Tuesday, 18 September 2012

1848 - First Battle of Zelezna Kopje

The Hungarian Army crosses into Trans-Syldavian lands - nearest are units of Grenz Light Infantry, Jagers and the Don Miguel Line Regiment plus guns, in the middle are a lot of dashing Hussars, and far way are Grenz Infantry and Jagers, with more cannon.

For various reasons (see here) we decided to play 1848-49 War of the Hungarian Independence battles, with 28mm figures (to capture the gloriously gaudy uniforms). 

In the early period of the War, the fighting was mainly skirmish level fighting, which we have been doing as we build up our forces. The Serbians mainly had non trained local Serbs, and from the Turkish territories. These are all all irregular but tough Balkan bandits - Bashi Bazouks. Also available were some Serbs fighting in Austrian service - the Grenz regiments, plus Czaikisten from the river fleet who served on foot as an artillery unit, equipped with 6pdr guns.

As I didn't have any Serb figures, but had quite a lot of Turkish and generic Balkan troops plus various Zouave types lying around, I invented a small Balkan Imagi-Nation - Trans-Syldavia - to model the sorts of Balkan forces revolting against the Hungarian boot. Their uniforms (oddly enough) looked exactly like my figures.....(the Hungarians can't tell the difference between all these Balkan peoples anyway..) 

On the Hungarian side, the government called on the 14th. and 15th. (Szekeler) Grenz Regiments, because these regiments were mainly formed of Hungarians, and they also had the Hungarian line infantry regiments, artillery, plus Honved infantry - freshly raised volunteer infantry - and of course, their famous Hussars. And so, they launched attacks all along the Balkan borders.

Initially Trans Syldavia saw little more than skirmishing raids, but on Monday 17 September, after months of low level skirmishing, the Hungarian forces finally made a major push into TransSyldavia and crossed the Trans-Syldavian border at the head of the Stazni valley, clearly wanting to own this main road before the snows came. Companies of the Don Miguel Infantry Regiment, the 14th Grenz Infantry, Hungarian Jagers and Insurrection Hussars, supported with 6 pounders, made a move to capture the village of Malo Cena, and secure the road down the valley and onto the Trans-Syldavian plains.

Throughout the months of skirmishing, a large band of irregulars defended Malo Cena and the Stazni Valley, based around the village at the head of it. They had been supported with a company of ex-Austrian Grenz infantry and their 3pdr battalion guns. This small force had recently been reinforced by a band of Trans Syldavian irregulars, fleeing from Hungary.

This force was ordered to make a stand at the village, to give time for reinforcements to get up the valley. They decided to meet the Hungarians on the rolling neadows where the farmland and orchards  start, so they could use its cover and retire to the village as a second line. So, on that morning, these forces took cover in the orchards and crop fields and awaited the onslaught, led by the firebrand Bishop Splenetic (below)  

Trans Syldavians await the Hungarian onslaught - front (right flank) are some irregular Trans Syldavian nationals from Hungarian lands, flying the Austrian flag, in the cabbage fields. Behind them by the wheat fields are the Bishop, Grenz infantry and 3pdr, behind themt a troop of Huszars who had arrived. And far in the distance on the left flank are Trans Syldavian irregular bashi-bazoukhs in the orchard.

Soon the Hungarians advanced into view, coming over the rolling meadows, in 3 divisions - on the left and right flanks they had mixed Line Infantry, Grenzers and Jagers, with gusns. In the centre a large force of Hussars

The Hungarian right division - Line infantry, Grenzers, Jagers and 6 pdr guns painted in Hungarian stripes. Behind them can be seen the Hussars

The Hungarian infantry seemed to advance very very cautiously, but not so the Hungarian Hussars who galloped with great dash across the meadows, and attacked the guns and sabred the gunners who hadn't run. They swirled around the Grenzers (who had retired into the wheat fields) and one detachment charged the Trans Syldavian Huszars who had been trying to manouevre around the flank.

Hungarian Hussars thunder down the meadows

The Trans Syldavian Huszars however, although caught to flank (the dreaded 3 move charge), turned, received the Hungarian charge at the halt, shot their carbines, then pulled out the multitude of pistols secreted in their cummerbunds, fiired those, then proceded to whack the Hungarians with their sabres, axes, maces and whatever other ironwork they carried. The Hungarians fled the field, never to return! (splendid dicing - Huzzah!)

By now the Hungarian left flank Jagers and guns had advanced and were skirmishing with the irregulars in the cabbage fields, but their right flank had decided to halt.

This delay prevented the Hungarians from launching a concerted assault on the small holding force, so valuable time was bought. Then the drums of the relief force were heard on the far left flank. The Duke's son led 2 companies of the freshly recruited Trans Syldavian 1st infantry regiment, plus some of the local milita and gendarmes, and their 3 pdr guns. This force marched at full speed at the still reluctant Hungarian right, the bashi bazouhks in the orchard and the Huszars moving up with them to cover the flank.

Relief on the Left Flank - 2 units of freshly raised TransSyldavian infantry (blue coats, far left) and city militia (white coats, centre) move up quickly in attack column to assault the Hungarian right and turn a flank. The bashi bazoukhs (right) occupy a knoll on the flank, but (right, top) the remaining Hungarian cavalry is moving to support

With the bravado of inexperience the TransSyldavians charged the Hungarian line, the Grenzers fled at the point of the bayonet but the Don Miguel infantry stood and slugged it out The threat from the Hungarian cavalry disappeared after the artillery found their range and the bashi-bazoukhs started peppering them from the knoll and they retired.

Could the inexperienced TransSyldavians pull off an historic victory?

Action on the reluctant Hungarian Right Flank. Trans Syldavian Infantry and units of the Hungarian Don Miguel regiment and Jagers in furious melee

The Hungarian Jagers then countercharged, the 6 pdrs opened up on the Huszars, and the old salts of the Don Miguel shoved the inexperienced infantry back. Being attacked by fresh troops was too much and one of the Trans Syldavian comapnies broke, the other retired, and the Huszars felt they had done enough and also retired at full gallop.

On the other flank, a concerted charge through the cabbages by 2 units of Hungarian Grenzers forced the irregulars in there to retire, and the Bishop and his Grenzers retirds though the wheatfield in good order.

The Hungarians had won the field - but quite a few of their units were shaken or scattered, and theiir hussars were in no state to pursue, so the Trans Syldabvian forces retired to the village in the gathering darkness. 

Round One to the Hungarians on points, but no knockout blow and they had had a few shocks from poorer troops.

Footnote - in this period, the Austrian army officially supported the Hungarian Government. Unofficially though they supported the Serbs for the Rebellion, so the situtation was very confusing. As the King was weak, Vienna accepted the Hungarian rebellion, but at the same time they secretly supported the other minor nations inside the Empire to rebel against the Hungarians. Then, when the Habsburg throne felt strong enough, they started fighting against the Hungarians openly. So, there is a time limit here - can the Hungarians overrun Trans-Syldavia quickly enough, before unofficial Austrian arms supplies and advisors can beef up its forces, or even Austrian reinforcements are painted appear?

We shall see....

(Update - the second battle in the mini campaign is now over here)

On using Black Powder on such a small game - the rules flow well, great fun with the reluctant Hungarian right flank commander (no doubt shot by now for cowardice) but we felt on a 6x4 table we shuld halve movement (and maybe range) as the "3 move cavalry assault" is too fast. Also, h2h combat is very quick in its impact vs shooting, we can see how over multiple combats in a big game with huge forces it evens out, but may look at making it last a bit longer for these smaller games.

Monday, 17 September 2012

1848 - the Hungarians are Coming!

The Hungarians are finally invading!  All along the border the watchfires are burning.
The Army of Trans-Syldavia is assembling for the campaign - L-R Infantry Regt No 1, Battalions 1 and 2, Infantry Regiment No 2, 1st Battalion, and the Duke's Huszars, led by the Duke's son - behind them is the Artillery

View from the other side - Right to Left - the Duke's Own Zouaves, the Grenz Regiment, and the local Border Militia, and behind them the doughty Bashi Bazoukhs, led by Bishop Splenetic, who have been doing most of the fighting so far.

The army is about to move out for the front, to face the Hungarian horde....the two headed pink flamingo of Trans Syldavia flutters proudly in the breeze

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Somewhere in Europe, 1947 - Weird World War 2

An encounter battle between US (Colin Hagreen, who also took most of these photos) and my Soviet forces, somewhere in Europe, 1947...the US were led by HellBoy!

US troops advance into a village, taking cover behind the new Sherman armed with twin lascannons (above). US engineers have found that they can fit a Sherman with twin lascannons of the same power as a single US 76mm, doubling its hitting power.

However, also racing to take the village are Soviet Naval forces, riding on T-34 Hovertanks. After overrunning Nazi UFO research facilities, the Soviets adapted the T-34 hovertank for amphibious formations, it has a massive Klimov turbofan in the center of the tank, necessitating moving the turret to the rear The rear tank below is armed with the good old Russian 85mm gun, the front one with the Ultrasonic Vibrocannon anti-infantry weapon. (This gun mashed Hellboy into a vibrating pulp before being taken out by the Rooseveldt Organ US Rocket tank - sadly neither Hellboy nor that US tank have been released from secret US files)

Uh Oh....not a good time to throw two pairs of snake-eyes ( 4 x 1's, below) - a twin lascannon Sherman spectacularly misses a fast advancing T-34 Hovertank. 

Soviet naval Infantry, supported by T-34 Hovertanks and an SU-123 Railgun hovertank destroyer (below), counter a US tank advance. Crews are not that keen on the (H)TD owing to the massive discharge from its railgun capacitor tube (on turret) omn firing which, if the earthing straps are not on the ground at the time, can fry the crew too.

The lighter gunned but twin lascannon (better hit probability) armed Shermans vs the bigger single gun (bigger impact when hitting) of the T-34/85 hovertanks provided the major slugfest in the game,  higher Hovertank speed wasn't really significant. The Soviets eventually won this encounter by the clever strategy of throwing better dice. Riding on the tanks also allowed them to get Naval infantry into hard cover faster than the US troops.

But by far the most fearsome weapon was the US double-rocket launcher tank. The Russian tank destroyer's railgun also put some big hits on the US forces but also recorded some spectacular misses.(Gruntz rules,  adapted a bit, 300 pts a side)

Update - Russian spy photographs have identified a strange figure watching the fight. Next time, things clearly won't be so easy for the Soviets.....

Sunday, 9 September 2012

28mm New Byzantium "Hard Sci Fi" force

To match my Arabic style "lower tech" (aka wheeled) Sci Fi force I am starting New Byzantium's higher tech one, using the French Legion Etraterrestriale as a model - so, in true Francophone style I have got 2 light grav-tanks (Antenociti Skorpions), with big railgun. Also on the force, with the infantry squads, will be SAWbots (front) and the hull from a 15mm Combat Wombat catamaran style vehicle which I will use as a platform to place some form of support weapon (or maybe a medevac) on.

I've put an Old Crow Gecko and some of my Arabs (GW Tallarn Raiders) in the pic for comparison in to give an idea of scale.

Haven't decided on camouflage yet, but probably a deserty style one (the FFL use a nice 3 tone brown one I've seen. I'm keeping the Arabs a simple light weathered khaki). I also haven't yet decided on the infantry, I don't want far-future nor do I want a "day-after-tomorrow" styles

On the far right are some of the 25 Russian sailors I have been touching up (oo-er missus) for Weird World War 2