Thursday, December 24, 2015

One Ridge, Two Bridges - Jan 2, 1746 - scenario notes

Following defeat at Pristina, the Libagioni army (in truth, much of which is made up of KaiserReich contingents) has retreated precipitously northward back toward Libagioni. The unseasonably mild winter weather has encouraged Le Marquis de Fromage to pursue closely on their heals. The demoralized and exhausted units of the army of Libagioni straggle over the bridges of the Lower Cabrera and back into Libagioni territory. Will the Marquis ignore the tradition of winter cantonments and force a crossing with his advance guard in hope of dealing further damage to a weakened enemy?

This campaign scenario borrows heavily (and indeed appropriates the name) of an article in the most recent edition of Miniature Wargames with Battlegames (January 2016) by Steve Jones. My inherently lazy nature means that I'm constantly on the lookout for new scenario ideas. This article provided the basis for what will hopefully be an entertaining game and from which I have unabashedly copied ideas and verbiage.

One Ridge, Two Bridges - Dec ??, 1745

The Army of Gourmandie must cross the river using one or both of the available bridges and then capture the ridge that lies beyond or render the Libagioni army unable to continue fighting. The Libagioni army must retain control of the high ground using the river crossings and woods to aid their efforts. The river can be crossed only at the bridges and these cannot be demolished within the parameters of this scenario.

Each army is divided into two forces. The attacking Gourmandie army is divided equally between an Advance Guard and a Reserve Force. The Advance Guard is available for the initial phase of the battle and the Reserve Force enters the fray only on a turn which begins with at least one Gourmandie unit on the Libagioni (i.e. north) side of the river. The Libagioni army has a rearguard containing a little under half of available units available to defend the river, with the larger main army occupying the ridge and available only after the Gourmandie Reserve Force is in play.

Il Prinicipe Martellato deploys the two portions of his Libagioni army first. The rearguard units must be deployed within one move of either side of the river. Because of the recent defeats and the headlong retreat northward, all units in the Libagioni army are Untested and must roll to randomize stamina when first required (1=1, 2-4=2, 5,6=3). Le Marquis de Fromage may then deploy the Gourmandie Advance Guard no closer than two moves from the river and makes a note of which road will be the point of entry for each unit of the Reserve Force. All may enter by one road or the force can be split between the two.

The aim of each army is to capture the ridge or render the the opponent unable to continue.

Both Il Prinicipe and le Marquis have key decisions to make. Martellato, as defender, must decide how firmly to defend the bridges and at what cost. Le Marquis, as attacker, needs to determine whether to tackle both bridges or concentrate his force on just one, then how to bring his reserve into action effectively.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Battle of Pristina, Dec 11, 1745 - the battle fought

Lugio, Provincia del Sud, Libagioni December 13, 1745

Kronprinz Friedrich-Wilhelm, Kreuzberg

Your Highness

It is with deep regret that I must communicate to you the actions of Il Prinicipe Martellato in the late action at Pristina, on December 11. Il Prinicipe, in an attempt to pull Gourmandie forces away from the fortress of Champaigne, in concert with Your Highness' most gratefully acknowledged and allied forces, moved his army south and west to Pristina. Il Prinicipe immediately sent out his cavalry to discover the presence of Gourmandie forces, last indicated to have been at Frontenard. On the morning of December 11, a day destined to be one filled with distress and chagrin for Your Highness' forces, the Gourmandie army, under the command of Le Marquis de Fromage, appeared without warning from the east of Pristina and commenced a vigorous attack upon the army of Il Prinicipe. Unfortunately, our army was woefully bereft of adequate cavalry forces, and Il Prinicipe, with considerable haste, dispatched couriers to the missing formations. The Gourmandie army attacked after a vigorous cannonade and was able to force our army from the environs of Pristina, northwards in some confusion.

Although the day was lost and our army has been forced to retreat again north of the Cabrera River, it is my honour to report that Your Highness' troops fought gallantly and held their ground throughout the engagement despite the precipitate retreat of Libagioni contingents all around.

As Your Highness is aware, the ravages of winter are fast approaching and is my recommendation that Your Highness order the movement of Your forces to KaiserReich territory and into winter cantonments. It is my duty, however, to inform Your Highness that it is apparent that this is not the intention of Il Prinicipe, who seems determined to continue the campaign despite the recent losses and the approaching winter. It seems His naturally aggressive, yet is must be said somewhat imprudent, boldness, coupled with innate arrogance, has allowed Il Prinicipe to convince Himself, and His advisors, that a continuance of operations is not only possible but propitious. The unseasonably mild weather has, no doubt, contributed in large degree, to this attitude.

My officers and I heartily reject this appreciation of the current situation and remain Your Highness' most obedient servants.

Markgraf Germand von Buetler
Plenipotentiary Minister to the Court of Il Prinicipe Martellato, 
Ducato di Libagioni

 Deployment of the Libagioni army in the fields north of Pristina, Libagioni infantry to the left and KaiserReich infantry to the right.

 Across the field, the Gourmandie army deploys to attack Pristina, infantry anchored on the road to the left, and cavalry on the right flank. 

Les Grenadiers a Cheval Boursin (and accompanying dragoons) advance to threaten the Libagioni left flank. With the majority of the Libagioni cavalry absent, only the Grenadier zu Pferde Warstenier stood to receive the advance, supported by Libagioni guns. 

The two heavy cavalry regiments crash into one another while Les Dragons de Saint-Feliciens take on the Libagioni guns. The Gourmandie heavies have an advantage in melee here. Fielded as a large unit in Black Powder terms (24 figures), Les Grenadiers a Cheval Boursin wield 11 dice in melee (9 dice for a standard unit + 2 dice for large size). In response, the KaiserReich heavies throw only 8 dice. The KaiserReich heavies were forced back and spent the remainder of the action rallying and resting. The Gourmandie heavies also fell back to reorganize but were soon back in the fray, threatening the Libagioni flank.

Somewhat later in the action, KaiserReich lancers (Ulanen Hasseroder), lately recalled from their scouting mission, also take on Boursin. Although the lancers get a bonus in the first round of combat, it isn't enough to counter the 11 Gourmandie melee dice versus 6 KaiserReich dice. The result was inevitable, and compounded by the Gourmandie heavies receiving the "heavy cavalry +1" bonus for the melee outcome. A valiant effort by Hasseroder but doomed to failure.

KaiserReich heavy guns prepare to fire point blank on Gourmandie infantry. In the background can be seen Freikorps Jagers Radeburger threatening the flank of the Gourmandie attack. Although this concentration of firepower stalled the Gourmandie advance against the KaiserReich contingent, the Libagioni troops on the left flank fared not so well. 

The first view of Infanterie d'Auvergne, the newest addition to the Gourmandie army (from the brushes of Ohio Bob). Unfortunately the photo is somewhat out of focus (Sorry Bob!). 

The KaiserReich contingent stands alone and unsupported after the rout of the Libagioni infantry on its left flank. Despite the threat to their own left flank from KaiserReich guns and jagers, the Gourmandie army is beginning to turn the left flank of the KaiserReich infantry, secure in the knowledge that their right flank is held by the Gourmandie heavy cavalry.
Gratuitous shot of Pristina. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Grenadiere zu Pferde Warsteiner

I was lucky enough to visit Ohio Bob's gaming emporium last month (more of that visit anon) and coincidentally pick up a couple of new units for my ImagiNation project painted by Ohio Bob. First up, a  new addition to the KaiserReich army gallops onto the field: Grenadiere zu Pferde Warsteiner. These are all Crusader Miniatures (as are the majority of my collection).

But a quick reminder of the state of affairs in Das KasierReich:

Das KaiserReich, a strictly protestant state, is ruled over by KronPrinz Friedrich Wilhelm, who also personally commands his army in the field. The state is rigorously controlled by an efficient and ruthless bureaucracy, at the head of which sits The Council of Twelve, a group of influential and wealthy burghers. Constant strain and tension between the hereditary rights of the KronPrinz and the economic and personal interests of The Council serve to limit the powers of the royal family. Thus, many of the regiments that make up the army are militia, raised and paid for by their Inhabers, landed gentry from the various districts of the Reich (most of whom are closely tied to the royal family by blood or obligation).

Upon application to the Council of Twelve, a new KaiserReich cavalry regiment, Grenadiere zu Pferde Warsteiner, has been raised by Freiherr Robert von Lehmann (himself a member of The Council of Twelve). According to the strictures imposed by the Council, Freiherr von Lehmann is responsible for recruitment, maintenance, and all other military sundries required for the upkeep of a KaiserReich cavalry regiment. This is a two-squadron militia cavalry unit and hails from the north of Das KaiserReich, near the border with St Julien. As with all militia units in the KaiserReich, the only mandate is blue uniforms. The remainder of the distinctions are wholly in the purview of the Inhaber. In this case, von Lehmann chose light green distinctions and silver plates for the stately mitres. 

In Black Powder terms, this unit has the following stats:

Melee: 8
Shooting: --
Morale: 3
Stamina: 3
Special Rules: heavy cavalry +1, elite 4+

The might of the KaiserReich cavalry arm: Grenadiere zu Pferde Warsteiner, Pistoliere von Doppelbock, and Ulanen Hasseroder.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Battle of Pristina - Dec 11, 1745 - scenario notes

Thwarted in his attempt to push the Gourmandie army away from the fortress of Champaigne to the northeast during October, Il Prinicipe Martellato pulled his army back to Charmensac. It seemed he would continue his retreat north and back toward Libagioni territory, proverbial tail between his legs. But apparently, Il Prinicipe is made of sterner (or more stubborn) stuff. The Gourmandie army, under command of Le Marquis de Fromage, was apparently in no particular hurry to follow up on his victory at Frontenard and allowed an unmolested retreat by the Libagioni army. Martellato was quick to notice that there was no pursuit and decided to stop at Charmensac to re-assess his options. Once again, couriers hustled back and forth between his field headquarters and the court of his ally KronPrinz Friedrich Wilhelm. From the latter (surprisingly) came agreement to continue the campaign and even some much-needed reinforcements, in the form of the Grenadiere zu Pferde Warsteiner cavalry regiment. This is a heavy KaiserReich cavalry regiment  with the capability to seriously bolster Martellato's offensive predilections. After several weeks of inactivity, Il Prinicipe decided to avoid the defences at Frontenard and attempt to draw Le Marquis farther away from Champaigne. With this in mind, he pushed his army southwest to Pristina and promptly sent out scouts farther to the south and west. 

Soon after sending out a sizeable portion of his cavalry arm to scout the countryside around Pristina, Martellato is awoken on a chilly and misty December morning to find the Gourmandie army drawn up in the fields east of Pristina, with the apparent intention of immediate attack. Il Prinicipe hastily calls his regiments to arms to receive the expected attack but looks around to see only a single friendly cavalry regiment present on the field. Couriers are hastily dispatched to recall the missing cavalry, as the drums begin to beat across the field.