Sunday 7 April 2019

A border incident. Ottoman army looses by a knockout in round one to unprovoked Polish attack!

John the Red came over for a game on Saturday. I'd decided to pit the Ottomans against my Polish 17thC army, using 'Pike and Shotte' with my usual house rules and more appropriate period-specific stats and characteristics. We also decided at the start that lance-armed troops would not inflict a -1/-2 on enemy saves as it made them far too effective and they had extra combat dice anyway. After I’d organised the armies I did a quick count using the points system in the rules and both sides were around 1600 points with only 27 points separating them!

This was to be a straightforward encounter battle, played over a fairly open battlefield to allow the cavalry heavy armies some space to manoeuvre. John was given the choice of sides and took the Poles and I happily commanded the Ottomans as I’ve yet to have the chance to use them.  We each drew sketch maps of our deployment and got going. As per standing operating procedures I shall let the photos do the talking in describing the ebbs and occasional flow of battle. It was very pretty, but at the same it WASN'T very pretty at all if you were a Turk!
My gut reaction had been to put all my Spahi in the centre. How I wished I'd done so as  ALL of John's cavalry were facing my right wing, outnumbering it more than two to one.
My left wing. Very colourful but soon to be largely unemployed Feudal Spahi and assorted hangers on.
The Polish right was lightly held by John's mercenary units.
The Polish left wing. Winged hussars backed up by lots of Pancerni and Cossacks!
The rest of the Polish line of battle. Artillery on the hill that never fired a shot, followed by native Polish infantry hiding behind a line of wagons.
My right wing; eight units of Spahi of the Porte.
Turn 1 was a miserable affair for me as my army pretty much failed to move! The Polish facing my right wing managed three moves and thundered across the battlefield towards my poor Spahis! 
The Polish cavalry, led by their winged hussars! Awesome. Deadly.
The Poles didn't make it right across the board so in turn 2 I was well placed to try and halt them with my Spahi, or so I thought. The command closest to the camera did charge but the next one refused to move.
With a crunch our cavalry met head on.
While the other four units of Spahi looked on......
I lost the first rounds of combat, and all my engaged Spahi were forced to retreat. The Poles followed up and drove two of my units off the table, one of which was shaken.
The same was to happen here, and I was forced to retire, but not shaken this time.
The Poles ploughed into my second line, throwing it into confusion and at the same time charged my previously hesitant Spahi who did manage a counter charge.
There was no stopping the hussars and by the end of turn 2 my right wing was pretty much shattered, with one command  already shaken and the other hanging on grimly.
In the centre more Polish cavalry charged my Janissaries. Closing fire was pretty ineffectual but we did disorder a couple of Polish units as they charged home.
The Janissaries were actually holding their own against the Poles, and although the front Orta were destroyed the supports (with one exception that ran away) held their ground.
The Ottoman right wing. Shattered by the Polish charge and shortly to be swept from the field.
The Janissaries were still hanging on, and even managed to force a couple of Polish cavalry units to pull back shaken. The trouble is there were plenty more around to replace them. 
Slowly the Janissaries were being ground down. Attempts by me to replace the forward units with their supports failed as they became disordered while interpenetrating (a six on 1D6 and they become disordered - a house rule).
The Janissaries were now starting to cave in and were close to breaking.
Polish dragoons foolishly rode up, dismounted and prepared to shoot at my Janissaries. Thankfully  I actually managed to shoot them up badly and disorder them. 

My Balkan musketeers from the left were slowly moving towards the fighting on my right. Too slowly though and they never got into action.

The last of my Spahi on the right about to be destroyed.
A view of the battlefield at around lunchtime (i.e. after about six turns). My right wing has gone, the Janissaries are beginning to buckle under the pressure and my massed artillery battery continues to knock the occasional casualty off the Polish infantry behind the wagons.
On my left my light artillery and camel gunners had shaken one German foot regiment and the German Reiter had been tempted out from behind the infantry by my Tartars. My Feudal Spahi were still just shuffling forward in an attempt to at least attack the Polish right, but never got into action.
Polish Militia garrisoning one of the villages

The Polish wagonberg. Stoutly held by their infantry.
View from the Polish side, the Janissaries have just broken and the game is over.

The last combat of the game.
Pancerni waiting for their turn to get stuck in.

Well that was fun! I was comprehensively and clinically demolished, and well done the Poles. We both agreed that the winged hussars are pretty much unstoppable, whereas in history that wasn't always the case. Only a third of the Polish cavalry in this army were hussars, which by my reckoning is right given the size of the game. Its just a shame/good planning that they were all concentrated on one wing! Oh well, such is the pleasure of wargaming.

The orders of battle for the game were as follows:


GRAND HETMAN JAN CZERWONY [John the Red in Polish] (9)

HetmanFranciszek Trześniewski (8)
Hussars x 3
Pancerni x 4
Cossacks x 2
Cossack Lt Cav x 1 (small, marauders)

Hetman Karol Okrasa (9)
Hussars x 3
Pancerni x 3
Cossacks x 3
Cossack Lt Cav x 1 (small, marauders)

Dragoons x 1 (Marauders)

Hetman Count Adam Chrzastowski (8)
‘Guard’ Haiduks x 1
Haiduk infantry x 2 large, 2 standard
Militia x 2

Colonel Count Casimir von Flackwickser-Wichser (7
Mercenary Foot x 2
Mercenary Riytar x 2

Mastro Artiglieri Gabriel Peluria di Prepuzio (7)
Artillery x 3 medium guns, 1 light gun


Rumor Hacit Pasha (8)

Hakan AkayaPasha(8)

Spahi of the Porte x 4

Rifat Osbek Pasha (8)Spahi of the Porte x 4

Cemil Ipeçki Pasha(7)
Feudal Spahi x 6
Zambareks x 3
Light artillery x 2

Jannisaries: Commander Bora Aksu (9)
9 Orta (2 fanatic)

The Rest: Yilderim Myruk Pasha(6)
Albanian musketeers x 2
Irregular spearmen x 2 (large)

Tartar and other irregular light cavalry x 3 (small units)

Artillery: Vladimir Ardutyunian (8)
Heavy artillery x 5


  1. Lovely looking game, unless you're the Turkish commander I guess! The Polish and Turkish armies of this period are both very tempting,sounds like fun anyway!
    Best Iain

  2. Jan Cerzwony reporting in. I have always wanted to lead (sic)a charge of the Hussaria, and thanks to Colin and the Burrow, i now have. And what a glorious sight it was too, the colour and spectacle of both armies was just what wargaming should be all about. In previous games, masses of pike and shot etc have limited the opportunity for a good old fashioned cavalry charge. Not yesterday. You wont often get to see twenty units of horse charging across the field, en masse. Turns out the Jannissaries were no push over but once the Spahis had been swept away, there were Polish horse coming at that from several directions and defeat was inevitable. As a Boro fan, the sight of a Red and White Army actually winning was also uplifting. Enjoy Berlin

    Twoje zdrowie

  3. The occasional thumping is good for the wargaming soul, or so I’m told...
    As ever a fine looking game Illustrated by a host of super photos.

  4. A superb looking game. All of that cavalry sweeping across the field is indeed a stirring sight! I think some Poles may be on my horizon as my 17th century adventure across Europe moves further East :-)

  5. Nice to read such a wargaming classic: Polish vs. Turks. I think that the result is interesting. Some bad luck on your side, Colin. I try to remember what the Turks did to deal with the strenght of the Polish cavalry. Did they used a mix of muskets and cavalry as the Swedish did against the famous Imperial heavy cavalry?

    1. Thanks. I should have been more sensible with my deployment and put my cannon and infantry behind wagons and kept my cavalry concentrated. Never mind. Next time!