Wednesday, 28 February 2018

On the steppes once more

Our most recent game was a return to the Eastern Renaissance and the continuing 'bickering' between the Muscovites and Cossacks.  I set up a fictional scenario with a Muscovite force moving to meet a raiding Cossack force.  Unusually, the Cossacks had forsaken their normal defensive tactics and met their opponents in the open.

The Muscovites had 6 units of noble levy (3 on each wing), with infantry, (3 units of Soldatski and 2 of Streltsy), plus artillery, (2 medium guns) in the centre.  Alongside the general were a unit of Reiter and his own bodyguard. Opposite them, the Cossacks deployed in a similar way, Four units of cavalry (2 per wing), with 3 units of Moloisty and two of musketeers, plus two light guns in the centre.  On the Cossack left wing were some woods and a small village and the Cossacks had placed a small unit of musketeers in the woods to fire on the flank of any passing enemy cavalry.

Muscovite infantry

Streltsy and artillery
Noble cavalry on the Muscovite left

Cossack infantry prepare to advance
The battle opened with a fairly rapid advance by the Noble levy on the Muscovite right.  Fire from the woods thinned the ranks a little, but not enough to cause the Muscovites to halt.  The remainder of the Muscovites were far more reluctant to move forward, particularly the Reiter and bodyguard; hardly the example the general would have wanted them to set.

For their part the Cossacks advanced slowly, keeping their line.  When in range the musketeers began to fire volleys at the Muscovite infantry inflicting significant casualties.  They were joined by the light artillery, which quickly found the range; unlike the Muscovite gunners, who failed to register a hit for some time.  The first clash came close to the village where the opposing cavalry met.  It was a rather one-sided affair, despite the numbers being equal.  The leading Cossack unit routed back and the Noble Levy swept on to melee the supports; pushing them back as well.

The Noble Levy prevail
On the opposite flank the Noble Levy at last began to move forward, but were unable to make their numbers count.  A stalemate developed with first one side being pushed back and then the other.  Valuable assistance was given to the Cossack cavalry by a unit of musketeers who fired volleys at the Muscovite cavalry.

In the centre, the slow advance of the Muscovite infantry continued, their ranks thinned by the Cossack volleys.  Seizing the initiative the Cossack infantry charged and a fierce melee took place in the centre.

Battle is joined on the Cossack left centre

And on the right
The two streltsy units fared badly, even though they had the berdische axe, and they both routed.  However, the Soldatski stood their ground and pushed back the Moloisty.  Again the light artillery intervened.  Their fire dissuaded the Soldatski from following up, giving the Moloisty time to recover. 

A unit of streltsy rout
On the Cossack left matters had reached a critical stage.  One unit of musketeers had gone to the aid of the Cossack cavalry and they with one of the light guns held off a combined attack by a unit of Soldatski and cavalry.  The cost to the Cossack cavalry was high, with the remnants of both units fleeing from the field.

The end for the Cossack left wing
A new left wing was formed from the musketeers and a unit of Moloisty, and with the pressure lessening in the centre, the Cossack commander thought he may have a chance of victory.  However, the Muscovite artillery now began to make an impact.  Their fire slowly but surely ground down the Cossack infantry, weakening them to such an extent that a renewed attack by the Soldatski, supported by the Reiter and bodyguard began to push them back.  It was at this point that the Russian left wing cavalry charged towards the centre, scattering a unit of Moloisty which tried to hold them back.

The collapse of the Cossack left
With the Cossack right wing cavalry eventually being driven off by their opponents, the day was lost for the Cossacks. 


  1. Beautiful. Hinchliffe produced an iconic range of figures and you've done a wonderful job with them. Well done.

  2. Great to see the collection on the table, with some new additions. And to see them in action. Great post. Thank you for the inspiration.