After last week’s break, due to the election, it was business as usual at the club this week. I had arranged a 30 Years War game with Neil. It was a hastily arranged game, as we had originally planned to do a WWII North Africa game, but my toys are still at 6s2hit (despite giving them to the shop in March and having arranged for them to be finished by 27th of May!) But I digress…
So, the Swedish Army of Gustavus Adolphus faced the Imperialist Germans of the Holy Roman Empire. We used “Baroque” rules for the game. I like these rules, as they work well with the ‘game mechanics’ It must be said, though, that I have not had much success with my Swedes for the 30 years. We’ve had 4 or 5 games and I’ve taken a severe kicking each time, although it’s taken Neil longer each time! After all these defeats, I had adjusted my army composition and this time I was trying a new mix.
Previously, both armies had been cavalry heavy, with little in the way of infantry and even fewer guns. For this battle, I only took the cavalry units that were compulsory in the army list and loaded up on the infantry. Neil stuck with the tried and tested composition that has served him so well previously. I set up the table with a few hills and a couple of forests (nothing that would disadvantage either side) and Neil declared himself happy with it. We deployed our forces and were ready to go. (It was at this point that a certain Mr. Campbell Hardie wandered over to take photos for the club’s FaceBook page and made a sarky comment about my deployment being “the high point for the Swedes”….don’t worry, he’ll get his next week……)
In keeping with my habit (obsession?) with loading up one wing of my army, I put all my best troops on the left, the rest of the infantry and the gun went in the centre and the cavalry (both regiments) made up the right. Neil set up pretty much as I thought he would, cavalry on both flanks and infantry and guns in the centre (a fairly standard deployment). My battle plan was simple – the cavalry on the right would advance slowly and act as a ‘speed bump’ for Neil’s cavalry. I didn’t expect these guys to last long, so any damage they caused woulds be a bonus. The left would advance until the Imperialist cavalry made contact, then they would shoot them from their saddles until they withdrew. The centre would remain where they were until the Imperialist infantry advanced, or they were needed to exploit a breakthrough, or plug any gaps.
The Swedish deployment…..
….the Imperialists line up….
Things went pretty much as planned, my left advanced a little and waited for the Imperialist cavalry to arrive, which they did. On the other flank, both sets of cavalry advanced cautiously. The centres did little but stare at each other across the battlefield. Things started getting interesting when Neil moved a cavalry regiment close enough to trade shots with one of my infantry units. Casualties were inflicted on both sides, but the Swedes seemed to be fairing better than the cavalry. Perhaps growing impatient with the attritional nature of this exchange, or not being able to resist his natural instincts any longer, Neil charged another cavalry regiment into a regiment of my (pike and shot) infantry. This did not work out well for the Germans (as you might expect) and they were ‘bounced back’ with heavy casualties.
Imperialist cavalry charge Swedish infantry….
…and are pushed back…..
Over on the right, there was a clash of cavalry. My Latta Rytarre (veteran cavalry) charged a unit of Neil’s cuirassieurs. As I said earlier, I was not expecting my cavalry to do anything but slow up Neil’s left wing for a turn or two. However, the boys did me proud! Not only did they win the first melee, they pursued the Imperialists and ‘exploded’ them (destroyed or routed them). The next turn, my Reiters charged another unit of cuirassieurs and, surprisingly, won the melee. Unfortunately, when they pursued, the cuirassieurs ‘exploded’ them. However, they had inflicted damage and had performed better than I expected.
The Latta Rytarre explode a unit of cuirassieurs….
…the Reiters charge home….
Neil made a second attempt to charge my infantry unit with a fresh cavalry regiment. To do this, he had to cross infront of another infantry unit, who took an opportunity fire. Combined with the defensive fire from the charged unit, the cavalry took three casualties, reducing their melee effectiveness dramatically. Thus they lost the resulting melee and were exploded. The following turn, Neil moved his Croat skirmishers into contact with the unit and finally won a melee. The infantry retreated (paradoxically, forward) and the Croats pursued, but it ended as a draw. Neil also decided that the infantry unit that was trading volleys with his Reiters had taken enough damage to be charged, so he did. He was wrong and another cavalry regiment exploded. Neil then attacked the infantry that had retreated in a combined attack, front and back, and they exploded.
Imperialist cavalry charge infront of Swedish infantry
…the Swedes are charged again…
As they were no longer in melee, I fired at the Croats before charging them. They were damaged, but evaded the charge. My other unit advanced, with a view to joining the central command. This command had advanced in response to Neil’s centre beginning to move. Neil also attacked my baggage with his second unit of Croats. However, these ‘crack’ troops were seen off by “a cobbler and 2 prostitutes” (direct quote from Sandy Gillespie). Neil made one final attempt to swing the battle back his way by charging one of my central infantry units with his cuirassieurs. Although not as good as the left wing infantry units, they were still veteran Swedish pike and shot. The cuirassieurs had already taken some damage and the result was another exploding Imperialist unit. The sight of another of his regiments being removed proved too much for Neil, and he offered his hand in surrender.
Swedish infantry advance on the left…
…and in the centre…
…while the baggage sees off the Croats….
So, finally, after several attempts and a few humiliating defeats, I won a 30 Years War battle. I think it was a combination of the right composition of my army, getting my tactics right and a little slice of luck (especially with my cavalry). I have to admit, I was not very gracious at times, especially when the baggage beat Neil’s Croats, although Sandy also wound Neil up a bit, too (but that’s nothing new, Neil and Sandy bicker like an old married couple at times!)
Next week I have an AWI game in 28mm as part of German Michael’s campaign, using Black Powder rules (not my favourite set of rules, in fact I think they’re pretty crap!) My opponent will be Campbell (I told you he’d get his!!!)