Thursday 25 October 2018

Swedish invasion of Poland repulsed!

Yesterday saw the table in The Burrow transformed into early 17th Poland, as Steve brought his gorgeous Swedish army down to take on my Poles. The armies were equally matched points wise (we used Pike and Shotte and had about 2000 point each) and after freshly baked croissants (thanks Steve) and bacon we began. Paul and Nigel wanted to be Swedes along with Steve so Conrad and I happily took the Poles. We decided to put all of our cavalry on the right wing under my command, what little infantry we had (a mixture of native Polish units and 'German' mercenaries) and the artillery in the centre, and refuse the left wing. The Swedes were deployed with 'German' cavalry on the left, supported by a brigade of foot, several brigades of foot in the centre and Swedish and Finnish cavalry with commanded shot and a supporting brigade of foot on the right, led by the man himself (Gustavus).

The Swedes trying not to look at several thousand Polish and German cavalrymen lumbered towards them. A unit of Tartars cleverly placed themselves in the front of the Swedish heavy battery, thus preventing them from taking pot shots at my horsemen.
The centre of the Swedish line with those pesky Tartars annoying the gunners. Steve's centre was to be dogged by rotten command rolls and lots of Polish musketeers throwing sixes which left him disordered almost every turn.
The Polish centre; several units of Haiduk infantry.
One of the 'German' regiments on the Swedish left.
Nigel gave a follow me order with Gustavus. In the rules this allows his entire brigade to  take three moves. The horsemen ditched their commanded shot and swept down on the flank of the Polish centre. In the Polish turn that followed, Conrad ordered his mercenary infantry forward, getting three moves as well, placing them right on the flank of the galloping Swedes (and Finns). The regiments closest to the mercenary foot took several casualties, the leading unit becoming shaken and disordered. Two regiments remained 'stuck' in front of the mercenary foot and eventually broke or were forced to withdraw shaken.
Swedes and Finns charging towards the Polish centre. The King is in there somewhere
The German mercenary battery behind the wagon lines was having a bad day. Although several hits were caused on the Swedes, in three turns Conrad managed three double ones, resulting in three of his four cannon running out of shot, or powder, or blowing up!!!!!
A Scots brigade facing the advancing Polish horsemen.
The entire Swedish left wing stood rooted to the spot. Not through choice though but due to some unfortunate command rolls.
HUSSARIA!!! Seven squadrons of Winged Hussars led by the CinC, supported by Pancerni and Cossack medium cavalry.
Winged Hussars took turns to repeatedly charge the Scots brigade which was forced into hedgehog. Although the latter got loads of dice when facing the hussars, they still came off worst in the combat as I managed to save all bar the occasional hit, while the infantry casualties were mounting.
There no shortage of troops on our right flank. My mercenary cavalry can be seen  top left exchanging fire with another Swedish brigade. A wild charge by one of my Cossack units drove through a unit of Paul's horse but were themselves broken in a counter attack.
Over on the other wing things were hotting up. The Swedes and Finns had managed to charge the Polish infantry in the centre, but only succeeded in breaking one unit. The Swedes were forced to pull back and their brigade went 'shaken'. Conrad's mercenary infantry turned to face the advancing Swedish infantry.
Meanwhile, i had failed command rolls on at least three occasions to get my Winged Hussars to charge Paul's Livonian cuirassier and German horse. That didn't include the re-rolls the CinC gave them using the new rule imported from BP2. Finally, when they did get moving they broke the cuirassiers and pretty much destroyed the remaining enemy horsemen.
In what turned out to be the last turn I was able to charge the Scots hedgehog both in the flank and the front, which was finally enough to see it off.
I think by now the Swedes had decided to go and invade Germany instead. Both their flanks were broken/shaken so the game was declared a Polish victory. It was a very enjoyable game with some tense moments, like Nigel's wild charge to try and roll up our centre which very nearly worked, and the inability of Steve to get his infantry moving due to successive disordering hits from Conrad. I have to say that we had a plan and managed to stick to it. It could have all gone pear shaped quite easily, which it nearly did in the centre. But it didn't.

Things to ponder:
1. I have always quite liked Pike and Shotte but the army lists in P&S and the TYW supplement are, in our considered and jointly held opinion, a load of b******s. Troop classifications, missing troop types, you name it. But we adjusted things to match our understanding of things.
2. Steve's Swedes were organised in brigades made up of three regiments. When brigaded together on the defensive they were very tough but slow. Steve is keen to use his Swedes as they were used historically so a great deal of rule tweaking has been/will be called for. This is excellent news to me as one of my mantras is 'Play the period, not the rules!"
3. The Winged Hussars are pretty much unstoppable and invincible. How much of this is down to Polish propaganda I don't know. Ten dice in melee is a real killer. Had we remembered the 'stubborn' rule (which I don't like anyway, preferring to give an extra stamina point) and the effect facing lance-armed troops has on saving rolls the Swedish left wing would no doubt have collapsed far earlier. Maybe after their first charge they need tuning down a bit? 

Enthused by this game I am in danger of getting distracted by painting up some more Polish infantry, Cossacks and even a few hussars, but I need to focus on the French Revolution for a little while yet.

Thanks again to Steve for bringing his enormous army down for the game, and to Paul, Conrad and Nigel as well. Steve's freshly baked croissants were gorgeous, and thanks to Paul for the Stollen cake and Conrad for the 'Mocktails'.

Having a few days away next week in Holland and Belgium,  including a visit to the Crisis 2018 show in Antwerp on 3 November.


  1. A very enjoyable report. Thanks for that Colin.

  2. Great report and interesting to read your post game comments:).

  3. Sounds like the game was a lot of fun. Wish I was there!

  4. Very impressive looking battle as always🙂

  5. Great looking game Colin but seems like a poor result for the Swedes who do have a bit of a reputation of being the predominant army of their day - I think you may be right about the Winged Hussars being over rated - a common wargamers fault in making the prettiest, most famous troops perform better then everyone else ….

  6. I forgot to say thanks to the guys for helping clear away the figures. It was much appreciated.

  7. An excellent report and a great looking game...
    As always.
    Those Poles do look impressive on mass.

    All the best. Aly