Crimean War POW Battle 12

This game took place at Tom P's house in March 2024. As always, I am grateful to him for the pictures and the commentary on the game.

The game is a 25mm Crimean war battle between the British and Russians, the British winning the initiative and the Russians having to deploy their blinds on table first. The table objectives are one large hill on the left hand side of each player's side of the table with the centre of the hill 24 inches from the centre line. In the centre of the table next to the road connecting the deployment zones  is a village.

The Russians deploy two blinds on their left flank next to the hill with their six battalion infantry brigade and two light artillery batteries straddling the hill and the dragoons to their left. The infantry have orders to hold the hill (30 objective points) and the cavalry with orders to move to the British line of supply. In the centre the Russians deploy a ‘dummy’ blind 24 inches from the village and another blind with their Circassian Infantry Regiment (three infantry battalions and one light artillery) on their line of supply.  On the Russian right they deploy two blinds the first of three regiments of Cossack irregular cavalry with orders to move round the British flank and advance behind the British to take their line of supply. The second blind, with a brigade of infantry, (eight battalions), two Shutzen light infantry units and two heavy artillery batteries with the C-in-C and Brigade commanders. These have orders to occupy the hill on the British side of the table (allotting 30 objective points).

Seeing the initial Russian deployments (blinds only) the British decide to allocate 60 objective points to the hill on the Russian side of the table and allocate two infantry brigades (three battalions each) on their right to take the hill. In the centre they allocate 40 points to the village  and the C-in-C, together with the remaining two infantry brigades (four battalions and two medium guns and another with three infantry battalions.), with orders to take the village.  On their left they deploy their cavalry brigade (two regiments and horse artillery) with orders to move forward to the hill on their side of the table to engage any Russians and to fall back delaying any Russian forces to prevent them attacking the infantry in the centre.

In the first move the two British infantry commands on their left deploy directly onto the table intending to use their faster movement to get the jump on the Russians but with initiative rolls of 1 and 2 they come up short and do not manage to deploy. The two British brigades with their C-in-C have better luck and reach the edge of the village. The cavalry move up to the hill on their side of the table.

The Russian response is to deploy the Cossacks onto the table and to move then up to the half way line (one move). The infantry and artillery under the Brigadier and C-in-C follow behind them in march column for two moves because they are masked by the light cavalry. In the centre the two deployment bases do not move. On the left the Russians declare both movement bases, the infantry with attached artillery move forward and deploy to hold the hill. The cavalry command in column of route only roll a ‘1’ initiative and move forward to the half way line.

In the next few moves the Russians on the right move steadily forward pushing the British cavalry back, using their light infantry and the threat of their heavy artillery, allowing their line infantry to trudge forward. At one point the British heavy cavalry are shaken by fire from the light infantry and then caught by a surprise charge over the hill by two regular Russian infantry battalions in column of march. They manage to hold on in the melee and fall back in the movement phase only to be shot off the table (losing the brigade commander at the same time by the deployed Russian heave artillery). The British light cavalry delay the Russian Cossacks but are shaken by fire from one Cossack unit only to charged in the flank and routed by the second Cossack unit hitting them in the flank. When the cavalry brigadier recovers he attaches himself to the horse artillery and withdrew back. Now unopposed, the Russian C-in-C changes orders to leave one infantry battalion to hold the hill and move the rest  forward to threaten the British holding the village. The game ended with the Russian artillery deployed at close range and shaking both British artillery batteries.

In the centre the Russians do not move their infantry but hold the line of supply and the lone light artillery battery spends most of the game taking long range pot shots at the British rifle battalion. The British occupy the village with their four battalion infantry brigade and medium artillery. Realising the Russians are no threat, the British C-in-C instructs the second British infantry brigade (three battalions) to change direction to engage the Russians on the hill at long range. When the Russians defeat the British cavalry the British artillery are re-deployed to the other side of the village to support the infantry but lose the gunnery duel with the Russian heavier pieces and both are pinned.

On the Russian left their regular cavalry use the opportunity of the British infantry’s slowness to deploy and rush forward in an attempt to push through the gap to the woods to get to the British line of supply. The brigade officer and one regiment manage to get through but the remaining two regiments get shot to pieces by the British infantry and are forced to retire, taking no further part in the game. Once the Russian cavalry are out of the way, the two British infantry brigades finish deploying and then engage the Russians at long range with only the two Russian light artillery batteries able to reply. The steady fire of nine British battalions and some long range fire from their medium guns causes casualties to the Russians but they hold on and the constant fire means the British advance is only slow and at no point do they threaten the Russian position.

At the end of the game the Russians have 87% of their forces remaining and hold both of their objectives (60 points) giving them 147 victory points. The British have 85% of their army remaining. They had taken the village giving then 40 victory points but had not taken the hill (-60 points) and had lost their line of supply (-30points). This gave them 35 victory points so the outcome was a major victory to the Russians.