Saturday, March 4, 2017

Engagement at Thurau

Hard to believe that t has been just over a year since we played any Great War Spearhead games, especially considering that the period, and the rules, are my favourites. So this week it was a play test of one of the scenarios form the exciting new scenario book due out soon built around the Tannenberg campaign from 1914.

As my life seems to feature regular 60 hour weeks, it is fortunate that most of the scenarios in the book are around the division a side size. I chose the 'Engagement at Thurau' which saw a Russian division charging into the battle area in road march colliding in an encounter battle with a German division somewhat more sensibly deployed.

Andrew, Adrian and I played the game, using my 6mm armies (figures are all Irregular).
The Russians historically advanced in road column as a result of poor reconnaissance, and the scenario requires them to remain so until contact is made with the enemy.

Adrian and Andrew deploying. Thurau is in the centre of the table

The Russian left wing brigade advances along the road to Thurau

The Russian right wing came on in a shallow flank march, again deployed historically in road march.

The Germans meanwhile advance more sensibly, although Andrew pushed hard up the centre with a regiment in road column, determined to take Thurau, the main geographical objective of the game, before the Russians could reach it.

The German first move on, German division advancing from the left of the photo

By the second and third moves things were starting to develop

The Russian left brigade moving forward to recross the river that divides the table, pushing hard to reach Thurau. A Russian cavalry squadron has just crossed the river upper left in the photo


The Russian right flank brigade, with its cavalry in advance along the road. At this point the cavalry screen had sighted the advancing German regiment facing it

The German regiment in road column has reached Thurau in the centre and is about to deploy.

The German extreme right across the river from Thurau

The Russian left flank brigade has advanced not knowing the trap that it is entering. Those are German troops to the left, right, and straight ahead. 'Valley of death', anyone?

The Russian left flank brigade also pushes out further towards its own left.

While on the right the right flank brigade begins to manoeuvre to form a firing line against the German troops on the heights

The German left on the heights

German troops deploying around Thurau in the centre of the battlefield

Action begins next to Thurau, with small arms fire

With enemy spotted the second brigade on the Russian left deviates form the road, and shifts the weight of threat into the centre

On the Russian right, the 4th Brigade pushes past the right flank of its 3rd Brigade to threaten the German left and attempt to exit the table (one of the ways in which victory points could be gained. To do this Adrian had successfully rolled for an order change

It';s hot work in the centre, with German artillery now beginning to fall amongst the Russian troops, causing casualties

And long range action begins on the Russian right, with artillery on both sides engaging over open sights

Now the battlefield in the centre is really lit up with intense action

And it continues on the right

Gaps are appearing in the Russian left flank brigade as it comes under artillery fire, with German machine gun companies adding to the intensity of the fire

But the Russians are fighting back, here the German extreme right wing position comes under fire

A good overview of just ow intense the action is now. The Russians however have struggled to form an effective firing line because of their attempts to deploy from road columns

However they are now causing casualties on the German extreme right as a regiment of their own artillery comes into action

But that left flank brigade is being pushed back, taking increasing casualties itself, and finally breaks

Even as they are casing more casualties on the opposing German regiment

This was a really interesting action. The Russians are severely limited by their advance in road column. The end result was pretty consistent with the outcomes in the whole Tannenberg campaign in which poor reconnaissance resulted in poor decision making for the Russian army so many times.

However, who can complain when this was our first GWSH game in so long. Watch out for the Tannenberg scenario book (titled "All fine men") when it comes out.

I enjoy the use of the Litko markers to show the action. They really do light up the table, and give a great feel for the intensity of the action. Now to planning the next game.