Friday, 30 January 2015

Take The High Ground - A Seven Years War Scenario

This scenario is a fictional major clash between Russian and Prussian forces set during the campaign season of 1760 when, historically, the Russians raided Berlin. If they had been more ambitious the Russians might have won the war for the Allies with a single bold stroke but they didn't, and the war in Europe continued for another three years.

Fictional Background

Following the disastrous encounters of 1759 Prussia is on the back foot and the strategic initiative has passed to the Russians. The Russians have decided to end the war by capturing Berlin, advancing on it from the south east. Progress has been steady and the Prussians have fallen back before the Russian's without risking an engagement. 

Now, the only natural barrier between the Russians and their prize is the River Spree. The Russians have decided to force a crossing at Rasmandorf where the crossing points are dominated by the heights on the east bank. The Prussians, having traded ground for time to reinforce themselves, have taken up positions on the heights; it is here the Prussians will make their stand. 

If the Russians can take the heights any attempted defence of the far bank will be rendered futile, they will be able to cross without further resistance, and Berlin, along with the House of Hohenzollern, will fall.

The Fictional Battlefield

All terrain, except isolated trees (added for aesthetic reasons), is representative terrain.
  • The stream and boggy ground are type III terrain.
  • Built up areas are type III 'town sections'. The Church is a two piece feature split lengthwise (one 'town section' on each side).
  • The hills have type II slopes with level tops.
  • Woods on level ground are type II. Wooded slopes are type III.
  • Hedges are type II. Enclosed fields are type II (the 12 feet of hedges, as well as a dozen 6" tall trees, are new Christmas additions to the terrain collection - they are by Andy Worsley of The Last Valley, though I did a little extra work on the hedges to make them fit in).
The deployment zone for each player is marked on the map with a red line. On the table, the zones can be seen marked out with lengths of fine chain (I still think that fine chain is a very good idea for this kind of thing - it always lays flat and bends exactly where you want it to because of the links; it doesn't move once placed because of its weight; it is easily removed; but, you do need a wall hook to hang it from when it's not in use, if 'heaped' it easily tangles; it is cheap - I think I paid around £1.20 a meter on ebay). 

Each player will choose an order of battle using a basic force plus one 'package' chosen from his list. Deployments will be made secretly on the map after the 'Army Characterisation Deck' draw (6 cards for each player) and prior to table deployment. 

Both players may choose to deploy some of their force as a single off-table reserve. If this option is taken, the Russian baseline entry point must be marked on the map, Prussian reinforcements must arrive through the town (via Rasmandorf's off table bridges). Their activation and imminent entry point may be announced when the player's Major Morale card is turned. Thereafter, they move onto the table in march column on any appropriate move card. 

Note: The scale on the map is in 6 cm increments and a unit in line has a frontage of 18 cm.

Note: Any routing Prussian troops will seek to escape via the bridges behind Rasmandorf or, if cut off from them, towards one of the table ends.

Note: The full range of Stratagem card definitions will be active for this scenario. If the Prussians draw a reinforcements right / left stratagem it will be assumed that they are arriving via a secretly constructed pontoon bridge in that sector.

Map note: The River Spree is off table behind the Prussian deployment area (top of map) - the on table watercourse is just a stream.

Victory Conditions

The victory conditions are simple enough and they are the same for both players. 

  • Marginal Victory: Be in sole possession of one hill and the road exit in the Russian deployment zone at the end of turn six (nightfall). 
  • Decisive Victory: Be in sole possession of both hills at the end of turn six (nightfall). 
  • Total Victory: Be in sole possession of both hills and the road exit in the Russian deployment zone at the end of turn six (nightfall).

Prussian Order of Battle

Basic Prussian Force
Basic Force
  • 1 Regiment of Cuirassier.
  • 1 Regiment of Dragoons.
  • 1 Regiment of Hussars.
  • 2 units (four battalions) of Combined Grenadiers.
  • 5 Regiments of  Musketeers.
  • 2 batteries of Artillery.
Package A
  • 1 Regiment of Dragoons
  • 1 unit (two battalions) of Combined Grenadiers
  • 2 Regiments of Fusiliers
  • 1 Regiment of Garrison Infantry
  • 1 Battery of Artillery.
Package B
  • 1 Regiment of Dragoons
  • 2 Regiments of Hussars
  • 1 Regiment of Fusiliers
  • 2 Batteries of Heavy Artillery (in redoubts)
Package C
  • 1 Regiment of Cuirassier
  • 1 Regiment of Hussars
  • 2 Regiments of Musketeers
  • 1 Regiment of Fusiliers
  • 1 Battery of Artillery
Russian Order of Battle

Basic Russian Force
Basic Force
  • 2 Regiments of Cuirassier
  • 1 Regiment of Horse Grenadiers
  • 2 Regiments of Hussars
  • 3 Regiments of Grenadiers
  • 6 Regiments of Musketeers
  • 2 Batteries of Artillery
Package A
  • 1 Regiment of Horse Grenadiers
  • 2 Regiment of Cossacks
  • 1 Regiment of Grenadiers
  • 4 Regiments of Musketeers
  • 1 Battery of Artillery
Package B
  • 1 Regiments of Cuirassier
  • 2 Regiment of Dragoons
  • 1 Regiment of Grenadiers
  • 2 Regiments of Musketeers
  • 2 Batteries of Heavy Artillery
Package C
  • 4 Regiments of Cossacks
  • 2 units (four battalions) of Combined Grenadiers
  • 4 Regiments of Musketeers
I think this scenario will be fought in two to three weeks time. The last two gaming nights have been cancelled due to the weather; I'm hoping we can get Graham's game in over the next week or two, then get this one going.


Gonsalvo said...

Interesting scenario, and think the force add on options add potential spice to the game.

[I was going to say I like your package(s), but that has a somewhat off color meaning in American slang!]

Keith Flint said...

Thanks for presenting this James. I hope to give it a go at some point - a fine scenario.

Cheers, Keith.

Keith Flint said...

I've just been doing my calculations... so that's a 12' x 6' table! Ouch. I'll have to see what can be done to squash the whole thing up a bit (if you know what I mean).


Hi Keith,

Should be possible with some ease. And there is nothing to stop you reducing the force sizes either.

I think, it's usually the general feeling of purpose and victory conditions that make scenarios work. Players need something that sounds vaguely historical, and reasonable, to fight for. A bit of 'background' can go a long way.

Colin said...

James, excellent scenario which I pinched and played out last week. It worked really well, especially the choice of additional forces. My units are considerably bigger than your but with suitable tinkering we had an excellent and challenging game. Thanks Colin

Ricky Bryant said...

I have a couple last valley hedges and some flock is stripping off and I want to replace the flock but can't seem to find the right color do you have any idea what color or make the flock is on your hedges ?


Sorry Ricky, I don't know. I suspect that Andy (Last Valley) makes his own flock.

You might try contacting him and asking if you can purchase a small amount for touching up some stuff.

I have about 60 trees, plus hedges, that I keep in various boxes and drawers - gradually the bottoms fill up with 'dropped' flock. Once in a while I decant the flock into a tub for use on 'stripped' stuff and making the odd extra piece from scratch.