Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Kaiser's boys move at last! and opening gambit in Prussia Orentalis

    Long troubled by the ongoing conflict in the adjoining Satrapy of Kondoo, the Prussian Governor-General, Victor von Schimmelpfennning (brother to the famous Franz von Schimmelpfenning of  Deustches Ost Daftrica fame)  decided to intervene to stop feckless bloodshed. Backing the late-departed (or as others might claim, recently murdered) Satrap Iben Dunnin's,  oldest son Muuhvin Onup the Governor-General sent his troops into the field to protect commerce and missionaries in the surrounding territories.
    Effective native intelligence helped identify the location of the main rebel army and the Prussian forces, assisted by loyal Malagassian units, took to the field. A swift march hoping to catch the rebels in their encampments was foiled by the horrid state of the local roads and instead of catching the enemy napping the Prussians were forced to fight past the enemy's advance guard and engage the rebels in an open battle. The results was a close run fight as you will see below.

the initial deployments, most of the Prussian forces were still stuck on the muddy roads 
as the cavalry and spearmen guided the artillery into position

it appeared that there was only a small delaying force lining the ditch on the side of the roadway

while the mass of the rebel army marched from their camp to the field of battle

on the second move the cavalry swung wide to the right to try to head off the approaching rebels
 as the spears moved forward to dispel the blocking force and the cannon deployed, the rest of the army was delayed by bad roads (read that as simply terrible command rolls)

things were going quite well according to the Prussian plan

but no plan survives contact with the enemy, 
the fire from the troops lining the ditch killed several cavalry 
and a surprise unit in the cabin opened a shockingly effective fire on the spears

realizing that these were no ordinary troops the cavalry passed on an easy kill (the tribal swordsmen that had appeared from behind the other cottage) and took the fight to the troops lining the ditch, they inflicted serious casualties and pushed them back but the rebels refused to rout (or even become pinned) clearly these were some of the better troops in the rebel army

and the gunners began to shell the unit hidden in the cottage
 while the spearmen moved to confront the rebel swordsmen

meanwhile, to the rear the bottle-neck was beginning to clear 
and the rest of the Prussians and allies began to move onto the battlefield

 the battered but unbroken rebel unit expressed their contempt
 for the Prussian cavalry by opening a brutal fire at short range
 this emptied many saddles

at the same time the swordsmen rashly closed with the Prussian spear-armed auxiliaries

a short and very bloody exchange left the spearmen in charge of the field
having killed almost half of the swordsmen and suffering only three casualties in return 
(for once my horrible dice-rolling was absent)

having secured the deployment of the army the cavalry retired
(well, that is my story, they actually failed the Rally test and fled the field)

the real fight to clear the valley now began with the loyal Malagassian troops leading the way
the loyalist cause was greatly assisted by some bad Command rolls on the Rebel side which delayed getting the bulk of the rebel army forward in a cohesive manner

lashed by fire from the troops in the cottage and by the stalwart rebel unit the spearmen also retired leaving the field to the rifle-armed forces

now it was the turn for the Loyalists to be plagued by weak Command rolls, the Rebels took advantage of this opportunity to move several of their units into firing position and to push the remains of the swordsmen up into a threatening position in from of the loyal Malagassain musketeers

finding themselves pinched in a narrow bottleneck the Prussian tried to blast their way out with volleys directed at the rebels holding the crossroads and cottage, out of a sense of self-preservation the Malagassain musketeers blasted the swordsmen routing them away once more
the loyal musketeers found themselves lashed by effective fire from the now uncovered rebel unit.....

.......killing three figures this also lead to the only officer casualty of the game,
a wasted opportunity as the loyal musketeers already had a Command value of eight 
and were thus unaffected by the loss of their inept leader

having lost a gunner to fire from the troops in the ditch the Prussians decided to pummel that unit into submission, all available fire was directed against the unit and finally forcing it back
on the other flank a lucky roll by the Prussian line infantry scored several hits on the rebel rifles pinning them for a turn

the rebels spent a turn moving fresh units into the line 
only to find them battered by fire in the Loyalist turn 
this caused the fresh unit to fail a Rally test and fall back

an almost good enough "at the double" roll sent a second unit of rebel swordsmen 
rocketing toward the loyalist musketeers, they fell short by one terrifying inch!

continuing effective fire from the cottage forced the blue askaris to fall back, fortunately the white askaris finally passed a Command test and advanced to cover the cannon while other fire halted and pinned the swordsman unit

in the rebel turn the persistently effective fire from the cottage 
took three of the white askaris in one turn (even though this was at long range)

this forced them to retire, by this time the rebels had taken enough losses 
that they were beginning to abandon the field seeking to live to fight another day

covered by the defiant unit of swordsmen the rebel retired in good order
they had been badly battered by this engagement, hampered by Command rolls that left unable to deploy the full strength of their forces the rebels had been unable to concentrate enough troops at any one point to break the loyalist forces

     A successful first outing for the Prussians but near-run thing. The narrow deployment area hampered the Prussian forces and persistent bad Command rolls meant that most of the fight was carried by the auxiliary forces who were really only meant to conduct recon. The loyal Malagassian troops performed splendidly while the rebel Sharpshooters were a painful surprise. My generally poor dice-rolling skills took a break during casualty recovery and I got back most of my losses in the post-battle phase. The rules performed well, a long period since the last time we played caused some raid page flipping during the first couple of turns but things settled down, and we finished the game in under two hours (including set-up).

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