Monday, November 24, 2008

Highway Robbery!

Thanks to all the mop-moving and card-playing, we've got a pretty decent narrative for a skirmish game that we might otherwise never have had. I was going to work out some clever system for raiders moving around, scouts, ambushes, etc. but then decided 'what the hell... I'll just pile a bunch of figures onto a table and see what happens!' It's worked not badly. Below is my not-quite-scientific doodle-sheet which let me come up with ideas. I recommend this, actually, to aid thinking. The only problem is that it's usually impenetrable to anybody save the writer!
From sketching road networks running north to the city, as well as west to the Aschenbach army over the river, things have coalesced around a pair of road junctions. There's the direct route north, which the Luftberg army will want to pass up. This has been covered by a small fieldwork watched by Freicorps troops, no doubt taking a break from some pillaging, plus some cannons in support. Off on each flank was a few hussar detatchments, while slightly to the north was the undetected regiment of IR7 von Dunkel's infantry, ranging a bit far from home and looking for trouble. Due to the small scale of the fight, I upped the scale so each base represented a company, so according to the Kronoskaf website six companies makes up a typical battalion. It's pictured below, with no other figure than von Zaub chatting to von Dunkel.
To attack this, the Luftberg flying column had no guns (too heavy) but a good plethora of light troops to give weight to the core of the force, the IR7 von Stiegl infantry regiment. Having successfully detected the initial Aschenbach positions, a plan was quickly devised. The notion was for a force of Croats to screen the dug-in Freicorps directly to the front, feint with a Hussar raid to the east, then land the killer blow on the west, where von Stiegl's troops could cut the road back to the river and force a rather hurried retreat from the Aschenbach troops who didn't fancy getting cut off from their main army.
Things didn't get off to a great start however, when the main column under General La Spezia's watchful gaze launched it's attack ahead of the lacklustre Hussars on the other flank, who clearly felt that launching a diversionary raid came a poor second to a lie-in. The Aschenbach hussar screen was swiftly brushed aside by the Luftberg HR2 regiment under Schiele. However, poor La Spezia got a bit too carried away and caught an unlucky sabre blow in the skirmish, getting himself carried off to have his wound treated.

Alerted by the din, the reserve of von Dunkel quickly rushed to the sound of the fighting. There was a small hillock behind the junction, and each side rapidly realised that ownership would be crucial. Von Stiegl reached it first however, as the numbers of swarming Hussars cleared the hill and held the enemy back long enough for him to march up.

As the light troops on the east and centre of the road skirmished away, the two regiments formed up and von Zaub urged the bluecoats straight on. With a crash and din of musketry, the two sides blazed away at close range while the light cavalry continued to skirmish on their flank.

The lines wavered as troops fell back from the pounding match, but the generals kept on rallying them back into forming up and returning to the fight.
However, von Stiegl remained master of the heights for the time being, thwarting Aschenbach efofrts to break through long enough for the hussars to rout their rivals and menace the regimental flank. Von Zaub was alert to the danger though, turning a company out to refuse a flank and steady the situation.

However, things were clearly not going his way, and a fighting retreat was in order. The guns were able to escape cleanly up the main road due to the Luftberg hussars' late appearance, and the Freikorps troops held out comfortably in their fieldworks. However, the Croats' draining fire simply wouldn't stop, so before long the Freikorps were well and truly suppressed and just kept their heads down, trying to hold on long enough for the guns to escape. Once this was done, they joined in the general backwards movement and abandoned their works to the swarms of jubilant Croats who rapidly pursued.

Matters rapidly worsened as the hussars on the east flank finally appeared, descending on the Freikorps as they withdrew north. They took heavy losses, but ultimately managed to fend off the horsemen and kept falling back north. Von Dunkel was likewise pulling back, steadily giving ground and fighting all the way, leaving a trail of dead and injured in his wake as he held the whitecoats at arm's length.
The withdrawal was finally complete, with no troops or guns encircled or captured. This was something of a lucky achievement, and von Zaub's excellent performance was applauded by all! Meanwhile Luftberg's army was able to advance undelayed, with the road cleared to the city. Also, with the direct route back to the river cut, von Zaub now faces a protracted roundabout march to try and rejoin his superiors! Yes, the scene below at the crossroads says it all. The main column of the army approaching, Croats occupying the old fieldworks which would have caused such havoc, and swarms of light cavalry fanning out to harry the defeated foe ahead of them!


Frankfurter said...

Ah yes, the dice can provide enough sponinaety ... especially in a solo game!

A J said...

A bloody little skirmish and well-handled by Aschenbach. Maybe they'll be better rewarded by fate in the first major action.

Fitz-Badger said...

Nice battle (er, skirmish) report.

old-tidders said...

Nice skirmish report and pictures

-- Allan