Having been kicking my heels around Odessa I was sent for by the Count Gueule De Bois, to be informed that there had been a Turkish incursion and I was being sent to take command of a small force that was to restore order and destroy the enemy forces. Iwas led to understand that there was a possibility of agents from a foreign power with the enemy, hoping to buy support for an insurrection.
I was given an Army Corps that was undergoing training in the area, along with with a number of displaced units known as the 'Legion of the Damned', as well as a few units of regular cavalry and artillery.Also, the Tsars cousin, Grand Duke Michael, would accompany me.
When my staff reached our forces I saw that the enemy and I occupied parrallel ridges, with that of the enemy crowned by a ruined Abbey. Most of their forces were hiding behind the hill tops. There was a small village on my left, skirted by a river. Iimmediately sent some units to check the village while forming the rest of my forces into line and moving forward. The cavalry were sent out to locate and report on the enemy positions.
As the units cleared the village they crossed the river to join my left flank, my Cuirassiers with Hussars in support, charged the enemy cavalry, driving them back, but a counter charge by their irregular cavalry forced us to retire. Meanwhile our infantry continueed to move forward.
During the general advance my right flank was held up by rough ground, but reformed and moved on. The line infantry were attacked by enemy forces pouring over the hill from the vicinity of the Abbey, and hard fighting took place. On our left we began to push back the enemy, and our infantry began a long slog along the ridge line. Our cavalry made a charge in support on the enemy centre, but were decimated by enemy fire.
The fight became a general slogging match along the whole front and it was debatable which side held the upper hand. Iwas confident that, should the light hold, we would be the victors. Unfortunately darkness descended quickly and it was impossible to continue. Both sides disengaged as best they could, and by morning the enemy forces had retired, soundly thrashed. Unfortunately we were unable to find the foreign agent or cammandeer his warchest.
During the night, it appears that Grand Duke Michael and his entourage left our camp heading back to Odessa. No doubt your honours have received his report in person. I shall return to Odessa as soon as the army is stabilised, fed and re-munitioned, in case of any further incursion.
As I said, my first battle for a long time, and using the Big Wars rules of Stuart Asquith and Jack Alexander, specially formulated for 54mm figures. I found the rules easy to follow, not too complicated by modifiers, and quick to reference if neccessary. I do find the four figure cavalry unit a little small for my taste, and will probably double this for my own use. As it was a 'postal' game I didn't have the actual set-up to work from, but did draw out a scale size table and used Monopoly houses and hotels as unit counters. Even so, I still managed to lose track of one unit for a couple of moves (it wasn't where I thought it was). I am grateful to Alan for being my oponent, and Brian for setting up the game, using his figures, following our moves, working out the results and forwarding photos of the action (the two accompanying this post are just a couple of many sent).
When the weather improves I intend to use these rules out in the garden with the small forces currently at my disposa, and no dobt the go General will be sending furthe action reports. In the meantime, I believe that Jeff Chorney is preparing a review of the rules to appear shortly in the Lone Warrior Blog.
Anyone wanting the full story can read a blow by blow description, along with many more pictures and umpires comments, on Brian's own blog 'Collecting Toy Soldiers'. (follow link on my 'blogs followed' list.