Raglan views the battle
Having landed unopposed at Calamita Bay in the Crimea in 1854 the allied French and British armies have marched south towards Sebastopol with a view to taking the city and destroying its naval and port facilities. The Russians have decided to make a stand along a line of hills outside the city in an effort to stop them or at least to delay them while the city’s defences are improved.
This game was designed to playtest our in-house rules for the period and so far they are surviving quite well. The allies have advanced and are engaging the Russians all along the line. Both sides have a mixture of Divisional Generals from poor to good and this affects the performance of the troops in their Divisions. Command and control are important factors and will ultimately determine the outcome of the game.
So far the allies have advanced into contact but are finding the Russians harder to drive back than they thought and a tough slogging match is scheduled to continue next week.
An overview of the battle showing the Russian positions on the left under attack by the British in the foreground and the French in the background.
The French columns advancing the turn the Russian left wing.
While the British lines advance on the Russian right wing.
The French close on the Russian left wing.
The Russian left wing prepares for a stiff defence.
The Russian left wing cavalry takes up position waiting to exploit any favourable situation.
At the same time the Russian right wing prepares for the British assault.
The British Guards advance in support of the attack. These are the best troops on the table.
More British infantry wheeling into support.
The Russians prepare confidently for the British onslaught.
The French starting to come into contact with the Russian left wing.
French supporting columns quicken the pace.
PART 2 – A STUNNING RUSSIAN VICTORY
The action continued last night but this time there was no doubt as to the direction the battle was taking. Nothing less than a stunning and glorious victory for the Russian Army in the Crimea. From his deathbed, Czar Nicholas ordered church bells to be rung across the empire and a Te Deum to be sung in Moscow. Profound disappointment reigns in both London and Paris and Austria and Prussia are reconsidering their position as ‘neutrals’.
Both the British and French Commanders blamed each other of course but in truth both had deployed badly to start and had attacked piecemeal on too broad a frontage. Their obvious inability to co-ordinate their efforts highlights the need for a supreme allied commander in this theatre. The Russians stood firm with their accustomed doggedness and with a number of well timed counterattacks proved once again that the bayonet is superior to the bullet. Suvorov’s ghost was smiling down on them.
While all sides are considering the positions, below are some photographs from The Times correspondent who was present throughout the battle –
An overview showing the magnitude of the British collapse on the allied left wing.
British Hussars rushing up to help cover the retreat of the infantry. The cavalry were badly placed from the beginning and arrived too late to be of any use.
Briish infantry retreating. Their superior firepower was not enough to stop the Russian columns and their artillery was of little help.
The British Guards in disarray. These were the best quality troops on the table but not even they could hold back the advancing Russians.
The unstoppable Russian columns continue their relentless advance against the survivors.
The Russian steamroller. “Quantity has a quality of its own” as a future Czar once said.
MEANWHILE ON THE ALLIED RIGHT WING THE FRENCH WERE NOT DOING MUCH BETTER. THEY GOT ENTANGLED AMONG THEMSELVES AND ENDED UP ATTACKING THE RUSSIAN DEFENCE PIECEMEAL. THEY WERE REPULSED AT ALL POINTS.
The Russians defend the villages.
The French managed to occupy one of the villages which was their only achievement of the day.
The Russian defence held firm.
Another view of the Russian defence.
The French columns advanced individually and uncoordinated .
Rear view of the Russian defenders.
The dogged defence of Holy Mother Russia.
Overall the rules worked quite well and will need very few tweaks before the next game – assuming the allies have not retired to their respective fleets and gone home. Indeed they might be well advised to set up a defensive perimeter around their landing places as the confident Russian army awaits orders from St. Petersburg.