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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Day 6 Siege of Sevastopol - Action before the Redan

Having agreed that the British should begin operations against the Redan, during the night the guns are resupplied and orders given for a major bombardment of the forward Russian defences forward of the Redan. The aim is to target the infantry to weaken them prior to the assault.

With preparations in place a roll for weather is made and a score of ONE means that days of sunny weather end as fog has come down during the early morning, masking the guns and and delaying the bombardment. A roll of the D10 sees the fog clearing after six hours, around 2pm.  This has seriously disrupted the British plans for the day.

However, the British use the cover of the fog to move some skirmishers from the Rifle Brigade forward. As the fog lifts the crackle of musketry breaks the silence, followed by the roar of the guns.

The British riflemen engage in a brisk firefight with the Russians behind the defences, with minimal success. The Russians return fire and some of the Greenjackets begin to fall:
The next turn is better for the British, with sufficient action points most of the guns open fire, including the heavy mortars:

The combined heavy artillery and rifle fire causes one of the Russian regiments serious casualties and next turn, further casualties force it to rout off the field.

In a counter move the Russians deploy a Jaeger regiment which begins pouring fire into the left hand rifle battalion, causing heavy casualties and forcing it to retreat:
As dusk nears the exchange of fire continues, but the British casualties mount and soon the second Rifle battalion is forced off the field.  With visibility reduced the firing stops and both sides assess the damage. There is no clear winner, although British casualties are higher, at around 300, and so the Russians probably came off on top.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Day 5 Siege of Sevastopol - Deliberations

Day 5 began with a meeting of the two allied commanders to determine the way ahead.  The political background was largely unchanged.  In Paris there was great celebrations as the news of the fall of the Mamelon filtered out; although there was criticism of the British who were accused of not supporting the valiant French effort. The political direction from Paris was simple - take the Malakoff when ready, but France cannot afford too many more casualties for this operation.

The message to Raglan from Horse Guards was supportive of current operations, but would wish to see a British victory before the Malakoff is taken.  The London press was less kind, with Raglan depicted as sitting on his hands, wasting huge sums of money for little gain, while the French claim all the glory.

Raglan and Pelissier chewed over the options. While publicly stating that the French wish to assault the Malakoff immediately, privately Pelissier informs Raglan that his army is spent and without additional troops an attack on the Malakoff would likely fail.

Raglan proposed that the day be spent resupplying the artillery and that the guns should switch the bombardment to the Redan as a preparation for a British assault in the next 2 -3 days. Meanwhile, the French should continue to fortify the Mamelon against a counter attack. Pelissier agreed.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Day 4 - Siege of Sevastopol

Political Games
Given that two attempts to take the Mamelon have failed and this is at the cost of getting on for 5000 French troops, I thought it might be interesting to include a bit of political intrigue at this juncture. I think the most important aspects are the political reactions in capitals and the political relations between the two key allies; France and Britain. I am not considering the Russians at the moment, but may do later.

I have devised a simple series of charts with a column for each nation. Rolling a D6 at each stage. The first part tests the national mood, ranging from great concern at the bottom and need more of the same at the top (satisfied). Once the national mood is established there are two charts. If the mood is bad then the political message demands more actions on a sliding scale. On the other-hand if the mood is good then encouraging noises are made by the politicians. I am assuming that political advisors are present in the Crimea and they receive higher level advice via telegraph from London and Paris (with a time delay).

At this point I tried the test and both the French and the British rolled D6 for mood. In both cases the politicians are content at the moment. In the case of the British the direction was 'Continue as you are and await the outcome of the French assaults before ordering any British actions'. The French orders were to 'Continue attacks against the Mamelon', and with previous direction: if successful it is essential France gains the credit, avoid seeking British support unless absolutely essential, on no account should British troops enter the Mamelon before the French'. And now - 'France may support British requests for support'.

So for today, it is business as usual!

The 3rd French Assault
This time the French decided that a dawn silent approach should be tried in an attempt to get as close to the ramparts before the Russians are alerted. Four allied regiments climb out of the the forward trenches:
Unfortunately for the French the Russians are not dozing and the resupplied guns begin pouring shot and shell into the advancing columns. The left hand Sardinian regiment is particularly exposed and loses hundreds of casualties to the guns on the main ramparts:
However, the battered Sardinians, the Turks and French manage to reach the walls of the Mamelon and fight the defenders:
This time the attackers are in sufficient numbers to push back the Russians and one of the Russian regiments is pushed aside, the Turks break into the Mamelon; however, the weakened Sardinians collapse and rout to the rear, and the French are also forced back:
The Turkish hold on the Mamelon is short lived as they are driven out once more. This attack is beginning to go like the previous assaults, with each successful attack being pushed out. However, this time the allies rally and once more assault the walls.

Another Russian unit collapses and suddenly the second Sardinian regiment is in the Mamelon:
With a French unit assaulting in support the remaining Russians on the Mamelon feature are also forced out with heavy casualties. The Allies are now in control of the Mamelon:
The last Russian defenders are swept aside as the Allies celebrate on the heights, quickly bringing forward additional troops and engineers.  The Russians do not have sufficient troops to counter attack and the day ends with a brief exchange of artillery fire.

During the night the French fortify the Mamelon to thwart a counter attack expected at dawn:
The Allies celebrate and with a roll of 4 bring up more troops into the French sector, mostly Sardinians.  The toll for the days action is 726 allied casualties and some 2640 Russians, most of which were caused as they collapsed inside the defences.

That night the Russians, who roll a seven, rearm their artillery and bring in three fresh regiments into the area of the Malakoff.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Day 3 - Siege of Sevastopol - 2nd French Assault

The butchers bill from the previous day's fighting amounted to some 3168 French killed, wounded and missing and 1221 Russians.  The French, although dismayed that they did not capture the Mamelon, were encouraged by the French Grenadier Guards who managed to gain entry to the defences. believing that the Russian defenders must be weakened, a further attack today might carry the Russian position.

During the night more Allied troops move up to the forward trenches, the French forces being augmented by additional battalions and some Turkish troops. At dawn the French prepare to attack once more:
They begin with a barrage from the combined French and Turkish artillery and are encouraged when the Russian battery on the Mamelon is hit, losing many gunners:
With the preliminary bombardment completed the infantry assault begins:
Almost immediately the French guards assaulting the battery are hit by salvo after salvo of cannister fire and are completely destroyed. A second French line regiment is cut down by musketry from the walls and is forced back - the attack falters:
However, one of the Turkish units attacking from the right makes it to the wall and engages the Russian infantry:
Unfortunately the Turks are isolated and are quickly forced back next turn. The Mamelon remains in Russian hands:
The allies reorganise themselves, order up some fresh troops and assault the defences once more:
The same Turkish Regiment reaches the walls and batters its way into the Russian defenders, but the other assaulting troops are forced back. The lone Regiment is now in the Mamelon, but totally unsupported:
The result is inevitable and the Turks are destroyed. Once again the Russians control the Mamelon. But, the brave Turks have bought time for the allies, who are able to bring up more assaulting troops:
On the French left a line regiment storms the Russian heavy battery and sweeps it aside. Once more the tricolour is inside the Mamelon defences:
Having destroyed the battery the French push forward, but are met by two Fresh Russian Regiments who force the French out at the point of the bayonet:
The allies make a fatal mistake. Another French line regiment forces its way into the Mamelon, but instead of bringing the supporting Turkish regiment with it, it is decided to assault the right hand defences held by a severely weakened Russian unit, this fails and the Turks are mown down as they approach:
Once again an isolated French regiment is in the Mamelon and the Russians quickly counter attack, once again driving out the French:
The cheering Russians watch as the battered remnants of the allied assault make their way back to the home trenches:
The cost is 2112 allied casualties to 561 Russians.  The allied commanders confer and feel that just one more assault should carry the feature; so during the night the French and Turkish guns are resupplied and two fresh Sardinian regiments take their place in the line. The Russians roll a better resupply score this time around and are able to resupply the guns and bring up a fresh infantry regiment into the Malakoff; however, they no longer have any guns left in the Mamelon.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Day 2 - Siege of Sevastopol - The French Assault

Having conferred during the night Lord Raglan and French commander General Pelissier agreed that the French should have a go at assaulting the Mamelon. Accordingly all supplies and action points would be allocated to this attack. 

At 9am four French regiments rise out of the forward trenches and advanced towards the Russian position.  

Immediately the light infantry on the left come under fire from the 32 pdrs up on the Mamelon. They waver under the hail of shot and pull back to the safety of the trenches. However, the Zouaves, Algerians and a French line regiment continue on, but soon another French unit is forced back.

The Zouaves reach the wall and begin to break in causing some Russian casualties.  Then the Russians counter attack. The Zouaves are all but wiped out and in the next turn all of the French pull back towards the safety of their own lines. 

The French are severely bruised, but they have destroyed one Russian regiment and damaged another.

The French artillery begins to bombard the Mamelon, this time aiming for the Russian infantry, causing more casualties. A second French assault is also unsuccessful and two of the French units are destroyed.

French reserves move, including a Guard Regiment and reorganise themselves for another assault.

  The Russian take advantage of the lull and move up more infantry into the Mamelon, just in time to receive the second French assault.  This time the French have a little more success, although one of the French line regiments is destroyed by a mix of artillery and musket fire.

The French guard and a line regiment reach the defences and storm into the Mamelon, sending a Russian regiment to destruction:
  however the other French units are not so successful and are forced back.  The Guards are now on their own inside the Mamelon.

The Russians immediately counter attack and the French Guard are overwhelmed and destroyed.  The Mamelon is now back in Russian hands.

The two remaining French regiments, which includes the battered Algerians, rally and once more charge up against the defences. 

They are met with a hail of musket balls and canister from the guns up on the Malakoff. The French attack fails and the remnants of six battalions limp back to the French lines:

As night falls the allied commanders confer and decide to try again in the morning. Once again the allies throw a strong 9 for resupply. During darkness they will bring up fresh troops for the morning assault and have sufficient to replenish the guns. The Russians again are not so lucky, throwing just two. They decide to use all their points to resupply the guns on the Mamelon and Malakoff defences.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Unboxing the British Armour

More boxes yeild a good collection of British tanks:
They were in pretty good condition with just a few loose wheels, one broken track and the odd missing machine gun. The haul consists of some 11 Shermans, seven Comets (which I recall were used as Cromwells).  I have a feeling that there may be some more Shermans, but so far I cannot find them:

Saturday, 4 August 2018

A hot day on the gun line - Day 1 at the siege of Sevastopol.

Having set this game up, I have been working out how best to play it. I plan to use Battle Cry rules with some slight modifications to weapon ranges. Also, I will not be using the cards, but will use D6 dice to activate units; this is largely because the action, when it takes place, will likely be in just one sector of the board.

The game will be played by ‘days’ each lasting ten turns.  Guns have sufficient ammunition to fire for three turns each. Each salvo is marked by a ‘puff’ of cotton wool. This means each side will have to manage resources well, as resupply will occur at night. There may not be enough supplies available to replenish all the guns in one night.

At night each side will roll a D 10 which will give them activation points. These can be used to resupply gun ammunition (one point per gun, giving three turns of fire), or the points can be used to repair damaged earth works/guns or to move reserves up to the line. Reserves are limited to those available at the beginning of the game. This means that the allies will have about 15 fresh battalions and the Russian around six.

I am anticipating that the allies will attack on one day, but, if unsuccessful, will have to spend a few nights replenishing before going on the offensive once more. Meanwhile the Russians can repair damage and bring in fresh troops to the defences.

The action points will limit the size of the allied assaults too. This should all make for an interesting game.

So, the first day consists of an exchange of fire with the opposing guns blasting away at each other. On the allied side it is mostly the French guns that attempt to destroy the guns in the Mamelon – to no real effect. Some of the British guns also add to the fire.  After five hours, with ammunition running low the firing fades away.

The Russians reply with their heavy guns to pummel one of the British heavy batteries, killing the crew and destroying the emplacement:

 As night falls both sides start to resupply. The Allies roll an 8 and decide to resupply seven batteries and repair/replace the destroyed battery. The Russians are less fortunate as they roll a one.  This means that only one battery can be resupplied, leaving some guns dangerously low on ammunition for the next day!