07 May 2013

By Fire & Sword: Forage supplies AAR

Second Skirmish level battle played against Patrik this weekend, we still used the exact same forces as in our previous battle. Both Skirmish lists were maxed out in units and points.

The Polish 14 point Skirmish force was:

Colonel with 4 command points
Rotamaster with 1 command point

6 bases of Pancerni
3 bases of Pancerni with spears
9 bases cossack style cavalry
4 bases Volunteers
6 bases Polish dragoons

The Swedish 12 point Skirmish force was:

Colonel with 4 command points
Major with 1 command point

4 Bases of Mercenary Reiters
4 Bases of Mercenary Reiter Veterans (armored reiter models but played without armor)
8 Bases of New Type Infantry
2 Light regimental guns

Patrik was as such once again the weaker played and rolled for scenarios. This time he picked the "Forage" scenario, which is quite interesting and difficult for the stronger player if the weaker player makes the right decisions.

As the scenario in itself was worth enough points to bring both our armies to the same level of points, we both just rolled 1 additional effect per army. Once again, Patrik rolled "Delayed", this time my large Pancerni squadron was delayed and placed in reserves.

I rolled "Unexpected reinforcements" which fit this scenario perfectly, if you imagine the rest of the Polish army being camped nearby. In any case, my effect meant that every unit that fled or got killed could return as reinforcements on a successful skill test at the end of each turn.

Just like in the previous scenario I won the Reconnaissance massively, and once again could use all effects available to me. I choose not to deploy anything in Ambush, I placed my Pancerni banner with spears to make a Long Flanking maneuver, no unit made any pre-game move either.

Deployment & Victory conditions
The Polish force is split into two 20x20cm square deployment zones where they are foraging supplies. Each of these squares must contain at least 1 unit, and each square has a supply marker (in our case a haystack). To win, the weaker player (the Swedes) must attack and destroy the supplies, while the stronger player (the Poles) must defend their food.

In order to destroy a supply marker, a unit must have the order Move or Defend and be within 10cm of a supply marker and have no enemy unit within 10cm of the supply marker.

Crippled due to Delayed troops and the foolish choice of sending more men off to flank the enemy, the Polish troops were divided as such - Volunteer cavalry and Dragoons on the left flank along with the Rotamaster, all cossack style cavalry on the right flank with the Colonel.

The Swedes formed their assault in the following way - all musketeers and 1 3pdr artillery gun on the  left flank with the Major, all their Reiters on the Right flank under supervision of the Colonel.




The battle

Caught in a very bad position there was little do to but to instantly charge the enemy Reiters with all the cossack style cavalry. Both Reiter units and cossack style units charged and clashed in counter charges. The fate of the right flank was really in the hands of the large cossack squadron, but they were facing off against the Veterans so chances of victory were just slim.

As it turned out both attacks were a disaster for the Poles. The Veteran Reiters completely messed up the Polish light cavalry which lost half its men, broke and began fleeing. The smaller cossack unit fared surprisingly well against the regular Reiters, the battle saw each side lose 1 base and the Poles were just pushed back, second round of close combat was a draw so the sides just withdrew to regain their breath.

Still, the right flank was a mess, and was pretty must lost already. Indeed, during the following turn, Swedish artillery, pistols and cold steel made short work of the remaining cavalrymen and those who were fortunate to survive started to flee at breakneck speed.

Neither was the situation on the left flank any source of comfort. The Swedish artillery and musketeers began firing like mad at the Polish dragoons, whittling them down bit by bit until they broke. The Volunteer cavalry had to move towards the center of the table to evade the mayhem but was fired upon at long range by the second Swedish 3pdr!

The disheartening situation was salvaged by both Pancerni units arriving on the table at the end of turn 2. Pancerni that were making the Long Flanking maneuver showed up just behind the disorganized Dragoons, and the large Pancerni squadron that was delayed showed up at the end of the Polish deployment zone.

A small boost to Polish morale, but the situation was overall a complete pandemonium, and the Swedes were advancing towards the still fragile left flank.

Deciding to play heroes and stop the tide of Swedish cavalry, the Volunteers were sacrificed. The skirmishers charged the approaching Reiter company, the enemy Reiter formations gladly countercharged and ended up on both the front and a flank of the Volunteers who lost 3 bases but miraculously didn't flee but instead ended up pushed back and disorganized. The Swedish line was now messed up and one Reiter unit was blocking the other, reducing their efficiency.

Riding through artillery and musket fire the Pancerni with spears cleared the tents and the supply point, riding past disorganized Polish dragoons and ultimately made a charge on the enemy Veteran Reiters - supported by the single remaining base of Volunteers. The attack was a success, the Veteran Reiters badly mauled thanks to the spear armed Polish Pancerni cavalry. The enemy lost 2 bases, the Poles none. Meaning the Veteran Reiters began fleeing the field, and pursuing Polish cavalry smashed into the next Reiter unit - which too was defeated at the cost of the Volunteers who finally succumbed.

Despite that late victory the Polish force was still neck deep in trouble. Swedish infantry was advancing under the cover of artillery and musket fire, units frog leaping forwards towards the Polish supply point. The Polish dragoons which had been rallied but still remained Disorganized were once again fired upon and began fleeing again, two options remained for the Poles. Both were attempted.

The first thing was to move the regular Pancerni and then give them the Defend order so they could protect the supplies, this unfortunately forced them to stoically take the fire from 2 musketeer units and 1 artillery. The other thing that the Poles could try was to charge with one of the "unexpected reinforcement" unit which had arrived on the table, in this case a cossack style cavalry unit.

As it turned out the cossack squadron was just out of range and had to withdraw back from the enemy position, I was a single centimeter short of succeeding with that!

The scenario would be decided by the shooting of the Swedish artillery, musketeers and Polish Pancerni. The Polish Pancerni tried and failed to inflict a morale test on the Swedes, the Swedes in turn fired Salvo with two units and two case shots with their artillery at the Pancerni - who dodged bullets, saved armor saves and also passed all their morale tests. Had that unit become disorganized or had begun fleeing the scenario would have ended up 6-0 to the Swedish force.

As the game ended the scenario score was 2-0 to the Swedes for managing to destroy one of the two supply markers.

Again we consulted the casualty ratio for both sides. As it turned out we both had "Heavy losses" in this battle, meaning "25-50% killed or fled. Such casualty ratio does not yield any bonus victory points to the player. Fortunately for both sides, their losses were not heavy enough to grant the enemy side any victory points either.

With the total amount of victory points being 2-0 to the Swedes, it meant that they had won a Tactical victory while the Polish side had lost a Tactical defeat by the slimmest of margins.

Another great game that I thought would be over on turn 2 but where the Poles managed to come back in the mid game and probably at least even out the score a little with some kills.

13 comments:

  1. While being played a lot more correctly, we still made a mistake with the scenario/additional effects which could only affect units but where we delayed a full squadron of Pancerni, and I later brought in a full squadron of cossack style cavalry (the later didn't do anything once it came back though).

    We should have used a bit more terrain around the Foraging areas as well - something we'll keep in mind for future games.

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  2. You have wrote, that your Pancerni at last round passed all morale tests. I don't know if this is the case, but I believe that after shooting phase you supposed to do only one morale test, even when your unit is shoot at with 2 case shoots. Also Salvo is forcing you to make morale test only, when your unit is charging (or lost some bases, as always).
    Pietras404

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  3. They were fired upon in both Defensive fire and Fire after movement phase.

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  4. with your photos of this and the previous battles, it can be concluded that you are not using the rule of elite cavalry and then wasting a great potential for this army

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Could it possibly be because I don't have miniatures with shields painted up yet?

      All my cavalry used in this skirmish list comes from my 1667-76 division which has no Elite cavalry at all. When I begin painting up the next batch of Cossack style and Pancerni with spears one unit of each will have shields and be used as Elite banners for the skirmish force.

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    3. I had not meant, I mean the principle of tank\/cossack cavalry styles styles and winged hussars with which you can navigate with the distributed array in the compact even during charge, it gives many benefits such as easier maneuvering and March 30 cm without the need of forming columns of the array distracted, distraction during a shot in defense of an opponent and then shorting to fight My English in the 17th century wargaming is weak so I hope you understand me and and it's better to have a fornt of 4 bases. In a distributed array it's not hard to maneuver and in melee it 3 more dice with the companions

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  5. I know about the Elite cavalry ability being able to fight in both closed and open order, but since I technically (even though the list allowed for 1 cossack and 1 Pancerni elite banner) didn't field any Elite cavalry banners in these two games I didn't use those rules either.

    And in my force only the Volunteers were capably of fighting in open order, and only due to their Skirmishers rule.

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  6. All cossack and Pancerni banners have Elite Cavalry ability, not only elite banners. Unless something changed in newest errata - it isn't available in polish for now, but English version of rulebook already includes it.

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    1. In all honesty we thought the Elite cavalry special rule was reserved for the Elite units only, the similarity between the name of the rule and the profile was misleading me into thinking that it was limited since it's a damn good rule and it would have been appropriate and completely OK if it was limited to those units labeled as Elite in the list.

      But if that's the case we'll use it in our future games.

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    2. Yes, it is very powerful rule (some says that too powerful), and main advantage of Polish cavalry. You must remember limitations of this rule. Elite Cavalry (I mean special rule) can ride in loose formation, but it is not light cavalry, so It doesn't have 360 degrees sight, but every stand has 180 degrees sight, like normal tight formation cavalry. Also if you want to tighten formation during charge, all stands have to had target unit in their sight during charge declaration, when even one stand doesn't have line of sight to target unit, you can't tighten formation, and you charge in loose formation.

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    3. Thanks for the additional clarification Pietras404, will surely come in handy during our next game.

      I'm also certain that all these errors won't show up again, and once this game becomes one of the standard games around the club we will all know the rules good enough to point out mistakes performed by the opponent if he is starting to get tired in the head.

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