Sunday, September 20, 2015

Alten has Fallen!

Following the passage of the Vistula River at Zahn and the successful rear guard action a day later, eight players gathered to fight for the prize of the campaign: the town of Alten reportedly containing the Latverian army chest.  Casualties have been carried forward with (statistically) half the battle casualties returning to the ranks the following day.

Rules are Batailles des Ancien Regime by Bill Protz.  Figure ratio is 10:1 and units are battalions, half-battalions and squadrons.  In this game we drew movement cards followed by firing cards for each command.  In "BAR" you can adapt it as needed.  In the previous smaller games each card allowed the owning player to move or shoot just a single unit.  A joker allows you to "trump" a card and seize the initiative for movement or shooting.  As the out-numbered defenders, the Latverians were granted one joker at the start.

For this engagement the Litharusian liberators fielded two grenadier, six line and a light battalion, each nominally of 600 men.  Additionally they had eight squadrons and three light guns.  The Latverian defenders had one grenadier battalion, four line battalions, three light half-battalions and three militia half-battalions.  One of the latter being mustered thanks to the successful delaying action.  Eight squadrons, two medium and one heavy gun completed their OB.  The heavy gun was placed in works, and enough redoubts had been erected to cover one of the militia battalions. 

The militia had variable morale and training.  The first time it mattered a 1d6 would be rolled.  On a 1 they were highly motivated to defend their homes and would be treated as Veterans.  On a 2-3 they would be trained and on a 4-6 rated poor.  Considering the post-battle reception it may be that the populace did welcome the Litharusians as true liberators since all three ended up being very unenthusiastic.

Our 9x8' table.  Yes, the back section is in play and all Litharusians
had to start there.

Alten, with an unfordable river on the left and disordering woods
scattered about.

Initial deployment and one of the confident Latverian brigadiers.

The Army of Liberation advancing in march columns.

My own command, two grenadier and two line battalions.

Onto the main table!

Artillery on my left is intended to support, but  the "big battalions"
end up bigger than expected and a traffic jam ensues.

The view from Alten.  In the distance the Pandours advance in
open order.

View from the center looking to the left about the same time.

We quickly come to grips, driving away the jagers opposing us.
Terrain being more of an impediment.

Having been weakened by artillery fire, we close on the enemy.

Light cavalry in open order dances before the steady regulars.

The Latverian right.  These troops will soon be in motion.

The firing continues as some light cavalry scamper away.

Judging the time right, Duke Alten sends his right wing forward.

View from the Latverian center where troops are redeploying
and the heavy gun beats the odds by surviving.

Fighting becomes desperate as the Litharusian masses continue
to advance.  Troops rout and sometimes rally on both sides.

The path to town is almost open.  Grenadiers eagerly advance.

Cossacks already weakened from previous engagements are no
match for the fresh dragoons.

Forced into a battalion mass by the terrain, they still drive on Alten.
The lights cannot stop them.

Closing on the prey.  Black cards indicate a Latverian brigade
move or shoot, red is for Litharus.

Wave after wave of volleys roar as Duke Alten's battalion is forced
to reform behind the equally decimated fusiliers.

The Latverian right has driven back/off the Litharusian cavalry
but in the distance you can see the mass closing on the objective.
Recognizing the inevitable and wanting to spare Alten the storm, the Duke sounded the retreat and withdrew.  Given the severity of the fight the Litharusian commander was happy to see them go.  The butcher's bill was severe for both sides.  Gross losses for Litharus was 2190 men, over 25% of the starting numbers.  The Latverians suffered 1880 lost.  However, when the dice were thrown for recovering troops, the final tally in heavy wounded or killed was Litharus 910 and Latveria 950.  Perhaps significantly for the rest of the campaign, many of the Litharusian casualties were among the cavalry.

Three wagons were loaded with gold for... uh, "recompense" of the families of the fallen.  Among other things.  A field hospital was established and the heavily wounded Latverians put into the care of surgeons.  Poor things.  The militia that remained were disarmed and sent to their homes.

The army did not tarry.  The attack was begun later than preferred so some things of value may have been missed.  The safety of Litharus was just two days march away.  After a day of slow march with the laden wagons and numbers of heavily wounded General Prochniak called a halt.  The senior officers were enjoying some level of merriment together when a courier arrived and insisted on seeing General Prochniak.  A hush fell over the group as he read the message, turned and left the marquee letting the message fall to the ground.  General Gogol picked it up and read it.  "What does it say?" asked Captain Popov, his AdC.  "It says the bridgehead is under attack" came the terse reply.


  1. cool.Long Live Latveria! Love Latveria in the Spring.

  2. Homeric! Splendid photos and story-telling.
    Thank you Michael\,
    Bill P.

  3. A phenomenal spectacle! Well done!!