Sandy couldn’t make it along to the club tonight (or could he?) so Neil suggested a refight of last week’s 30 Years/Eastern Renaissance battle. I tinkered a bit with my Swedes and managed to get another unit each of infantry and reitters at the expense of a cannon and making the infantry veterans. Neil also changed his force a bit from last week, he had more cavalry and guns, but less infantry and winged hussars.
I took mt 2 eldest boys along to the club, in the hope that they might become interested in tabletop wargaming as opposed to their “beloved electronics” They’re both hardly ever off their laptops and xboxes. I though taking them along to the club might be a good idea. Scott decided to be Swedes while Ryan gave his standard answer (not bothered) and was co-opted into the Polish army.
I went for an unconventional deployment, setting both of my infantry commands in a semi-circle around my baggage area and the cavalry on our right. I gave command of the centre to Scott, as it was the largest command and had the gun as part of it. Neil set up more conventionally, with his infantry and guns in the centre and cavalry on both flanks. He gave Ryan their right command and he took the centre and left (which contained his pigeons…I mean winged hussars….)
…Polish set up….
My battleplan was to sit back and let the Poles advance close enough to get a couple of volleys to disorder and get a few hits on them, then to charge and finish them off. The cavalry would do as much damage as they could, but were basically there to act as a “speed bump” for the pigeons.
First turn and the Poles move forward on both flanks, while the Swedish cavalry edged forward. Next turn saw the first melee of the game, as both units of winged hussars charged the Swedish cavalry and were counter charged in return. There were mixed results for both sides. The Swedish Ryttare were beaten and pushed back, but the massed reitter unit came very close to destroying the other one, it was left with 1 point left, which it lost in the next turn and was removed from the table. The second unit charged the Ryttare again and the Swedes were off. Having defeated the hussars, the Swedish reitters followed up into a unit of pancerni in a “blaze of glory” charge which ended pretty much as you’d expect.
Cavalry clash on the Swedish right….
Over on the Swedish left, the Poles were moving forward cautiously, with a unit of dragoons filtering through the woods near the centre. They were also edging forward in the centre, where they began firing their guns at the Swedish line, but not really achieving much. They were joined by a unit of dragoons from their left, but they didn’t do much either. They managed to disorder a Swedish unit, but they rallied up each time. We were also joined by Sandy, who, after a bad couple of days at work, decided to come along and watch a game.
It was becoming clear that the Polish plan was to snipe at the line staying out of range of the Swedish infantry, until they had inflicted a few hits and disordered enough units to charge the cavalry into the line, or the Swedes got bored and moved forward. They had plenty of opportunities to charge, but declined on each occasion (very unDanskin like.) The dragoons moving through the woods emerged just in front of a Swedish infantry unit and received a devastating volley from them. They had 4 dice and rolled 4 sixes! The dragoons, already disordered, needed a saving roll of 1 to stay on the table. They didn’t get it.
Polish dragoons emerge from the woods….
…and are immediately shot to pieces….
…while more dragoons arrive on the right…
This proved to be the high point for the Swedes. The right flank (what used to be the centre, until the cavalry routed) were holding fine, but the left were being tempted by the proximity of low quality Polish cavalry. A unit of Noble Levy came within charge range of a regiment of Swedish infantry and I couldn’t resist. Encouraged, nay egged on by Sandy, I charged! What I hadn’t realised was that Neil had, rather sneakily, been reading the rules. I know….how dare he??? He then pointed out that any cavalry unit charged by infantry could evade the charge. Ryan promptly rolled the required dice and the Swedes failed to make contact, leaving a big, gaping, hole in the line, for the Poles to exploit.
Swedish infantry fail to contact….
A unit of pancerni did exactly that and charged an infantry unit in the flank. The boys did their best, but were forced to retreat. Unfortunately, not far enough and they were caught by the Poles, who finished the job. Polish cavalry also contacted the unit that failed its charge and pinned them down with a series of continuing melees. With Polish cavalry in their rear, the right flank infantry decided that they’d had enough standing around doing nothing. They went for the “best form of defence is attack” option and moved forward with a view to firing a volley into the Polish cavalry before charging their flanks. Except for the left hand unit of the command, who, with Polish heavy cavalry behind them and a Polish gun in front, decided the cavalry were the bigger danger and about turned to face them.
Polish cavalry charge Swedish infantry in the flank…
…while the rest of the Swedish line move forward….
…but 1 regiment about turns….
The next turn was crucial. If the Swedes won initiative and could get their attacks in, they could still manage a draw. I had let Scott roll the dice all evening, and he’d done a pretty good job so far. It’s unfortunate that he chose this moment to roll some horrendous results! The Poles won initiative and immediately withdrew their pigeons from musket range (booo….)They also charged the unit that had about turned and saw them off. The Poles then followed up into my baggage area.
Winged Hussars pull back….
…while pancerni defeat a Swedish infantry unit…
…before taking on the baggage….
It was clear at this point that the game would only end one way, and the Swedes called it. Revenge was served on the Swedes for last week’s triumph. It was a combination of poor army composition and poor decision making on my part. I wont blame dice rolls, as Scott did pretty well with them, Ryan had a couple of lucky ones, but nothing excessively flukey and Neil was his usual self. I put the collapse of the Swedish infantry down to my decision to charge the Noble Levy, and the failure of the infantry to make contact.
Next week we’re going to try an adaptation of some new rules (new for us) Bloody Big Battles. These are for nineteenth century battles (Franco-Prussian, Crimean, etc) but we’re going to try and adapt then for Napoleonic. We’ll see if they’re any good, and I’ll report next week.