Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Battle of Kozludzha, 10 June 1774, Turkish Rumelia (present-day Bulgaria)

 The Potomac Wargamers assembled in Dunn Loring, Virginia on 9 January 2016 to re-fight the Battle of Kozludzha from the First Russo-Turkish War (1768-1774).

     Empress Catherine II (the Great) has ordered the Empire's boundaries expanded to the shores of the Black Sea.  Lieutenant General Aleksandr Suvorov leads his division of 8,000 into Turkish Rumelia (present day Bulgaria) against some 40,000 Turks under Grand Vizier Abdul-Rezak.  Suvorov catches a portion of the Ottoman army crossing a tributary of the Danube, inland from Varna on the Black Sea.

     The Russians have just cleared a wood line defended by Albanian skirmishers and have entered open ground in front of a ridge line defended by the Ottomans.  Suvorov forms his infantry and begins his advance.  A light rain has begun to fall and the Ottomans are struggling to move reinforcements across the river to support their surprised troops.

  -- Scale:  54mm

  -- Rules:  All The King's Men

  -- Victory Conditions:  to win, the Russians must force a Turkish withdrawal.  If the Turks do not withdraw, it is a Turkish Victory.  If the Russians are forced to withdraw, it is a Turkish Major Victory.

The battlefield looking north -- Ottomans occupy a slight ridge on the left
Albanian skirmishers screen the village of Kozludzha

Grand Vizier Abdul-Rezak and Zagano Bama Pasha - second in command

Sinope Corsairs (warband) hold the Turkish right flank

Major General Kamenskii, Russian second-in-command, pushes forward on the Russian left

Russian medium battery opens fire on the Turkish position

Azaps and the Bostanci Corps jannissaries advance against the Russian center

The Russian dragoons take casualties but continue their advance

Russian jaegers under fire
The Serdengecti "head-risker" elite janissaries move forward

Timely reinforcements:  Turcoman Nomad light cavalry

Russian grenadiers form for the attack

Crimean Tartar sipahi heavy cavalry

The Russian left grinds forward

The Sinope Corsairs refuse to give up their ridge
Chechen skirmishers screen the Cairo Janissaries' advance

Zaporozhian Cossacks -- allies to the Russians; retreat to the woods

Russian dragoons attempt to flank the Ottoman artillery

The grenadiers press their attack in the center

Zagano Bama Pasha views the onrushing Russian juggernaut

Lieutenant General Suvorov, Russian Command, rallies his troops for another go

The Sinope Corsairs charge the Zaporozhian Cossacks

Russian artillery hammers the Ottoman position
Turcoman light cavalry looking for an opportunity to strike

A hot afternoon in mid-January

Tartar horse archers sweep around the Russian left and take a battery in flank

The action viewed from above
The grenadiers press home their attack

The Turkish commanders

The field at game's end

 The scenario pits 14 Russian units against an initial deployment of 12 Ottoman units holding the high ground.  Both armies risk collapse once reduced to half-strength.  The Russians must advance and drive off the enemy before the Turks can bring up reinforcements.  The Turks must advance and force a Russian withdrawal before the worsening rain degrades their more-primitive firearms.

     We played three turns.  Abdul-Rezak brought on three reinforcing units, but the Ottomans were reduced to six units remaining on the field. The Grand Vizier rolled to see if his army would continue the fight, but the test failed.  The Turkish army collapsed resulting in a Russian victory, but purchased at a heavy cost in casualties.  A fourth turn would have permitted the Turks additional reinforcements, likely forcing the Russians to test for army collapse.

     A close-run contest.  Historically, the battle resulted in a major Russian victory, convincing the Sultan to sue for peace and relinquish control of the Crimea.  Today, the village of Kozludzha is known as  Suvorovo