Sunday, November 13, 2016

Last Century of the Ottomans: Katseljevo-Ablava 1877

Last weekend me and Onur played the next battle in our Last Century of the Ottomans Bloody Big Battles Campaign. This is Katseljevo-Ablava during the Russo-Ottoman War of 1877-1878.

Here is the video AAR

Here is a map of the action

And here is Onur's AAR

"30 October 2016 Katseljevo Ablava AAR
Hi Guys,

Here my belated AAR of our last game from Last Century of the Ottomans campaign.
We used 10mm Pendraken minis of Konstantinos for the battle and his terrain at his place.
I only bring up the mini-pizzas (you should try those bite-size goodies).
Doruk was my second in command but left early.

Katseljevo Ablava was an interesting and joyful battle for me as I am playing Russians on the defensive. Outnumbered, outgunned against a good Ottoman army.

But scenario has good tweaks that helped me. Russian had four objectives and need to hold 3 or 4 of them to win, not likely. Especially town Katseljevo up in front and isolated far and by Black Lom river was impossible to held. So question was to leave it or sacrifice some units to delay the Ottomans and play for the time? I decided for the latter since it was much fun and feasible to me. More action the merrier!

Also holding the town has other advantages. Russian deploys first. This is an advantage for this battle. By deploying my infantry so far North-West and and cavalry to Eastern most tip of the hill I pushed back Ottomans units away to NW edge (literally to D4 and D5 map sectors). There are traffic-jammed there and all were in woods at the start. That gave me some valuable time which I needed desperately.

 First two turns Ottoman struggled to get out of woods but in the meantime with good shooting destroyed my only cavalry. Ottomans lost some bases but mostly disrupted with good Russian artillery shooting which prevent their forward move. I must admit dice gods were with me in that game.

Turn 4 Katseljevo was still in Russian hands but were overpowered by many Turkish units. The scenario dictated that Ottomans cannot cross Black Lom rive before Katseljevo's fall or Turn 5 (whichever comes first). I was undecided to stay or leave that untenable objective but decided to stay and sacrifice troops since it will buy me one more turn or more if I am extremely lucky.

Turn 5. I lost the Katseljevo but doing so sacrifing 33rd Division I held up half the Ottoman army for half the game. Now my remaining units should held whole Ottoman Army to deny one more objective. By the way my reinforcement were very slow from the beginning. I was planning to shift my extra units to East to get a proper line but couldnt manage this till later in the game. That gave Konstantinos to fire on them while they were on move. But I managed deploy my half-Machin Gun unit to center from up ahead to be effective since it is a close range weapon.

Turn 6. Turks starting to cross Black Lom but madly mauled under my artillery fire. Many units help up in the river or disrupted to get no move. On Eastern flank an Ottoman cavalry unit began flanking me. But I can do nothing to prevent it. I have no reserve to fire on them. Good side is Turkish cavalry cannot claim objectives. In west flank thing are not nice. My reserves of elements of 11th Divisor are up against many Ottoman units which they cannot defend the objective. To get that objective Ottomans needs to be on the road and within 24" of South edege of the table. So getting rid of my 11th Division was not a concern for Konstantinos.

Turns 7th and 8th saw many bloody fire-fights and close combats. In firefights Russian won. In close combat engagements Ottomans won. My 11th Division in the West/left flank abandoned the position but rallied at back 3" away. Ottomans couldn't win good enough to pursue me so they stayed where they are still away from 24" of South edge of table.

My Right/East flank held fast with good shooting till the end. I tried to deny Turks to make grand artillery battery and succeed. My center fire was good. Both sides became Low On Ammo many times during the battle causing bloody casualties to Ottomans but have no effect on their approach. And when the closed in Turks were in good shape for battle. My center lost the close combat retreated but rallied.

Turn 9. This final turn was the decisive turn. Situation: Ottomans held 1 objective (Katseljevo). They have a idle unit back there couldnt rally themselves and continue to barbecue and tea. Whole remaining Ottoman army finally lined up against my 2.5 artillery half MG and 2 infantry units ready to attack. They did.  Well in the West narrow road to Orendzik and parallel stream kept Ottoman units from moving another inch denied the objective. In the center Russian beaten but not so bad kept their ground. Ottoman reached the objective but my Russian unit contested it when I rallied back. So nobody claimed it.

Water and South of Black Rom river was full of Turkish casualties, Turks were all upon us. If there were another turn, Russians were to be annihilated.  Final tally. Ottomans claimed 1 objective. Russian claimed 2 objectives. That made our game ended in a draw!

I enjoyed the game very much. It was a good balanced and interesting scenario with good replayability. The funny part was both Konstantinos and me were thinking Russian won and recorded the video so. We only realised that today (Nov13th) while writing up AAR. A good game has lasting effect!"

The current tally of battles in the Campaign is 

1.Kurudere 1854, Russians (Onur and Emir) vs. Ottomans (me)-> Russian Victory (Historical)

2.Alexinac 1875, Serbians (me) vs. Ottomans (Onur and Emir)->Ottoman Victory (Historical)

3.Nikopolis 1877, Russians (Onur and Emir) vs. Ottomans (me)-> Russian Victory (Historical)

4.2nd Pleven 1877, Russians (Onur) vs. Ottomans (me) -> Ottoman Victory (Historical)

5.3rd Pleven 1877, Allies (Mortens and Me) vs. Ottomans (Onur and Emir)-> Allied Victory (Ahistorical)

6.Katseljevo-Ablva 1877, Russians (Onur) vs. Ottomans (me and Doruk)-> Draw (Historical)