Wednesday, November 13, 2019


Mid-battle view from behind the Hungarian Division Command Stand.

This slightly delayed post, dear readers, is a quick battle report on a recent game set in the Hungarian Revolt (1848/49) between the Austrians and Hungarians.  The object of the game was to exercise a two-stand variant of my VnB 19th Century Battalion Scale rules. This variant, with two stand infantry units, is suitable for smaller level games: roughly a division to division plus a side (whereas the base system using single stand units can handle corps sized battles).  As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX in this report. I would recommend that you read Mark D's and AJ's battle reports as well on their excellent blogs.
The table as seen from behind the Austrian start position, with the starting brigades in their deployment areas.  For this game, I took the Hatvan Scenario and cut it down to a division (+) per side on a smaller table. It was tossed together, so I went with a minimalist layout without much "garnish" to jazz up the terrain. Each side had two objective areas (circled in yellow and marked on the table with a cobblestone template--which was not considered defensible terrain, just as markers to delineate the areas).  If one side ended it's turn with one of its objective areas threatened, defined as within range and line of sight (musket or artillery) of an enemy unit, then all units on that side would have to withdraw 6" in their next turn, and afterwards could not move farther away from the closest friendly objective until the objective that was in danger was no longer threatened.  If a side's turn ended and both its areas were under threat, then automatic victory for the other side.  I recommend these simple victory conditions for anyone looking for a quick game that organically causes players to  maintain a coherent battle line and respond to enemy breakthroughs (or threats to breakthrough). Each side started with a brigade on the table for the first two turns, with one brigade of the player's choice coming on between the objective areas per turn after that (with Division command and artillery coming in with any command).  This game used a new multi-stand variant of my VnB 19th Century Battalion Scale Reference Sheet.
Mark D, of Mark D's Gaming Site, played the part of the Austrian. The Austrian 1st Brigade at start, along with Austrian Chief of Staff.
AJ, of AJ's Wargaming Blog, played the part of the Hungarians.  The Hungarian 1st Brigade at start, along with the Hungarian Chief of Staff. 
Both players drifted to the flank with their initial brigades (the Hungarian right and Austrian left, respectively) and a very interesting brigade-level chess match ensued, with the cavalry squadrons on both side mixing it up (with the Austrian Uhlans and Frewilliger Jager battalion eventually getting the worst of it).
Out on the end of the line, a half battalion of  Hungarian rifles took up residence in the farmstead on their side of the line (seen in the distance) while the Austrians threw a half battalion of Grenzers into the orchard on theirs (in the foreground).  Things would escalate here as both sides committed more half battalions to contest the orchard.  In the distance, the Austrian Uhlans and Hungarian Volunteer hussars mix it up.
The first follow on brigades arrive, the Austrian and Hungarian 2nd brigades (both accompanied by Division Artillery and Command).
With its grenadiers visible behind the line, the Austrian 3rd Brigade marches on. The Austrian Freiwilliger Jager battalion (see in the foreground) had been reduced to one strength point in the early fighting. They would give up their place in the line and take up a position in the town on the extreme left of the Austrian position.
Both sides extend the line as more forces arrive and things start shaping up into a proper battle. For those familiar with VnB, in this variant, battalions are two stands and show that they are stationary by going into line (the "columns" are not actually mass columns, but are battalions operating "in depth"--or "normal" in VnB terms).  Half battalions are single stands (which go stationary in the traditional way, with a marker), and cavalry has the option of deploying as two-stand "regiments" or splitting strength points up into single stand "squadrons."
In the orchard out on the Austrian left/Hungarian Right, two Austrian Grenzer half battalions and a half battalion of Kaiser Jagers are more than holding their own against the German Legion (half battalion) and Hungarian half battalions of Grenzers and Rifles... 
...but the Hungarian 3rd Brigade, led by the elite Red Cap battalion, is marching to the right...
..and crashes the party, hitting the Kaiserjagers.  The Hungarians would go on to push the Austrians out of the orchard...
 ...after which, the 3rd brigade would continue on into the end of the Austrian main battle line...
...and achieve a breakthrough!  Austrian commander Mark had judiciously expended his command points to reduce his battered left wing brigade's waver level, and so this reverse was not as drastic as it might have been.  Although worn down, his white-coats still may be able to hang on for a few more turns here.
Meanwhile, on the other flank, the lines of cavalry face off. Above left: the Austrian cavalry brigade. Above right: the combined Hungarian cavalry. 
In a display of reckless elan, the Hungarian cavalry charges down the line (left), supported by the advance of the Hungarian National Guard infantry battalion (right),which draws the fire of the Austrian infantry away from the Hungarian hussars. Moving to close range, the Hungarian National Guard unit would have to check morale.  Being a variable morale unit, it would have to first check to find its morale grade: this day, it proved as steady as the regulars, coming in at 5.
...although the dashing Hungarians would take out the Austrian cavalry half-battery and recoil the Austrian Uhlans, the Austrian Cuirassiers repulsed their attackers with loss and the Uhlans would be poised to counter charge in their turn. A mixed result compared to the Hungarian 3rd Brigade's assault on the other end of the line. 

Obligatory view of Hungarian candy-striped guns. Batteries are two strength points while half batteries were represented with one strength point.

At this point, the game was called--a predictably inconclusive outcome given a balanced scenario played by two veteran VnB gamers. However, the aims of the afternoon had been achieved. I had exercised my system and gathered with friends to play with toy soldiers on a Saturday afternoon: result! Thanks to AJ and Mark D!


Monday, November 11, 2019


Monument to the US Army 91st Division AEF at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 
When I was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, the 91st Div Monument always struck me as both awe inspiring (the picture does not capture the impressive size of this monument) and unappreciated -- despite the fact that it is at the end of the parade field in front of the HQ, it is off in the distance at the edge of the area, seldom noticed.  A metaphor, in other words, for why it is important for us to take a deliberate pause to remember the sacrifice of those who fell in service to their nation--lest we forget that the freedoms we enjoy must be safeguarded, sometimes at terrible cost.
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