Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Third Battle of Krasnik - A GWSH game

It's been a very long time (a year I think) but finally I've been able to organise a Great War Spearhead game. I chose a small 1914 scenario from the scenario book 'Summer Harvest' because we are rusty with the rules, and so I knew that game play would be a lot slower than normal. The battle sees forces of roughly a division per side, not too bad for a smaller evening game (we thought).

The battle saw Russians and Austrians battling it out for some high ground and the village of

A random die roll determined that Jon commanded the Russians while I commanded the Austrians. We sued my 20mm forces, mostly HaT miniatures, the Austrians supplemented with some Irregular Miniatures Austrian HMG stands.

The battle began with an Austrian regiment in light entrenchments holding the main ridge line.

The Austrian regiment in position in the centre, with the Russian advance beginning

The forward Austrian positions were supported by two Austrian artillery batteries

The Russian advanced regiment moves forward

The Austrians rush two companies forward to hold Polichna

The Austrian off table artillery regiment comes into action early (turn 2) and brings down fire on the Russians 

More Russian reinforcements sweep onto the battlefield with the arrival of most of the remainder of the division

The Russian division is supported by on table batteries

Opening fire is exchanged between the forward forces

Austrian reinforcements arrive on table - the remainder of the division

Action heats up in Polichna. The advancing Russians take casualties

One Austrian company in Polychna is eliminated, but the other holds out

Reinforcing elements of the Austrian division advance, artillery in support

Austrian divisional cavalry rush to support forward elements of 1 regiment holding Dobrowa on the Austrian left

Russian reinforcements on their left

Direct artillery fire from the supporting Russian batteries eliminates the Austrian artillery detachment holding Dobrowa

Action continues in Polichna, the remaining Austrian company fighting off the attacking Russians

Russian reinforcements push forward

Heated firefights develop all along the front, the Russians seeming unable to make headway

The Russians rush forward (having ceased the initiative at a vital moment) and take Dobrowa

Fierce fighting takes place in Polichna

And the firefights in the centre continue

The Russian fire begins to tell on the Austrians, with reinforcements just beginning to arrive to support 1 regiment in the forward positons

Finally after an incredible volume of fire the second Austrian company in Polichna is eliminated, ceding Polichna to the Russians

The Russian advance against the Austrian left applies pressure, with the supporting artillery suppressed

The Austrian 3 Regiment advancing to support the Austrian right

And 2 Regiment in the centre

The Austrian commander attempts to feed reinforcements into the front line on the left. That's Dobrowa on the left
 It is only at this stage in the game (Turn 9) that Jon finally makes a successful roll to get the support of his off table artillery regiment.

Finally the Russian persistence is rewarded and in an incredibly intense period of fire the Austrian 1 regiment holding the centre breaks and abandons its positions

The flanking 3 regiment arrives just as 1 Regiment breaks, ensuring that there will be no easy breakthrough for the Russians

Heavy fire falls on the Russian now holding Polichna

The Austrian forward positions empty

And still empty

Still heavy fire falls on Polichna

The Austrian right pushes towards the flank of the advancing Russians
At this point night is falling and the action is abandoned. We were only able to run the game to 9 of the proscribed 12 turn.

The relatively indecisive nature of the end result was more a result of how much we'd forgotten since we last played GWSH as it was of anything else. It was easy to see how we might have each produced different outcomes with slightly different command choices. Perhaps the biggest issue for each of us was the relatively poor use of our supporting on-table artillery batteries. The bonus +1 fire factor for the on-table Russian batteries in these early months would have made a significant difference.

The scenario warrants at least another play - there are (as always) subtleties that are not apparent at first reading. this is one of the many things we love about Great War Spearhead and the historical scenarios that Shawn Taylor and Robert Dunlop continue to generate.

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