Anyway, Clive and John the Red came up this week. I'd originally planned for a game with each of them but I really can't cope with two games a week during the day at the present, so I set up a three hander, set in the Crimea.
The scenario has gallant Johnny Turk holding a newly-constructed 'fort', actually a quite well constructed (and very nicely painted) earthen redoubt. The fort's position threatens Russian supply routes and communications into and out of Sebastopol. Its not ideally located as although it controls the river crossing and the Russian lines of communication, and is bounded on one side by the river and another by the river and a marsh it is overlooked on two sides by hills and woods, some within musket shot. The Russians, ever ready to try and throw a spanner in the works of the allies efforts to continue the siege of Sevastopol, have decided that they need to drive the allies back over the river else risk having the beleaguered city's lines of communications with the interior of the Crimean peninsula threatened. The allies will have to stop them......mmmmm? On past showings not entirely likely but hey ho!
Forces available were as follows:
Turkish brigade (holding the fort): 4 small btns infantry, 2 batteries, 1 regt cavalry. Command 7
British: CinC command 6 (Lord Raglan on paper as we 'forgot' to bring him on, but actual command was in the hands of Major Generals Sir Colin Crookback and Lord Clively-Mercmarie)
Guards Bde: 3 btns, 1 battery, command 8
Highland Bde: 3 btns, 1 battery, command 9
Infantry Bde: 3 btns, 1 horse battery, command 8
Infantry Bde: 3 btns, 1 battery, command 7
Heavy Cavalry Bde: 5 small rgts, 1 horse battery, command 7
French brigade: 4 btns, 1 cav rgt, 2 batteries. command 9
Russians: CinC General of Cavalry Prince Makanovitch, Command 8
Hussar Bde: 2 rgts, 1 horse battery, command 8
Uhlan Bde: 2 rgts, 1 horse battery, command 8
Cossack Bde: 2 rgts, 1 horse battery, command 8
1st Bde: 4 btns, 1 rifle detachment, command 8
2nd Bde: 4 btns, command 7
3rd Bde: 4 btns, 1 rifle detachment, command 8
4th Bde: 4 btns, command 7
1st artillery Bde: 2 heavy batteries (4 models) command 8
2nd artillery Bde: 2 medium batteries (4 models) command 7
The forces available were numerically not too unbalanced, other than for a significant Russian superiority in artillery and cavalry. The Allies would have to rely on the better quality of most of their infantry and their superior musketry. As usual we used Black Powder, with suitable amendments to the troop characteristics and some game mechanisms in order to better reflect the Crimean War, or at least my take on it. The Russian infantry are quite tough especially when tramping around in assault columns but are hopeless at shooting. Their artillery, well placed, can be a killer as there's so much of it. Their cavalry, though numerous, is uninspiring. Their commanders are average at best. As for the Turks, I made them badly led but the infantry were tough fighters in melee. The British were a mixed bunch. The Guards and Highanders were a cut above the rest and quite resilient to damage, while the line battalions were good dependable troops. The cavalry? Badly led and supremely overconfident. The French were generally pretty good, but M'lord Raglan wasn't sure he could trust 'em to act as gentlemen! Anyway, to battle, but before that a note about the river. I decided it would be no obstacle to troops crossing it in movement terms, but that once troops emerged from the river, but not whilst they were in it, they were classed as being disordered. This is because in Black Powder, disorder is not really about being out of formation as we know it from other rules. It is more about being out of command as a result of factors such as weight of fire, officer losses, smoke, confusion, incompetence, or in this case simply the need to halt and dress one's ranks after crossing the river. You wouldn't want to stop and dress them in the river after all! And I do like any excuse to use my nice wide river, courtesy of Homebase!
I thought it was a great game and a very challenging one for both sides. Most of the action took place in the centre but that was more by accident than by design, and had the randomness of the deployment and entry zones been different the outcome, indeed the course of the entire battle, would maybe have been very different. Who knows?