The inspiration for this week's game came from a post on the League of Augsburg blog. (link). The game pictured was on a far larger scale than I could contemplate, but it could provide a basis for an experiment pitting our 'Grand Alliance' figures against some Ottomans. Looking at the maps in Wheatcroft's "The Enemy at the Gate" I settled on Lorraine's advance close to the Danube. The allied force was predominantly infantry (12 battalions, organised in 3 brigades) with some cavalry and artillery support. Their task was to clear the Ottomans from an earthwork and then advance eastwards towards the main defences. Opposing them was 1 unit of levy infantry, a small janissary unit, a small unit of azab skirmishers, one unit of horse archers, one of light cavalry and a unit of sipahi. The Ottoman commander could call for supports, but what actually arrived depended on a dice roll when the reinforcements were due to enter the table.
By now, the allied cavalry had moved forward and made their presence felt. On the right, the Erbach regiment charged the horse archers, who attempted to evade, but were caught before they could move. It was a rather one-sided affair, with Erbach coming through unscathed while the archers fell back. Erbach followed up, pushing the Ottomans back again. Before the archers could recover they were charged again by Erbach and driven from the field.
|Erbach drive off the Ottoman horse archers|
|The Janissaries routed|
Fortunately the allied infantry had suffered heavy losses and needed time to rally before they could continue to advance. In the redoubt, the levy ignored this reverse and stood to their front.
The Ottoman cavalry arrived in the nick of time. A unit of sipahi charged Erbach, confident in their superior numbers. They received short shrift from their opponents, who quickly drove them from the field. On the opposite flank, the original unit of sipahi, now rallied charged the allied infantry and stopped them in their tracks. The position there was still perilous, the Veningen Gendarmes were working round the flank of the sipahi and only a unit of light cavalry was in a position to stop them.
The Ottoman commander ordered the infantry reinforcements to fall back to the next line of defence, as to advance any further would achieve little and may well only serve to increase Ottoman losses. He then mustered what forces he could and began to try and get them back to the main line of defence.
An enjoyable evenings game. As you may expect, the allied infantry fire power could handle most Ottoman attacks. The Ottomans could perhaps have done with more cavalry and they could certainly have done with more space, allowing them to threaten the flanks of the allies more effectively. [A point made by Bruno Mugnai in his recent book ] . Whilst compiling this post I happened to have a telephone conversation with my friend Alasdair, a former wargaming opponent now living in Scotland. He said that he felt that even with his 12 ft table there was not enough space on the flanks to really represent the flanking tactics of the Ottoman army using 25mm figures. Perhaps I should have gone for 15mm or even 10?