BLB GNW game - variations on a theme

Russian Battering guns pound the 2B BuA hamlet between turns 1-6

When Bob came over on Sunday for one of our rare games I decided to smooth out the last couple of amendments to the new version on Beneath the Lily Banners with some revisions to both hard cover target and SHAKEN rules.

The Russian Army

I had been busily basing more Russians for the GNW during the previous week and decided it would be a nice chance to get the GNW stuff out and rehearse for TACTICA 2017 in Hamburg.

As a variation on a theme I thought it would be a bit of wheeze to have a large Russian force attempt to storm a weaker Swedish army intent on defending its position.

To add extra spice I change three important things:

The Swedish infantry had no pikes - they were entrenched and defending so I assumed all pikemen had been sent to the rear.

We gave the Swedes no cavalry! - this was quite radical and I wondered if we'd gone a bit too far!

Finally, the Swedes were given a fair amount of artillery - three light guns and a field gun.

We also placed a 2B Built up area as a forward defence for the Swedes.

Wot? No pike? No Cavalry? and.. Swedish guns

All of the Swedish infantry battalions were of 12 models (except the BuA garrison), had no pikes and were graded as Veteran with two battalions of the Guards and one of Guard Grenadiers graded as Elite. The garrison had 18 models and attached to one of the light guns was a 6 model detachment of infantry. All Swedish units had flintlock muskets.

Russian left with the Guards who died to a man in front of a Swedish battery

The Russians had ten battalions of 18 models - six were Drilled, the Preobrazhenskoi Guards were Drilled Elite, three were Raw, all had flintlocks and one battalion was All musket.
In addition the Russians had a two squadron Dragoon regiment (Drilled) and a two model Battering gun detachment.

The first attack by a brigade that was to reform twice to deliver the final attack

The kicker proved to be the randomization of commander quality. The Swede was Inspiring and the Russian a Plodder.

Over the 22 turn game the Russians failed to get any movement seven times and on at least a further six turns their movement was 25%. The Swedes coasted to 100% movement for between a quarter and a third of the turns!

The Russian right wing

The game unfolded in an intriguing way. The 6 x 4 table meant that the Russian heavy battery was within short range of the BuA right from the start and pounded it mercilessly. I sensed Bob's trepidation of impeding disaster as the guns minced the garrison for the first three turns... how wrong those gut instincts can be!

The first successful object of Russian attention - the village with Veteran garrison

Devastated by two battering guns at close range, garrison reinforcements are sent

The garrison about to flee, the Swedes pushed more infantry forward to stop the rot

The Swedes charged panicking the 1st Battalion

Village empty, Swedes thrown back but Russians take a wobble

Having used the battering cannon to support my infantry in chasing the garrison out of the village (in fact annihilating them) the attack I was teeing up on the main Swedish line had to be reformed twice before a final depleted and desperate assault by three battalions almost carried the breastworks before collapsing completely.

The first attack on the centre develops well

Another view with Dragoons and Foot checking against the Swedish left redoubt

Another shot of the Russian right with some venerable Dragoons painted 20 years ago.

From the 'mighty' army which lined up so handsomely at 1330 hours, only three battalions stood before the breastworks at 1700 to try and assault a Swedish force hanging on by its collective finger tips. Having got one battalion over the breastworks, supporting charges failed to carry the day and the Russian attack collapsed leaving a single intact battalion in a Mexican stand off with a hungry looking unit of Swedish Grenadiers  on the Swedish extreme right.

A collapse of the first attack - domino effect.. so frustrating!

Most of the day's casualties came from the devastating artillery fire of three light and one field gun  on the Swedish side and the two Battering guns on the Russian side.

Two Russian battalions died to a man less than five inches from the Swedish line having never fired a shot - The  1st Battalion of the Preobrazhenskoi  Guards and the 1st Battalion of the Novgordskoi Regiments both went down without faltering.. what a waste!

Nearly there on the Russian left - the Swedes are exposed

This almost worked but the battalion was raked by flanking light artillery fire

Total Russian losses (mostly from artillery it must be added) were 97 models whilst total Swedish losses were 48 models - almost exactly half. The total Swedish strength was 84 models and 4 guns whilst Russian strength was 192 models and 2 guns. Only a single squadron of dragoons and one battalion plus the guns were left in good order on the Russian side by the close of turn 22.

The reformed brigade lines up for the final attack

High water mark the Swedish gun position was overrun in this charge

second charge goes in against the Life Guards

If only this charge has gone in!

So near yet so far - the Swedes are triumphant - well done Toggy!

We were averaging 4.5 turns per hour or 13 minutes per turn. Interesting, because it was not a small game. Someone asked us at Crisis why BLB took over 60 minutes per turn.. answer.. I don't know! Maybe the person running their game had not read the rules!

Toggy and I concluded the following:

1. Having a Plodder for a Commander is not good for an attacking army - we are very bright chaps!
2. Swedes can use artillery very successfully!
3. Battering guns within close range of a BuA is definitely the way to go!
4. BLB III is very intuitive and runs even more smoothly than BLB II
5. We need to game more often
6. Always keep your camera charged! - had to resort to iPhone for last few shots!

Although I did not apply all the GNW amendments and special rules the game played fast, smooth and was exciting. We both commented that until the last turn it was anybody's to win.