Saturday, 4 February 2012

War on the Eastern Front

August 1914, Galicia.

World War One, Eastern Front, Russians vs. Austrians.

Me and Gary headed down to Stafford Games last Wednesday for a quick "surprise" game (in other words, Gary didn't tell me what we were playing, just that he had a scenario and that I didn't need to bring anything except dice and a tape measure...). I was offered the choice of "Yellow" or "Green", and went with Yellow. Turns out 'yellow' was the colour of the boxes containing the Austrians!

The premise of the game was simple, for both sides. The vanguard of the opposing army had been spotted alongside a stream and farmhouse. The task was simple; we both had an advance force intent on taking the field from the enemy and halting the advance of the main army. Victory conditions were simple; clear the table of the enemy, either by killing everything or by preventing reinforcements entering the table.

We were using the 'Contemptible Little Armies' rule set, and I had been warned that these games tended to be bloody and brutal affairs. That certainly turned out to be the case! I took plenty of pictures but my recollections of what actually happened (and in what order) are not all that clear, so I will simply let the pictures do most of the talking...

Russian infantry advance into the cornfield while Austrian J├Ąger  confront them

The early stages of the swirling cavalry melee; the Austrian Dragoons (blue) destroy
one unit of Russian Hussars before being confronted by a unit of Russian Dragoons

The PoV from the first Austrian machine gun; clear LoS to the Russian infantry...

The cavalry melee continues

More cavalry for the melee! A second unit of Austrian Dragoons
turns up, along with another unit of Russian cavalry

The PoV of the Austrian Dragoons as they enter the field - so many tempting targets...
The infantry continue to face off, before the real firefight begins
The state of the cavalry melee after combat, before the two fresh units enter the fray

The view of the left side of the battlefield;
up until now, the right has largely been ignored

Two more cavalry units enter the swirling melee!

View from the top of the hill, shortly before the so-called
"elites" of the Austrian infantry get shot to pieces...

Uh oh...
The action on the right flank begins, as Russian lancers end an  inch short of charging the HMG

A third Austrian cavalry unit appears! Do the Hussars enter the cavalry melee,
or charge those vulnerable looking infantry?

The tide begins to turn in the cavalry melee, as the Russians begin to falter

And that takes us up to the final couple of turns (after which I evidently didn't take any more photos...). The cavalry melee continued, with the Austrians eventually gaining the upper hand (I claim a moral victory here, because two Austrian units tied up and destroyed three Russian units). The Austrian Hussars chose to take on the Russian infantry who were quickly routed, although they inflicted several casualties on the cavalry.

On the right flank, the HMG was quickly massacred but unleashed a hail of lead prior to the charge that took out 33% of the Lancers. Once the Russians had dealt with the HMG, they found themselves with a fresh full strength Austrian Lancer unit to face.

In the centre, the infantry shot each other to pieces, but the timely arrival of a fresh Russian unit gave them the upper hand for the moment. At that point we called it a night, and a draw. The Austrian cavalry was marauding across the board, but crucially the Russians had rolled well for reinforcements on the final turn (when the Austrians received none...) and the timely arrival of a couple of infantry units may have been able to see off the Austrian cavalry if we had continued. All in all, it was a bloody and brutal game as predicted but the honours were even and we both went home having had a thoroughly enjoyable game!


  1. I'll get you next time!!!!!

    And I always play the Austrians and do not draw with them. Blummin Russians and their half-drunk nags......


  2. I should have just given you the Russians and let loose. And since when did you learn to roll dice????


    1. I don't know! Must have been an off day. Just think yourself lucky you weren't playing Boy Wonder with his jammy rolling...