Sunday 27 October 2013

Safe Passage

My latest SYW scenario relates to this post from August 2012. How quickly the time passes! But after more than a year I was finally ready to explore another of Barry Hilton's scenarios from his Avila mini campaign, which you can find in issue 298 of Wargames Illustrated.

This time a column of supplies is being shepherded through a gap in the lines of a besieging army. The Austrians are the army doing the shepherding, while the Prussians are trying to stop them getting through. 

Reproduced by kind permission of Barry Hilton and Wargames Illustrated.
Copyright Wargames Illustrated.

Forces and deployment were as follows:

Austria (Barry's 'French Column')

Commanding Officer

Infantry Brigade including supply column
2 line battalions
1 grenadier battalion
3 wagons

Infantry Brigade
2 Grenz light infantry battalions

Hussar regiment (independent)

The main infantry brigade and the wagons are deployed on the road at X. The light battalions and the Hussars form flanking columns either side of the town.

Prussia (Barry's 'Allied Force')

Commanding Officer

Infantry Brigade
2 Freikorps battalions
1 line battalion
1 grenadier battalion

Jager corps
2 jager detachments

Hussar regiment (independent)

Civilian militia (independent)

The Hussar regiment starts at position 1. The civilian militia can be placed anywhere on the high ground. The jager start in the 2 groves or orchards, whilst the infantry brigade deploys at position 2.

Scenario special rules
To win, at least 2 of the supply wagons along with a single fighting unit at more than half strength must exit the table over the bridge at point A. The river is fordable but not by the wagons. I counted the fields and any second level hills as bad going.

Converting Barry's varied Peninsula campaign forces for more regular SYW ones was problematic, and not surprisingly I got it a bit wrong, making the Prussians too strong. So if I play it again the Prussian grenadiers will be left out, and the Austrian hussars increased to a large unit (in my rules, 6 stands rather than 4).

Let's see how things went.

Table setup. New tables under the TSS tiles.

The Austrian supply column is assembled near the town.

I diced for the quality of commanders according to my own rules. The Austrians got 2 ditherers, the Prussians got 2 dashing commanders. Ouch! Consequently, the Prussian main force closed quickly with their opponents across the plateau.

The leading grenz battalion moves across to clear away the threat from the Prussian militia unit. The grenzers easily triumphed in this unequal contest.

You can see here how I made the Prussians too strong.
At this early stage there seems to be no way through for the Austrians. The hussar regiments clash in the background.

The two sides come to grips on the plateau. The Austrians did surprisingly well in the firefight and saw off 2 Prussian battalions. The Austrian line wavered but when the smoke cleared all 3 of their regular battalions were still in business. Meanwhile, the Prussian hussars had won their struggle with their Austrian counterparts, and can be seen in the background preparing to strike the Austrian supply wagons. Eventually they destroyed one wagon but impulsively they wheeled across the front of an Austrian infantry battalion to attack another and were destroyed by close range volley fire.

The Prussians fell back to the edge of the plateau and prepared to try conclusions again with the rallied enemy units. Flank support from the grenz battalions was crucial to the Austrians.

The Prussians are forced back again, resting their flanks on the orchards occupied by their jagers.

Time for the grenzers to engage again. This melee ended in eventual destruction for the Austrian unit.

Once again the Prussians have been forced back, whilst the Austrians pause to reform for the next push.

Attacks have gone in to both orchards but have been repulsed by the determined Prussian jagers. After 17 moves I called it here. The Prussians had held on and the supplies would not get through.

The Austrians had done surprisingly well, pushing the Prussians back across the table until they ran out of time. I was pleased with the way my rules allowed units to fall out of the line and reform, ready to attack again. The Prussians had lost 5 units from 8, whilst the Austrians had only lost 2 of their 6 fighting units, plus 1 supply wagon. Had I been using my own usual victory rules, the Prussians would have broken and the Austrians would have scored a well deserved victory.


Steve J. said...

I think it can be tricky translating a scenario from one period to another, but at least you have learnt how to approach this particular one next time around.

I had a game over the weekend based upon a 'historical' Operation Sealion scenario, which turned out to be one of the worst games I've had for years. Details to follow up on my Blog.

Archduke Piccolo said...

A very interesting account of an intriguing scenario. I agree that the Austrians ran the action very close!

Years ago I ran a scenario with similar objectives, but based on the "Olmutz convoy", a 7YW episode. On this one, the convoy escort (Prussians) considerably outnumbered the Austrian attackers, but, having an enormous train of wagons to cover (30 to represent over 3000) found themselves unable to get through more than about half a dozen.

Historically, the incident was even more disastrous for the Prussians!

Jim Walkley said...

An inspiring account Keith. Once again it shows that it is not necessary to have masses of units for a fun game. I will have to try this one myself. Are your new tables higher than the pasting tables? I remember that DF warned against having tables that were too low.

Keith Flint said...

Thanks Jim. They are standard dining table height (around 29"/73cm), same as the pasting tables.

Stryker said...

A good looking game - your new tables seem to fit the bill well. Perhaps it's time to get rid of my own wonky circa 1990 pasting tables!