
  • 5-6 Fifth Column! The miscreant unit at once changes sides, and will come at once under the command of the enemy army, to carry out moves, fires and close combats as required. The SPs change sides with the unit. There is no change to the starting 'Exhaustion' or 'Rout' points for either side.

Supply and Resupply:

The Centre of Operations, and the two Mobile Logistics Trains', main function is to rebuild units (stands) that have become depleted. This may include stands or units that have been reduced to 0SP, and have therefore been removed from the battlefield. These three logistics units have no intrinsic Strength Points, and, attacked, are captured or destroyed on a 'hit' result for Trains.

During the course of a 'night' Turn the SPs are allocated to units according to arm, each receiving half of their losses incurred during the day. Odd half fractions of 'returned' SPs are rounded up for riflemen and engineers, and down for all the other arms. Special rules apply to the Engineer Train and the Army Command.

Units to be refurbished must be placed in the grid area containing the logistics unit (1 unit only), or in an adjacent grid area (up to 2 in each). This placement takes place in the night move. A replacement Army Command, and the engineer train resupplying, also stand in some such proximity to a logistics unit. The units placed, they then are allocated extra SPs from the replacement pool.

At the dawn of the new day, the units move at standard rates from the grid areas in which they stood for resupply and recovery. One of the effects of this will be to advantage the invaded country. It will therefore be in the interests of the invader to bring his mobile logistics units up close to the front line.

Special Resupply Rules:
Engineers's  Train:

The Engineer's Train may by resupplied up to its full capacity of 3SP.  This will, however, still count against the overall allocation to specialists. 

Army Command:
When the Army Command has been lost, it may be replaced (@6SP) but only at the cost of Strength Points being returned to the Army. However, the 6SP so spent may be drawn from the whole pool, regardless of the arms represented. A likely replacement allocation might be drawn like this: 1SP from the specialists, 2 from the cavalry and 3 from the infantry.

Exhaustion:

An army having reached its 'Exhaustion Point' is treated as follows
Only the cavalry can initiate a close assault 
Units may not advance closer to the enemy than they already are. They may, however, move closer to an enemy stand if the move also brings them closer to the friendly base line.
Units already in close combat may remain so until the close assault is resolved.

Rout:
An Army reduced to its 'Rout Point' must immediately begin to quit the field.
Units move at standard rates towards their own table edge, or the capital city.
Units in close combat, break off, and retreat one grid area.
The army will be stopped, if at all, only by the onset of night, and then resume the next day unless the SP returns bring the army's strength points above the Rout point.

Concluding points:

This rule set will probably require rather closer attention to losses Turn by Turn than is usual among our Grid Wargames. Apart from anything else, only the day's SP losses may be returned 'overnight'. It is possible that an Army will become 'exhausted' during the course of a day, but be revived with SPs overnight. This seems to me a reasonably plausible happening. An Army reduced to a routing condition before nightfall might be rallied overnight to mere 'exhaustion', at least keeping it in the field the following day. 

An army that finds itself having lost a third of its original SP allocation at daybreak remains 'exhausted', must take up a defensive posture. When the army is exhausted, only the cavalry may be permitted to attack to bring on a close combat. An Army reduced to its 'Rout Point' simply flees the field, and the battle ends.

I have a feeling that one of the effects of these establishments is the creation and retention of a reserve, so that depleted units might be withdrawn, and fresh units take their place.  It would be nice to think that this will work, but I haven't tried it yet!

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Hex Shambattle (3)

There were two elements (2nd and 3rd Turcos)
trying the Redina river line. Now there is but one.

 

The previous post hinted at the sudden disappearance of 2nd Turco Battalion attempting to storm across the river fords. With 3rd Turcos following into the ford, the 2nd never made it to far bank. Shredded by rifle and machinegun fire, the 2nd melted away, leaving the 3rd to effect a lodgment if they could. It so happens, though, that 4th Turco Battalion, despite very heavy losses, had made the crossing, overrun the 3rd Brigade's Gatling Coy, and were beginning to roll up the defenders' line.

Turco Brigade has forced crossings at two places,
but at heavy cost. However, the Chasseur Brigade is coming up...

On this front both sides were taking horrendous losses, Redina's 3rd Brigade at least 7SP so far, including the Gatling Coy; the Turco Brigade 8SP or more. But the Turcos had at least secured lodgments close by Redville itself, and at the far end of the defenders' line.

Elsewhere, the Bluvia cavalry were still holding a considerable bridgehead, and seeking to expand it. One hussar unit had, unfortunately, been routed. Their light horse comrades attempted to storm a Redina gun battery close by the Scarletton Woods, whilst the lancers and a cuirassier regiment strove to keep the road clear.


Following up the cavalry, 1st Line Infantry had begun crossing the Middle Bridge - 2nd Cuirassiers having drawn aside to make way. The pontoon bridge completed, 2nd and 3rd Line were on hand to cross. Behind them the Medium and 2nd Field Artillery were giving effective support to the embattled horse.

The depleted 1st Hussars undergoing rest, refitting and 
reestablishment at 2nd Field Depot

Is Redville about to fall?  Again?

Back at Redville, 3rd Turco's attack across the fords having been repulsed, they had withdrawn and rerouted across the bridge, behind the 1st. Fourth Turcos having finally succumbed to losses, 1st and 2nd Chasseurs crossed the fords unopposed, though the former had taken a hit from gunfire. The defending Brigade had been reduced to a single battalion defending the town, whilst the field hospitals and re-supply trains behind Redville vainly attempted to cope with the increasing demands from deplted and broken units.

Four depleted units surround the re-supply train - 
an overwhelming demand!



Two Redina battalions looking a bit sorry for themselves
at Vermillion City. But what is happening in the background?


So far, little enough was being reported from Blueburg and Vermillion City. Second Battalion had been enduring a steady drain of losses from the enemy machinegun fire, and 1st Battalion had also come in for some attention. But a really sinister situation was developing to the left of Vermillion, in the shape of two Line Battalions that had crossed the newly built pontoon bridge. Although the crossing had been effected at some cost the unexpected arrival of three infantry battalions proved very trying to the defenders. At some risk, the Bluvians had left 3rd Machinegun Company to defend the bridge. Marshal Andre Azurena had in fact been prepared to accept the loss of Blueburg itself in order to shove the whole Line Brigade across at the pontoon and Middle Bridges.

The bridgehead at the Middle Bridge, looking tenuous shortly before, suddenly looked more promisingly solid. Apart from the three or four battalions having crossed on the Redville front, there were now five cavalry unit - some looking rather weary - and four battalions, reasonably fresh, pushing forward. A fresh Lancer unit felt bold enough to push ahead to the Vermillion-Scarletton road and to assault the Redina engineer train waiting there (and doing diddly squat because their commander {well, I} didn't think to build earthworks or to lay a minefield).

Masking their evil intent, 4th Chasseurs are getting close 
the front line. The SP dice seems to have been knocked: 
it should be showing a 4.

Meanwhile, the 4th Chasseur Regiment had reached the Middle Bridge. Unbeknownst to anyone but themselves, they were, as earlier related, bent on defecting - as soon as they might encounter a Redina unit with whom they could communicate their intention. As far as their confreres were concerned, they represented a welcome reserve infantry reinforcement behind the cavalry.

A dire situation made worse by 1st Battalion's 
treachery. At last the 'six' is rolled to signify its 
rebellion, the 'two' signifies a mutiny, rather than 
an intent to change sides.

At such a critical moment, the 1st Redina Infantry broke out in mutiny. Refusing to accept orders to engage the enemy, or even to move, the battalion simply opted out of the battle. This was a serious blow to General Reddesley's plans to drive the enemy back across the river.


So far, Redina's defence had relied upon just two of the Infantry Brigades in and around Vermillion City (1st Brigade) and Redville (3rd). The Sepoy (2nd) Brigade were being held in reserve around Scarletton. With the river plain being cleared of Redina troops as far back as the Scarletton Woods, and the gun lines there, General Reddesley deemed it meet that 2nd Brigade be at last unleashed.

It was not before time. The large numbers of depleted units rallying - or attempting to rally - around the field depots and the centre of operations meant very few still in action in the field. What was left of 3rd Brigade did manage to drive the Turcos back from Redville, but that was but a pinprick. 
Redville garrison repels the Turcos, but two Chasseur
battalions are not far off...

The Opoeration centre also busy refurbishing 
battered units.

I'll admit right here that my ideas for rebuilding depleted units were insufficiently thought out and inadequate to the demands placed upon them. I think it reasonable that the capacity for the trains and supply centre ought to be limited enough that they become strained as losses mount. But 1SP per turn for each of the three was nowhere near enough. This was especially the case as I was most reluctant to send back into battle units with just 1SP. So even the units sent back with 2SP amounted to a mere trickle. 

Having said that, the limited capacity ought to have favoured Redina, whose depots, as defender, were much closer to the front line. It so happened that all day so far the dice ran for Bluvia, pretty much, although the retention of the Sepoy reserve by Redina probably didn't help the latter. Perhaps the retention was less at fault than the timing of their introduction into the fight.

My other omission was entirely to forget my dividing the day (as I discover in my pre-game notes) into four periods of daylight and one of night. Too much excitement, for I estimate, not having counted the moves, that the action last about four 'days'.


Nevertheless, the Reddesley ordered the battered units to abandon their rearming, rest and recuperation around 1st Supply Train, and counterattack the Bluvian invasion near the pontoon bridge. Attacking the engineers, 2nd Hussars, already depleted, found themselves surrounded - engineers to the front, field artillery to their right, Redina light dragoons to their left rear. But so many of the Redina units were down to 1SP!


A more powerful counter-attack was developing out of Scarletton. As 5th Sepoys crashed through the forest behind 1st Field Artillery, the 6th advanced down the Middle Bridge Road, whilst 7th and 8th circled the woods to the left to attack the right flank of the bridgehead. Although the Bluvian infantry were still reasonably powerful, the arrival of 12-16SP of fresh troops was not such as to gladden the heart. 

The Chasseurs found themselves having to defer their assault upon Redville, to protect the righthand approaches to the Middle bridge, as the whole invasion force across the river were threatened with being driven to the very river bank, if not altogether across the stream. What remained of the Turco Brigade were left to themselves - less their machinegun company, to take the Redville town. That task seemed suddenly to have become harder. 




About now, with a crisis seeming at hand, the battle sputtered to a close.  After a prolonged struggle, the Redina horse, foot and guns had enough.  Having brought the Bluvians to a standstill, the Redinians refused to advance further. The Sepoy counter-assault had come too late.

For a while longer, the Bluvians continued to press, but the fresh defenders were at least enough to hold and inflict casualties until the attacks were at last called off. There the action drew to a close. The disappointed 4th Chasseurs had not quite been able to reach their objective of contacting the Redinian forces in order to defect. 

Although the battle ended in mutual exhaustion, the Bluvians were inclined to claim the victory, as they still held positions along the entire far bank of the purple River, save Vermillion City itself. They would not be easy to shift from there without some cession by Redina. The Bluvians could also claim a material as well as the moral victory, judging by the respective losses:

Bluvian losses:
Cavalry 11/18
Infantry 12/48 (16 if one counts the defecting unit) 
Artillery 0/6
Machine guns 1/6
Engineers 2/6

Totals: 26 (or 30)/90  
(Note that I counted the defections as lost, even though the defecting unit didn't quite make it to the other side.  Possibly this was a bit unfair on Bluvia, as it was otherwise not yet exhausted after all)

Redina losses:
Cavalry 6/18
Infantry 24/48 (20 if we count the 4SP of the Bluvia defectors as a gain)
Artillery 2/6
MGs 3/6
Engineers 3/6

Totals: 38 (or 34)/90

On the other hand, had Bluvia in mind to claim Redina's territory by right of conquest, its army had fallen well short of making good on that claim. It was time therefore to receive some sort of blackmail -  'Bluegeld' - against the removal of Bluvian army from the Redina lands...

Here endeth the narrative. A post action analytical report from the Bluvian General Staff will follow. I dare say its most telling recommendations will have to do with improving the performance of the commissariat, ordnance and medical services...