Our lesson today is taken from Donald Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers. I yield to no man in my admiration for Featherstone as the father of hobby wargaming in the UK but I have to say that this book has something of the feel of a man scraping the bottom of the barrel to meet his publisher's demands.
However, I wanted a quickly set up solo game so I could refresh my memory of how Black Powder works so I decided to refight the rather uninspiringly named "Game Number Three".
The game started badly for the Turks. A Command Blunder (double sixes) on their first roll of the game! This saw the right flank Sipahi haring off towards the Russians. Then I rolled again and got another double six which would have led to the rest of the army retreating off the table. Fortunately I remembered that the first blunder ended the Turks' Command Phase so this blunder didn't happen.
Things were little better for the Russians. Deveson's regiment marched off towards the Turkish cavalry while the rest of the Russian Army stayed in place.
On Game Turn 2 the Sipahi charged Deveson's Regiment. The Russians stood firm and poured closing fire into the Turkish horse. The melee was drawn and the Sipahi withdrew in disorder to dress their ranks and rest their winded horses.
The rest of the Turkish army failed to move at all because of another roll of double six! Likewise the Russians seemed content to let one infantry unit do all the fighting.
On Game Turn 3 the rest of the Turkish army advanced. The Russian infantry and artillery formed a slightly bent line but the cavalry still refused to move.
A firefight now developed between the Janissaries and the Russian infantry backed up by artillery. Both Deveson's Regiment and the blue Janissaries were Shaken as a result of casualties taken in the musketry duel. Meanwhile, the Turkish commander moved to rally his Sipahi.
On Game Turn 6 the Turkish commander tried but failed to issue a 'Follow Me!' order to the Sipahi. However, the would-be target of their charge, Deveson's Regiment, was routed later in the same turn by the fire of the red Janissaries:
Over the other side of the battlefield, meanwhile, the Russian General had finally got his cavalry moving by virtue of another 'Follow Me!' order. The swept forward intending to pass behind the woods and take the Turks in the rear.
On Game Turn 7 the Sipahi moved into a position from which they could charge at the left of the Russian line but the shooting of the Janissaries was ineffective.
In the Russian turn, the Dragoons failed to respond to the urgings of their commander but fine shooting did see the left flank Janissary orta routed.
Game Turn 8 was frustrating for the Turks. With the Russian artillery at their mercy, the Sipahi refused to charge! The Russian cavalry, meanwhile, moved into a position from which they could charge into the rear of the Red Janissary orta.
The following turn the Siahi again failed to receive the order to charge but the Russian Dragoons didn't. With their commander at their head, they careered into the rear of the Red Janissaries.
Surely the Turks would lose the melee and be routed? Well, yes and no.... With a score of 10 on 2d6 the Turks managed to pass their break test and keep fighting.
Meanwhile the Sipahi finally managed to charge. they swept away the Russian guns and followed up smack into Gulitz's Regiment.
Shaken by closing fire, the Sipahi break after the ensuing melee.
After a second round of melee, the red Janissaries again passed a break test by throwing a ten but retreated and found themselves between Gulitz's grey-coated infantry and the carbine armed dragoons. When the smoke cleared at the end of Game Turn 12 it was all over as the Janissaries rolled snake-eyes on the resulting break test.
All-in-all an enjoyable little game over and done with in a couple of hours including set-up time.