Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Battle of Kore Una (pt 1)

Doug came up with a clever scenario based on a historical battle in Spain. Rather than Soult chasing Moore off the peninsula during an evacuation gone bad, it's Soult chasing Mohr into the North sea. With prussians, this would obviously need to be a different spelling from Coruna......hence Kore Una.

The battle was much smaller than previous, about a corp a side, with 12 elements vs 9 elements. It was actually played fast enough that we got to switch sides and do it again  (The mirror world Kore Una post to be posted later).

The French and Prussians start arrayed across form each other on hills. The French seize the initiative and start their drive on the enemy. Prussians are fighting a delaying action, and score VP's based on the number of surviving elements minus the number destroyed. They gain bonus VP for each french element destroyed.

Other angle. The North sea to the West (stream).
As previously reported in the Doug writeups, the rules are undergoing development. Artillery seems to be a bit of a buggaboo, as it changes the most. The new rules will probably be contentious to some, but actually plays rather nicely. Given that a stand represents a few thousand men in various formations, and the artillery is around 40 guns in multiple batteries, it makes sense that the artillery can fire through units. Now the artillery will bombard all enemy within a certain range with no bonuses (straight opposing rolls, unless within canister range). If they do manage to hurt a unit, they need to make an attrition roll for themselves, on a 1 (on a d6) they lose a strength point. This represents ammo shortage, guns jumping their carriage, tired men, etc. It actually worked quite well, the more successful the guns, the more likely they are to disappear.

Artillery can also choose to focus fire, and gains a +2 to hit, but only against one target. This is a huge bonus, and almost guarantees a point loss, and give a good chance of doubling for 2 points loss. As a base is usually 3, and rarely 4 strength points, that is huge. The focus fire cannot fire through units, and can't gain a canister bonus at short range. It's made the artillery much more interesting, and useful on the attack (it also helps that artillery moves on 1 pip now, and can be moved and fired). Artillery MIGHT be a bit too good now, that that's what play testing is for. Certainly the relative benefit of artillery on defense and offense has been evened out.

The french possessed a unit of hussar and cuirasseur. The historically were deployed in very heavy terrain that precluded them from doing much. In our game they were pretty far from the action, and also out of command. Neither of use ended up spending the points necessary to push them forward.

 The small village represents the disembarkation point for the Prussians. Legitimately the Prussians should keep an open line for their fleeing troops to get there. Time really was the biggest deciding factor in what could be achieved.

The Prussian reserve is out of command range, but certainly represents a bit of extra strength (although it's mostly 2 point lehrwehr) but more importantly a speed bump for a french advance around the flank.
You can see the cavalry in the thickets in the distance
  The main strength of the two forces at the beginning of the game. Villages are a huge temptation in this game. It's EXTREMELY hard to evict enemy troops. On the other hand, it's perfectly feasible in most cases to bypass villages, yet no one ever seems willing to do so.

I decided given the first turn, the village should be seized immediately. I won the roll off and the French, as perhaps should be expected, took the initiative and lurked forward.
 I led off with the slightly weaker (3 point) units, as I felt they could soften up the enemy before a 4 point unit would crush the survivors. Doug and I had a brief discussion about the pro/cons about leading with strong vs weak units.

The important thing to remember is that if you can kill your opponent, you won't take attrition damage. So in my mind, it pays to have those extra points of bonus to ensure a win. Honestly, you probably rarely have the choice and must use what is available though.

First turn my gunnery was very effective and I peeled off 3 or 4 points of prussians for 1 point loss of artillery. The new rules meant I could cannonade anyone on the ridgeline. It felt ahistorical to have the prussians deploy behind the ridge a la the British.
 The prussians had nothing to reply with, and chose to bring up their reserve in the back to counter the french advancing past the village.

French turn two (LEFT), engaged across the front, and a cannon was brought forward. I felt it important to advance the cannon as much as possible to get it on the hill early. Early and proper placement of artillery seems to be very useful in this system (which is probably historical as well).
 The assaults didn't go all that well, not surprising considering the Prussians received a defended terrain bonus. After losing a combat you must withdraw at least a base depth. The losers bounced behind their stronger counterparts, ready to sweep in the next turn.
 In the back we see the Prussian turn two has resulted in a reserve unit engaging the french column.

The prussians also choose to try and kill the artillery that has moved up. A wise decision should it work out. Artillery that loses a combat are instantly destroyed.

Unfortunately the artillery receive a cannister bonus (for the frontal attack) and defeat their attackers....badly. The prussians disappear in a shower of gore. The combat in the background is a tie and the troops remain locked in combat. Probably the worst result for the Prussians.

Turn 3 for the French see the cannons advance, the strong french units engage on the hills, and the unit in the village redeploy on the far side.

The Prussians kill their first french unit, breaking the  deadlock. They do, however, lose both fights on the hills, eliminating one unit and retreating another.

A quick glance at the fight from the other angle. We see that should the French push hard on this flank they could very well cut off the Prussians. Considering how closely engaged everything is, it seems just as easy to attempt to destroy them in battle.

Prussian Turn 3 (half the game gone now) sees the Prussians hampered by a terrible command roll. 1 pip I believe.

As a result of one of our games a rule has been imposed giving the attackers a +2 pips to use each turn. This helps press the attack, and the defender is definitely suffering from it this turn. This rule applies to commands, and (in my in my mind at least) reflects operational tempo.
The prussian local counterattack off the hills does manage a win and drives the french back. French turn 4 sees 4 pips used to advance a cannon almost to the top of the hill, and engage both french units in the back of the photo into Prussian units. Certainly the pressure has been kept up steadily every turn.

The cannons punish the counterattacking unit on the hill by focusing the fire. Around this time we decided that artillery bonuses should cap at +2. Getting a high bonus when the dice max out at 3 is a bit too predicatable and over kill. The odds are with the French and another unit disappears in small caliber grapeshot.

Bottom of turn 4 (Prussian) sees the end closing in rapidly. Doug begins to withdraw his forces and set up some road blocks.

French turn 5 sees the cannon reach the crest of the hills. Their range will almost carry to the Gabions in the background, well within the remaining forces. Although you can't cannon engaged units, it's still a target rich environment.

Two french units manage to jointly charge another Prussian unit. The battle has been decided, and the slaughter will continue for another hour or two until Night ends the battle.

Not where you want to have the enemies cannons: commanding the retreat path of your sorely pressed remnants.

Thanks again to Doug for hosting a great game. It's always a pleasure to play a game on a fine looking table with great company. I'll try and post up the mirror world battle where we switched teams.

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