Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Blood on the Danube - 30 Years War

In order to give my newly finished Polish Winged Hussars a run I set up a scenario based on the Blood on the Danube scenario in the Pike & Shotte book.  In this variant, Gustavus Adolphous has outmaneovered Wallenstein and the main Imperialist army is in danger of being cut off from its base.  This outnumbered Imperialist force has to hold off the Swedish advance guard until nightfall (after the 8th turn) to allow Wallenstein to avoid the trap. 
My Imperialist Army is on the right.  It comprises 3 infantry divisions each 2 pike & 4 shotte, a German cavalry division of 4 heavy horse, a Polish cavalry division of 3 winged hussars, 4 guns & 2 commanded musketeers units.   They are deployed along series of hedges & walls that extend right across the battlefield.  The artillery are deployed on the ridge in front of their centre, the commanded muskets are added to centre division.

Mike & Steve's army of Swedes & mercenaries has 3 mercenary infantry divisions of 2 pike & 4 shotte, an elite Swedish division of 2 pike & 7 shotte & 2 heavy cavalry divisions of 4 units each.  They deployed with the Swedes in front of the guns, the cavalry beside them in the centre, 2 infantry on their right & one on their left.
The Swedish right has advanced rapidly and is softening up the enemy with close range shotte.  The Swedish vets have chosen to blow the battery off the hill with musket fire.  The left is advancing slowly. 
The Swedes have made their first breakthrough at the eaxtreme left end of the Imperialist line.  Witht he battery disposed of, the Swedish vets have moved up open fire on the main line in the centre along with the mercenaries on the far end of the line .  A Swedish cavalry division has been turned right in anticipation of being able to exploit a breakthrough.  
While a breakthrough has been made on the near flank, it cost a lot of casualties & exploitation has been slow.  Imperialist cavalry is coming to counterattack.  On the far flank, one Swdish pike unit has broken through, but the Polish cavalry has moved up & prevented any exploitation of the gap.

The Imperialist cavalry has arrived to stop the rot on the near flank, engaging the pike in a caracole.  The rest of the line still holds.  This is the state of the battle after the 8th turn which was nominated as nightfall, but it was still early, we were still having fun, & we were still learning stuff about fighting unsymmetric battles, so we kept on fighting.
A couple of turns on and the odd gap is beginning to appear in the Imperialist line.  Eventually, it will probably break, but clearly they have held the line for long enough to claim victory.  

I think that the Imperialist strategy of holding the thin line with a cavalry reserves to plug the gaps was arguably as good as defence as any, but their victory was made easy by the Swedes mishandling their veteran infantry.  I think they should have made an immediate concentrated attack with them to break a section of the line, with the cavalry following up to exploit, and the mercenaries putting pressure on the rest of the front. 

Since we last fought this era we have fought a bit of 7YW & Napoleonic era battles where we had developed a few rules variations that we saw tonight could apply equally to this period.  We discussed a few tweaks for next time we fight this era.

Next Tuesday will be a return to real Hail Caesar - Romans v. Carthaginians.   Mike has some new Republicans he wants to blood in battle.

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