Sunday, 16 December 2012

The (Ottoman) Empire Strikes Back

The beginning of the end - note the cavalry attacking the entrenched Turks on the left.

In turn 3 of my recent block game the Greek cavalry launched an attack against the Turkish infantry in their trenches. the position was carried with great dash and gusto but it struck me as rather unlikely. The fact that the same cavalry unit then went on to more or less clear the the other Turkish trench further convinced me that something was slightly awry. Far be it from me to cast aspersions about the effectiveness of cavalry when engaged in such follies but it really felt plain wrong. I thought about this after the action had ended and attempted to justify this turn of events. Certainly the cavalry attacked with the initiative on both turns (if you recall the Greek army won the initiative on every turn) but would they really be able to carry not one but two trenches full of Ottoman soldiery? (Beersheba doesn't count as strictly speaking it hadn't happened yet!).

I finally decided that this would, under normal circumstances, be pretty unlikely.

The solution came about very quickly and in fact features within the Command and Colours system already. The concept is known as the 'Battle Back'. Essentially, after an attacker has carried out their close combat attack a defending unit, as long as it does not retreat or is destroyed, fights back against its attacker using the normal rules for combat. This means that a close combat could be potentially a bad move for the attacker as they could actually come off worse in the exchange. In the case of cavalry I believe that it will ensure that they are used rather more historically - riding down isolated detachments (especially units that have suffered casualties and so are likely to be destroyed outright) and dashing hither and thither rather than taking on the role of some kind of mounted stormtrooper.

I have added this amendment in to my list of home grown tweaks and will use this going forward.


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


Yet another interesting scenario and battle report. You are proving that the PORTABLE WARGAME rules work and are doing all my play-testing for me.

Thank you very much!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

I should be thanking you for the ideas in the first place!

This particular action was fought using Memoir of Battle and for sure they work really well. I just wanted to take a little of the sting out of having the initiative as it felt like it had turned cavalry into armoured divisions!

I am more than happy to keep on testing out the rules - either PW or MoB as I have not had so much wargaming fun for ages as I have done this year.

All the best,