Saturday, July 22, 2017

Historicon #3: Battle of Raab, 1809

I ran this game Friday night at Historicon, with Field of Battle, 2nd edition rules, by Brent Oman. The scenario is from my book with some minor modifications, as posted here earlier.


View of the set up from the West.


View from the South (French starting positions).


View from the East; the Pancza stream is potentially fordable by artillery from the first tree in the distance to the near edge of the table. 


View from the Austrian defensive positions. The Szabadhegy Heights are in the foreground. I deliberately left the under table area showing on this picture to illustrate all the boxes that held the troops, terrain, and other items needed to stage the game! Not shown - the GM's glass of wine... purchased on site, of course!


The French won the initiative, and seized it big time. Two early MOVE cards and some high Leadership die rolls  brought them quickly up to the edge of the Austrian defensive positions along the Pancza stream, which was passable (with difficulty - Class III terrain!) by infantry only along its Western 2/3. Cavalry and artillery would have to use the bridges. 


The action becomes general. Luke (in Fall In T shirt) is acting as C-in-C for the French, as well as playing Grenier. He would drive his men very hard this day!


The opposing cavalry forces glare at each other across the Pancza. Roger graciously took command of the Austrians, largely composed of raw Hungarian Insurrectio cavalry. For this game, I used Austrian Hussars to represent them, and Cheavu-Legers to represent the Hussars. I have 6 units of Austrian Hussars, and even then I had to press a Uhlan unit into service as well!


I knew \that I wouldn't have much time between playing in Eric's 7 Years War game and starting this one, so I had the forces super organized. Each command group had color coded labels for each ubnit and their officer, and I used variable ratings per the rules, instead of my usual fixed ones for convention games. On balance, this helped the Austrians more than the French... at least as far as the troop ratings were concerned!. 

Fortunately, the tables were unused earlier in the day,. so Barry and I were able to set up the terrain and the majority of the troops before Eric's game started. That made me much less hyper while I was playing in Eric's game!


Sahuc's cavalry crosses the Westernmost bridge, whilst Severoli's Italians, ably played by Tim and Noah, close on the other bridge across the Pancza.  


Cavalry charges go to and fro along the Eastern portion of the Pancza. 


Overview of the center of the battle, and the bitter fighting around the strong point of the Austrian defensive position, the Kismeyer farm. 


The Austrians extend their line to the West, hoping to avoid having their flank turned. In the distance, Czar Barry stays hydrated!


Luke hurls the men of Seras' Division (blue labels) at the Farm complex again and again. 


Seras succeeds in penetrating the Pancza line (and knocking out much of the Austrian artillery), but the farm complex proves a very stubborn nut to crack!


View from the West end again. The Pancza stream is Wizard Kraft terrain. 


Seras' Division is largely spent, but Durotte's Division (purple labels) is massed for the neck attack. 


The cavalry of the Insurrectio is still holding the Pancza line.... at least for now!


Pacthod's Division (pink lables) moves up as well, leaving lanes for the many routed units of Seras to pass through!


Sahuc's cavalry and Seroli's Italian infantry are pressuring the Austrian right flank, with Pully's Dragoons moving up in support. 


Austrian infantry in squares backing up Mescery's Hungarian cavalry. Obviously, they have every confidence in their mounted arm...


View from the East, as the cavalry continue to swirl in melee along the banks of the Pancza. tbe Chevau Leger Lanciers are standing in for Chassuers, just as the Cuirassier unit is for Dragoons!


Those Kaiserlicks can't be pried out of the farm complex no matter how many times Luke tries! However, their position is becoming increasingly isolated as the inits on either side of the farm are pushed back. 


Fierce fighting between the Tims on the Western end of the table. Note the Italian Guards d'Honneur in support. 


The French cavalry have broken across the Pancza!


Erzherzog Johan commits the Grenadiers of the Reserve to stabilize the situation alongside the Farm. 


french cavalry pour across the Eastern reaches of the Pancza; those squares are looking like a wise precaution now!


Overview of the table, as the French win a big run of initiative to start the second Turn of the game. Morale points were fairly even on both sides prior to that. 


The Austrian right flank is collapsing under heavy pressure. The White menace is now paying morale chips to the French with regularity. Not long after this shot, the Austrians turn an Army Morale card, and fail the test. The Battle of Raab is over, as the Austrians grudgingly quit the field.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Historicon #2: Battle of Ravenna April 11, 1512

I ran this game Thursday night, using Hostile Realms.

Note: This scenario is lightly modified from that devised by James for BoB2, for my use with Hostile Realms. With apologies to James, I have largely reproduced it below:

GENERAL BRIEFING
Louis XII of France placed his army of Italy under the command of Gaston de Foix. This very young but capable commander drove away the Spanish and Papal forces besieging Bologna, and then turned on the Venetians, inflicting a severe defeat upon them, and then successfully stormed Brescia.


Whilst Gaston de Foix was occupied against the Venetians, Ramon de Cordona the Spanish Viceroy of Naples and his Papal allies reoccupied much of Romagna. Gaston, realising that he could not pursue a campaign in two places at once, decided to force the allies into a decisive open battle, defeat them, and free himself to pursue any course of strategy he wished. To force Ramon’s hand Gaston marched on the most important city held by the allies, Ravenna. He set up his camp and sighted his artillery on the left bank of the River Ronco.


Ramon determined that Ravenna was in serious danger and marched to relieve the siege by threatening Gaston’s lines of communication without risking an open battle. But the celebrated engineer Pedro Navarro showed Ramon a position on the right bank of the Ronco, within two miles of the city, which given time to throw up a ditch and earthwork, he guaranteed impregnable.


Whilst the Spanish spent the night digging the French spent the night constructing a bridge of boats over the Ronco. Everyone knew that a fight would take place next day and the respective commanders issued formal defiances by trumpet.

For more background online, here is the Wikipedia article. 



Map (and scenario) are from James' mopst excwellent blog (see link above).

FRENCH BRIEFING
To win the battle you must destroy or rout 8 units of the enemy (artillery sections and skirmish units count as half units) within 10 turns (French MOVE cards). Anything else will be considered a loss.


D’Algre's rear guard
From the second appearance of your Stratagem Card you may bring up D’Algre's force via the bridge of boats. If the reserves are called you must destroy an extra unit of the enemy to win. These troops are from the (off table) rear guard that Gaston ordered to prevent a sally from the city. DO NOT DEPLOY THE ARTILLERY SECTION.


Hidden battery
Providing D’Algres is present, you may put a battery of light artillery anywhere on the left bank of the river. This represents D’Alegres’ moving some artillery to fire into the flank of the allied cavalry.


Battle of Ravenna, April 11 1512  - French Order of Battle  - HR


Sequence Deck (based upon Middle Kingdom):  2 Army Morale, 2 Courage!, 3 Engines of War Reload, 2 Favor of the Gods, 1 Light Cavalry Move, 2 Heroic Moment, 2 Leadership Check, 2 Lull, 1 Maneuver, 4 Melee, 3 Move, 1 Move 1 Command, 2 Missile Reload, 1 Uncontrolled Charge, 1 Undisciplined Advance*, 1 Stratagem


French Morale Points: (count as 26 units)


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Gendarmes #1
Guard EHC; Hvy Lance
N/A
D12+3
D10
metal bard; Fearsome!
Gendarmes #2
Guard EHC; Hvy Lance
N/A
D12+3
D10
metal bard; Fearsome!


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Gaston de Foix



+2  to Quality roll; Army C-in-C; UP 2 Morale and Melee
C-in-C

Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D6;  “Other” D6


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Ital Gendarmes #3
Regular EHC Hvy Lance
N/A
D12+1
D6
metal bard
Ital Gendarmes #4
Regular EHC Hvy Lance
N/A
D12+1
D6
metal bard
Hvy Artillery #9
Militia Artillery; Heavy Guns
D10
D4
D6

Hvy Artillery #10
Militia Artillery; Heavy Guns
D10
D4
D6



COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Marshal de La Palice



NC to Quality roll; Up 1 Morale and Melee


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Sk. Crossbows #5
Militia LI, Heavy X-bow. Imp weapons
D10
D4
D6
Skirmish only!
Sk. Crossbows #6
Militia LI, Hvy X-bow. Imp weapons
D10
D4
D6
Skirmish only!
Sk. Crossbows #7
Militia LI, Hvy X-bow. Imp weapons
D10
D4
D6
Skirmish only!
Sk. Crossbows #8
Militia LI, Hvyu X-bow. Imp weapons
D10
D4
D6
Skirmish only!
Landsknecht Pike #11 A
Regular MI, Pike
N/A
D8
D6
36- Pike Block
Landsknecht Pike #11 B
Regular MI, Pike
N/A
D8
D6
36 - Pike Block


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Jacob Empser



+1 to Quality roll; Up 1 Morale and Fire


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Picard Pikes #12
Militia MI; Pike
N/A
D6
D6
36-Pike Block
Picard Pikes #13
Militia /MI; Pike
N/A
D6
D6
36-Pike Block


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Siegniuer de Morlat



NC to Quality roll  Up 1 Morale and Melee


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Italian Pike #14
Regular MI; Pike
N/A
D8
D6
36 Pike Block
Sk. Arquebusier #15
Reg LI, Arq, Imp weapons
D10
D4
D6
Skirmish only!
Sk. Arquebusier #16
Reg LI, Arq, Imp weapons
D10
D4
D6
Skirmish only!


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Federigo de Bozzolo



NC to Quality roll; Up 1 to Fire


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Stradiots #19
MC, Regular, Javelin
D6
D8
D6

Stradiots #20
MC, Regular, Javelin
D6
D8
D6

Mtd X-bow #17
LC, Militia, Xbow, imp w
D8
D4
D6
Skirmish only!
Mtd X-bow #18
LC, Militia, Xbow, imp w
D8
D4
D6
Skirmish only!


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Caraciolo



-1 to Quality Roll; Up 1 Morale and Fire


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Heavy Guns #21
Militia Artillery; Heavy Guns
D10
D4
D6
“#22 on map”


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Marquis de Ferrara



NC to Quality roll; Up 1 Morale and Fire

UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Sk. Crossbows #23
Militia LI, Hvy X-bow. Imp weapons
D10
D4
D6
Skirmish only!
Sk. Crossbows #24
Militia LI, Hvy X-bow. Imp weapons
D10
D4
D6
Skirmish only!
Italian Pike #25
Regular MI; Pike
N/A
D8
D6
36 Pike Block
Ital Merc Gend #26
Regular EHC Hvy Lance
N/A
D12+1
D6
metal bard
Light Artillery#27
Light Gun, Militia
D6
D4
D6
** special  deployment rules - see scenario!


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Yves d’Algre



+1 to Quality roll; Up 1 Morale and Fire


SPANISH BRIEFING
To win the battle you must defend your earthworks in anyway you see fit until the end of move 10 and lose less than 8 units (artillery and skirmish units count as half a unit each) doing so.


Hidden obstacles
Two of your Spanish infantry units have 20 or so small man handled carts equipped with heavy arquebus and various fixed spears and blades. These carts give the units a superior position frontally in melee and fire until the unit is pushed back in melee, when the carts are deemed destroyed. These carts, designed by Pedro Navarro, had two functions, firstly to break up infantry or cavalry formations, and secondly to provide a platform for heavy infantry firearms previously incapable of being deployed in a field battle.


Dead ground
At the outset of the game, you may declare that any/ all of your infantry is prone. Whilst prone troops count an extra down 2 cover bonus Vs artillery fire coming from the your side of the Ronco, they are DOWN 1 in Melee and Fire while [prone.. Infantry may be ordered to stand any time you have the initiative including a won Lull). This represents Navarro’s orders for the infantry to lie down in the low ground to prevent artillery casualties before the French assault.


Battle of Ravenna, April 11 1512  - Spanish Order of Battle - HR


Sequence Deck (based upon The Realm):  2 Army Morale, 2 Courage!, 2 Engines of War Reload, 2 Favor of the Gods, 1 Light Cavalry Move, 1 Heroic Moment, 2 Leadership Check, 3 Lull, 1 Maneuver, 3 Melee, 3 Move, 1 Move 1 Command, 3 Missile Reload, 1 Crushing Missilery


Imperial Morale Points: (count as 23 units)


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Papal Famiglia #1
Elite EHC; Heavy Lance
N/A
D12+2
D8
Fearsome!
Merc Gendarm #2
Regular EHC, Heavy Lance
NA
D12+1
D6



COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Ramon de Cardona



+1 to Quality Roll; Up 1 Morale and Melee
C-in-C

Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D6;  “Other” D86


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Merc Gendarm #3
Regular EHC, Heavy Lance
NA
D12+1
D6

Merc Gendarm #4
Regular EHC, Heavy Lance
NA
D12+1
D6



COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Fabrizio Colonna



+1 to Quality Roll; Up 1 Morale and Melee


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Spanish Knts #5
Elite  EHC, Hvy Lance
N/A
D12+2
D8
Fearsome!


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Carvajal



NC to Quality Roll; Up 1 Morale and Melee


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Span. Genitors #8
Reg MC; Jav, Swds, Shld
D6
D10
D6

Span. Genitors #9
Reg MC; Jav, Swds, Shld
D6
D10
D6

Mounted Arq #6
Militia  LC Arquebus imp wpn
D8
D4
D6
Skirmish Only!
Mounted Arq #7
Militia  LC Arquebus imp wpn
D8
D4
D6
Skirmish Only!


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Marquis de Pescara



+1 to Quality Roll; Up 1 Morale and Melee


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Light Artillery #10
Light Gun, Militia
D6
D4
D6

Light Artillery #11
Light Gun, Militia
D6
D4
D6

Span Colunnella #12
Elite HI/MI  Arq/Pike
D12
D10
D8
See special rules
Span Colunnella #13
Elite HI/MI  Arq/Pike
D12
D10
D8
See special rules
Span Colunnella #14
Elite HI/MI  Arq/Pike
D12
D10
D8
See special rules
Span Colunnella #15
Elite HI/MI  Arq/Pike
D12
D10
D8
See special rules


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Pedro Navarro



+1 to Quality Roll; Up 1 Morale and Fire


Spanish colunellas
This is a new formation. It comprises 8 stands. Four front row stands of arquebus backed by Four stands of pike (the latter placed centrally). The formation counts as a battle-mass for morale, melee and target. It counts as a line for movement and fire. It may take one free stand of losses as per a pike blocks. They count three hits per stand.


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Papal Pike #16
Regular MI, Pike
N/A
D8
D6
36- Pike Block
Crossbowmen #17
Regular MI Xbow imp wp
D10
D4
D6
Un numbered on map
Crossbowmen #18
Regular MI Xbow imp wp
D10
D4
D6
Un numbered on map


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Cardinal Senzanome



NC to Quality Roll; Up 1 Morale and Melee


Set up from behind the right flank of the French Lines.


and from behind the French Center


And from behind the French Left. Note Czar Barry relaxing. as always, Barry's help was invaluable!


Close up from the French Left.

and the Spanish Right.



 French Players:  Noah/Tim, Steve. Bill, and ? Matt

.
Spanish players: Luke, Pat, Roger..

Thwe French players moved forwards quite aggressively, after a few rounds from their guns. 


I do love the sight of advancing Pike blocks!


The French skirmishers shielding the advance of the pike units were shot away by the Spanish Colunellas; no big deal, that's what they're there for!

By the marsh, the opposing light and medium cavalry units draw closer. 


Spanish Arquebuses fire, usually to deadly effect. I made a major error in handling the morale effects of this fire, making the results similar to those from melee, while in actuality a Moral Challenge was required for the targets to have to check morale at all. This seriously compromised the attack of the French/Landsknecht Pike units. 


Push of Pike!

and yet more push!

Crunch time all along the line!

Even with playing it wrong, one Pike unit manages to scale the earthworks and repulse the defending Colunella!


Spanish EHC charge the hated French Heavy guns!

At this point, all but one of the French Pike attacks had been repulsed, and the French conceded. Without my error, it would have come down to a bunch of close melees along the breastworks. My apologies to the players.

I was actually MORE rested than usual for the (miserable) drive down to Fredericksburg (almost exactly 7 hrs - left 9:00 AM, arrived 4:00 PM). I had gotten everything organized the weekend before, and allowed sufficient time so that I wasn't up super late at night, or hyper wondering if I'd get it all done. That meant I wasn't exhausted Wednesday night for a change, but then I never sleep well the first night or two away from home. I knew something wasn't right, but my brain was fried from poor sleep Wednesday evening, and I just couldn't figure out what it was until the next day. Still , the game looked great and seemed fun to play, it just would have been a lot more fun had the battle along the earthworks taken place as it should have!

Note to self - do NOT run more than one game in a day, unless at least one is a replay. I know I've said this to myself before, and then I get carried away! Doubtless I'll do it again...