Sunday, 29 September 2019

Sagasu : A GNW scenario for Pike and Shotte

This week we return to the Great Northern War using the Prince August figures.  A coalition of forces is besieging a Swedish garrison in the port of Sagasu on the Baltic coast.  The Swedish command has organised a relief force of 3 brigades of infantry and 1 of cavalry to raise the siege.  For their part the Russian, Saxon and Danish besiegers have begun to construct defences against such an attack.

An overview of the battlefield, Swedes on the left, the Danish defensive work between the woods and the Saxon camp on the right.

The Danish brigade had suffered heavy losses and had been re-organised into 4 under strength battalions.  They had almost completed a redoubt covering the approach to Sagasu from the south, but the northern face was unfinished.  In the camp are a brigade of Saxon infantry and a field gun.  To the west, a brigade of Saxon cavalry.  Once all the Saxon units are activated the coalition commander can start to roll for the arrival of the Russian infantry brigade, which will appear to the east of the camp.

The 'Danish' redoubt
The Swedes arrive one brigade at a time, the order determined by the Swedish commander before the game starts.  Victory conditions are straightforward; for the Swedes, breakthrough and raise the siege, for the allies prevent the Swedes breaking through.

Initiative lay with the Swedes, but their first move was cautious,meaning the Danes had a chance to fire a volley before the inevitable Swedish charge.  However, the Danish fire inflicted little damage, unlike the Swedish response which disordered the Danes facing them.  Encouraged, the Swedish infantry charged home losing a few more casualties to the closing volley.  Against the odds the Danes managed to hold the defences and prolong the melee.  Other Swedish units now began to move to assault the sides of the redoubt whilst the much lauded Swedish cavalry entered the field.

The Swedish attack
Back at the Saxon camp the sound of the musketry roused the Saxon forces.  Not all responded immediately but as they did the infantry marched out to support the redoubt and the cavalry formed up ready to support the infantry.  In fact the cavalry responded quickest and as they moved forward on the right of the redoubt they met the Swedish cavalry.  The Swedes had been  slow to advance and now the Saxons seized the initiative and charged.  Once again the Swedes were slow to react and were caught at the halt.  The first unit was swept away in no time and disordered its supports as it routed.  Sensing victory the Saxons pursued crashing headlong into the immobile Swedish cavalry.  This was a more prolonged affair but eventually the Swedes gave way leaving the Saxon cavalry triumphant but, disordered and well away from their supports.

View from the Saxon camp before the Russian arrival
At the redoubt the struggle continued.  One of the flank attacks had failed but the defenders on the southern face eventually gave way unable to resist the pressure of the Swedish attack.  They fled through the open northern face of the redoubt making for the camp.  A battalion turned to face the Swedish infantry as they swarmed over the defences, but being a raw unit, they became disordered attempting the manoeuvre.  The Swedes had also lost order as they entered the redoubt, but their volley inflicted sufficient casualties to cause the raw unit to rout.  Seeing the redoubt could not now be held, the last remaining defenders fell back in good order.

The Swedes in the redoubt
On the Swedish right a brigade of veteran infantry advanced past the redoubt.  Their fire swept away the last remaining Danish unit and then they moved against the Saxon infantry who were now forming line covering the camp.  A welcome sight for the allied commander was the arrival of a Russian brigade of four battalions to the left of the camp.  This now moved forward towards the veteran Swedish brigade.  In the rear, the final Swedish brigade arrived, but it's commander seemed unable to get them to move forward.  Their slow advance eased the pressure on the Saxon infantry who now just faced the first Swedish brigade which had already been weakened by the attack on the redoubt.

The Swedes attack the Saxon infantry
The cavalry contest continued to favour the Saxons.  Although reduced to only two units the Swedes attacked and managed to drive the Saxons back, but did not break them.  When the Saxons counter attacked the Swedes gave way and were now too weak to influence the battle.  An attempt by the Saxon cavalry to attack the Swedes in the centre came to nothing as the leading unit was wrecked by a Swedish volley.

Saxon cavalry driven off by musketry
In a final throw of the dice the Swedish commander launched his veteran brigade against the Russians.  The Russian front line was unable to hold the Swedish charge, but it fell back without disordering its supports.  This enabled the second Russian line to attack and they pushed back the Swedes with heavy loss.  The eventual arrival of the third brigade was too late to influence the outcome of the battle, merely to cover the withdrawal of the rest of the Swedish force.

The Russians arrive
A close run thing, with lady luck definitely favouring the Saxons in the 50/50 situations.


  1. An interesting scenario from the outset, good that it ran so close.

  2. Hello Norm, yes I took the Swedish approach to Poltava as my starting point and scaled it down considerably.