18 April 2015

Cossacks vs Muscovites: Delay the enemy AAR

Earlier this year I ordered a painted up army of Cossacks from the court painter over at Wargamer.pl. I had seen his work on some kickstarter armies and was confident he would provide me with a solid tabletop standard using painting techniques that I liked.

In total the army can be maxed out at around 20 points and includes:

8 wagons (4 with artillery)
6 mounted cossacks
18 Moloitsy
12 Registered Moloitsy
14 Cossack Rabble
2 Scouts
2 Plastuny

In other words, enough models to field the troops as an Allied regiment for my Polish-Lithuanian army as well as a variety of "builds" at skirmish level. So last weekend I brought a 15 point and Johan provided a 9 point Muscovite Border Dragoons who ended up with "Delay the enemy" on their scenario roll.

This is a scenario with two hills, and the objective for the defender is to prevent his opponent from capturing the hills as well as prevent him from moving any troops off the opposite table edge. The attacker needs to capture the hills and also attempt to move as many troops off the table as possible.
Playing a Cossack army I could pretty much forget about capturing the far away hill - and I had only my Plastuny to make a Flanking maneuver and to bring off the table. Everything else was a solid mass of slow moving infantry and war wagons.

Johan probably realized this and had his army set up so that his best troops, the Field Dragoons dug in on the hill closest to my deployment zone, and flanked the position with artillery backed up with Servant cossacks.

My plan was to move the two wagon trains to each side of the hill and flank fire with artillery to scare away/kill off the enemy infantry before my Cossack infantry moved in and seized the top. This was however my first game with Cossacks and there are quite a lot of rules for them so I played the Moloitsy a bit wrong, grouping all spearmen into a single squadron and kept the musket armed Moloitsy as individual units...

Nevertheless, I think we both had a good time playing with/against a new army. 

Off the bat my Cossack rabble rolled for Robbers and became disorganized and suffered pre-battle losses due to plunder. This was not too bad as I mainly included them to boost the number of casualties I can take with the main force. Worse was that my Register Cossack infantry became insubordinate and my Esaul infantry commander became "cowardly"!

As a Cossack player you should just prepare yourself to get severely pummeled by your opponents "Reconnaissance", fortunately the "Deluge" rules limit the number of Recon effects that your army can suffer. Also, thanks to the huge size of my force I got 2x Morale re-roll tokens that could be used to re-roll failed morale tests of my own or force the enemy to re-roll his successful tests.

The battle began with chaos and  confusion in the Cossack ranks which delayed the movement forward of key units such as the Register Cossack infantry. This allowed Johan to move his Servant cossacks up to the tavern and next turn occupy it and fire upon my left flank. A prolonged fire exchange between my Register cossacks and his Servant cossacks went on for a couple of turns before I decided to withdraw my troops out of close range due to mounting losses. I still kept the unit nearby so that they became the closest target and had them draw fire away from the attack on the hill.

Muscovite artillery fire shelled the approaching Cossack wagon train with roundshot during the opening turns but failed to hit with a single projectile! And the defensive fire from the hill itself did little damage to the horde of Cossack infantry below. The approach of the hill was painfully slow however, and the Cossacks returned with inaccurate fire on the move against the defenders.

Casualties really only started mounting when the wagon trains reached case-shot range from the Muscovite cannons and when they themselves were in case-shot range to the Field dragoons atop the hill. At this point, Muscovite case-shots began shredding the crew of the wagon train while Cossack wagons started blowing holes in the Muscovite formations atop the hill. The Muscovite infantry held their ground stoically against the heavy fire and prevented the Cossack infantry below from approaching lest they be shot to pieces by deadly close range fire.

In the end, the wagon trains managed to move far enough to range in on - and kill - the Muscovite artillery, and with flanking fire they managed to cause panic and disorder on top of the hill. Muscovite infantry fled through each other and abandoned the hill during towards the end of the battle. However, Cossack infantry had made painfully slow progress climbing the slopes and when the battle ended the hill still technically belonged to the Muscovite force!

The Muscovites scored 4 points for claiming both hills, and 1 point for having Acceptable losses.
The Cossacks scored 1 point for moving a small unit off the opposite table edge (Plastuny scouts) and 3 points for having Minor losses. With a difference of a single point, the battle ended a "Draw".

I learned a lot about my new army in this battle, I need a cavalry unit for claiming objectives, and I need to be more aggressive with my wagon train. During this battle I stopped for two turns and tried to shoot with more accurate "Defensive fire" but I should have kept moving to get those flanking close range shots sooner to allow my infantry to move in. Playing a large infantry force that most of the time will end up as the attacker with the new Deluge scenarios is hard. But at the same time, this is a nice change of pace from my regular cavalry dash with Polish/Lithuanian skirmish lists.


  1. Great stuff -very impressive!

  2. Great looking terrain and figures - not familiar with the period or rules, but it does look like fun.

  3. Impressive battle as always. Really like that you are playing a new army. My Friend and I will play our first game of By Fire and sword this coming weekend. We finally got painted miniatures and time to play. I do have a question for you,

    In the rules for shooting the QRF shows a -1 for shooting after movement and -1 from horseback. However in the Ranged Weapons Chapter of the rules, some of the weapons listed states that there is no modifiers for shooting from horseback or for movement. Carbines/bows, Javelins are some examples,

    Does this mean that those weapons will not suffer any modifiers after moving from horseback? It is contracting rules. Would appreciate it as I do have a Ottoman Army and a Swedish Army and my friend will play Gosiewski's Raiding Force. I will need that bow and javelins.

    Rich from Aiea, Hawaii, USA.

  4. Sorry Anatoli,

    looked at the question and should be " Does this mean that those units with these weapons' will not suffer a modifier after moving or shooting from horseback?"

    Look forward to your feedback.


  5. Most impressive battle, love your minis, especially the wagons...


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