Sunday, 27 October 2013

Poles v Cossacks, a Ga Pa scenario

After a few trials with the Ga Pa rules using the GNW Prince August figures we decided to 'push the envelope' a bit and use the Polish and Cossack troops.  The second edition of the Ga Pa rules does have a useful appendix which enables you to build up your own forces and it covers most troop types for the late 17th and early 18th century period.  There are army list volumes published to support the 2nd edition of the Ga Pa rules, but we managed to make do with the appendix lists for this small scale scenario.

It is based on an article which appeared in Miniature wargames about 10 years ago on John Sobieski and his military exploits.  The Vienna campaign of 1683 is the one which most people have heard of, but the Polish forces spent many years fighting the Cossacks and Muscovites on the eastern borders.  For our scenario, a local centre is being threatened by a Cossack raiding force.  The local commander has gathered two units of the local militia infantry to form a garrison and do what they can to improve the defences.  He also has a single 3lb gun and a small unit of light cavalry.  A messenger has been sent to the nearest garrison requesting help.

The Cossack force consists of 3 units of infantry, seven of light cavalry and four units of tartar 'allies'.  Their objective is to capture the village and carry off the stores within it, before any relief force arrives.  The Polish relief force consists of 1 unit of hussars, 4 of pancerni and one light cavalry unit; they would arrive on turn 4 +d6. (In the event 1 rolled a 6 so the reinforcements didn't arrive until turn 10)

The Polish village and defences
The Cossacks attacked with their infantry in the centre and 4 cavalry units on the left wing.  The Tartars were on the right and the cavalry reserve of three units, initially in the centre, moved to the right to follow the Tartars.   First blood went to the Polish artillery which targeted the lead Cossack cavalry unit. Long range fire was ineffective, but once in close range, the Cossacks suffered and took a step loss which,as they were a small unit, removed them from play.

The Polish artillery
The Polish light cavalry, although outnumbered, decided to take on the Tartars.  They charged the leading unit, which evaded (ie fled) and then carried on towards a second which also evaded.  Unfortunately, their success meant that they were now disordered and in danger of being surrounded.  To their left were the remaining two units of Tartars and to their front Cossack light cavalry.  The Tartars shot their arrows and moved round behind the Poles and Cossacks also fired.  Unable to recover their formation, the Poles were helpless to resist as they were charged from front and rear and were destroyed.  Their action had however, slowed the advance of the Cossack right and also forced them to spend further time reorganising.

The Polish light cavalry endangered by their success
Steve, as the Cossack commander, knew that Polish reinforcements were on their way and roughly from which direction they would appear.  Therefore his cavalry spent the next few turns moving into a position to screen his impending infantry attack from 'interference' from the Polish cavalry.

Before the Cossacks had arrived, the Polish levy infantry had managed to create an obstacle across the likely line of attack.  This now proved its worth as the Sandormirz unit of Cossacks were brought to a halt by the stakes as they came in musketry range.  Supported by fire from the gun the levy were able to prevent the Cossack infantry from making any further progress.

However, two more units of Cossack infantry avoided the obstacle and attacked the village.  Although one unit refused to attack, the Godicz unit closed with the defenders.  Forcing their way over the improvised defences they established themselves in the houses.

The Godicz Cossacks enter the village
As the defenders from that face of the village fell back, I formed up the defenders from two other sides of the village to oppose any further Cossack progress.  With everyone disordered by the terrain and also benefiting from the cover provided by the buildings a stalemate developed.

At this point the clock intervened.  It was the end of turn nine, so the Polish reinforcements would have arrived next turn.  It is possible that they could have driven off the Cossack cavalry and so saved the Polish infantry.  Equally, the Cossack cavalry could have delayed the Polish cavalry long enough for their infantry to capture the town.

The rules worked well for this scenario, coping with the small units.  They do give units carrying out 'perimeter defence' an increased firepower, though at the cost of reduced melee power which balances things out.  Although the 2nd edition of the rules have an index (a notable improvement over the first edition) we still had problems with the various aspects of fighting in villages; though this perhaps may be due to our unfamiliarity with the rules.

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