Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Best of Enemies

One of the periods of military history that I am particularly interested in is the 18th and 19th century - especially where the action involves those old antagonists, the Russians and the Ottoman Turks. History tells us that the Russians remorselessly pushed back the Turks until the final rounds during the first world war and the end of both the Russian and the Ottoman empires. The wars fought between these two adversaries were usually brutal affairs and with little strategic or tactical genius on display except for isolated incidents. Simply put, the Russians were usually able to bring more troops to bear over time - rather they were able to reinforce more readily than the Turks - and whilst the Turks could defend magnificently were usually outmanouevered in the long run. As an attacker/defender type campaign these wars, from what I have read thus far, are idea for the solo gamer as the Turks are usually defending whilst the Russians are usually attacking. When it was the other way round each side tended to adopt the habits of the opposition so the Russians would become stoic and immovable in defence whilst the Turks were unwieldy and unimaginative in the attack.

Now it is no secret that Fezia and Rusland - two of Bob Cordery's inventions from his 'world' of 1891 - are modelled on these two historical worthies - Turkey and Russia respectively.

One of the greatest things about our hobby is the ability to be able to employ the 'what if' factor. We do this all the time - in fact everytime we fight a wargame that is not based on a historical action. Sometimes though, the 'what if' factor may not go far enough - especially if the historical opponents either did not demonstrate any further great strategic or tactical strokes of genius which means that credibility is inevitably stretched when the players routinely do so!

In the case of the historical Russians and Turks in my opinion the wars they routinely fought - aside from being scantily covered in the English-speaking world - have far more potential as a 'what if' but over the line of being a straight wargame or campaign based on the actual history. Essentially history will supply the raw material - two huge empires with a long standing rivalry and territorial ambitions - and the wargamer will supply the appropriate soap opera element.

With the historical template these two empires provide the wargamer has a large blank canvas upon which they can impose their own ideas. Making use of this but with an 'imagi-nation' twist opens the door to a whole world of potential that the historical counterparts may have never demonstrated.

Fezia and Rusland are such a case as taking the best bits of their respective historical counterparts and jazzing up the end result (my first though would be to expand the naval side) and you have a veritable smorgasbord of wargaming potential.

Now here is a game plan of sorts - at least it is an idea that I would liek to explore further. I reckon that Fezia and Rusland will provide yours truly with the following ideas:

  • 1810 - 1830: the smoothbore era
  • 1880 - 1895: the rifle era
  • 1905 - 1915: the machine gun era
  • 1925 - 1945: the mechanised era
I need to scope this a little furthe but reckon that this is a good groundwork to begin with.

We shall see.

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