Lightning Strikes Twice – "Storm On The Danube" At Recon 2019 AAR

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  • #160507
    Mark Stanoch
    Participant

    One of the attributes of a well-designed wargame scenario is its replayability. By this measure the “Storm On The Danube” scenario from the Black Powder “Last Argument of Kings” supplement is simply a great scenario!

    Our second game of “Storm On The Danube” was played at Recon 2019 in Orlando, Florida on Friday April 25 during the 9am-1pm time slot. Recon is the annual spring event hosted by HMGS-South and draws gamers from throughout the Southeast US. The participants were all veteran historical miniature wargamers, for whom most this was to be their first experience with Black Powder. Only one player had played the first edition.

    The event kicked off with a brief synopsis of BP II along with an overview of the special scenario rules. Players were then given the opportunity to select sides. With a total of 8 participants, the sides were divided into 3 Ottoman players and 5 Austrian with the commands being arranged as follows:

    Austrian

    – 1 each of 3 infantry brigades – Jim, Steve, Ed

    – 2 cavalry brigades – Rich

    – Petrovaradin Garrison – Jason

    Ottomans

    – Guard cavalry – Wayne

    – Sipahis and Tatar Light – Tony

    – Infantry and Siege Artillery – John

    With the exception of the Petrovaradin Garrison, the players were able to deploy their forces with the following restrictions:

    – Ottoman Infantry and Artillery – anywhere behind the trench works

    – Ottoman Cavalry – anywhere within 24” of the fortress

    – Austrians – anywhere along the table edge opposite Fortress Petrovardin

    The initial deployment, as well as a group shot of the participants are included in the accompanying photos.

    Opening Moves

    The Austrians went first but were immediately confounded by bad command rolls delaying the deployment of the Austrian horse and one Infantry brigade. The Garrison’s was no better with a desultory counter battery barrage landing few hits. This was due in part to the Ottoman’s cleverly deploying their artillery park beyond half range of the Austrian guns. Ominously all Ottoman artillery was directed at the fortress while the cavalry was arranged in a long line spanning the width of the table in front of the fortress. This can clearly be seen in the accompanying photos.

    Development

    The Austrians finally developed a line of their own spanning the table, taking to heart my description of the tactics used during the period. It should also be noted that the only formations allowed, as outlined in the “Last Argument Of Kings” supplement, were Line, March Column, Mob and Skirmish. The Austrian cavalry, again due to bad command rolls, would up deployed behind the Austrian Infantry line. So the two armies faced off in two parallel lines at about the middle of the table. Meanwhile the stout defenders of Petrovaradin were absorbing hits from the Ottoman artillery becoming Shaken in the process. However, the special rules for fighting in buildings kept these brave fellows in place. Surprisingly, one Ottoman light cavalry unit became shaken from the fortress’ defiant artillery bombardment. Pictures of the situation after each of the opening moves are included in the accompanying photos.

    Climax

    The Austrians finally got to within musket range and starting putting hits on the Ottoman cavalry. In response, the Ottomans launched a massive cavalry charge across the entire width of the table. A series of vicious hand-to-hand melees took place noted by the Austrian Infantry’s failure to exact any meaningful results from Closing Fire (there are those damn dice again!). The victorious Ottoman cavalry charged deeply into the infantry brigade on the Austrian left breaking another unit. A Break Test forced on the charging cavalry fortuitously allowed them to retreat out of harm’s way. Things went better on the Austrian left as the infantry held off the Tatars. The loss of an Austrian unit in the middle of the board allowed the delayed Austrian Cavalry to drive home a concerted charge which broke a Tatar unit.

    On the banks of the Danube, the Ottomans launched an assault by an Orta of Janissaries, but the Austrian Infantry held firm despite being shaken, a benefit of a Rally order taken in an earlier turn. The Untested Austrian reserve regiment never came into play.

    You can follow the action as it progressed by viewing the accompanying photos.

    Finale

    After 3 hours of fierce fighting, and with our time slot expended, the game was called. While the issue was still in doubt, I would have to award a slight edge to the Ottomans. Petrovardin was still in Austrian hands but the relief effort had been blunted. The unit losses were 1 cavalry and 3 infantry regiments on the Austrian side with 2 cavalry units lost for the Ottomans. But as you can see from the photos there were many Shaken units litering the battlefield as indicated by the yellow/orange markers.

    Summary and Concluding Thoughts

    This game quite differently from our first effort. In that first game, the Ottomans launched an immediate assault on the fortress with the entire infantry brigade resulting in vicious hand-to-hand combat. But in this game, it was the Ottomans who controlled the center of the board with their well-timed cavalry attacks, stopping the Austrian relief force cold.

    Some key points for tweaking became apparent:

    – Allowing the Ottoman cavalry to deploy anywhere within the 24” of the fortress made a big difference. In the previous game, the Ottoman cavalry were deployed in column behind the trenches and were therefore forced to deploy much closer to Petrovardin.

    – As this was the first game of Black Powder for most of the participants, a few rules were introduced to simplify play. One of these was that all charges can only target a single unit. However, this seriously disadvantaged the Austrian infantry as the battalion guns – skillfully deployed within the Austrian Infantry line – were not able to lend Closing fire. Those 3 additional die rolls could very well have made a difference.

    – The Ottoman “There Can Be Only One” command rule created a number of cinematic charges which clearly enhanced the excitement of the game. This rule should definitely be retained!

    In summary, this was another fast paced and exciting game which everyone enjoyed. We played with 8 players, none of whom had played Black Powder v2, and was able to conclude a game with nearly 1,000 figures on a 10’ x 6’ table in around 3 hours!

    I want to thank all of the participants for being such great gamers. And I want to thank that fine gentleman, Pete Brown, for providing us with a simply fantastic scenario. This one too, will be a game I will long remember.

    Thanks for reading! Now here is a link to the photos:
    Recon 2019 AAR

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Mark Stanoch. Reason: Bad link
    #160521
    Mark Stanoch
    Participant

    Here’s the link to my Facebook blog. It includes some updates.
    Facebook link

    #160531
    Charge The Guns
    Participant

    Nice battle report! The pictures look brilliant. That Turkish cavalry looks awesome ‘enmasse’. Glad it was another successful running of the scenario.

    #160602
    Cpl John
    Participant

    Hi Mark,
    The game looks amazing mate. Well done. The fortress is a great model! The Turkish cavalry and artillery look great and there is nothing like a line of Jannassaries advancing toward the town to make a chill run down your spine. The Austrians looked great deployed into line as well. You clearly put a lot of time and effort into the game and it shows.
    Hopefully you will get lots of game time out of the two armies and try them in different scenarios.
    Really pleased that the game went so well. Its nice to get positive feedback about the scenario and LAOK in general. This game made my day.
    Best regards
    Pete

    #160627
    Thomas Henderson
    Participant

    Great to see a Black Powder Ottoman Army on the tabletop!

    #160697
    Mark Stanoch
    Participant

    Hi Pete,

    Thank you again for the kind words. I really do enjoy your supplement as I believe it is one of the best. Let me know if you are working on any new scenarios. I know a bunch of willing and able playtesters here in sunny Florida who work cheap😀.

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