Wednesday 11 July 2012

Cossacks at Romanov, July 1812

Got back to the Napolenic project recently and wanted to try some new mechanics for handling irregular horse. With that in mind this scenario was rather loosely based on the skirmish outside Romanov on July 14th, 1812.

On that day the Polish 1st Chasseurs ran into three regiments of Cossacks and lost some 275 men out  of 700 or so engaged. Some of the details are sketchy depending on who is telling the story. There were either three or four squadrons of the Chasseurs who may have had 700 to 900 sabers. The Cossacks were supported by another regiment of Cossacks, as well as one of Uhlans, one of Dragoons and a battalion of  light infantry. However it does seem that none of these forces took place in the actual fighting and remained on the east side of Romanov while all the fighting took place west of the village.

Initial Deployment, Poles to the west (left), Russians to the east (right)

For game purposes a regiment of 21 French Hussars stood in for the Poles of whom I have none. The  regiment was divided into five squadrons of 5 with a single regimental command figure. This, given a scale of 1 figure equals 40 men and horses, made for a nearly fulls strength regiment. Given the campaign had only just begun this seemed reasonable enough.  

The 1st Polish-French Chasseur-Hussars advance!

Historically the Chasseurs advanced with the 2nd squadron out as skirimsihers, and the other squadrons echeloned  left and right behind the 1st.

I managed to just scrape together 31 Cossack figures by requisitioning some figures from the regular regiments. This enabled the fielding of 3 regiments, each of 5 sotnias of two figures each. One additional figures served as the brigade commander. At the same figure scale this gave sotnias of 80 figures each, and regiments of 400 each, a bit less closer to full strength than their enemies. As I suspect Cossacks would have had difficulty finding replacements when on campaign, and might have had considerable variation from regiment to regiment, that's close enough for play test purposes.

Two regiments of  Cossacks ready to lava.
In the historical battle two regiments, probably Illovaiski, and Karpov, lured the Poles into a frontal assault while the third regiment (Koutienkov ?) hit them in the flank as they advanced. 

This left me with two regiments on the table and the third entering by die roll on the south western corner of the table, diced for at the start of each turn after the first. 

End of turn one.
The first turn saw both sides advancing to contact. Unfortunately for the Poles the third Cossack regiment entered on turn two.

Flanking force arrives

Start of turn two.
This presented the Poles with a dilemma. 
Second squadron continued to advance on the enemy, skirmishing. Third squadron advanced to the skirmishers' left with the intention of charging the enemy on that flank. Fourth squadron wheeled right and advanced on the new arrivals. First squadron remained in reserve in the center.

The Poles respond to the emerging threat from the south.
The Cossack right fell back before the advance of third squadron, while second squadron was forced to withdraw behind first.

Drawn on by the Cossacks, the Polish left outdistances the regiment.

Close up of the action on the Polish left.
Emboldened by the defeat of second squadron, the Cossacks advanced on the first. Meanwhile the third Cossack regiment advanced from the south.

Battle joined left, right, and center.
Third squadron's charge petered out and the squadron was surrounded by Cossacks and taking losses.

Swirling melee on the Polish left
Third and first squadrons continued their advance.  The Cossacks to their front fell back before them, leaving the odd sotnia behind and on the flanks of the Poles. The charge of fourth squadron had the same...success ( ? )

The Cossacks are pushed back all along the line, but some sotnias remain behind.
I failed to reform second squadron due to some poor dice rolling. This was getting ugly.

Another view of the  fluid situation.

 Third squadron was being whittled down, a death of a thousand cuts. Eventually it broke and ran. Unfortunately for them, Cossacks were operating freely along their escape route.

Third squadron flees.
There is no safety in flight...
On the right, the Cossacks surprisingly withstood fourth squadron's charge. Detached sotnias converged on their flank and rear. Losses mounted and fourth squadron also broke and fled.

The death of fourth squadron.
With two squadron's broken, the battered first squadron withdrew on second and together they retired leaving the field to the Cossacks.

End game.
So far so good  as far as testing the "swarm" rules went. All of the troops were given a Rep of 4 just to make things easier for me to keep track of. Still formed cavalry has, as you might imagine, a great advantage over skirmishers in melee. Oddly enough though, the only times the Poles were ever actually able to run down the Cossacks, the dice failed me, and the Cossacks held on until help reached them.

Early days yet for Muskets and Shakos (or Muskets and Muscovites as I like to call it). If all goes well these "swarm" rules will also serve for a set of plains wars rules in the future as well.

Still somethings to iron out and then of course comes the actual writing process...

Hope you enjoyed the battle report and thanks for stopping by!


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