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Friday, 16 January 2015

The Battle of Balaclava

If I am to follow the sequence of actions fought during the Crimean War, following the refight of the Battle of the Alma, the next engagement will be the actions that make up the Battle of Balaclava. This battle presents a bit of a dilemma if the historical flow is strictly adhered to. It could be fought a series of separate smaller battles. First you could have the Russian assault onto the Causeway Heights to overwhelm the Turkish held redoubts. This would be followed by the Russian cavalry attack culminating with the "Thin Red Line" and the Charge of the Heavy Brigade and the final action would be the Charge of the Light Brigade. Whilst glorious spectacles in their own right there is not much appeal in wargames terms, especially the Light Brigade action. Furthermore, if the battles do not result in an historical outcome the next battle will make little sense.

After a lot of deliberation I have decided to begin my action during the morning of 25 October 1854, that sees the Russians mounting a deliberate attack onto the Causeway heights, which are thinly held by a mix of Turkish infantry and artillery in 5 unfinished redoubts. The Allied command has woken up and Raglan has ordered the 4th Division to move towards Balaclava.  The allied forces, mostly cavalry, have hastily deployed into the field. A highly simplified map depicts what the battlefield might look like:

The battle could then be fought from this point, with all sorts of chance factors to reflect some of the historical mistakes. The 4th Division arrival could be unpredictable as could reaction to orders issued by the Allied staff up on the high ground. Similar effects could be used to reflect the cautious nature of the Russian Army. Victory, I think, would go to the side in clear possession of the redoubts up on the Causeway Heights. This is based on the idea that capturing the Heights formed part of the Russian objective of disrupting the supply line from Balaclava port to the Allied Army besieging Sevastopol, off to the west.

I think it will make a really interesting game. I still have a few more units to paint as the action is very cavalry heavy, biased towards the Russians. I also need to rustle up some Chasseurs d Afrique and some Royal Marines!!

I shall continue to work on this idea.