I’ve been a bit lazy recently and neglected my weekly reports. But I’m back now and ready to go!
This week was a bit strange: Sandy said he couldn’t make it, so Neil and I agreed to arrange something later in the week. I texted Neil to suggest a Seven Years War game, to be told that Sandy could make it and it would be later WWII, French Vs Germans (guess who has a late war French army?). I texted Sandy to see if he wanted me to bring my Americans along. He replied with his usual bravado (something about the more targets for his Tigers and 88s, the better). On Thursday morning, I got a text from Neil saying it would be SYW after all. Sandy claimed to have been called into work, but I personally think my mention of a section of Pershings may have scared him off….
So, it was off to Northern Russia and a (heavily) modified Great Northern War scenario, crossing the Dvina in 1702. The Swedes had crossed the river, but half their infantry and all their cavalry and guns were still to cross. The Russians were arriving and had to push them back across within 10 turns (due to failing light).
The Swedish deployment….
…the Russian set up…
Turn 1 and the cards were not kind to the Swedes. Both the cavalry and second infantry brigades on the left were called before the lead infantry brigade. meaning they were stuck on the wrong side of the river. On the right, things went a little better; the cavalry were able to begin crossing. The Russians, having no such obstacles, advanced across the field.
The Russians advance….
…while Swedish cavalry cross the right flank bridge…
Turn 2 continued in much the same vein; the Russians advanced to just out of musket range while the leading Swedish infantry brigades took up positions and the Swedish cavalry crossed both bridges, but the infantry was still unable to cross. Next turn and the Russians edged forward into musket range. There were also a couple of cavalry charges; on the Swedish right, their dragoons charged a regiment of Russian infantry, who elected not to try and form square, but fire a volley at the charging Swedes. This they did to devastating effect, scoring 5 hits (it was at this point I began thinking this would not be my night….the Danskin dice rolls were on form tonight!), however they still charged home and drove off the Russians, but just didn’t have the reach to follow up.
On the on the flank, some Russian dragoons charged a squadron of Swedish cuirassieurs, who counter charged. Unfortunately, the Swedes had just crossed the bridge, and were still in column. This reduced their fighting ability just enough to result in a draw and a continuing melee. This failure to see off the Russian dragoons was to prove significant later.
The Swedes prepare their line….
…while Russian cavalry charge the Swedes….
As the cavalry melee in the centre continued, both sides swapped volleys. The Russian artillery was beginning to have an effect on the Swedish line, but the the Swedish guns had finally crossed the bridges, along with the infantry. On the left, the new brigade split left and right and deployed into line. On the right, the infantry stayed in column and the leading battalion charged a Russian gun, to great effect, then followed up into an infantry square, routing it.
Swedish infantry cross the river….
The Swedish guns began firing, but it may have been too little, too late, as the Swedish infantry on the left started losing stands. The cuirassieurs finally defeated the Russian dragoons, who routed from the field, but were left exposed.They were losing stands on the right, too, but so were the Russians. The Swedish dragoons eventually caught the fleeing infantry, while the cuirassieurs on this flank charged a square of Russian grenadiers, which could’ve gone better.
Swedish cavalry charge a Russian square….
…while Swedish guns join the action….
It was now turn 7 and, although thing could have been going better for the Swedes, I began to think I might pull off an objective victory. Then came the defining moment, the pivotal point of the game: the Russian cuirassieurs charged! They contacted the Swedish cuirassieurs first and routed them off the table, they followed up into a squadron of hussars and sent them reeling back over the bridge, finally they finished their move by running into the back of a routing infantry unit (gamey, very gamey…) and destroyed them. In the next turn, they continued their path of destruction by charging and routing 2 more infantry units and a gun! This devastating charge effectively settled matters on the Swedish left.
Russians gamily charge an already routing infantry unit…..
Over on the right, things were still in the balance, but the Russians were moving their remaining cavalry over to that flank and their superior numbers were beginning to tell. It was only a matter of time before the Swedes collapsed on this flank as well. However, as it was the end of turn 9 and the game was only to last 10 turns, I claimed a Swedish victory, as the Russians hadn’t achieved their mission objectives of driving the Swedes back across the river. Neil, of course, refused to accept this and claimed a Russian victory, as it was only a matter of time before the Swedes completely collapsed.
The Russian cuirassieurs regroup for another charge, but the Swedes hold the bridge….
…and the right flank bridge is still in Swedish hands….
So, it would seem a draw would be a fair result, or at best/worst a (very) marginal Russian victory. I’ll leave you to decide…..
Next week is the AGM, so there will probably not be enough time for a game, although Neil is bringing some DBA armies, just incase. There will only be a blog entry next week if we manage to get a game in.