17 January 2015

BF&S: Battle along the Lithuanian border AAR

A while back I tried out the very intriguing division led by prince Boguslaw Radziwill published by Wargamer.pl in PDF format. The division has a base of Lithuanian/Commonwealth troops, but can field Swedish allied regiments as add-on regiments. Imo you can play this army as a Lithuanian army loyal to the commonwealth - or when playing with the add-on Swedish forces play it as the traitor army that fought against the Crown with the invading Swedes during the Deluge.

For a Commonwealth army this force has few typical commonwealth troops in it. Instead it relies mostly on western type troops. However, the cavalry regiment of prince Radziwill includes a hard hitting combination of cossack style cavalry, elite Pancerni, two bases of winged hussars and Reiters. This alone, and especially when playing the base of the division with only 3 regiments, gives you a nice mix of potent cavalry units to go with static and mobile infantry formations.

The army suffers from a couple of drawbacks, such as the Commonwealth special rule of "Treasury problems", but more importantly your commander is hated by his troops and before you start the battle you must roll on a chart and check the mindset of the army. The results range from no effect, to a single or all regiments except prince Radziwills own cavalry regiment be "insubordinate" and very hard to control.

The prince however does aid your army with a pretty good rule, "Stern", which gives every regiment in your army +1 to their breaking point threshold. This is a welcome bonus, especially if you have small regiments such as the dragoons.

To conclude, I had a great time playing this army, and hope to field it again soon with Swedish allies.

Now, on to the battle report!


..............

Pre game phase:
Johan wanted to play a division sized game, using a base division (3 regiments + artillery and additional units), so we put together a game down at the club with just the two of us.

Johan played a Muscovite army with a Boyar Son, a Border Dragoon and a Servant Cossack regiment, backed by 3 pieces of light artillery, 1 medium gun and 4 bases of Muscovite Reiters.

I wanted to play something different  and had spent the evening prior to the game counting miniatures and contemplating whether or not to run a Danzig army, the Volunteer army of colonel Oskierko or the intriguing army of prince Boguslaw Radziwill. I ended up choosing the last option since it seemed to offer a fairly balanced base division that included both infantry and cavalry elements.

The Muscovite army was 26 points strong
The Lithuanian army was 36 points strong


Johan spent his 10 tactical points of difference in army strength on the following:

Wide front, which allowed him to have a bigger deployment zone, and Covered flank that eliminated the possibility of Lithuanian troops arriving from one of the flanks. 


He also rolled 4 dice worth of additional effects inflicting the following effects on the Lithuanian army:

Panic unit/squadron: Lithuanian Reiters
Panic Regiment: Old Type infantry regiment
March Losses: Dragoon regiment lost 1 base
Delay: Dragoon regiment had 1 company delayed


Furthermore the Muscovite army beat the Lithuanian army in terms of Reconnaissance, which allowed the Muscovite troops to pick Forced march and a Flanking maneuver. The Muscovites decided to send their Boyar Son regiment on a Flanking maneuver, attempting to arrive as soon as possible.

Finally, prince Boguslaw Radziwill ended up with an insubordinate Old type infantry regiment.

....

The battle

The start of the battle was horrible for the Lithuanian army. First of all, they had lost much of their dragoon regiment due to various effects and the companies were scattered about pretty much neutralizing the regiment completely.  Second, the large mass of infantry began the battle disorganized, so did the Reiters.

I could live with the infantry scratching their heads but I needed to protect my both flanks fast - and with one less cavalry squadron at my immediate disposal my army was vulnerable. I decided to split my available cavalry units in two groups. The elite Pancerni along with a Rotamaster, which were pretty much the battering ram of my army were sent towards the left flank - alone. The cossack style cavalry supported by the small company of Winged hussars were sent to the right flank where a regiment of Servant cossacks was moving about.

Muscovite artillery also knocked out one of Lithuanian regimental guns during the opening barrage, reducing the defensive and offensive capabilities of my Old Type infantry regiment.

I could only hope that the center of my army would rally and form two opposite facing lines of infantry before the Muscovite flanking regiment arrived.


Of course, the Lithuanian army remained in chaos upon turn two, Retiers and infantry failed to rally. This was topped off with the arrival of a full regiment of Boyar sons on the left flank ready to ride my center down. The only opposition on that flank to be counted on was the lone squadron of Elite Pancerni and their Rotamaster. Considering the massive numbers of Muscovite it was deemed a suicide mission in order to slow down enemy advance when the Pancerni launched their charge.

A quick attack was necessary since the Muscovite troops had not yet formed a line and could not counterattack in full force. The desperate attack proved successful enough, the fight was a draw but had halted the advance temporarily which proved problematic to the Muscovites due to low number of regimental command points and being out of command range of the Muscovite general.

On the opposite flank the Cossack style cavalry attacked the Servant cossacks but were beaten back and left disorganized in a field, likewise the Winged hussar attack towards the small farm was beaten back by surprisingly hardened defense. What seemed like a quick securing of the right flank turned into a surprising disappointment. 

It did not help the Lithuanian commander that the center of his army was still struggling to rally, only one of the two infantry squadrons finally heeded the order and swung around to face the Boyar sons. The other infantry regiment was still hopelessly marred by disobedience, as were the much needed Reiters!

On the left flank both Pancerni and Boyar sons clashed again, in a bloody melee. Had it not been for the high armor value and the additional shields and pistol armament of the Pancerni things would have been much more difficult. But, as it was, the Lithuanian cavalry managed to overwhelm its Muscovite opponent and scattered what remained of the enemy squadron, thus eliminating half the enemy regiment as the expense of two lost bases. At the same time, the remaining Boyar Sons squadron galloped at full speed towards the Lithuanian infantry line which was now backed up by the recent arrival of a tiny Dragoon company and the organ gun which had been swung around to face the approaching enemy.

The organ gun inflicted but two casualties, and was soon run over, with the enemy continuing into the infantry before it got the chance to fire at range - and the firing from the Old Type musketeers as well as the flanking fire from the Dragoons did not break the morale of the attacking Muscovites. Charging into close combat it was the numbers and luck alone that saved the infantry as they won the close combat against the muscovite force which was thrown back disorganized.

On the right flank, the Lithuanian cavalry rallied and once again began attacking its Servant Cossack opponents. The farm was captured by the winged hussars and the help of the Regimental commander. The Winged hussars had suffered some casualties and needed to be reorganized before the next attack so they stayed out of range from the remaining mounted servant cossacks. Having reformed, the Winged hussars attacked out of the village against the now dismounted Servant cossacks but failed to overcome the more numerous enemy and had to withdraw back towards the village. Not wanting to risk any losses they were redirected to support the attack of the Cossack style infantry against the Servant cossacks near the wheat field. 

The resulting clash was very bloody for the Cossack style cavalry, and even though the Muscovite enemies were vanquished the losses were considerable.

Around this time the center of the army finally rallied, and became operative - though their starting location required wheeling and maneuvering to provide any combat support. It was up to the infantry which had already seen combat to finish off the Muscovite regiment, a devastating countermarch salvo scattered the Muscovite Boyar sons, and the Regimental breaking point was reached - with the remnants leaving the battlefield in a hurry. This left the Pancerni to mop up the remaining cavalry on the left flank in a skirmish with the Muscovite lancer sotnia.

Having defeated the Muscovite cavalry the Lithuanian army faced the Muscovite center and began a slow advance, but time had run out and the battle ended a fter 8 turns.

....

Post game hase:

The battle had been a violent melee between cavalry units on both flanks. The infantry regiments of both armies never came into battle with each other, mainly due to the chaotic first couple of turns that the Lithuanian center suffered. The battle became about the Lithuanian army trying to protect its flanks and avoid being overrun. It could not have prevailed without the hard hitting and heroic efforts of the Pancerni cavalry (the Pancerni of this army were historically described as the best cavalry banners in the Commonwealth army - and they certainly lived up to their reputation). At the same time, the Lithuanian action on the right flank dragged out so much that, along with the failure to rally the Reiters, it robbed the Lithuanians the possibility of moving around the left flank and attack the enemy gunline.

With the division of cavalry on two flanks the Lithuanian army was also unable to exploit its victory on the left flank, since the remaining Pancerni were way too weak to take on the full Border Dragoon regiment gunline left.

The Muscovite army in turn suffered heavily from the loss of their Boyar Son regiment which never was able to exploit its numerical superiority, arriving in a tight formation during the flanking maneuver. The best option would have probably been to keep that regiment close to the own frontline and coax the Lithuanian army to attempt a frontal attack where the Muscovite artillery would pose a very serious obstacle when advancing over the open fields.

The battle ended a "Draw". 

The Lithuanian army managed to get 5 victory points. 1 point for destroying an enemy artillery piece, 1 point for scattering an enemy regiment, and 3 points for preserving its own force strength. 

The Muscovite army got 6 points preserving its main regiment, taking out enemy guns but suffered enough casualties to not receive any additional points for keeping the army strength in good shape.

8 comments:

  1. These are so fine and original! Very good and impressive armies, I congratulate you!

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  2. Great looking game, wonderful pictures...

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  3. Great looking game. I relly must start painting my stuff from the first KS before the stuff from the second arrives!!

    Where are the roads from?

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    Replies
    1. The roads are made by David, a member of our club. They are made out of thin plasticard with sand PVA glued onto it and then drybrushed and flocked :-)

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  4. Great to see more BFaS action here. Best place to get it :)

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