Monday, July 13, 2015

Battle Report: Battle of Velestino 1897 using BBB

Battle of Velestino 1897

Greek troops in a shelter trench during or after the battle.

Me and Morten  Kristein  Andersen from Denmark met up during his vacation in Istanbul for a game of Big Bloody Battles. We decided to play the Velestino 1897 scenario which I co-authored with Chris Pringle for Bloody Big Battles. This represents the one of two Greek victories at the Unlucky War of 1897. It starts as an Ottoman reconnaissance and develops to a full out attack on a defended position.

You can find the scenario and orbats here

Recreating the map

First deployments

We used my Russians for 1877 as ottomans, and ACW Union as greeks. I played the Ottomans and Morten the Greeks (which can count as faux danes as well). The first part of the scenario requires the Ottomans to reconnoiter at least three Greek units. Morten deployed the two Greek elite units (Evzones) in the rifle pits on Pilaf Tepe supported by the field battery. He deployed the rest of the forces on the Velestino spur (two units and artillery), in the village of Aghios Gdeon (1 unit), and Velestino itself. I decided to send one unit towards Pilaf Tepe and the cavalry and other infantry regiment against the Velestino spur.

The start of the game saw both of us roll abysmally in shooting but still a combination of Greek shooting, and bad command rolls meant that I only succeeded in fulfilling the recon objective on turn 5 of 8 of the game. 

Fowards men of the Sultan! Pilaf Tepe to the left, Velestino in the center, Velestino spur to the right. River is used to delineate the limits of the battlefield. 

The point of recon, Velestino spur and Aghios Gedeon.

The unit of shame facing Pilaf Tepe

This left only 3 turns to try and win. On the Pilaf Tepe front my force was stalled, so I decided to put my weight on the Velestino Spur and Aghios Gedeon. Morten’s placed his reinforcements in Velestino itself, plus and irregular unit behind Pilaf Tepe. He had a total of 19 infantry bases in 7 units. Against them I had 27 infantry bases in 5 units. I sent 3 regular units against Aghios Gedeon and the Velestino spur and placed one unit of Irregulars in support of the stalled troops before Pilaf Tepe at Rizomylon. 

Deploying reinforcements. 

The attack in both sides commenced. The Irregulars moved into the forest in order to check any attempt by the evzone and greek irregulars to come to the aid of Velestino.

The attacks commence!

The cavalry regiment moved from the Velestino side of the field to the Pilaf Tepe and tried to charge the Irregualrs, but was eliminated by their defensive fire (historically the Ottoman cavalry tried a charge and was shot to pieces as well). That said they succeeded in their goal slowing down one of the evzone units moving along the Volos-Velstino road. 

A romantic view of the repulse of the Ottoman cavalry during the actual battle.

In front of Velestino, my forces at considerable losses took Aghios Gdeon and forced one of the two greek units at the Velestino Spur to retreat. However my spent and decimated units could not take the spur by the end of the game. 

Assaults against Velestino Spur and Aghios Gedeon

For God and the Sultan men! Forwards my lions!

Morten pulled back his artillery and used it to break my last attacks on Velestino. The battle ended with the historical result of a resounding Greek success. My brave Osmnali soldiers did their duty well (except from the unit in front of Pilaf Tepe, that never advanced more than halfway from my table edge). 
Shame on you! 

The final push

The filed at the end of the battle.

The failure was my fault. I should had used the road network to bring the Pilaf Tepe force faster against Velestino. I also lost too much time in the recon phase. That said I felt I lost because of my failures and not those of the scenario or rules. The game ran smoothly, and beyond forgetting the Low Ammo rule( which might be worth putting in the shooting results table) we did not make any mistakes and enjoyed it. Total losses for the greeks were 2000 men and for the Ottomans 5500. All in all a good fast game, which gives a nice introduction to the rules.

In our return we were given a view of a French warship docked at Emminonu close to the old city.

Viva la France!

1 comment:

Chris BBB said...

Splendid stuff!

Have you considered painting up a few Greek (and maybe Danish) standardbearers, to use alongside your 'generic' bluejackets? It's what I did and it adds nicely to the spectacle without much effort.

Bloody Big BATTLES!