Sunday, 22 July 2012

Kagul - the final act

Following the painfully slow progress up to now, Rumyantsev decided to stake everything on an all out attack.  With the bulk of the cavalry covering their flank, the two divisional squares separated into their constituent battalions and marched forward towards the Ottoman camp.  As they did so the Ottoman artillery at last came into action and quickly created a beaten zone in front of the cannon.  Two battalions caught in the cannons fire were reduced to tatters and played no further part in the action.  The two former squares therefore moved right and left respectively to move out of the limited arc of fire of the Ottoman battery.

It soon became apparent that the left hand battalions would not reach the camp.  Masses of Tartar cavalry were moving towards them and the Russian cavalry covering their flank were being pinned in position by yet more Tartars.  Hurriedly the commanding general ordered the divisional square to be reformed.  This was done with only seconds to spare as the light horsemen galloped up and began to pepper the infantry with arrows.  

On the right Rumyantsev's force was nearing the camp.  The Russian heavy cavalry support had pursued Ottoman cavalry off into the distance so it was left to a unit of hussars to try and  hold the Turkish Spahis and light cavalry at bay.  They were supported by some Pandours who had worked their way into the rough ground close to the Ottoman horse, but their sniping was having little effect.

The Russian attack had split into two columns, each led by a battalion of grenadiers.  The right hand column had some success, pushing back one of the Janissary units, but before it could exploit the gap a reserve unit stepped into the breach.  On the left, the grenadiers were met by withering fire from the Janissaries and although they bravely charged home they were too few in number to overcome the defenders.  Having lost over half their strength the grenadiers fell back to reform, to be joined by their fellow grenadiers from the right hand column, who also suffered heavy casualties as the Ottoman counter attack came forward.

Rumyantsev ordered one final attack by two battalions from the observation corps.  These moved forward into the hail of bullets from the Ottoman defenders and reached the camp walls.  A fierce melee then took place, but again the Ottomans prevailed.  Slowly the Russians fell back the day being ceded to their opponents.

One last humiliation occurred when the Russian reserve dragoon regiment refused to charge home on the Tartar horse which threatened to attack Rumyantsev's flank.  The Ottomans had fought bravely but they owed a great deal of their victory to their Tartar allies who had destroyed the Russian left flank and harried their centre, preventing it from attacking the camp.


  1. you blog is great

  2. Always enjoy visiting your site, not least because of the occasional Ottoman Turk wargames you stage. Have mentioned such on my Scimitar and Crescent Wargames Blog. Forgive my forwardness, have the Turks any artillery?

    1. For the Kagul game the Ottoman artillery was grouped into a central battery of three heavy guns. They were quite destructive if you wandered into range, but their arc of fire was very restricted. Thanks for letting me know about your blog.