Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cavalry Battle in the East

Last week we got together at the club to play a game celebrating the imminent release of the Pikeman's Lament rules.
If you've read this blog before, it will probably not come as a huge surprise that it was part of our ongoing club campaign set in the Swedish-Polish War in the 1620s.

This time, we were a total of 6 players with 3 on the Swedish side and 3 on the Polish side. This game was intended as a cavalry battle, so only mounted troops and commanded shot units were allowed. Each player could use 12 army points. This meant that each player had 2 or 3 units to run.
The Tatars arrive.
As usual I fielded my Pikeman's Lament officer, Henrik the Hammer. This time he was at the head of a unit of Aggressive Elite Gallopers. I also used a unit of cuirassiers (Trotters in game terms) and a unit of commanded shot.
The other two commands on the Swedish side each consisted of 3 units of Aggressive Gallopers. One of Swedes and one of Scots mercenaries.

The Swedish cavalry and commanded shot advance.
The Polish force consisted of a Flemish mercenary command with two Cuirassiers (Elite Trotters) and two commands of tatars with a mix of Trotters and skirmishing light cavalry (Dragoons in game terms)
In this game the victory conditions involved controlling as many of 3 objectives as possible for as long as possible. On the Swedish right flank, there was an objective in a village, while the centre had an objective on a hill.On the left there was a bridge that was also an objective.

The Scots cavalry rush forward
As the Swedish force consisted almost entirely of Aggressive Gallopers who will automatically attempt to charge the enemy if these are in range, our tactics were simple: Rush the enemy at the first opportunity and hope that superior close combat ability will be enough to win the day.

The Tatars skirmish against charging Swedish cavalry supported by commanded shot
On the Polish side the Tatar light horse skirmished in an attempt to wear down the Swedish cavalry while avoiding close combat, while their Trotters (Flemish Cuirassiers and Tatar heavy horse) relied on pistol fire  to do the same.
In this the Flemish and Tatars were largely successful.
The Swedes quickly won control of the objective in the village, while the Flemish took the bridge. That left the central hill objective, and the fighting was most intense there.

Swedes and Tatars contest the central hill
The Flemish and Tatars managed to use their firepower and skirmishing to weaken the Swedish cavalry before the Swedes could get into close combat.

The notorious Flemish Mercenaries approach the bridge.
Repeated Swedish charges all along the line did weaken the Tatars, but the Swedish cavalry suffered even worse and gradually lost several units.

The initial Swedish charge inflicts some losses on the Tatars, but is eventually repulsed with even greater losses to the Swedes. Darn....
The Swedish cavalry then made a concerted charge at the centre hill, but was eventually forced off it with heavy losses.
Swedish Cuirassiers face their Flemish counterparts across the river.
Eventually, the Swedish cavalry only had a couple of units still at reasonable strength. In a desperate final attempt to retrieve the situation Henrik charged the hill at the head of his personal unit of elite cavalry.
The climax of the battle. The Tatars have secured the hill, but the Swedish cavalry prepares a final charge
In a fine display of great bravery (if not terribly good thinking) Henrik's wild charge managed to wipe out one of the Tatar units on the hill, and then continued straight into another Tatar foe. Taking him ever deeper into the enemy ranks....
Henrik the Hammer charges the Tatars. it is the last attempt to turn the tide...
Courageously, Henrik's Västgöta cavalry smashed this second Tatar unit as well. Unfortunately this had depleted this last combat-worthy Swedish unit severely and left it stranded among a great number of enemy.
Amazingly, it managed to survive some Tatar shooting, but the last survivors fell when the wily Tatars lured them into some bad going.
So this was indeed a Swedish defeat, although Henrik claims that it was a moral victory for him personally....
And yes, Henrik did survive, although he was wounded. He will recover in time for the next battle, though......

As ever, this was another fun game of Pikeman's Lament.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Siege of Vienna 1683: The Forces of the Sultan

I now have enough Ottoman Turkish figures to actually play some games of our home grown Musket Mayhem rules as well as for the upcoming Pikeman's Lament rules from Osprey.
There are now 3 units of Janissaries, 2 units of provincial cavalry and an artillery piece. There are also a few commanders.

A unit of Janissaries with cavalry in reserve.
Most of the figures I've chosen would work for just about any Turkish campaign from mid-late 1500s and well into the 1700s.
But to begin with, we are aiming at the campaigns culminating in the siege of Vienna in 1683. We chose this particular campaign as it is well documented, very dramatic and involved lots of different nationalities.

The Janissary commander in front of his men.
During this campaign there was not just the siege of Vienna itself, but also a lot of raids and maneuvers by both sides with many smaller sized actions over a wide area as the Turks advanced to start the siege operation. Then there was more raids and skirishes as the Allied armies marched to relieve the siege.

Another view of the Janiisaries
This period lends itself to lots of painting and modelling. In this campaign alone there were not just Turks and Austrians taking part. There were also various German states (Würtenberg and Bavaria, etc), Poles, Hungarians and Tatars.
The entire Turk force. But some reinforcements have yet to come....

There are still a few units to add. I will add a unit of Kapiqulu Spahis and a couple of irregular infantry units, for example.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Siege of Vienna 1683, The Forces of the Empire

An Imperial/Austrian Officer

Time to show some more units for the upcoming Siege of Vienna project. The major battle of this campaign was the battle of Kaltenberg, a smashing victory for the Imperial forces. The German Emperor for once managed to call on his vasalls and they did what the Emperor asked them to do - defend the Empire. The bulk of this force comprised of German units or the different principalities of the empire. The largest contingents came from Austria, Bavaria and Saxony.  An allied Polish force was also present. So whenbuilding an Anti-Turkish force one have to consider which units to build first. I have started with Austrians. I do wish to utterly defeat my adversary(you can see his evil minions in the last posting on this blog). Thus I do need some pikes and heavy cavalry. I might need some lighter cavalry units, but I have bought any suitable minis for that......a few decisions  has to be made in a near future.

Imperial Austrian Curassiers, a unit know as "Graf Palfly-Erdöly"

Pikes, possibly a unit known as "Graf Mansfeld"

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Shape of Things to Come: The Turks Are Coming!

As Jeppan posted a little while ago, we are working on a project covering the campaigns culminating with the Siege of Vienna in 1683 for our home-grown Musket Mayhem rules.
I will be doing the Turks, with Jeppan covering the Austrians, Germans and probably some Poles as well.
This is still very much work in progress, and I have quite a few figs still to paint, but here are a few pics of the first batch of completed units.

The Turkish Pascha issuing orders in front of the provincial cavalry and some Janissaries
The figures are a mix of Warlord Games and The Assault Group.
The Turkish cavalry in these pictures are intended to depict the provincial turkish cavalry (Delis, Timariot Spahis, or similar). The figures are actually slightly converted 'Arab Light Cavalry' from Warlord Games.

A closer look at the turkish provincial cavalry and Janissaries
The Janissaries are a mix. Some are from The Assault Group, with most from of Warlord Games' box of 'Janissary Infantry'.

The turk host from a different angle

I will add a couple more units of Janissaries and some Guard cavalry (Kapuqulu Spahis), some irregular infantry (Sekban, Basi-Bazouk, Sappers or similar low-grade). There will also be an artillery piece.