Sunday, 3 June 2012


This week's battle is a fictional scenario set in Eastern Europe in the 17th century.  Relations between Muscovy and the Cossacks blew hot and cold and at this particular time Muscovy was looking to extend its 'influence' to the south and west.  The Cossacks, valuing their independence, opposed this and the scene was set for conflict.  The two armies met at the small town of Maltrovo.  Leading the Muscovites was Prince Dmitri Pozhorski.  He had five units of streltsy and three units of feudal cavalry; the latter being under the command of Prince Petyr Rostov.
In addition he had a unit of German mercenary foot commanded by Gottfreid von Allenstein. and a field gun. 

Commanding the Cossacks was Borotnikov.  His main line consisted of three infantry units; on the left the Sodomirz Cossacks, in the centre the Godisz Cossacks and on the right, next to Maltrovo,Borotnikov's own regiment.  Maltrovo had a garrison of the Przemsyl Cossacks and also a unit of mercenaries under Captain Mohrungen, all under the command of Borodavka.  The cossacks placed all their cavalry on their left flank, opposite the Muscovite cavalry.  They had one light gun in Maltrovo and a second in the infantry line.

Pozhorski decided on a general advance by his streltsy to engage the Cossack foot in musketry. Once the enemy foot were weakened, he would attack with his cavalry.  Although he outnumbered the enemy, Pozhorski found it difficult to deploy all his men to shoot and although he was inflicting casualties, he was not gaining the advantage he sought.  However he was helped by a decision by Minin, the Cossack cavalry commander.  Interpreting the inactivity of the Muscovite cavalry as a general reluctance to fight, Minin sent forward a screen of cavalry to fire arrows, hoping to drive the enemy away. His action had the opposite effect.  Stung into action by the Cossack arrows, two units of feudal cavalry surged forward.  They had the advantage of numbers and mail shirts, but the Cossacks managed to hold the initial charge.  Minin sent forward the supporting squadrons and managed to maintain his position on the far left, but on his right, is cavalry were routed.

Hoping to plug the gap he led forward his last reserve and for a time this restored the balance.  Fighting bravely in the front rank Minin was cut down and what remained of his men routed.

Rostov acted quickly to steady his men and prevent them from pursuing the fleeing enemy.  Although Minin had failed to stop the feudal cavalry, his brave charge had bought the time for the Sodomirz Cossacks to redeploy to meet the flank attack by the cavalry.  This redeployment reduced the fire on the Voronsov and Barneskya streltsy and enabled them to concentrate their volleys on the Godicz Cossacks.  Godicz also had to contend with the Muscovite field gun which was firing with deadly effect, shot taking out files of men.  With losses approaching 50% Borotnikov ordered the Godicz Cossacks to fall back and become part of the garrison of Maltrovo.

In the town, Borodavka watched events keenly and saw an opportunity to attack the left flank of the Muscovites, which had been weakened by the fire of Borotnikov's Cossacks.  He therefore led out the garrison hoping to reduce the pressure on the Cossack centre.

On the Cossack left Rostov had now reformed his cavalry and began his attack on the Cossack centre.  One unit of feudal cavalry charged the Sodomirz Cossacks and were repulsed with heavy loss.  A second was more fortunate, they caught the retiring Godicz Cossacks.  Initially the infantry managed to stand against the feudal cavalry, but as more joined in the melee numbers began to tell and despite their bravery the infantry routed. 

Undeterred, the Sodomirz Cossacks held their position daring the cavalry opposing them to charge again.  But Rostov realised that a charge was not necessary.  he brought forward the Vorontsov streltsy to fire on the flank of the Cossacks, causing heavy casualties.   Seeing the danger looming over his force, Borotnikov joined his own regiment and redeployed them to cover Maltrovo.  The Muscovite artillery now shifted its attention to this unit and whilst urging his men to stand firm, Borotnikov was almost cut in two by a cannonball.  His aides quickly removed the body, but the infantry were shaken by this turn of events.

Pozhorski moved forward the Barneskya streltsy to fire at the Boronitkov Cossacks and a unit of feudal cavalry moved forward ready to charge.  The position was hopeless and the Cossacks surrendered; the victory was Pozhorski's.

But what about Borodavka's flank attack?  Well the Przemsyl Cossacks had been engaged in a musketry duel with Allenstein's men and the Ivanov streltsy.  To their right Mohrungen's men had continued to advance and were on the point of attacking the Hadiach streltsy when news came of the Cossack surrender.  Mohrungen's men now faced a decision, join Allenstein and replace the casualties he had suffered, or take their chance with Pozhorski.  Not surprisingly, Mohrungen joined their new 'comrades' in Von Allenstein's regiment.

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