Sunday 31 March 2019

The Battle of Grudnjac-Gaçice, Ottoman-Venetian War

John the Red, Paul S, and Conrad joined me for our second game in just over a week, the follow up to the previous encounter between the Venetian-led army and their foes the Ottomans. The scenario is fictitious set between the end of the 5th and start of the 6th Ottoman-Venetian wars of the mid-late 17thC. I'd managed to rebased most of the Ottoman infantry and restructure the army, giving them a few more units as a result, but as it turns out they were going to need them! Paul and I were the 'Allies' while John joined Conrad with the Ottomans. I've already set the scene for the game in a previous post so suffice to say the Turks must crush the infidels while Paul and I had not only to beat them off but win a decisive victory in the process. Easy.....? No, especially when after some disappointing dice rolling most of our regiments ended up carrying at least one casualty over from the  previous battle.

Without further ado, we shall be begin. Lots of pictures which I trust will explain the sequence of events well enough.

The opposing commanders stare each other down while John finishes deploying his troops.
Our right was anchored on the Church of St Polycarp of Smyrna, which was held  by a battalion of French volunteers and a light gun.
The Ottoman left was clearly not where their big push was coming. This was good as Conrad kept failing command rolls for his Spahis until turn 3, when he finally got them moving.
Conrad deployed all his Janissaries in the centre and they moved rapidly across the table, managing three moves in each of the first two turns.
Our left faced a veritable hoard of Spahis, Tartars, Albanians and others. We had  a regiment of Savoyard dragoons secreted in the farmhouse and one of Papal dragoons in the tree line.
Seen from the Ottoman side, at the end of turn 2 the Janissaries are now just out of range of my infantry behind the makeshift defences!
John's Spahi cross the river while his irregular infantry and Balkan musketeers ready themselves to cross the river. I suspect they knew we were occupying the village.
Conrad took a chance and advanced right up to the barricades but not in contact.  As you will recall, we play with firing before moving, so he'd sacrificed his shooting in the hope (a well placed one) that he would weather the point blank volley from the Savoyard infantry. 
On our right Conrad's Spahi charged my Austrian and Bavarian cuirassiers and a furious melee developed which was to last for most of the game.
John's irregular spearmen blundered, but a throw of a 6 meant they attacked the village.  They did well against the disordered dragoons, even breaking into the village, but as hey  were classed as 'wavering' the first and every subsequent time they took casualties a break test was required. John threw low and they broke, fleeing from the field.
After the first clash the honours were even with two battered units of Spahi and two of cuirassiers. Had I not thrown some amazing saves, the wing would have collapsed almost at once.
Battered or not the cuirassiers were going to have to take on more fresh Spahi!
The Savoyards bravely faced the Janissaries across the barricades.
The Savoy Gardia, one of my better regiments. Our first volley was disappointing, but at least the enemy at the right of the barricades were halted through either disorder or becoming shaken.
Not so at the other end as the Janissaries charged across the defences, survived closing fire and got stuck in.
Another attempt by John to turf the dragoons from the villagers ultimately more successful, although it took several rounds of melee as Paul kept throwing amazing break tests.
On our left John charged our Celle horse but misjudged the distance and stopped short!
More zambareys and Spahi cross the river facing our left flank.
Our dragoons finally are ejected from the village, which is quickly occupied by Balkan musketeers.
This regiment was badly beaten when charged by Conrad's Janissaries. They just had to pass their break test but were on minus three. I threw 11 so they stood their ground.
Things were not good at this end of the defences. My unit was holding on. Just.
In the centre we were under pressure. The Janissaries in red have just overrun one of our cannon but were unable to exploit their success. Paul occupied the village and advanced the rest of his Germans to fill the gap and engage the Janissaries.
Spahi and cuirassier clashed again but this time my luck with the dice left me. One of my units broke and two others had to retire shaken, making the entire brigade spent. Thankfully the Ottomans were also perilously close to breaking as at least one of the Spahi units was carrying 3 casualties (they were stamina 4).
I missed some of the action on our left but Paul got the better of John's Feudal Spahi. One unit was broken in melee, and one of its supports also took to their heels. 
The Janissaries were hit in the flank by one of Paul's Hanoverian battalions. The Janissaries didn't last long and were broken.
Another unit of Conrad's Janissaries charged my already battered and shaken battalion and routed them.
John pondering what to do next. The Venetian brigade of infantry was advancing boldly towards him now that his Spahi had been effectively seen off.
John's Spahi charged the Papal dragoons who failed to evade and were ridden down.
Back in the centre Paul's Germans routed the red Janissaries after a brief melee.
After riding down the Papal dragoons the Spahi swept into Paul's inferior horse.   Our infantry in the centre was also under pressure.
Back at the barricades the Janissaries pursued my withdrawing Savoyards through the baggage train, overrunning our headquarters in the process. The situation was saved we thought when they were hit in the flank by one of Paul's Hanoverian regiments. Due to the usual wrong dice rolls at the wrong time it was the Ottomans who surprisingly won the melee. Paul failed his break test and his Hanoverian regiment routed. 
Our yellow regiment in the centre were forced back after a brief encounter with yet more Spahi . It was looking bad in the centre for our side. 
On our left Paul's troops advanced right up to the river.
A Saxon and Papal regiment engage the Ottomans around the village.
Conrad ordered a 'follow me!' with the Janissary unit at the rear. I had a random event card entitled "Follow him? He's f*****g bonkers! No Way!" Suffice to say the general charged off without anyone following and was killed as per the outcome on the card. This turn also signalled the end of the attack in the centre as Conrad's Janissaries were now spent, having lost five units broken or shaken out of nine.
My French volunteer regiment emerged from the church in order to better engage the flank  of Conrad's Janissaries. I  wasn't bothered bout the danger posed by his Spahis as I had a 'get out of jail free' random card enabling my unit to form hedgehog without taking a command test. Conrad did charge but pulled back when I played the card.
The German horse on our left were slowly pushing the Spahi back. John's cavalry were close to breaking and he wanted to preserve them.
In the centre again another attack by yet more Ottoman cavalry defeated one more regiment of  our German horse, despite being disordered by pistols as they charged home. Our horse were forced to retreat shaken.
The remaining uncommitted regiment of horse in the centre about to be charged  by the Ottomans.  If they were to loose the brigade would be broken, handing victory to the enemy. Thankfully........
As it turns out we had to call it a day at that point. With the Janissaries broken the Ottoman commanders agreed that it would be wise to pull back, especially as so many of the remaining brigades were close to break point. Only our cuirassiers on the right were out of action, although as noted above our other cavalry command were very close to breaking. But they didn't. The Venetian-led alliance had achieved its first objective handsomely in beating off the Ottoman attack. Their second objective of inflicting a crushing defeat on the enemy was almost achieved, but not quite. Ok the Ottomans had no decent infantry left and their surviving cavalry were well and truly battered, but we were very close to loosing all of our remaining cavalry. Our three infantry brigades were however still effective fighting forces despite their losses so while not a crushing Ottoman defeat nor really a decisive one it was still a victory of sufficient magnitude for the Venetians et al to regroup and have another try at getting through to the beleaguered Venetian garrison at Prebranac as the Ottomans would not be in a position to intervene in time to prevent its attempted relief. But thats another wargame.

Another excellent game. A sensible approach to the use of admittedly heavily-tinkered-with Pike and Shotte, and having a sensitive approach to playing the period and not the rules worked yet again providing an exciting and challenging game for us all. 'Wargamery stuff' and playing the rules is frowned upon in the Burrow and by everyone who attends on a regular basis.

The random event cards again provided several amusing and/or annoying moments during the game. Annoyance was the usual feeling when one forgot to play a card on the enemy that would have been a proverbial spanner in the works! I need to do some extras that are more directly relevant to the 17thC as quite a few of the current set are only really relevant to the French Revolutionary Wars.

Not sure when the next game will be, probably one day over the Easter weekend, but maybe sooner. We shall see.

Saturday 30 March 2019

March painting and production totals

A better month this time as I've had a massive splurge on basing. I’m not going to get anything else done before the end of the month (tomorrow!!!!) so here’s my output as of this morning:

Basing (already painted, many like the Sikh Wars stuff, some time ago):

  • 11 battalions of assorted 1670s Savoyards, Papal, Venetian, Bavarians, Saxons and Brandenburgers  based up. (33 bases in all plus movement trays)
  • 3 regiments of 1670s Savoyard, Bavarian and Celle cavalry. (9 bases plus movement trays)
  • 72 Sikh Wars Gorchara cavalry (12 big bases)
  • 10 Sikh Wars Zambareks (3 bases) and 4 deployed slightly bigger camel guns (2 bases)
  • 6 Sikh Wars Sikh command bases ( 16 figures)
  • Rebased 124 Ottomans.
  • 48 Sikh gunners in 4 batteries (incl 12 cannon)
  • 3 elephant drawn limbers

Completed, incl basing:

  • 12 Royal Navy Jolly Jack Tars hauling on ropes pulling a cannon for my 1799 Helder campaign.
  • 3 1670s mounted  command figures
  • 9 1670s Hannoverian horse
  • 24 1670s Bavarian infantry ( 1 battalion)
  • 4 1670s Savoy gunners (plastic)
  • 12 assorted Sikh Wars commanders (British and Sikh)
  • 12 Tartar irregular cavalry for the Ottomans.
  • 2 resin makeshift barricades
  • 1 circular redoubt (resin)
  • 1 Mediterranean style built up area base completed
  • 3 big games played

Objectives for April:

Complete basing of as many Sikh Wars units as possible
Source some more British generals for the Sikh Wars and get them started/finished
Elephants and bullocks to pull Sikh Wars cannon
Bengal Irregular Cavalry
Finish 60th Rifles

Rebase the rest of the Ottomans where necessary
Complete another couple of 1670s regiments of foot/horse/dragoons

Make a start on basing my French for the War of Polish Succession as well as getting cracking on the last of the infantry, artillery and commanders.

A few more Vendean rebels to,add to the masses.

All of the above are largely aspirational especially as we are away for almost a week, but to be able to tick a couple of them off the list would be worth a pat on the back and a generous gin and (slimline) tonic or two.

Keep focussed!

Friday 29 March 2019

Venetian - Ottoman War, the battle of Grudnjac-Gaçice

On Saturday we are fighting the next stage of the above. Having been defeated, the Venetian led army has withdrawn, benefitting from confusion or indolence among the Ottoman high command and managed an orderly withdrawal. However, the army was unable to escape beyond the reach of the Ottomans and is forced to stand and fight yet again.

Venetian Briefing:
As you recall, your army was marching to raise the siege of the town of Prebranac[1]. You were intercepted by the Ottomans at the village of Prdusa Vela[2] close to the Church of Saint Agetha [3] and defeated, but not conclusively. Heavy casualties were also inflicted on the enemy. Your battered but largely intact army has withdrawn half a days forced march from battlefield, strangely unmolested by the Ottomans, and has taken up position in front of the river Babina Guzica [4], a tributary of which runs beyond the villages of Grudnjak [5] and Gaçice [6] and close to the church of St Polycarp of Smyrna [7]. It was not possible to retire across the river before the Ottomans arrived in hot(ish) pursuit, and to cross the river as soon as possible would have meant abandoning the baggage, camp followers and indeed many of your men to certain capture and enslavement. The Ottomans have already tried to capture your baggage, during yesterday’s battle, but were driven off. Your forces have worked through the night and early morning and have constructed some very rudimentary defences, which hopefully will assist in holding back the Ottoman tide. You must defeat the enemy quickly as the relief of Prebranac still remains a priority.

A good number of your units suffered heavy losses in the previous battle, some fleeing the field but then reforming as men returned to the colours. This has been reflected in their starting stamina and/or morale saves of some of your units. Your army has been reinforced by the camp guard and troops sent prior to yesterday's battle to drive off the Ottoman irregulars. All of your heavy guns were abandoned in the retreat.

Ottoman Briefing:
Your chief intelligencier Rumor Haçit Pasha advised you that a Christian army was marching to raise the siege of the town of Prebranac[1]. You intercepted the enemy at the village of Prdusa Vela[2]close to the Church of Saint Agetha[3]and defeated them, but not conclusively.

The enemy were able to retire unhindered due to quite(?) heavy losses incurred by your army (or indolence on behalf of the now ex-Governor, perhaps with an ulterior motive?) and the absence of your irregular cavalry that was too busy plundering the enemy’s baggage (actually failing miserably as they were driven off by troops diverted from the main Christian army and the bae guard).
Despite your losses, your  largely intact army rested overnight and in the early morning began its pursuit of the enemy, catching up with them around noon in front of the River Babina Guzica[4], holding a makeshift defensive line behind the villages of Grudnjak[5]and Gaçice[6]and close to the church of St Polycarp of Smyrna[7]They were unable to retire across the river before your forces arrived in hot pursuit; to do so would have meant surrendering their baggage and camp followers.

You have been reinforced, outnumber the enemy but do not have your artillery train as it could not keep up with your pursuit. You have a new commander as the former Governor is under tent arrest until he can be dealt with more appropriately. Sadly the only bow-armed troops in your army fled during the previous engagement so it has proved difficult to find any bows or bowstrings to carry out the likely sentence). You must now crush the infidel army.
[1]A noted Serbian dish of baked beans
[2]Big Fart in Croatian
[3]Patron saint of volcanic erruptions
[4]Grandma’s Ass – a real place name
[5]Bra - ditto
[6]Panties - ditto
[7]The patron saint of dysentery and earaches

Thursday 28 March 2019

Refreshed Ottomans

After the game last Friday I promised myself I would start rebasing and touching up my far from homogeneous (?) and uncared for Ottoman army. Each unit will eventually be based on a 180mm frontage which will then match my late 17thC European and Polish armies. Conveniently they will also fit my standard movement trays. One immediate net gain has been that I’ve also managed to increase the number of units, squeezing out and extra two Janissary and one Balkan infantry unit. Similarly, when I get round to them, I will also be able to increase the number of Spahi units, which is only a bad thing if you're the enemy.
Three smartened up and rebased units of Jannissaries.   

Where I originally had a single unit of Balkan types with muskets I now have two, freshly rebased.

  • A brand new bunch of TAG Tartar irregular cavalry with ridiculously large lances. I started these on the weekend and finished them yesterday.  I will trim the lances down today.
There is another game planned on Saturday,  which will be a continuation of the scenario in which last week's Ottoman victory took place . 

Wednesday 27 March 2019


Today’s offering are three elephant-drawn limbers for my Sikh artillerymen. I think the majority of cannon in both opposing armies would have been pulled by bullocks but there is something to be said for a couple of battles of the heaviest cannon being pulled along by these majestic beauties. Speaking of bullocks, of which I have a couple of dozen, unless I can acquire some more elephants (I am pretty sure I have another three somewhere in the lead mountain) I shall be giving all the remaining Sikh batteries and all of the HEIC batteries bar the Bengal Horse Artillery bullock teams.

  • These models are all Foundry, picked up off eBay a good few years ago, and enlivened and based by me yesterday.

Monday 25 March 2019

Sikh Artillery

Another batch of finished units for my long-delayed Sikh Wars project. This time four rather large batteries of Sikh Artillery. Two are equipped with 6 or 9pdrs, while another has 12pdrs and the last some monstrously big and less modern cannon.

The gunners are either Studio Miniatures or Foundry. The guns are Studio, Foundry and AW Miniatures. My thinking behind the large bases was simply to ensure that in any future game the Sikh commander will have to mass his guns, and because I am coming round to using bigger bases. Also, I do quite like the effect, although they will no doubt scare whoever plays the British!