Saturday, December 6, 2008

Aschenbach's move

So, what a spectacular recovery from the General Von Zaub! Attacked out of the blue, cut off from the main army, he held his command together and fell back to the city of Spitzburg. Reasoning that a city on a river must have a fair amount of marine transport, he bluffed his way on to some of it and escaped to the friendly shore ahead of his pursuers. Not only that, but to create confusion behind him he emptied the banks that was Von Hentsch’s real objective. By the time the Luftberg army arrived, not only was all the money ‘vanished’ but so had all records, making it impossible to tell who owed what! [I rolled a dice for how successful his escape was, and rolled a natural six!]

Von Zaub was initially created as a well-meaning but slow character – but that was before he lost his ancestral lands in the last campaign. Could the resulting exile have had some kind of effect on the man? Based on his last performances, some kind of recessive gene in him has been awakened.

So, what now, as the two armies glare at each other across a fortified river-crossing? Well, Luftberg need to go to another city to try and claim some cash. North is Overburg and south is Unterschloss, but each is four areas away for Luftberg and just two areas for Aschenbach. Strategically, Luftberg is at a big disadvantage as they’ll almost certainly be beaten to either one and have to attack against the defending Aschenbach army. Or, of course, if they pull away from the river crossing the enemy will simply follow them over and prey on their rear, cutting their supply lines. Hm...

That’s assuming of course that Aschenbach is interested in such marching around, when the enemy is right before him and a battle is all he seeks! So, how to do it?

Well, to further get inspiration I drew up the area in a bit more detail and pondered it over. From the direction of flow in the main Spitzwasser river and the tributary river south of the Aschenbach camp, I reasoned that erosion etc. would have plausibly formed a high bluff between the two rivers just before their confluence. If so, then it would give a good elevated position from which the Aschenbach troops could approach unseen, lay a pontoon crossing under protection of cannon on their own bank, then cross over. The Spitzbruck bridge crossing, heavily defended by each side, would be bypassed and the two armies on the same side of the river. The more I pondered it, the better it seemed. Astride the Luftberg lines of supply, a battle in open country would be inevitable. If won, Luftberg could be forced into Spitzburg and would either have to accept terms or a siege they were unprepared for. If the battle was anything like a stalemate, then the Aschenbach army could remain close or withdraw back over the river for protection. In fact, by leaving the crossing well protected, only a major disaster which saw the Aschenbach army comprehensively routed would leave it open to destruction before it escaped to the far bank.

So, a plan is afoot. Aschenbach draws it’s hand, and the cards say…

Tactical Advantage; Terrain Effect; Wild Card; Rally; Large Formation; Terrain Effect; Tactical Advantage; Small Formation; Fatigued; Ambush

From this, I’m going with: Aschenbach will attempt a River Crossing (WILDCARD) to launch a Surprise Attack (AMBUSH) on the Luftberg Army. This will succeed because of the surprise crossing point (TACTICAL ADVANTAGE), the advantageous bluff on the friendly side of the crossing (TERRAIN EFFECT) and this can be carried out in the face of the enemy still resting after their forced march up the road (FATIGUED.)

The cards have fitted in nicely with this plan, with good ‘terrain effect’ and ‘tactical advantage’ cards – excellent! I’ll roll for success or failure just before the miniature battle, once I’ve drawn up some tactical maps and ‘prepared the field’ so to speak. The dice roll will be used to decide how far through the process the Aschenbachers get before the Luftberg army awakes to it’s peril.


A J Matthews said...

The strategic situation is certainly in the Aschenbachers' favour. A pontoon swung across the river out of sight will certainly provide surprise. I'd hate to be the Luftberg commander when he sees what is on his flank the next morning!

Fitz-Badger said...

Wouldn't the Luftbergers have posted some scouts on the bluff to watch for such maneuvers?

CWT said...

Fitz-Badger: There will indeed be a skirmishing screen along the river, and I'm currently at work trying to discover how far out from an army this would extend.

It's funny how a wargame can lead to you researching some odd things!