Russo-Turkish War with Principles of War

The war of 1877-78 formed the backdrop to this Principles of War battle. Tom and Karl were the players and the game took place at Tom's house in late November 2021. As ever, I am grateful to Tom for the material that follows: -

Both the Russians and the Turks focused their forces on the one side of the table, advancing towards the ford and the hill in the middle of the table. They both left their cavalry brigades to hold their refused flanks. The Russians had the initiative and lumbered onto the table in threes solid blocks on their left.

One Turkish infantry brigade after a slow start managed (with the help of the Commander-in-Chief’s initiative) to reach the hill in the centre of the table and they proceeded to dig in behind the crest as the Russian infantry units lumbered forwards. The Turkish C-in-C deployed his batteries in the woods over the river from the first infantry brigade, and the second Turkish infantry brigade formed up to the right of the woods.

The Russians formed each brigade of infantry into solid blocks of 6 infantry battalions in column of march with the artillery and rifle battalion between them. One headed towards hill and the second towards the ford. The Russian infantry heading to the ford came under heavy fire from the Turkish batteries and their columns suffered as they failed to form up into line. The Turkish infantry in the centre formed up and joined in the fire, cutting the Russian columns into pieces as they advanced. They then made their way to the river, wading across supported by their artillery.

The second Russian column lumbered slowly forward and formed into line and advanced over the hill to attack the Turkish defenders supported by their artillery. The first Turkish line on the hill fought hard, forcing several Russian battalions back before they themselves were forced to retire / rout. The Russians took the hill but came under heavy fire from the second line of Turkish infantry and the concentrated Turkish artillery.

On the other flank the two cavalry brigades passed by each other as each headed towards the hill opposite the Russian cavalry, intent on passing over the hill to threaten the Turkish lines of supply. The Turkish C-in-C spotted this in time and moved one battalion from his second brigade to guard his lines of supply.

The Turkish cavalry passed over the hill opposite and then used strategic movement to make their way back round the wood back to the C-in-C. Once there, the C-in-C changed their orders to move back to the line of supply to support the lone infantry battalion. The Russian cavalry brigade was beaten off by the Turkish infantry battalion supported by the Turkish cavalry using their Winchesters.

When the end of the game arrived, the Russians had a net plus 34 objective points and the Turkish had an net zero, but when the casualties were totted up, it led to winning draw for the Turks.