17 July 2013

BF&S: Fight for the village AAR

Looking through the By Fire & Sword lists I had noted that you can run a skirmish force solely made up of Volunteer cavalry. This seemed like one of those bad ideas that may be fun to try out, the units of Volunteers attached to the Polish skirmish force had never really made an impact. Still the units are very cheap in points, and you get a whole lot of them, on the downside all units are "Insubordinate" and require twice the amount of command points to take orders - and you only get a single commander - not really that awesome... I used some of my cossack style cavalry proxy as Volunteer cavalry in this game, since I was a couple bases short (though I realized later that I had forgotten 6 bases of volunteers at the back end of by miniature cabinet so the ratio of real Volunteer cavalry could have been greater).

Still this is what I ran against Andreas Swedes:

Volunteer skirmish force: 5FSP
Colonel with 4 command points
18 bases of Volunteer cavalry

Andreas ran the Swedish detachment at 7FSP with:

Colonel  with 3 command points
4 bases of Mercenary Reiters
2 bases of veteran Mercenary Reiters
6 bases of New type Musketeers
1 3pdr regimental gun

I rolled for scenarios, being the defender, and came up with attack on the village as the scenario where I would perhaps have the most success.

The game would be very straight forward, the only twist was that one of my companies of Volunteers would do a flanking maneuver and arrive at turn 3 the earliest. I deployed the remaining Volunteers in two squadrons of 6 bases each and a single company acting independently.

When I say the game would be straight forward I really mean it, I had two ways of winning or at least forcing a Draw. One was to beat the squadron of 6 Reiters facing my 9 bases of Volunteers to the left, and the other possibility was to run a squadron of Volunteers around the village and take out  the musketeers and the cannon - which would earn me some points and perhaps allow to seize the village.

The Swedes were of course deployed in such a way to maximize the potential of their tiny force and cover the village and approach from the right. And indeed they did, the attempt of flanking from the right was immidietly stopped by a Swedish salvo which shocked by Volunteer squadron who withdrew disorganized and outside of my commanders command range on top of that!

On the left side of the village the cavalry from both sides clashed. The Swedish Reiters were covered by the cannon firing case shot at the in coming Polish Volunteers but which fortunately for the Poles missed its mark. The pistol salvo and skill of the Swedish Reiters alone on the other hand managed to salvage the situation and forced a draw in the combat resolution, both sides backing off from the fight to catch their breath. Both sides had lost a base of cavalry in the fight.

Another attempt at destroying the Reiters was undertaken, both the Volunteer squadron now joined by the Colonel and the independent company charged - the Reiters surprised the Poles by defending and not countercharging.Charging towards the Reiters the Volunteer company was clipped by more case shots, this time fired from the flank, something which killed a complete base. And when the Poles managed to ride up to the Swedes they were welcomed by pistol fire which too killed another base, this time from the squadron. 

The fight ended a Swedish victory, the Swedes had lost another base of cavalry, but the Poles had lost two and all the negative modifiers stacked up in such a way that the remaining base of cavalry form the Volunteer company broke off and began fleeing, the squadron was forced back disorganized, but was soon caught up by the Swedish cavalry and reduced to two bases that began fleeing as well.

Not even the arrival of the flanking Volunteers made the Swedes flinch, determined to take the village, the infantry was sent forwards, climbing over the fence they formed up just in time to get off another salvo at the disorganized Polish squadron on the right side of the village - the disorganized unit turned into a fleeing mob and the defeat was complete.

The Swedes had suffered Minor casualties, inflicted Heavy casualties on the Polish force (1 army point away from Very Heavy casualties). Taking into account the points for capturing the village the game ended 7-0 and a Swedish Strategic victory.


  1. "I had noted that you can run a skirmish force solely made up of Volunteer cavalry"

    Hmm, that they've actually included a possibility like this one makes me think that the creators of this game want to give the players as many options as possible, including the option to run historical scenarios.
    Being able to choose the most optimal setup for a force wasn't something commanders were necessarily able to do. Having to fight a combat with a sub-optimal force at your disposal was more the rule, than an exception. To what degree it was sub-optimal depended on circumstances; politics, equipment accessability etc were all obstacles throughout military history.
    Seems to me that if you want to re-create a particular engagement, or at least create one in similar sets of circumstances, you have the possibility to do so.


  2. Volunteers were frequently used in Commonwealth's wars, especially during 'Deluge' and 1654-1667 war against Muscovites, where they tend to use hit-and-run tactics, harras logistic lines and be a nuisance for local population ;)
    Skirmish group made entirely from Volunteers is a big fun, altough You never know what my happened in battle :) It's pretty cheap group in points, give You lot of options for conversions of models (as You can mix volunteers, cossack style cavalry + odd choice of pancerni, Mounted Cossacks, Muscovites or even some reiters) as well. Colonel with Command Value 3 gives You some free additional bases of volunteers, also his Obediance Special Rules is useful with all those Insubordinate volunteers.

  3. Another awesome battle report, Anatoli. I can't wait to start working on my BFaS minis!


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