Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Slow Wargame Week

Large Tactical Map

My son and his family have been staying with us for their annual two weeks in the sun.   It’s lovely to have them here, but we have had no time at all for Wargaming.   It does us good to have our routine broken now and again, and with two extra adults and two young children they certainly manage that.

I managed to get an hour or two in my office in order to keep the PBEM campaign on track.   I have recruited new players so all the command posts are filled.   It must be difficult to take on a command in mid campaign, but fortunately I have designed the campaign administration to make it easy to send them all previous orders and messages.   And the campaign diary blog makes it easy for them to read up on what has happened so far.

We are now on move 13, and little has happened since the last battle finished in move 6.   It should only take two moves to recover from battle.     One move to redistribute battle casualties and one move to resupply. 

The French have suffered the most battle casualties and were busy during moves 7 to 9 adjusting and redeploying.   They have the whole west bank of the river Saale to defend, and not really enough divisions to do it with.   The river is impassable except by bridge or hidden ford.    There are only four bridges, which are easy to hold.   There are a number of fords, but each side has to find them if they wish to use them.

The Russians have a numerical superiority of 12 divisions to 9 French divisions.   But to use this advantage they first have to cross the river.   Attacking across a bridge is just as difficult in our wargame rules as it was in real life.   So the secret lies in the fords.

Most Russian commanders did not seem to be aware of this until quite recently.   For the first 10 moves few even tried to recce for a ford.   The Russian CinC then issued orders to do so, and that has resulted in increased efforts.

To recce a river section the cavalry or infantry regiment must first move to east bank.  If the ford if defended the French can fire on them during this move.  If they receive casualties they must retreat.  During the next move they carry out the recce.   Again the defenders may fire on them.   Again they must retreat if they receive casualties.   If they have to retreat they do not complete the recce.

So the Russians have taken light casualties as they attempt to find fords along the length of the river Saale.   And the Russian CinC is running out of patience as his opportunity to take advantage of his recent victories is slipping away.   It will be interesting to see how much longer his corps commanders hesitate before taking the plunge.

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