Saturday, 30 January 2016

Not so quietly flows the Don; a Pike and Shotte scenario

A couple of weeks ago Steve and I tried an eastern renaissance scenario using the unofficial Pike and Shotte supplement by Thaddeus Urban.  This week we did another game test, again using the Cossacks, but this time their opponents were Muscovites.  The outline was that the Tsar was keen to extend his domain southwards along the river Don and had dispatched an army to accomplish this. Not surprising this move was opposed by the Cossacks who lived in the area and resistance centred around a settlement on an island in the Don.

The Muscovite infantry force consisted of 4 units of Streltsy, 2 of Border Musketeers and 1 Soldat unit, supported by two medium and 1 heavy gun.  Accompanying them were 2 units of Reiter and six units of Boyar cavalry.  The force was arrayed in the standard fashion of an infantry centre with cavalry on the wings.

The Muscovite centre ready to advance
Opposing them was a Cossack force of five infantry units (3 Moloisty, mixed spear and musket units, 1 unit of registered Cossack musketeers and a unit of 'Adventurers') and 5 cavalry units,  Two of the cavalry units were skirmishers with three regular.  In addition the Cossacks had three light guns, 1 deployed to support the Registered Cossacks and 2 in an earthwork on the island, where they could fire on the flank of any attack on the main force.

The Cossacks await the attack

The only access to the island was behind the Cossack force so the objective for the Muscovites was simple, break through the enemy line.  For the Cossacks, it was hold your position.

Religious inspiration for the troops
A roll of the dice resulted in Steve commanding the Muscovites and his left wing cavalry lost no time in charging forward against the Cossack skirmish cavalry.  One unit managed to fire and evade, but the other was caught napping and suffered accordingly.  The remnants streamed towards the baseline and then routed off into the distance.  The Boyars then carried on into my supporting unit and after a sharp melee drove them back in disorder, but at least they stayed on the table. (One of the disadvantages of using a 6ft x 4ft table and 25mm figures is that the baselines are always fairly close!).  However, the Boyars had now taken heavy casualties and a charge by my reserve drove them back.  As they fled in disorder they also disordered their supports and my cavalry took advantage and charged them.  In no time a second unit of Boyars was driven back in disorder.  This set the pattern for an ongoing cavalry melee which lasted throughout the game, with the initiative passing between us as units recovered and were thrown into the fray again.

The Muscovite cavalry on the opposite flank also attacked, but the leading unit of Boyars was disordered by the fire of the light artillery on the island and had to pull back to reform.  A supporting unit carried on the advance, but was driven back by a volley from one of the Moloisty units.   In the centre the Streltsy advanced towards the low hill held by the registered Cossack unit.  This fired a volley, but it had little effect.  The colonel ordered the supporting artillery to fire on the streltsy, but the shock of first shot broke the axle of the gun and that was the end of their 'support'.  (Actually I managed to roll a double 1 for the artillery fire, which in Pike and Shotte means that the gun is out of action for the rest of the game)

The Cossacks stand firm
Once the Muscovite right wing cavalry had reformed they advanced again, this time supported by the Reiter regiments.  Once again they ran the gauntlet of the artillery on the island, but this time they got through unscathed.  A closing volley from the Cossack infantry failed to stop them and the leading units of cavalry crashed into the infantry.  The spears carried by the Cossacks helped to offset the impetus of the cavalry and both sides lost heavily in the melee, but the Cossacks just prevailed.  As the Boyars fell back the Reiter steadied themselves and then advanced.  They hit the Cossack infantry before they fully recovered from the previous melee.  Although they did their best, the blue Moloisty regiment broke and fled from the field.  However, they had done enough to shake the Reiter and the horsemen could not follow up their success.  This gave a supporting Cossack unit the chance to fire a volley, which did enough damage to force the Reiter to retire in disorder.
The streltsy advance
Seeing the gap on the left the Cossack commander ordered the 'adventurers' to move to take up a position in the front line.  This did remove some support from the Cossacks on the hill, but filling the gap was more important.  As the streltsy plodded forward towards the hill the registered Cossacks continued to fire volleys, but seemingly with little effect.  Once the streltsy were in range they fired back and they had a medium gun in support.  Their combined fire inflicted heavy casualties on the Cossacks, who really missed the support of the light gun.  Seeing the Cossacks weakening the streltsy charged forward.

The streltsy charge home
As the pressure mounted in the centre, the Muscovite right wing cavalry attacked again.  The Reiter charged one Moloisty unit and defeated them in short order.  Sweeping forward they caught the 'advanturers' still moving towards the left flank.  Still in column the 'adventurers' stood no chance and were driven from the field.  My left flank had disappeared.

The reiter break through
At the same time the registered cossacks were driven back by the streltsy.  By now over half my army had routed and half the remainder were disordered.  The Cossacks had lost.


  1. Its good to see the Hinchliffe renaissance range being used, still a very nice range of figures, Good game, well done.

  2. Great battle report and photos, thank you for uploading. Yes, I agree with Robbie, the Hinchliffe renaissance range still looks good on the table, I have four regiments of Hinchliffe streltsy waiting to be finished, each 18 strong. Have purchased some TAG commanders and artillery crew, their sizes are very compatible. Thanks again for the inspiration. Michael

  3. Yes I have a soft spot for the Hinchliffe figures. The streltsy were the first units raised when I started my Muscovite army. I was inspired by taking part in large Polish/Ottoman games using my good friend Alasdair's marvellous collection.

  4. You occasionally post items on new units acquired. Have you ever thought about giving a breakdown of a particular army/collection? With any gaps you are keen to fill. I first visited your blog because of the large scale Ottoman actions, and lately the Eastern European war-games. Cheers, Michael

  5. Thanks for the suggestion, I may get round to doing something on those lines at some stage. Alasdair moved away a couple of years ago and therefore the Ottomans have not appeared of late. However, Steve and I have both acquired collections of Ottoman figures in the last 12 months. At some stage we may get them 'table ready' but it depends on other commitments. If we do succeed, they are bound to feature in a future post!