Monday, 17 January 2011
Odessa Files Part III - Baptism at Bleidska
We played the "Mud & Blood" scenario "Baptism at Bleid" but as a Russian Civil War Scenario. A Bolshevik force has infiltrated Greek lines overnight, and in the early morning mist, Comrade Rommelski and 4 men crept around a farmhouse overlooking the hamlet of Bleidska (Position X), and found a Greek platoon bivouacked in the hamlet - half the platoon was getting tea and blini from the farmers wife (Position Y), the other half were still packing their blankets, making breakfast and filling their water canteens from a well in the cherry orchard and fields behind the farm buildings (Position W). The Bolsheviks must have a foothold in Bleidska so the main force following up behind can force the gap.
Rommelsi ran back to his company following some way behind him (Position Z), and urged them forward as quickly as possible, taking care to put one section in the farmhouse and one in a nearby barn to give covering fire. then, with Rommelski in charge , the rest charged down the meadow into the hamlet as quickly and quietly as they could (A Level IV Big man can really make a force move).
Greeks bivouacked at the Farmhouse in Bleidska - Comrade Rommelski is in the house at the top of the picture spying out the lay of the land
Lieutenat Kleftikon and his two NCOs were drinking tea and chatting up the farmer's daughter when the shapes emerged out the mist, charging down the meadow towards a gate entering onto the road (we moved it from where it is by Y on the map to the T junction). Kleftikon ordered one squad into the house to shoot at the Bolsheviks, while he ran with his other squad to the hedge so they could shoot at the Bolsheviks running down the meadow . However, there were too many of them, too close, so in the time honoured tradition of the Evzones he pulled out his sabre and with Corporal Stifados and his squad fixing bayonets, they charged the Bolsheviks (Heroic man card arrived in the nick of time), hoping to catch them at the gate, a narrow bottleneck, and drive them back. Unfortunately it was not to be, and thee Bolsheviks rapidly overran Stifados's squad, wiping it - and Lieutenant Kleftikon - out. (Anybody within 9" can join in the scrap, even at a bottleneck)
Sneaky Bolsheviks sneaking round the farmhouses, ready to attack the unprepared Greeks (top of picture)
However, all the noise had alerted another squad camping in a nearby field, and they came running (arriving on table at point V) and occupied the farmhouse on the extreme left of the village where they started shooting at the bolshy Bolshies.. Lieutenant Kleftikon's heroic charge had also given the men in the orchard behind the farmhouse time to try and pull themselves together. This was ultimately to be decisive, but for now the Bolsheviks came pouring through the gate in numbers, one section grabbed a large log to batter the farmhouse door down, faltered after some desperate shooting from the Greeks in the houses, but with Rommelski urging them onwards for the Motherland (and threatening to shoot any dog who didn't go forward), they bashed down the door before falling back in disorder as a hail of shots came out the house. However, they had done their job, and more Russian charged into the house and threw the Greeks out (the farmer and his family having long since fled).
Bolsheviks charge down the meadow to the field gate, hoping to overwhelm the unprepared Greeks before reinforcements can arrive. At the left top of the picture by the trees is Sergeant Stifados' squad, about to be led on a suicide charge by Lieutenant Kleftikon. Gee thanks....
However, the Greek troops in the fields behind the farmhouse had gathered their wits and promply charged the Russians in the farmhouse, and a fierce struggle ensued which the Greeks eventually won (when in doubt, throw sixes) ejecting the Russians who retired back up the meadow and regrouped behind a stone wall, Rommelski furiouly urging them to try again. They were preparing for a second attack against the depleted Greeks, but at that moment the rest of the second Greek platoon arrived on the table and the Bolsheviks retired, leaving the somewhat shaken Greeks still in control of Bleidska.
Summary - a very exciting game, so exciting that we forgot to take any pictures of the ebb and flow fighting around the farmhouse - the "Mud & Blood" card system really worked well here, not only sowing uncertainty but also some uncannily timely cards - a Greek "Heroic Leader" card for the Lieutenant's charge, a "Friction" card causing delay among the men in the orchard when they saw teh Russian charge, a Russian "Up and at 'em" card just when the men battering down the door needed it most, and so on. It worked less well getting the Bolshevik force from far corner to the attack as the workflow is tedious going through cards waiting to activate each sub-unit, so we may institute "march moves" in future.