Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Battle of Kuchuk-Kainarji, 22 June 1773, Present-Day Bulgaria

     We got together on Saturday afternoon, 25 March 2017, in Dale City, Virginia for a tabletop historical miniatures game replicating events in the Balkans during the 18th Century.

  -- We took the scenario from "The Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774; Catherine II and the Ottoman Empire" by Brian L. Davies.

Title:  Battle of Kuchuk-Kainarji, 22 June 1773

Scale:  1/32nd Toy Soldiers (54mm)

Rules:  All The King's Men

Scenario:  Catherine II (the Great) ordered expansion of the Russian Empire to dominate the Black Sea.  General-anshef Rumiantsev, commander of the 1st Army, crossed the Danube into Turkish Rumelia (present-day Bulgaria) in an attempt to take the Ottoman fortified city of Silistra.  Unable to take the fortress, Rumiantsev decided to re-cross the Danube north into Wallachia.  Major-General Weissman was ordered to cover the withdrawal by taking position near Kuchuk-Kainarji (present-day village of Kaynardzha).  The Ottomans under Numan Pasha pursued, intending to attack the Russian rear.  On 22 June 1773,  Weissman counterattacked.

The Ottoman Turkish objective was to get three supply elements and a heavy artillery battery off the north edge of the battlefield (Minor Victory), without recalling six Advance Guard units already off the north edge of the table (Major Victory).

The Russian objective was to prevent the Ottoman Main Body (eight units) and Rear Guard (six units) from exiting the north edge of the table (Minor Victory), or to force the Ottomans to recall their Advance Guard, already off the north table edge (Major Victory).

  -- Table and terrain provided by our host, the irrepressible Ron P.
  -- Photography by the talented Ray M.
  -- Ottoman and Russian troops from my collection

Numan Pasha, Ottoman commander, pursuing the Russian First Army withdrawal to the Danube

Ottoman supply train moving north toward the Danube

The south end of a north-bound pack train

Ottoman heavy artillery battery

The Russian rear guard appears on the western horizon
The Ottoman main body deploys to meet the advancing Russian threat
Don Cossacks lead the Russian advance
Turkish artillery prepares to fire
Russian grenadiers advance
Turkish Sipahis prepare to charge
Albanian irregulars skirmish with the Cossacks
Turkish gunners find the range
Turkish Bostanci Corps Janissaries open fire on the advancing enemy

Russian medium artillery battery deploys and goes into action
Crimean Tartar heavy Sipahis arrive
The grenadiers prepare to receive cavalry
Numan Pasha recalls infantry from his Advance Guard to keep open the road
The grenadiers offer determined resistance
Major General Weissman rides forward to inspire his infantry

The Cairo Janissaries give fire

The artillery takes its toll on the enemy
Historical Outcome:  The actual battle resulted in a Russian victory.  General Weissman routed Numan Pasha's army, inflicting some 4,000-5,000 casualties and driving them south.  This secured the 1st Army's withdrawal north across the Danube, but at a price -- General Weissman was shot through the heart leading his charge.  Our game achieved somewhat similar results.

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