Monday, 21 February 2011

The Odessa Files Part V - Action at Srednogorod

One of the small skirmishes in the Bolshevik advance on Odessa. The small town of Srednogorod was the scene of an encounter battle between Bolsheviks and Graeco-French allies, trying out Contemptible Little Armies (CLA) rules. The objective was simple - take the town!

CLA only defines "units" of 8 - 18 figures so we went for 1:1 scale, both sides c1,000 points (c 100 figure armies - about 2 platoons plus support weapons)

The Bolsheviks fielded 2 platoons of 4 squads of 10, one being elite, and also had a unit of Cossacks, 3 Machine Guns, 3 Field Guns....and a Putilov Armoured Car. 

The Greeks fielded 2 platoons, each of 4 squads of 9 men, including a Chauchat per squad, 2 Machine Guns, a Mortar and a Schneider-Danglis 75mm mountain gun'. You can only field 2 units of Evzones in an army in CLA, so all the Evzones were played as ordinary troops

The Greeks also has French support for the first time, a unit of Poilu in Bleu, and a unit of the Legion d'Etrangere (Elite) (It's interesting, once people in the club knew we were doing eastern World War One Salonika Front / Russian Civil War / Back of Balkan Beyond Imagii- Nations they started donating various figures here and there, so I now have enough for a squad/platoon/company of Poilu in bleu, similar Foreign Legion, a Machine Gun, and enough other various bit and pieces to move the Byzantia Imagi-Nation along quite nicely - of which more, later)

To be honest though , the Russian Civil War is so "back of beyond" it has been quite fascinating in its own right. We fell into it just to allow Greeks to play Russians to test various WW1 rulesets (our German opponent not being around), but it has proven a fairly fascinating gaming environment owing to the variety of nations and troops involved, the open nature of the games, the penny packet armour used)

(Greeks on the left, Bolsheviks on the right, armoured car at the bottom)

The two armies raced for the town, the Cossack cavalry and the armoured car tried to attack down one flank so they could get into the Greek rear. (Above). The first action occurred as two units of Greeks saw the Cossacks heave into view and let fly with Chauchat and rifle fire, toppling some of the Cossacks. The 75mm gun also fired at the Cossacks, to some effect but when one of the Greek machine guns and the mortar opened up, they had had enough and fled. Sadly for the Greeks, the Putilov car then rolled up and its murderous fire swept the Greeks - those who didn't fall ran (caught in open by enemy armour), and the Greek flank was about to collapse with 2 squads gone and two more Russsian units moving up on foot behind the Car.

It was at this point the Mountain Gun saved the day, the Greeks stopped their knees knocking and fired over open sites - and scored a direct hit on the Armoured Car, destroying it!. This cheered up the Greeks no end, and caused the Bolshevik foot to rethink their option against a flank still covered by a machine gun and Mountain Gun.

Over open sights, the Greek mountain gun prepares to try and stop ther Charge of the Putilov Car!

On the other flank the Bolshevik artillery made things very hot for the Greeks until they could shelter in some thick woods and a small hamlet nearby, where they stayed, slowly being whittled away by Russian assaults while desperately trying to drag a machine gun and mortar over to help (heavy weapons move slowly and can only shoot in line of sight)

While this was occurring, French Poilu and Bolsheviks troops clashed in the village, and desperate close range shooting and hand to hand fighting started. The Russians committed the Bolshevik Elite commanded by a Komissar, the French Foreign Legion also joined in the fray. The Bolshies slowly won via pure numbers (although a lot cheaper, they fight better in hand to hand than Greeks or French troops as they count as Ferocious - only the Legion could match them.)

 The game ended with the Greeks retiring to lick their wounds , the French wiped out in their debut game.

CLA Is the 5th ruleset we have used for Eastern Front WW1/RCW, it is the simplest - very "beer and pretzels" so we got the game finished quickly. It has the most comprehensive army lists of all the sets (The Salonika Front and armies in the East like Greeks are ignored by all the others, which is odd as the more open nature of the warfare makes for much more excting games in our opinion). However, we felt the rules were a bit too simple for our needs, and (unless we were reading it wrong) having 5 point "Ferocious" poorly trained (but clearly very motivated)  Bolsheviks troops beating 10 point French Poilu and being the equal of Legionaires in H2H was a bit rich.

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