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Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Close Run Thing - Maurice AAR

Under a setting sun, the infidel invaders withdraw from the battlefield.  The carnage and cries of the wounded are terrible to behold.  Black tempered, the Sultan has retired to his tent and few are of a mind to recount the Battle of Alt Hahnfeld.

Lord Abercrombie of Brittanica is a great commander, of that, there is no doubt.  He caught our Anatolian army as it was making its way inland.  The Sultan was eager to give battle and send the infidels fleeing but Abercrombie chose the battlefield well. Our left flank was crowded by a swollen stream. Our center was dominated by forest to the left and right. Plowed fields choked our right. Because of the disrupting terrain, the Sultan was limited to attacking through narrow channels in the center, right or left. The Sultan chose to deploy most the army in march column and wait for his irregulars to seize the woods and drive the enemy back.
It seemed like a good plan on the drawing board. 
The morning hours were dominated by the sound of sporadic gunfire as the Anatolian irregulars harassed and pressed the enemy irregulars.  Despite a 2 to 1 advantage, we had great difficulty driving the enemy back or opening up the center.  They would give no ground and soon, Nazim's sharpshooters came streaming to the rear.  Neither shouts nor swords could stem their shameful rout.  Seeing an opportunity, the enemy cavalry put their stirrups in and rushed our stalled columns.  In confusion, our Mad Head irregular cavalry prematurely charged out of the woods into the path of the enemy. To protect the Sultan's columns of foot, they chose to stand their ground rather than flee.
Dead men walking!

It took the enemy two charges to run them down and slay them to the man.  In that time, the Sultan moved his infantry columns out of the path of the enemy charge.  Well, most of his infantry.  The Sultan was shocked to see the 24th Blues stuck in column formation in the path of the enemy charge. They'd gotten into a bit of terrain and were no longer a part of the main force.  As a result they never received the order to advance. The redcoats made short work of them as well. Finally, our cavalry mustered into a battle line and countercharged. They sent the winded enemy flying.  But not before losses were inflicted and the Sultan's battle plans upset.  
Columns just before changing formation to lines.
It fell to the Sultan's Red Guards to save the day. After moving up in column, they fell into a battle line and went straight at the enemy.  At the point of attack, they swept all before them. With both armies nearing the breaking point, an enemy officer cried "All in boys, all in!" and bravely charged our Red Guards. The Sultan's best were able to stand firm against two consecutive charges.  Failing to break our lines, the enemy lost heart and began to flee. Lord Abercrombie asked for terms and the Sultan quickly granted them.
The redcoats charge the Sultan's Red Guards
After two charges, only the Red Guards remain standing.
As the Sultan, I did a poor job of maintaining force integrity and had units tripping over one another trying to advance through a narrow clearing in the center of the board.  One of my favorite things about Maurice is how you're generally limited to activating a single force in a turn.  If you split up your forces, you'll find you can't worry about the single unit of infantry or cavalry left behind.  Fortunately, this was a problem for my opponent Mark as well since we're both rusty at Maurice. Maison du Roi was a key National Advantage as my 2 Guard units did the heavy lifting in the game.

Mark did a great job with terrain deployment.  Dropping terrain in the middle to jam me out the gate was a trick I've not seen before. Sending cavalry in is always a risk in this game but with my foot strung out in march column, it was a great call.  The heroics of my irregular cavalry slowed him down for 2 turns and also nicked him up a bit so it was as they say, a close run thing.

Too late for Sofie's Paint Blog and her Saturday Paint Table post, I've got a shot at what's on my table.  It's a SAGA/Dux Brit commish with the always wonderful Gripping Beast figures. After a long run of 15mm, it's good to be back to 28s.  
Here's hoping Santa puts a few new warbands in my stocking for Christmas, and yours too if that's what you want.  If I paint 10 SAGA factions, I believe the 11th is free!  Perhaps I should go back and read the fine print at the Gripping Beast website.