Wednesday, October 7, 2015

'A hot day's work' ..

It was a hot day's work in more than one way. A blustery Canterbury (New Zealand) nor' west wind throwing spring temperatures up around 30+ degrees C as Nick G and I played the first game in the new games room. We fought the 'A hot day's work' scenario from 'The Great Adventure'.

The scenario was written as a beginners' scenario for Great War Spearhead, but is nice and small, and very challenging for both players. As I warn in the scenario intro, it warrants replay as it can offer a range of possibilities and some surprises as I was to find out.

For a change of scene/setting I adapted the scenario to the eastern front, with two Austro-Hungarian regiments with artillery support attacking a Russian Brigade to take an important town at a road junction. Random morale rules were used for both sides.

The battlefield seen from the Russian left/AH right. The Austro Hungarians enter from the left of the picture.

As the Russian player I chose to defend the right flank, refusing my left. I occupied the main town sector in the centre, with a central reserve (seen at the bottom of the photograph below). I also kept a small right flank reserve in case of a flank march (the attacking player is allowed to do so). This reserve can be seen on the extreme right of the photo in the woods.

The initial Russian deployment.

The Russian artillery regiment was set up on the high ground on the Russian right, with a field of fire down the right flank, and in support of the forces holding the town and crossroads

Russian forces holding 'Centreville'

Nick chose to drive down his left flank. He'd set his plan before I set up my forces in defence. His assault would come in squarely against my defence. His right flank regiment was to hook around and assault and take Centreville.

The Austro-Hungarian assault seen at the top right of the photo

The Russian reserve companies were immediately deployed to shore up the right flank.

First fire on the Austro-Hungarian right flank regiment. On testing morale it was Regular

Fire continued on this regiment. However with a limit of four fire missions there were far too few casualties being inflicted on the Austro-Hungarians.

The Russian right reaches the edge of the wooded area on the right flank before the Austro-Hungarians can enter the wood so they are caught in the open. Command radii however mean that this is at the limit of the Russian deployment. Opening fire shows the Russian Brigade to be veteran and the second Austro-Hungarian regiment to be green

The Russian left wing companies redeploy to support the troops holding Centreville.

Russian artillery in action

The Austro-Hungarian infantry now take fire from the artillery and from a machine gun detachment in the outskirts of Centreville

The Austro-Hungarian artillery deployed and in action

Reserve companies move forward through the woods to support the Russian right

The Austro-Hungarian right wing is now taking casualties from the Russian artillery and the machine guns

The Austro-Hungarian artillery brings the Russian artillery under fire, suppressing two of the batteries
In a bold move Nick pushed two companies into an assault against the town determined to take it. I have to admit I was fairly confident that I could hold the town sector, with three veteran companies (and my FAO) in the town.

One of the assaulting companies was cut down by fire as it attacked. I now felt very confident.

The assault
 However the other company went in and against the odds defeated the defenders destroying three companies of veteran infantry.

The town in the aftermath of the assault

Casualties are also starting to mount on the Russian right
 Nick occupied Centreville, the objective of the game. So I threw four companies of veteran infantry into the assault. I was however pretty sceptical, but this was an all or nothing moment.

You guessed it .. The Russians were thrown back from the assault (of course in Spearhead terms the companies were eliminated).

Where once there was a battalion of Russian veteran infantry ...

At this stage the Russians withdrew. They no longer had the strength to retake the town.
 It was clearly time to fall back to another position.

The Austro-Hungarian infantry left in command of Centreville and the crossroads.
We opted to play this small scenario because we had only a small window of time in which to play, and of course there is often little more frustrating to a 'gamer than to get half way through a game and have to stop. You are left pondering all of those 'what ifs'. In this case there was no doubt about it, no what ifs.

It was an awesome wee game with no certainty of outcome. I have seen the scenario go both ways. This one certainly does reward refighting from time to time.

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