We had arranged a WWII battle in the Western Desert using the new ‘Rommel’ rules tonight, but Sandy had to cancel. Neil’s brother, Alan, was visiting again and had expressed an interest in Baroque. If you’ve read this blog before (and if not, why not?) you’ll know I’m a big fan of these rules, so readily agreed to a game. Neil brought his Poles along for Alan to play with and I brought my Swedes.
There was no scenario, it was just a stand alone, fight til you drop (rout) encounter. We agreed on 600 points per side and the terrain was set up. I lost initiative and had to deploy my biggest division first. I had 2 the same size, so I put my baggage in the centre and a division of 3 infantry brigades on my right, a second division of infantry in the centre and my cavalry division on my left. My cavalry consisted of 1 brigade of Latta Ryttare and 1 brigade of Reitters, as well as 2 medium artillery. Alan’s Poles had more cavalry and he set up with an infantry division on his left (which was opposite my centre) and 2 cavalry divisions opposite my left. The Poles had 3 brigades of pancerni (heavy cavalry) and 2 brigades of light cavalry as well as 3 brigades of winged hussars (the pride of the Polish army).
The Swedish deployment….
…and the Polish hordes…
Turn 1 and the Polish cavalry begin their advance across the road, a brigade of hussars leading. The Swedes spread their cavalry and began moving one of their cannon into the centre, anticipating some Polish cavalry making a move towards the centre and their baggage. With nothing in front of them, the right wing Swedish infantry moved toward the Polish infantry, except for one brigade, who changed into column and marched around the woods at the edge of the table, in the direction of the Polish baggage area.
Polish cavalry advance….
The Poles soon charged the Swedish reitters with some hussars. To be honest, I didn’t expect much from the cavalry (that’s why I load up on infantry) but the boys excelled themselves! over 2 rounds of melee combat, the reitters took the hussars down to 1 point left. They died in the process, but the worst Swedish unit on the table all but destroyed a unit of the elite winged hussars (chicken lovers) The Ryttare, however, didn’t fare so well. Charged by another unit of hussars, they held their own for a couple of turns, gave the big birds a couple of hits, then routed.
The Swedish cavalry await the Poles….
…the reitters force the Poles to withdraw….
…but the Ryttare rout…
While the Polish cavalry were being slowed down by the Swedes, a unit of cavalry had obliqued back from the centre and was advancing towards the Polish cavalry’s flank. The expected Polish thrust towards the centre failed to materialise, so a second infantry unit about turned and moved to protect the baggage area, which was being threatened by a unit of big birds (hussars). As they about turned, a unit of Polish cavalry took the chance to opportunity charge them in the rear. Even though they charged from the back, the Poles discovered that Swedish infantry were not to be messed with, and were seen off after losing spectacularly. This frightened the Poles so much that they pulled back and refused the chance to charge (and probably destroy) the Swedish baggage!
Swedish infantry fire at the flanks of the Polish cavalry….
…while a second unit moves to protect the baggage….
Over on the Swedish right, things were coming to a climax. The Poles had moved an infantry unit to block the Swedish brigade heading to their baggage. The other 2 brigades moved close to musket range, but stubbornly refused to both rally at the same time. It wasn’t until one started taking casualties that I decided they had to do something. They all charged the Poles, with mixed success. The brigade trying for the baggage inflicted some damage on the Polish unit it charged, but was ultimately routed. The same happened to the left hand unit of the division, but the other brigade managed a breakthrough and headed towards the baggage.
Things come to a head on the right….
…2 Swedish units rout, but the 3rd makes a breakthrough….
Back on the centre (which had become my left a few turns ago) the 2 brigades of Swedish infantry were cutting the Polish cavalry down to size. Even the elite winged hussars failed to make a dent. The best they could manage was to pin 1 brigade down in a perpetually continuing melee. The third brigade, having nothing to do on the left, joined the assault on the right and routed a Polish infantry brigade. It was at this point I graciously offered to accept the Polish surrender, which they refused to proffer. As a form of punishment for this, the final unit of the right wing division captured the Polish baggage , thus ensuring a healthy supply of vodka for the evening.
The Poles pin down an infantry unit by closing into melee….
…while Swedish infantry ensure the vodka flows freely….
With the remaining Polish units failing discipline tests and quitting the field, the Swedes were victorious. While it may seem an overwhelming victory for the Swedes, it was actually a lot closer. Alan had some really bad dice rolls when trying to rally his units. If he had managed to rally a few (especially the big birds) it would have been a completely different game. Also, if the Polish infantry had had a little more luck with their musketry (one unit missed pretty much every time they fired) the Swedish infantry on the right and centre may have been severely damaged. However, they didn’t and Gustavus Adolphus showed Zygmunt III Waza (Sigismund III) who was boss.
The Swedes are left masters of the field…..
Thus ended Alan’s introduction to Baroque. I asked what he thought and he was quite positive. It’s always a sign of a good rules system when the player who loses is complimentary about them.
We left with nothing planned for next week, but I will check with Sandy to see if he still wants to try out his new Rommel rules.