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.


  1. Looks great! There's nothing quite like massed infantry waves moving across the table.

  2. I don't know about a simple game; it became pretty intense (just reading it)! You have done a fabulous job of painting and basing the figures and guns too.
    Regards, James

  3. Thanks James..and yes, very intense... a great game!!


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