Thursday, May 26, 2016

Revisiting "Blood and Iron,Bismark's Wars for Empire" 1866

I decided to revisit the board-game "Blood and Iron, Bismarck's Wars of Empire" once more. The Last time I had run  solo scenario of the 1864 War, one in which the Danes got the better of the Austro-Prussians. I wanted to run the main scenario of the game, the Seven Weeks War of 1866 as a solo game, in preparation for a multiplayer game. This is the games main scenario and I hoped it would be more enjoyable then my brief foray into the 1859 scenario that proved very boring.
Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria

In the game you have the potential for five players, as on one side you have Italy and Prussia with its German Allies, and on the other side the Austrian North Army in Bohemia, the Austrian South Army in Italy, and the forces of the German Confederation (Bavarians, Federals,  Hannoverians, and the forces of Baden and Wurtterburg) with the Saxon Army a force that could be used in either West-Central Germany, or Bohemia.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Orthodox Christian Easter Gaming: BBB Velestino and a Kiss me Hardy Clash

Last week I traveled to Greece to celebrate Orthodox Easter with my family. It was a quick four day trip but I was able to squeeze some gaming  into Megali Pempti (God forgive me). In addition to the 19th Century War-gaming and Warfare Facebook Group I also created a group to help historical war-gamers in Greece to organize sessions. While I have my own posse from the years of youthful folly (i.e Warhammer 40k), and there is the Strategikon club, the groups aim is to broaden the space for players that are not a) my friends b) not finding their gaming needs fulfilled by the otherwise excellent Strategikon. This is especially the case for people like me who like less main-stream historical war gaming.

You can see the page at The name is Ο Διαβιβαστής (Greek for Courrier).

Anyhow to the meat. Me, Peter and Vangellis met at the Kaissa store Peristeriou, our local friendly gaming store, and I introduced them to Bloody Big Battles. We played the Battle of Velestino Scenario. We used my 10mm Pendraken Ottomans, while the Greeks were proxied by my Union troops. Peter and Vangellis commanded the Ottomans, and I the Greeks.

The video

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Last Century of the Ottomans BBB Nikopolis 1877

A couple of weeks ago we played our next scenario in the Last Century of the Ottomans BBB Campaign. This was Nikopolis.  I commanded teh Ottomans, and Emir and Onur the Russians. It was a resounding Russian victory. Next up is 2nd Pleven.

To date we have played three scenarios. In all three the result was the historical, and in all three I lost.
Kurudere-> Russian Victory
Aleksinatz-> Ottoman Victory
Nikopol-> Russian Victory

The AAR was prepared by Onur, while I made the Video Report from recordings made by Onur. Emir and Onur took the pictures.

"BBB Nikopol AAR,
April 23th 2016. Children Holiday at Turkey.

We met at Konstantinos’s place again. Me and Emir commanded Russians and our host commanded Turks. All terrains and models were supplied by our generous host.

The Video Report

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Battlefield Visit: Chataldja, Turkey

I was lucky to go on a excursion last summer with friends from the Istanbul war-gaming scene to the Chataldja lines, sites of the First and Second Battles of Chataldja during the First Balkan War between the Ottoman and Bulgarian armies.  After the war, the lines were updated and modernized as the final line of defence of Istanbul against enemies attacking from the west (Bulgaria, Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia).

The fields is large and we used a car to get around. It is also not developed at all, so part of the excursion was to explore it and find artifacts and sites of the Balkan War battles. It is doted by villages settled by Muslims expelled from Bulgaria and Greece in the sad and tumultus history of this region of the world. There is no commemoration of the battlefield by the state, and very little private work. A scenario of the First and Second battles will be developed in the future for Bloody Big Battles.

The vistas are breathtaking, and to be frank the decision of the Bulgarians to attack the Ottoman positions, over open ground, cannot be seen as anything but bravery married to stupidity and arrogance.  We took lots of photos, so here they are.

Also here is a map of the dispositions of he two armies in the first battle from the Official Turkish history.

The First Battle saw an woefully under-strength Bulgarian army lunch frontal assaults against the Ottoman entrenched positions at high ground. While Bulgarian elan might had carried the day in Kirkilise and Lule-Burgaz, it failed here in the face of determined Ottoman resistance, excellent defensive ground, and good works.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Project Complete: 1877/1897 Ottoman Army

Another 10mm 19th century army joins my collection. This is an Ottoman Army that can be used from the period between 1865 to 1897. The figures are all Pendraken, and the army is mainly going to be used for Bloody Big Battles, Black Powder, and Neil Thomas 19th century rules. The army may be expanded to also cover the 1912-1913 Balkan Wars.

The forces arrayed. About 40 infantry bases, 6 guns, 2 Generals, and 11 cavalry bases

Friday, April 8, 2016

Last Century of the Ottomans: Aleksinac

Last weekend, Onur, Emir and me joined at Emir's house to play the second battle in our linked Big Bloody Battles campaign. This campaigned includes all the BBB Scenarios in which the Ottoman Empire was one of the two sides. Our last battle saw a Russian victory at Kurudere during the Crimean War. This time we moved forward 20 years. It is 1876 and since 1875 the Ottoman Empire is at war with its vassal state of Serbia. The Serbs are fighting to force the Empire to end the vassalage of the Principality of Serbia and to expand into the contested areas of Old Serbia and Bosnia (itself in revolution). After a series of Serbian attacks, the Serbs are forced back into their borders. At Aleksinac (Sumatovach) the Ottomans try to encircle and annihilate half of the Serbian army.

This time Onur took the role of AAR writer, so I am posting his AAR with my own remarks in italics. Emir took the photos, I did the video. Last time I commanded the armies of the Sublime Porte and Emir and Onur the armies of Slavdom This time I took the role of Serbia commander, while Emir and Onur took the role of the Ottomans.

This map by Onur gives a good idea of how the battle went.

Here is Onur's AAR( my notes in italics)-video report after the text report

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Fleet that Never Was: Some early photos

One project I have started with my friend Doruk is a campaign for the naval aspects of the First Balkan War, and more especially the War that Never Wars, the expected 1914 naval war between the Ottoman Empire and Greece. Both sides had engaged in an arms race, ordering dreadnoughts in a race to gain operational dominance in such a war.  The dispute was over the heavility Greek populated, but crucial for Ottoman strategic security Western Aegean Islands. The Greeks had taken them (or liberated) in 1912, but the peace treaties that ended the Balkan Wars did not resolve the issues of sovereignty. The war never happened as in 1914 World War 1 started. The British impounded the two Ottoman dreadnoughts (which became the HMS Erin and HMS Agincourt) and the French and Germans stopped working on the Greek orders (a Breatagne class ship, and the unique Salamis, which looked like Koning Class).

What would had happened if these Aegean behemoths had actually gone to sea? This is what we wish to find out.We are using the Operational system of Great War at Sea to generate battles, and will fight the Tactical engangmenets using Fleet Action Imminent.