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Defend the Crossing! Muscovites vs. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

I was able to lure my brother up from the wasteland of Virginia for a game. I pulled together two forces quickly and rolled up a scenario. The Polish force was weaker by 1 point, but after rolling 3 potential scenarios (Commander had 3 command points), the only valid option was Defend the Crossing, as the other two had scenario values greater than 1 (the difference in force strength).

As such, the PLC force found itself defending a river crossing against a slightly larger force from the Tsardom. 

Polish Skirmish Force - 1649-52
10 FSP, 23 Reconnaissance Points (maybe miscalculated RP)
FSP 5 - 3 Pancerni (spears), 3 Cossack-Style, 2 Dragoons, 2 Cossack-Style 
FSP 6 - 2 Dragoons
FSP 7 - 2 Pancerni (spears)
FSP 8 - 2 Cossack-Style
FSP 9 - Rotamaster
FSP 10 - 2 Dragoons (split between the prior units)

Muscovite Skirmish Force 1648-1676
11 FSP, 21 Reconnaissance Points (maybe miscalculated RP)
FSP 4 - 3 Servant Cossack, 3 Servant Cossack, 2 Boyars, 2 Boyars, 2 Boyars
FSP 5 - 2 Reiter
FSP 6 - 3 Boyars (with spears)
FSP 7 - 2 Reiter
FSP 8 - 3 Boyars
FSP 9 - 2 Reiter
FSP 10 - Lt. Colonel
FSP 11 - 4 Boyars
Bonus troops from 25+ stands: 2 Servant Cossacks, 1 Boyar

In this scenario, the defender/weaker force sets up first, anywhere behind the river and anywhere within 20cm of the center of the bridge on the far side. The attacker then sets up. Both sides are trying to control the bridge and a ford, which the attacker places at the beginning of turn 2.

There were no additional effects, as the 1 FSP difference went to buying me the scenario, and the 2 point difference in reconnaissance weren't enough to buy any effects.

I set up a small blocking force of both dragoon banners and a small cossack-style banner, whose job would be to charge a dangerous unit turn 1 and hopefully push them back. The pancerni and large cossack-style squadron would remain behind the river and go deal with the eventual ford threat and/or reinforce the dragoons.

The Muscovites deployed their reiters and a medium boyar cavalry unit clearly heading for a ford I was not aware of on my left flank. The remaining boyars and servant cossacks would press for the bridge.

Top of 1
Apparently the Muscovites were feeling patient, as they didn't issue any charges in turn one, and were instead happy to maneuver forward and take some softening fire on the defenders. On the left, the reiters and boyars marched at full speed toward what apparently was a shallower section of river than my reconnaissance had discovered.

The brave cossack-style on the far side of the river charged into the advancing boyars with spears, losing a stand, but forcing a draw, leading both sides to withdraw. This left the spear-wielding Russians in disarray, now behind the trailing boyars. We'll call that a success! 

Meanwhile, the dragoons exchanged fire with the boyars and cossacks.

End of 1
 Now the action started. Cossacks charged my right dragoon unit, while the ford-destined boyars broke off to wipe out my now-rallied cossack-style base.

The rest of the Muscovites advanced and put fire into the dragoons. 

The dragoons repelled the servant cossacks, but took notable casualties from the fire from the combined arms of boyars and other servant cossack unit.

However, the most important thing happened on the left. Naturally, the ford was revealed and the reiters continued their advance. I wanted to make sure they stayed on their side of the river, as bonus points could be gained by having troops on the opposing side of the river. Thus, I declared a charge with my pancerni, hoping to retain the order into next turn and hit the Muscovites on my terms. However, they failed their skill test and withdrew away from the river in disorder.  Crap!

Results of turn 2/3
As a result, the reiters were free to charge my disorganized cavalry (commander was too far to rally), routing them off the board and capturing the ford. 

The dragoons found themselves charged in the flank the next turn, with the right unit breaking and fleeing across the bridge, while the left unit forced a draw with the small boyar unit, pulling back in front of the bridge.

Turn 4

Result of turn 4
 With the ford firmly in enemy hands and my forward-guard pretty well decimated, I saw one last chance to push the poor Muscovite cavalry back at the bridge. I put a command point into winning initiative, and declared a charge with my cossack-style cavalry, accompanied by a move with my dragoons to get them out of the way.

The dragoons were charged by the same reorganized boyar unit, while the other boyars countercharged the Poles crossing the bridge.

Turn 5
 Alas, the heroic charge, even accompanied by my commander, resulted in a small loss, followed by a totally botched morale test for the cossack-style, leaving the bridge in Muscovite hands after the dragoons were smashed between the charging boyars and the rest of the Russian troops.

At this point, the battle was over and was a very strong strategic victory for the Muscovites!

Had I played a bit more cautiously, both overall and in some specific instances (waiting to charge with the pancerni, etc.), it might've gone differently.

Nevertheless, it was a great way to spend a fun afternoon.


The Cossack-style attempt to rescue the bridge situation

The dragoons await the charge after clearing the way for the cossack-style charge
Annnnd the dragoons are wiped out


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