Saturday, October 16, 2021

Forcing the Uvarova

The vastness and the difficulty of the terrain through the Caucasus meant that by 1915 there were still avenues to be explored if victory was to be gained by either side. In this fictional scenario a Russian division attacks towards an approaching Turkish division. The Turkish commander had pushed his leading regiment forward to capture the high ground to the north of the Uvarova river covering the town of Koshcheyevo, the regimental commander hoping that the remainder of the division would be hurrying forward to his support.

In this game we framed the tactical situation as an Advance to Contact from the scenario generation system, albeit wth forces that had not been generated using a points system. Each force included a regiment of Corps heavy artillery to supplement the divisional guns. With each game we add slightly more complexity, as we grow in confidence with our return to the rules.

The two bridges, and the village sectors, were all objectives in the scenario. The game was fought between Andy and me, using our 20mm armies, all modelled using the HaT figures.

The battlefield with the Russian plan, the Russian division advancing from the right (the north). The advanced Turkish regiment was deployed on the 2 contour feature in the centre of the battlefield.

The Turkish commander's plan.

The advanced Turkish regiment deployed on the 2 contour feature top centre, with two Russian brigades advancing towards them. The right hand of these two brigades was intended to be held in reserve.

Overview of the initial advances

The advanced Turkish regiment had a regiment of 75mm guns deployed brigaded on table in support

The reserve Russian brigade comes under Turkish MMG fire, The removes it form reserve, and so significantly reduces the Russian commander's ability to shape the battlefield with the reserve.

The Russian right flank brigade advances to wards its first objective, a village sector on the right. The plan was to take that position on the flank, and then step off on a timed order to assault the main river crossing and town sectors from the flank.

With the Russian reserve brigade now no loner in reserves, the commander pushes companies forward to engage the advanced Turkish regiment

The Reserve brigade

The firefight begins with the Turkish advanced regiment bringing down artillery fire on the spotted Russian companies

The advanced Turkish regiment, We chose to use 6mm aircraft models as 'identifiers' of those fighting stands being used as FOs. In future we will try to use 'in period, in theatre' aircraft, but in the meantime ...

The Russian right flank regiment, supported by a regiment of 75mm field guns, in the process of deploying

The 2nd Russian brigade pushing fighting stands forward. The plan involved them stepping off on a timed order too, to assault the main river bridge in an assault coordinated with the right flank brigade.

Manoeuvring individual fighting stands against the Turkish advanced regiment. Of note is that the 2nd and 3rd Russian regiments had not advanced to provide close support t=for the advanced regiment.

The Russian left flank brigade, with spotted enemy, manoeuvres fighting stands forward to apply more pressure in the firefight

Intense fire from artillery and small arms causes casualties on both sides

The right flank Russian brigade swings left at the end of its command arrow.

The advanced Turkish regiment suffers heavy fire and mounting casualties

However the opposing Russian infantry are sharing a similar experience

Artillery fire starts ot fall on the Russian right flank brigade

Fewer and fewer stands remain in the advanced Turkish position

Russian artillery fire starts to fall on the Turkish left flank

Fewer and fewer Turkish stands in the centre

But the Russian brigades are not having it all their own way

The Russian right flank brigade charge forward, perhaps slightly precipitously. Heavy fire falls

The Russian infantry assault the Turkish infantry

The Russian 2nd Brigade has also stepped off to support the right flank assault

Fighting stands from the Russian 3rd and 4th Brigades advance to put more pressure on the Turkish centre regiment. Efforts to change orders for what had been the Russian reserve, to initiate a general advance fail repeatedly.

Casualties now pass both the 50% and 75% marks in the one turn. While the regiment passes the first morale throw, it fails the second, and the entire Turkish centre is a gaping whole

The right flank Russian brigade assault fails, with significant casualties

While in terms of our evening we had run out of time,  the overall position was now reasonably clear. The Turkish centre had disintegrated, and the left was under extreme pressure. The only factor limiting the Russian progress would be the ability of the divisional commander to get new orders through to his brigade commanders.

In victory point terms, the Russian force had 6 to the Turkish 3.

Perhaps the Turkish deployment had seen the advanced brigade lacking support, with the division spread too thinly for regiments to support each other.

As the Russian commander, I had allocated the corp guns to counter battery fire, preferring to use the WW2/Moderns Spearhead approach to CB fire. The guns were singularly unsuccessful throughout the entire battle, not getting to fire a single round (read that as - a series of 1s and 2s on the dice throughout the game). This meant that the Turkish artillery was able to fire unimpeded. The Turkish commander allocated his heavy corps guns to fire support of his advanced regiment. It did quite some damage.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

In defence of Dubovitsa

The summer of 1914 was a time of rapid movement, and horrendous human loss, and nowhere more so than in central and southern Russia where the Austro Hungarian army advanced into Russia.

An Austrian division is pushing forward to cut an important rail link that might otherwise allow the Russian army to reinforce its defence further north. However a Russian infantry division gets there first, and prepares to push the Austrians further back from the rail line, and the railhead of Dubovitsa, to secure this vital rail head and line of communication.

This was a Great war Spearhead game played using my 20mm troops (almost Hat Figures, with some Irregular Miniatures Austrian MMGs bolstering numbers). Andrew, my opponent, is a Spearhead WW2 and Moderns player, but with only a couple of GWSH games under his belt a few years ago. The game was another in our series to re-familiarise ourselves with the rules. Hence its simplicity.

The Russian forces advance from the left, the Austrians from the right. Three Austrian regiments push forward, with a fourth held in reserve. Two Russian Brigades have advance, the third held in reserve.

An Austrian artillery regiment attached out to the left flank regiment, advances ready to deploy and support the infantry regiment.

The left  flank Russian Brigade (or so it appeared!!) adopts a defensive position in the centre of the battlefield. It is supported by a brigaded regiment of Russian 76mm guns, seen top centre in the photo

Russian infantry deploy in defence

Austrian infantry advance on their left, taking Dubovitsa (centre left of the photo)
Austrian infantrty push through the forests in the centre of the battlefield

Austrian guns preparing to deploy. Dubovitsa can be seen in the background, the rail line (on an embankment) seen just beyond.

Austrian infantry begin deploying into their defensive positions in the forests guarding their right flank

Three companies in defence, with a local reserve of another three companies just behind

The Austrian centre

Austrian infantry secure Dubovitsa, deployed in defence

Russian artillery fire suddenly falls on the Austrian infantry in the centre and losses immediately begin to mount

An infantry company and a MMG company had held this position in the Austrian centre, both now casualties to Russian artillery fire

The third Russian brigade held in reserve is now committed, deployed on the extreme Russian left (Austrian right) seen here advancing down the flank past their 2nd Brigade

Action heats up in the centre, with more Austrian casualties

The Russian reserve brigade (3 Brigade), following its command arrow, swings right to begin its assault on the Austrian right flank (the extreme right of the photo) having marched forward down the flank of its 2 Brigade

Meanwhile in the centre, an artillery and small arms firefight is developing

Austrian casualties are mounting

Even in the forest, Austrian casualties are accumulating

Russian troops of their 1 Brigade on the Russian right come under fire from the deployed Austrian gun batteries (which managed to inflict not a single casualty throughout the entire game!!!!)

The Russian assault on the Austrian right steps off, and the Russian centre brigade (in the upper part of the photo) responds to a timed order to join the assault. This is indeed a massed assault in the finest tradition, carefully planned by Andrew

The Russian reserve regiment had been committed and is hurrying to the support of the right flank (seen at the bottom centre of the photo)

The Russian attack takes its first round of small arms fire, but the Austrian musketry is wayward, inflicting only two suppressions, even though the Russian infantry is moving in the open

The firefight is continuing in the centre

Casualties are now taken by both sides in the centre (the gaps where stands had once been deployed)

The Austrian left, still holding Dubovitsa

The Russian 3 Brigade launches a frenzied assault against the Austrian right along the tree line of the forest

It's every man for himself!!!

The Russian 2 Brigade advance is now closing, adding pressure to the Austrian right

Gaps appear in the Russian assault as they take fire while closing to contact

However those Russian infantry who make it in to contact win their melees, and are able to force their way into the forest

The bloody chaotic mess that is the fighting on the edge of the forest. The Austrian Reserve regiment is now 'on the spot' immediately behind the troops involved in the fierce fighting. Will the two regiments between them be able to hold the Russian attack?

Sadly we had to call the game at that point (we'd run out of time). Our suspicion is that the Russian attack was likely to succeed, unless the Austrian die rolling saw a drastic improvement (even matching the statistical odds would have helped LOL).

These smaller less ambitious games are a great way to get back into GWSH. We will over time work our way back towards some mid war action with trench lines and preparatory barrages, but my aim first is to get a group of us sufficiently confident with the rules mechanisms that we can do so with relative ease. After all, those assaults take a lot of planning and coordination, even on the wargames table.

Forcing the Uvarova

The vastness and the difficulty of the terrain through the Caucasus meant that by 1915 there were still avenues to be explored if victory wa...