Monday, September 29, 2014

The Russian Civil War: Trans-Siberian Orchestrations

Following up on a promise made after our meeting at FoB games at Historicon this past July, I drove down to Tarrytown for a game that Jared hosted, introducing five of his friends to Field of Battle, as modified by Tim Couper for World War 1, with some neat further tweaks for the Russian Civil War by Jared. We used his 15mm figures, and had six players, three per side.  There were about 30 units a side, with 2-3 commands per player. The Reds rolled up a substantial edge in AMP (Army Morale Points).

Here's Jared's explanation of the scenario:
"The battle was hypothetical, but based on historical circumstances. In the spring of 1919, Admiral Kolchak took his troops out of Siberia, along the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and marched West towards the city of Ufa, which he eventually took. However, he outran his supplies, and by that point the Czechs were more or less done fighting. Most of the time they marched with him him, but guarded the rail line. Kolchak's army was so strung out that by the time the Reds were organized and trained, they were able to push him back. His army was broken and he himself was eventually executed."  If I recall correctly, in the pre-game setup, the Whites were able to get one of their commands in an advanced position in a woods, while the Reds had a higher level of motivation and thus had a slightly better sequence deck and more AMP's. One of the Red commands had lagged behind, and thus was not optimally positioned. the onus was on the Whites to attack!


Red Army: CinC Mikhailovich LD10
Total Units= 19 INF, 3 ART, 3 MG, 1 TCH, 1 AC, 3 CAV= 30 Units
Morale Points: 38 Sequence Deck: Average
1 Regular Artillery D6/D10


Cmd 1: Pavolvski LD12
1 Elite Infantry (Sailors) DD10/DD12
1 Crack Infantry DD8/CD10
1 Crack Infantry DD8/CD10
1 Crack MG DD8/CD10


Cmd 2: Gregor LD10
1 Crack Infantry (bolstered) DD8/CD10
1 Regular Infantry DD6/CD10
1 Regular Infantry DD6/CD10
1 Regular Artillery DD6/CD10


Cmd 3: Zemak LD10
1 Regular Infantry DD6/CD10
1 Regular Infantry DDF6/CD10
1 Regular Infantry DD6/CD10
1 Regular MG DD6/CD10


Cmd 4: Rukomov LD10
1 Regular Infantry (bolstered conscripts) DD6/CD10
1 Raw Infantry DD4/CD10
1 Raw Infantry DD4/CD8
1 Raw Infantry DD4/CD8


Cmd 5: Ilyriovich-II D10
1 Regular Infantry (bolstered conscripts) DD6/CD10
1 Raw Infantry DD4/CD8
1 Raw Infantry DD4/CD8
1 Raw Artillery DD4/CD10


Cmd 6: Arkus LD8
1 Regular Infantry (bolstered conscripts) DD6/CD10
1 Raw Infantry DD4/CD8
1 Raw Infantry DD4/CD8
1 Regular MG DD6C/D10


Cmd 7: Kirigizov D10
1 Regular Cavalry DD6 CD12
1 Regular Cavalry DD6 CD12
1 Regular Cavalry DD6 CD12
1 Regular Tchanka DD6 CD10
1 Crack Armored Car DD8/CD10


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


White Army: CinC Admiral Semenov LD10
Total Unis: 17 INF, 3 ART, 3 MG, 4 CAV= 27 Units
Morale Points: 31 Sequence Deck: Poor
1 Regular Artillery D6/D10


The Czech Legion:


Cmd 1: Balichuck LD8
1 Crack Infantry DD8/CD12
1 Crack Infantry DD8/CD12
1 Crack Infantry DD8/CD10
1 Crack MG DD8/CD10


Cmd 2: Demitra LD8
1 Regular Infantry DD6/CD10
1 Regular Infantry DD6/CD10
1 Regular Infantry DD6/CD10
1 Regular Cavalry DD6 CD12


Former Tsarists


Cmd 3: Valieri LD10
1 Elite Infantry (Tsar’s Guards) DD10/CD12
1 Regular Infantry DD6/CD10
1 Regular Infantry DD6/CD10
1 Regular Infantry DD6/CD10


Cmd 4: Martov LD10
1 Crack Infantry (Regs bolstered with officers) DD8/CD10
1 Crack Infantry (Regs bolstered with officers) DD8/CD10
1 Crack Infantry (Regs bolstered with officers) DD8/CD10
1 Regular Artillery D6/D10


Cmd 5: Alexievski LD10
1 Elite Cavalry DD10/CD12
1 Regular Cavalry DD6 CD12
1 Regular Cavalry DD6 CD12
1 Regular MG DD6 CD10


Press Gangs and Conscripts


Cmd 6: Ilyriovich LD10
1 Raw Infantry DD4/CD8
1 Raw Infantry DD4/CD8
1 Regular MG DD6/CD10


Cmd 7: Arkus LD8
1 Raw Infantry D4/D8
1 Raw Infantry D4/D8
1 Regular Artillery D6/D10



Overview of the setup, looking from the South to the North (marked by Brian at the top of the picture). the white slips are the command listings, and will be relocated once play begins). 
For the Whites (right side of the picture, commands near to far ,  - Brian, Peter, and Gerard
For the Reds (left side of the picture, commands near to far) - Raegan, Dan, and John


L
Left Flank of the Whites - Brian's fanatic Tsarists (#4, Martov) are in the woods with  Battery on the hill to the far flank in support.  while my good command (#3, Valieri is to their right. The (former) Tsar's guards have the yellow and Black (?Romnaov) flag.  Close to the table edge is Brian's rabble command (#7, Arkus), which includes another artillery battery on a hill. Not seen is a Reserve Howitzer battery under the C-in-C.


Center of the Whites:  My rabble command (#6, Ilyriovich) is in the woods, including a barely seen Machine Gun company at the wood's edge. 


Blurry Pic from the Red Right flank - Raegan's Elite command (#1, Pavlovsky, including the Sailors, who would cover themselves with Glory on the day) is near the hill, while her supporting command, (#2,  including an artillery battery, is at near the table edge still. I brought my Nikon digital camera to the game, but forgot to put the memory card in (duh!), so we have to settle for these less than great pics from my i-phone.


Red Center. Dan's commands include a brigade of Regulars (#3, Zemak, with MG) to the front, a brigade of conscripts (#4 Rukomov) to their rear, and another brigade of conscripts (#5,  Ilyriovich-2, with attached Artillery battery). 


The Red Left Flank: John's Cavalry brigade (#7, Kirigizov, with attached armored car and horse drawn machine gun cart [!], evidently called a Tchanka - a sort of peasant Tank, I suppose). with supporting conscript brigade (#6, Arjkus). Opposite can be seen the 2 brigades of Gerard's Czech Legion (31 Balichuk and #2 Demitra), and the cavalry brigade (#5, Alexievski, including the Sacred Band cavalry, composed entirely of former Tsarist officers!)



Close up of the Red Cavalry,  Armored Car,  and Tchanka,. Gotta love the cart - reminds me a bit of a Hussite War Wagon!


Opening moves on the White left flank. First blood to the Bolsheviks! 


On the White right flank, Gerard, evidently unimpressed with the mobile machine gun platforms of the enemy, throws his cavalry brigade forward in the attack!


The Czech Legion also moves forward. They are not at all enthusiastic supporters of the White cause. Their objective is to get back to Prague with as few losses as possible! Meanwhile the commander of my Conscript brigade rolls a "1", and the conscripts decided that a nice cozy woods is a good place to be on a cool Siberian day!


Another view of the White center - one of my units has crested the hill in the center of the battlefield. This is a Bad Thing as they immediately take rifle fire from THREE red infantry units as they crest the hill (note the three white "smoke balls" at the top of the picture). 


Result - 2 UI lost, and a ROUT result!  As it turns out, these troops never will rally for the rest of the game. "We already did Godunov, Borris!"


The machine guns of the armored car chatter... and fail to do discernible damage to the charging White cavalry!  "What do you think we're fighting, Alexi - the Napoleonic wars, perhaps?"


Each army wins one combat and routs the opposition in the process!


Blurry picture of an exchange of fire between my ex-Tsarists and Dan's Regulars - smoke balls galore!  One Red infantry unit is hard hit (each brown casualty marker = 1 UI lost)...


and one of my Tsarists infantry is pummeled, losing 3 Unit Integrity!


"Let us show you bourgeois bastards the Dictatorship of the Proletariat up close and personal!"  A battered unit of Red infantry charges an even more battered unit of Whites, as their supporting Machine gun jams.


Gerard's Czech Legion continues its reluctant advance in the White right center.  My Conscripts are enjoying roasting some quail in the woods, and decline to support them (Their Commander rolled another "1"!). 



Left to right: Reagan, Dan, John, and GM Jared.


Brian has decided that he must take the hill to his front, held by the elite Red Sailors. One unit of ex-Tsarists charges... 


and is soundly thrashed, so another climbs the hill to assault the sailors. It will also be repulsed with heavy losses!  This prompts Brian to hurl a third unit at the Seamen. "Friend Brian Robertovich", I say, "perhaps zey should with their rifles shootski first?. Brian declines the unasked for advice. After all, it was Surovov himself who said "The bullet is a mad thing; only the bayonet knows what it is about!" The third unit is duly replused by the jubilant Sailors!


The Czech Legion blasts a unit of reds, routing them! Speaking of Routs, Jared has added 2 Kommissar Cards to the Red Sequence Deck. When it is turned, any Red units that are routing make an opposed die roll,. If they pass, they rally from rout but lose a UI (but no Morale Points), as the Kommissar shoots those most fleet of foot as treacherous reactionaries, "pour encourager les autres". If the unit fails the roll, the unit fails to rally and the Kommissar card is removed from the deck, and some kind of Bad Things may happen as well. (The Kommissar in question is presumably escorted off this mortal coil as well by the bullets of his erstwhile comrades!)


Cavalry action on the White Right/Red Left flank.


Czech Legion attacks in the Center, finally with a modicum of support from my Conscript brigade. It seems that all the game in the woods has been consumed, so now they need to find some Vodka with which to wash down their repast!


Czechs are victorious. "Screw these Bolshevik bastards; all we want is to see Bohemia again before we die!"


Meanwhile, the men of Brian's Tsarist brigade are seized with loathing for their social inferiors, and charge forth in a frenzy, not once but twice (the brigade is subject to Fanatic Action, and turns both Fanatic Action cards in the deck back to back). They sweep the Red infantry of their right flank before them. It seems that perhaps Surovov was right after all!


Overview of the Center of the battlefield from the Red side.


View from the Red right flank, looking at Brian and his commands.  "Friend Brian Robertovich", I say. "perhaps we should combine the shots of your 2 artillery batteries and your howitzer battery upon those Seamen, so as to eject them from the hill?"  "The moment has not yet come", he observes. 


Left to right - Gerard and Brian;  I am the empty chair :-) 


The White cavalry is gradually gaining the upper hand. On the bright side for the Reds, their armored car has not yet broken down as they are wont to do (passed their Mechanical checks). 


View from the White Center - note my conscript unit on the hill with three UI lost - units with a  lowly D4 Defense Die type are always prime targets for enemy fire!


Overview of the final stage of the battle, looking North. Note the many white "smoke balls!" The Whites turn an Artillery Firepower card, and having started loaded already Brian can place up to six shots on the hill crest Seamen. Even though they did have a D10 Defense Die Type (!), it was more than mortal flesh can stand, and they dribbled down the hillside towards safety. 


At this point, the Whites had 9 Morale points and The Reds have been at zero for quite some time. Their left flank is being turned by the Whites and the left center penetrated by the Czechs. The Reds concede and quit the field. A check of their sequence deck revealed that their top card was... Army Morale! The game took less than 4 hrs to play, including Jared explaining the rules to the other players, none of whom had played or even seen the rules previously.

The venue  for the game was Jared's Middle School classroom. The campus, neighborhood, and facilities are beautiful! Jared teaches History there, and also sponsors the student gaming club at the school.  It would make a great site for a mini convention, IMHO, being centrally  located near the Tappan Zee Bridge, just off  I-287.  It is almost exactly an hour's drive away from my home, and a gorgeous drive it was, with the beginnings of the colors of Autumn suffusing the trees, and the mercury hitting 85 degrees in Danbury at 5 PM! I had a great time playing a handsome looking,  fun game, and meeting new friends. I'll be back before long, and of course the lot of you are invited for a future game date at my home in Bridgewater, CT!

8 comments:

  1. Great looking game...and always good to see the Reds take a beating :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If all goes according to plan, Jared will bring a 15mm RCW game to Historicon in 2015.

      Delete
  2. Looks like a fun game; it's a great period. Every conflict has plenty of unit variation, but somehow the RCW seems to have the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had a lot of fun with the game, and not quite full-on khaki, either. :-)
      We probably had most of the high quality units that fought in the RCW on the table for this one!

      Delete
  3. Nice looking game and it seems like everyone had fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Victor, and agreed on both counts!

      Delete
  4. RCW is a period I know little about and hav never gamed but it looks very interesting.

    Nice layout and enjoyable BatRep.

    ReplyDelete
  5. RCW is Jared's period; his academic studies focused om the times surrounding World War 2. My familiarity with the RCW is also limited, but I did read a book on the subject decades ago.

    Glad you enjoyed the write up; it was a fun game.!

    ReplyDelete