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Tuesday 28 March 2017

Battle Report Part 2 - Tchernaya River

Apologies to those who may have followed this blog, but domestic chores and a funeral have kept me away from posting.

In part 1, we saw the Russian Corps led by Read storm the heights driving off the French on the allied left and orders to Liprandi's Russian Corps sent his columns towards the allied centre to secure a second crossing of the river.

Heavy fighting around Telegraph Hill finally saw the resolute Sardinians being forced off this key feature.
Part 2
Taking stock of the situation, the French commander was stunned by the speed, tenacity and success of the Russian assault on his left flank (as was I). He sent a dispatch to the Turkish and Sardinian commanders requesting that they secure the centre and right by meeting the threat from Liprandi's Corps, which by now was beginning to cross the river in strength. The Turks and Sardinians began to adjust their line to meet the threat:
Meanwhile on the left, Read's Russians began to swing around to assault the French left flank which was defended by the guards, some zouaves and line infantry, supported by batteries of artillery that poured cannister into the Russian columns. There then followed a series of Russian assaults and the battle swung back and forth.

On the allied right flank the Sardinian Bersagleri retook Telegraph Hill and the bitter struggle for the position continued:
For a while it seemed that the French line would crumble, however the elite French regiments took a toll on the Russians and a charge by French dragoons scattered one of the enemy columns:
 At one point the Russians push a French line regiment off the crest, threatening the Guard's rear, but a counter attack restores the situation.

On the allied right the Sardinians and Turks form a solid line along the river and engage Liprandi's Corps:

The battle for Telegraph Hill continues with the Russians taking very heavy losses here. However, Liprandi's leading units storm over the bridge towards the wall of Sardinians:
This point is the high water mark for the Russians. On the allied left the Russians cannot dislodge the French guards, supported by deadly artillery and heavy cavalry; while Liprandi's Regiments are beaten back by the Turkish and Sardinian firepower. The Russian army has reached its exhaustion point and the attack begins to falter. The Sardinians on Telegraph Hill drive off the last of the Russian columns and Read's Corps pulls back across the Chernaya. Both armies are worn down, but the Russian commander conceeds that his forces will not be able to dislodge the tenacious Sardinians in the centre. At this point the battle ended.

The rules gave a very interesting action, with surprising results. I think it might have been different if I had given the three allied components their own exhaustion points, as the French may well have collapsed. The heroes of the day were the Bersagleri, who clung on to Telegraph Hill. The rules made capturing a hill with earthworks a very difficult nut to crack; and the French Guards were also remarkable, fighting off four Russian regiments and holding firm.

This is a battle I may revisit in the future.


  1. Bob this was well worth the wait and the photos are fantastic. I kept enlarging them to look at the figures - I saw Hinton Hunt and ads I along with Douglas, and S Range. Do you find the S Range mix well with the smaller figures? I envy you your armies, I will be looking to reorganise my Crimeans soon.

  2. Ads I should have been Esci - perils of predictive text

    1. Thanks for the kind comment. There are other makes there too - Scruby, Tumbling Dice, B&B, Strelets and Emhar; possibly others too. The figures all work well together when on the table but the obvious differences in build and some cases height can be seen when set up side by side. I tend to group the figures in formations according to manufacturer. For example in this battle Read's Corps was almost entirely ESCI. Bob

  3. Well Sir,I love your toy soldier style of painting. A real treat for my eyes.A Splendid shiny delight,Yes indeed.
    I myself favour that style myself in my painting of figures,and often remark that others paint model soldiers,but I paint toy soldiers. It keeps the regimented button counters away. You take care Sir, its a crazy world we have to live. BB

  4. Excellent battle report and fine looking troops! Well worth the wait.

  5. Another magnificent spectacle, Bob, and well told. All the best, WM

  6. One of the many great things about toy soldiers, they are patient and willing to wait for us.

    Excellent, clear, battle report and the troops look marvelous as always.

    1. ..............and they never complain Thank you very much Ross for your kind comments.

  7. Found your blog via Bob Cordery. Delighted to see a big battle fought with the Portable Wargame Rules - what adaptations to the original did you make? The battlefield and massed ranks of troops look splendid; just the sort of effect I want to create, but in 10mm.

    1. Hi Arthur
      I made very few changes to the PW rules. Obviously I ignored the rule concerning table size and the concept of portability, as well as the small number of units.
      I used a 6 x 4ft table, with five inch hexagons.
      I did use the unit SP system, but had units of 20 -24 figures. I used curtain rings to denote casualties - as per the rules regardless of the number of figures in the unit.
      I used an average (2,3,3,4,4,5) dice to activate units, rather than cards, and gave the French a plus 1 on the activation roll.
      I calculated the exhaustion point by adding up the number of units, rather than the SPs for each army.
      I think I also made some slight adjustments to the artillery range - but I can't remember what I finished up with.
      So, not too many changes really - the rules worked pretty well.
      Hope this helps.

  8. Thank you, Bob, it's very helpful to know that you didn't have to adapt the Portable Wargame rules much to fight a larger battle with them. I'm working - slowly - on a 10 mm ImagiNations game, using Hexon II, which I hope will create similar battles. Arthur