Thursday, August 20, 2020

SYW Battle – Prussians v Russians

 SYW Battle – Prussians v Russians

Armies lined up and ready to begin.

Russians are defending and are tasked with holding the long hill that guards the road.

I’ve allocated 6 turns for the game and the Russians have a brigade of grenadiers appearing on turn 3 (as rolled by the commander). Prussians slightly outnumber the Russians, mainly in cavalry, but it’s not great terrain for cavalry. Fairly typical for the Prussians to attack without numerical superiority.

Prussians need to dislodge the Russians from their strong position.

Prussians are Rohan (CinC), Ma’te and myself. Russians are Mark (CinC) and Richard.

The Prussian plan of attack was to bombard the Russians (especially the artillery) into a weakened state and work the flanks. The Russian players wanted to inflict as much damage as possible, where possible, while moving troops to plug gaps.

We used the simple, but fun and effective one page rules, Der Alte Fritz.

Prussian Order of Battle:

1st Musketeer Brigade – 2 regiments (4 battalions) + medium artillery battery

2nd Musketeer Brigade – 2 regiments (4 battalions) + medium artillery battery

1st Fusilier Brigade – 2 regiments (4 battalions) + medium artillery battery

2nd Fusilier Brigade – 2 regiments (4 battalions) + medium artillery battery

Grenadier Brigade – 4 battalions

Heavy Cavalry Brigade – 2 Cuirassier regiments, 2 Dragoon regiments

Light Cavalry Brigade – 3 Hussar regiments

Russian Order of Battle:

1st Musketeer Brigade – 2 regiments (4 battalions) + artillery battery (1 hvy, 1 med)

2nd Musketeer Brigade – 2 regiments (4 battalions) + artillery battery (1 hvy, 1 med)

Observation Corps Musketeer regiment – 3 battalions + medium howitzer battery

Observation Corps Grenadier regiment – 3 battalions + medium howitzer battery

Heavy Cavalry Brigade – 1 Cuirassier regiment, 2 Horse Grenadier regiments + Lt gun

Light Cavalry Brigade – 2 Hussar regiments + Lt gun

Cossacks – 4 sotnias (small units)

Reserves – Grenadier Brigade - 2 regiments (4 battalions) + artillery battery (2 med)

Russian left flank held by musketeers strung out to cover the ground.

Part of the Russian left. Guns blocking the gap with heavy cavalry in support.

The Russian centre. Observation Corps grenadiers, musketeers and unicorns lined up depth on a long hill. A strong position.

Musketeer brigade holding the right flank and Hussars and Cossacks ready in the rear.

Prussian grenadiers on the right flank. Not a great photo.

Cuirassiers ready to go. Musketeer brigade in menacing formations.

Prussian centre dominated by two combined artillery batteries with musketeers and Dragoons in place.

Prussian left flank with two fusilier brigades and light cavalry on the end.

Prussians win initiative and decide to move second and fire first. The plan was to target the Russian artillery. Some early hits reduce their effectiveness! The red markers show the hits.

Another battery with some early hits. An encouraging start for the Prussians. Note Richard's rule sheet in front of him. Analogue gaming at its best.

But the guns still cause some damage to the advancing lines. Poor Fritz…

And to the cavalry reserves. Poor Mr Ed...

Prussian fusiliers also feel the bite of Russian roundshot.

A cinematic view of the Prussians pressing the Russian right.

Start of turn two. Prussians again win initiative. Nice to have momentum.

Advance continues. Relatively unscathed at this point.

Russian cavalry reacting to the advance.

Nothing too exciting this turn. Shooting rather ineffective all round.

Start of turn three. Prussians win initiative once more. Things about to heat up.

What the?...That looks like Cossacks! The Prussian battery check their spyglasses.

Oooh, it is! An attempt to disrupt and distract the enemy.

Prussian fusiliers successfully charge the Russians at first sight. Could be risky.

 The Russian grenadier brigade appears.

Ground level view of the aforementioned grenadiers.

Powerful-looking Prussian formations get into musketry range and exchange volleys.

View from above. Costly for both sides.

Cossacks routing after copping a barrage from the Prussian batteries. They did their job.

Thin red line facing the concentrated might of the Prussian formation. Russians are not wavering.

Russians firing reasonably well and forcing multiple morale tests on the Prussians.

Start of turn the forth. Yet again, the Prussians win initiative.

The Prussian right hits the “go” button and initiates charges that all go in. Once more into the breach...

Cossacks and heavy cavalry are coming in to support.

Speaking of Cossacks, another sotnia appears to harass the Prussian attack. 

A second cheeky delaying move.

Waves of fusiliers continue to attack the Russians. The hand to hand combat is unrelenting and unforgiving. Well, unrelenting for these painted pieces of metal.

Situation start of turn five. Some Prussian units have been turned away after hand to hand combat. Aaand yes, Prussians win initiative again. This is the crucial turn.

This battalion of fusiliers has been hurled back and must to attempt to rally.

Prussian Hussars moving to take on the Russian light cavalry.

Cossacks about to cop some volleys, but critically, they are slowing down the attack.

Prussian grenadiers and musketeers crossing bayonets with the Russians. Quite the stoush now.

Another fusilier melee which breaks one enemy battalion and now the Hussars crash into the line.

From the Russian perspective.

The Russian grenadier brigade moves into supporting positions.

"We shall not be moved!"

As the Russian losses mount and finally show signs of wavering, they swing some Observation Corps battalions to cover the position.

Cossacks take damage, but have held up the attack. Let’s see how their morale holds up.

The Prussian assaults inflict significantly more damage than they suffer. Yet, importantly, the Russians roll brilliantly for morale and see off all the attacks. This flank just keeps holding on!

Close up of the carnage and those stoic, immovable Russians!

Cossack morale folds and the survivors are inevitably turned away but are cheered by their troops as they pass.

Hussars get repulsed while the fusiliers are facing a fresh Russian battalion.

Another angle. Could this be enough for the Russians to hang on?

Yep. It is enough for the Russian line to hold on this flank.

The game is called at the end of turn 5. The Russian position is still too strong to break as those flanks wouldn’t yield and the Prussian batteries had some ineffective shooting after the first turn. A fun and good-natured gamed that could have had a different outcome had the Russians not rolled so well for morale. 
In saying that, the Russians had a good plan for contingencies and were in a position to counter-strike, where needed. The Prussians stuck to their plan and, if a couple of things played out differently, they could have had more success.

I probably should have allowed for 2 rounds of preliminary artillery fire before turn one. That may have made things slightly less comfortable for both sides. The rules went well and there was nothing that couldn’t be worked out quickly and fuss-free on the night.