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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Game AAR - Russian Civil War, Battle of Tulgas

I am just now posting pics and a brief AAR of a miniatures game that I ran in late February using a heavily modified The Sword & The Flame rules.  I would say that they are so modified that probably only half of the original rules are still there.

The game was held at Blake's house.  I provided the miniatures and ground mat, plus managed the game and rules.  Blake and Glenn ran the Bolshevik's Red Guard or who were commonly referred to as 'Bolos' by the Allied forces in North Russia during that time.  Steve ran the mixed Allied forces of Americans, British, and Canadians.  The scenario is based on an actual battle which will be explained below.  The actual engagement was across a massively open area which is why there is a lack of terrain on the board.  Also, since I was trying out the new system, I just wanted a massive shooting game to try out that part of the rules.  Future games will be more terrain heavy to reflect the wilderness of Russia.

The scenario's historical text

Prior to the Armistice of the 'War to End All Wars', one of the major combatants, Russia, started to slip into an internal chaos as their government failed in so many levels during the war.  With that, the Tzar of Russia abdicated with a Provisional Government set to replace him with Lvov, then Kerensky, leading the failing empire.  As the Provisional Government started wobbling in the face of defeat, different Allied powers started to send troops to Russia with the Provisional Government's permission to keep it in the war or to prevent war stocks to fall into German hands.  After the collapse of Kerensky's government in the October Revolution, 1917, to the Bolshevik Soviet power under Lenin, the various Allied powers found themselves in combat with the Bolsheviks or to a lesser degree with different opposing factors in the Russian Civil War for the next few years, until 1925, when the last Allied power, Japan, finally withdrew their forces from Russia.

November 11th, 1918

While a war weary Western Europe and United States celebrates the armistice truce with Germany, a small outpost of Americans, British, and Canadians fight for their survival against a foe that outnumbers them 4 to 1 for four days alone.

In the North Russia region of Tulgas are three small villages, Upper Tulgas to the south, Tulgas, and Lower Tulgas to the north all along the Dvina River.  Garrisoning these villages are American soldiers of B Company, 339th 'Polar Bears' Infantry Regiment, British soldiers of B Company, 2/10 Royal Scots, and the Canadian 67th Battery, as well as some British medical personnel running a hospital for the Allied powers and their White Russians allies.

The main Bolshevik force have attacked Upper Tulgas and forced the American platoon that was there to fall back to Tulgas.  The Americans sent out a telegraph that they were badly outnumbered and to send reinforcements before the wires were cut by Bolsheviks.

Just north of Tulgas was the Canadian battery of 57 men and two 18-pdr guns and a squad of American soldiers with a Lewis gun were deployed.  To the surprise of the Allies, the Bolsheviks were able to flank the Allies up to Lower Tulgas through the swampy marsh forest to their west which was thought to be too soft for a rapid flanking attack.  A force of 500 Red Guards came running out of the forest behind the Allies rear positions at Lower Tulgas.  As the only force in Lower Tulgas, the Allies hospital was quickly captured by the Bolshevik force commanded by a giant of a man named Melochofski and his mistress who was following him on the campaign.  

Now Melochofski leads his force in an attempt to silence the Canadian artillery to the south of him and just north and outside of Tulgas, but they must cross 1200 yards of snow covered open land to do it.  Can Melochofski overrun the combined American and Canadians defenders or can the mixed Allies force hold off long enough for the reinforcements from B Company, 2/10 Royal Scots to arrive from Tulgas in time to push the Bolsheviks back?

With that the game is set-up with the Bolos on one end in four groups of 20 figures to represent the four rifle companies in a 1918 Bolshevik Red Guard battalion.  Two companies were a very poor quality Red Guards which the mixed match overcoats on the western board edge and are being commanded by Glenn.  The eastern flank has two companies of aggressive Red Guard with better morale and close assault abilities, but equally poor shots as the other Red Guards.  These two companies are all uniformed and lead by Blake.  Do to the poor leadership qualities of the 1918 Red Guard, each two companies only have one officer and the Battalion staff was made up of one commander (Melochofski), his mistress, and a flag man, which Glenn ran too.

On the opposite side of the board was the Canadian battery and the American protection squad armed with a Lewis machine gun.    They are facing the opposite direction until they pass a notice roll to start reacting to the advancing Bolos.  The big advantage that they have is both the Americans and the Canadians are top quality troops.  The Americans performed very well compared to all of the other Allied units for infantry in the North Russia Expedition and the Canadian battery was a front-line unit that saw action on the western front in WW1.  The relieving British unit was not very good as it was a Category B unit, which is not fit for front line combat.  The British would come in randomly once the Bolos had reached a certain point.  Steve ran all of the Allied forces.

The game ended sort of historically correct.  Melochofski was killed and the Bolos attack collapsed and then retreated back to the wood line north of Lower Tulgas. The Bolos loss probably more men in the game than in the actual engagement, but this was the bloodiest part of the actual battle too, so it might have been representative correctly as well.  In the actual battle over the course of four days, roughly 2500 Red Guard attacked the mixed Allied command of roughly 600 soldiers.  The losses were estimated round 500 killed, 30 captured, and unknown wounded for the Red Guard and 30 killed and 100 wounded for the combined Allies forces.  

Below are some pictures from the game.  Enjoy!



Pete. said...

Great stuff Sapper- an interesting set up for a scenario- all the better for being based on real events.



Sapper Joe said...

Cheers, mate! It is one of those battles that when I first read about it almost 27 years ago, I was determined to game it properly.