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Friday, 8 January 2016

Chotusitz, a tale of two halves.

I've often noticed that after a particularly close and exciting wargame I have trouble sleeping that night. Our refight yesterday of the Battle of Chotusitz was no different and caused me a sleepless night. 
   The reason this time,was however caused by how Colin and I didnt actually win the battle as opposed to anything else.
 Chotusitz is a relatively small battle from the wars of Austrian Succession against that prig, Frederick.The Austrians were beaten after a closely fought struggle, where once again the Prussian infantry showed why they were the best in Europe.
 Yesterday I represented Duke Charles of Austria, ably assisted by Colin who led one half of the army.Facing us was John my old adversary and general thorn in ones side, and the talented Dave Jarvis representing Frederick. This was our third game using the excellent Honours of War rules, and was the first of the New Year.


                       The Brigadier in question, just prior to his demise and replacement. 

Although a little rusty after the Christmas lay off, we soon got back into the groove, and success came quickly to the Austrians on both flanks, where they had much better quality cavalry led by decent commanders. A key feature of Honours of War is the role of the brigade commanders, who as long as they are of sufficient ability can influence a battle greatly. Their role comes at a price however as they are constantly at risk when their command is fired upon. The feature is similar to Blackpowder, but the game mechanism is a tad more subtle and for me personally seems a lot better.Please dont ask me why, it just does.  Anyway, things were going to plan for Colin was gaining clear success on his wing, whilst I was pushing back the Prussians on my wing.
In the centre, where our infantry were situated, things were progressing and for a change were led by Dependable Brigadiers, which in the rules makes them solid but not too spectacular. Basically a decent typical Austrian. So by the lunch break, the Prussian right wing had all but collapsed, the Prussian left wing was retreating, and in the centre the Prussian infantry were pressed against the village of Chotusitz with the Austrian infantry advancing steadily, facing only a large heavy artillery battery and the dregs of the Prussian army.
 I should perhaps mention that the majority of the Prussian infantry had yet to come on table in their centre, but John was already bemoaning the quick collapse of his command and was on the brink of throwing the towel in. 
So prior to lunch I stood on the brink of wargaming glory, with my Austrian infantry poised to apply the coup de grace. Never again will I stop for lunch, certainly when I am on the brink of kicking Frederick's backside. 
Following our return,the victory was snatched away by a devastating volley from the Prussian artillery against our infantry. My infantry suffered several hits, but not sufficient to cause them too much trouble, but the risk to my brigadier was there for all to see.  
 In Honours of War, the opponent who has caused the causalities has the honour of throwing two six sided dice to see if they have hit their opponents brigadier.The risk is not too high as they need either an eleven or a twelve. True to form Mr Jarvis cheated up a score of 12! 
Again in the rules, after a commander is hit,he naturally needs to be replaced, and a simple dice roll decides of what ability he will be. You know where this is going, I threw my customary 1 which allows my replacement commander to have the abilities described in the rules as Dithering, but in this battle they should have been described as Daft if not down right dangerous.
For the next three moves this brigadier and his command failed to move.
 I was to fail three command roles in succession, so whilst  my centre stood, the Prussians gleefully poured fire into them, causing my command to simply melt away taking their supports with them.
 The irony was that no matter how many times the Daft Brigadier was tested to see if he was hit, Jarvis couldnt throw the correct score. The offending general stood like an immortal, impervious to all dangers. God knows I tried to get him killed. 
So in the end, with the arrival of the Prussian reinforcements, the battered Austrian Army had to scramble to obtain a draw, and even that was only just. So my sleep was destined to be disturbed thinking of that one small incident and that inept Brigadier.


            The Prussian heavy battery, just prior to it sweeping away the Austrian infantry.
[ Colin on his blog, Carry on up the Dale, will no doubt provide a more accurate and balanced report of the game]   
       

10 comments:

  1. Robbie, Mate- If you are having trouble sleeping after a game of soldiers you need to see a trick- cyclist. Loosen up Dude !
    Speaking as a bloke who HATES dice because they always let you down you learn to scrub around the bloody things.
    I find Beer helps !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Youre right Andy, I have too much time on my hands to think pretty pointless things.

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  2. This is a clear illustration of why I don't like unit activation rules.

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    Replies
    1. I cant really complain,about the rules. They allow 'friction' in the games, and an element of uncertainty.What struck me was, that a simple thing like losing a commander could effectively turn what appeared to be a certain victory into a hard fought draw. I definitely made the battle more interesting.

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  3. Not unrealistic though, and they add to the 'fun'.

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  4. Hi Robbie, very much enjoyed reading this. I'm glad you can take such problems and setbacks on the chin!

    I can easily see why some gamers don't like activation or command rolls, but as a very simple way to develop situations which appear to mirror real life, I think they work. What happened to you will be rare (I hope!), but as you say it makes you think of other ways you can get the job done, or at least mitigate the effects of such inaction amongst your commanders. On the other hand, a double move at a critical time can really feed a bit action and surprise into the game.

    I have read a lot of battle accounts, and the propensity of plans to go wrong was high, as far as I can tell. The successful commanders had the ability to rise above such things and the tenacity and appreciation to make the best of a bad situation.

    Best wishes, Keith.

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  5. Keith,
    I have to applaud you for your set of rules. They certainly capture the flavour of the period, and are easy to learn which is also a boon.Bearing in mind this was only our third attempt at a large battle with your rules it just shows how easy they are to pick up. Colin and I will showcase these at the big AMG weekend in June and it will be interesting to see how others react to them.

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My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating