vrijdag 3 juli 2015

3. The Second Battle of Mohács, 1687 – the game.

The Opening Moves.
The Ottomans, as defenders, deployed in a thin line just outside the shelter of the woods. On the Ottoman left, the main command were situated on the heights with two columns of Janissaries held in reserve. All Ottoman cavalry were now placed in a position to envelop the advancing infidels. Their presence was masked by the supporting wing of Segbans and Arnout infantry. The artillery were interspersed along the line.

The Imperial forces mirrored the Ottoman position; on their right was the main command of Lorraine and on the left were the Bavarians under the Margrave. Behind the Bavarians, the German States would support their assault. Cavalry flanked each division while the central command amassed all its cavalry into two large brigades.

It would take several turns before the infantry lines could come into shooting range, but in the meantime, the Imperial artillery were scoring their first victory of the battle. Sari Süleyman Paşa planned enveloping maneuver would have greater success if the Imperial lines were kept occupied. To do this, the Ottoman infantry left the safety of the tree line to move forward while bringing their lighter pieces with them.

The Middle Game.
Turn four, general musket fire was took place along the entire line and as planned, the Ottoman cavalry under Mustafa Pasha were making their rendezvous to glory.

Aware of the Ottoman flanking maneuver, Lorraine move the reserve cavalry brigades to counter this. Anticipating the Ottoman cavalry assault and eventually the Imperial counter-stroke, the infantry of the German States were beginning to form square with sufficient space between battalions to allow supporting cavalry through. It was during this time, the Bavarians met the Ottoman infantry to their front and dispatched sufficient numbers that they broke.

On the Imperial right, the Ottomans deployed their Janissary to add their weight to the fusillade taking place. Casualties were inflicted on both sides.

On a subsequent turn, the Bavarians pursued the fleeing Ottomans and would cut down any foolish enough to resist. Some Arnout and Segbans had differing ideas about this and brought down two units of Bavarians demoralizing the command.   

The End Game.
Both sides with a stricken command were now furiously looking to inflict casualties and send a second one on its way. Turns seven and eight brought the cavalry on both sides in a general melee. Numbers were equal, but half the cavalry were cuirassiers giving them a slight edge. With the support of their infantry, the Imperial troops were able to bring Mustafa Pasha’s command to its knees.


This re-fight did follow the historical events and outcome. One could fault the Ottoman commander for moving out of a secure position among the woods, however, the only striking force available were Ottoman cavalry.  Without the help of the Ottoman infantry keeping the Imperial forces occupied, the cavalry thrust would have easily been parried and with a very good chance of it destroyed in the process.

If that was the case, then I was prepared to continue the battle beyond the woods as both Ottoman infantry commands would have fallen back to a system of trenches.. These did not play a role in the actual battle, but could play a role in a re-fight.

Nonetheless, the gamble did deliver one broken Imperial command which made the game a tight one.


donderdag 2 juli 2015

3. The Second Battle of Mohács, (1687) - the forces.

The Imperial armies would renew their fight against the Ottoman Turks following their victory in 1683. The Ottoman forces, then commanded by the Grand-Vizier Sari Süleyman Paşa, were different than the grand army that camped near Mohács. The mounted arm were no longer in the majority and despite their smaller numbers, the army could rely on the support of the Janissary Corps and artillery.

The Imperial Army, 40,000 strong, was led by Charles of Lorraine of Austria and an additional 20,000 German troops under Maximilian Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria and the Margrave Louis of Baden-Baden brought their number to parity with the Ottomans.

On the morning of 12 August, the Ottoman army was deployed on Nagyharsány Hill, with its wooded slopes.
Facing this, the Imperial Austrians formed on the right with the Bavarians forming on the left. The troops of Baden-Baden were held in reserve. As both forces are of equal strength, this would be fought as a big battle game with three commands per side.

Imperial Troops
Charles of Lorraine. (main command)
4 x Cuirassier
4 x Cavalry
6 x Line Infantry          
3 x Skirmisher
1 x early Dragoon                                  
2 x Heavy Artillery

Elector of Bavaria. (left flank)
3 x Cavalry
1 x Light Horse
3 x Line Infantry                      
1 x Skirmisher

Margrave of Baden-Baden. (reserve command)
3 x Cavalry
1 x Light Horse
3 x Line Infantry                      
1 x early Dragoon        

Ottoman Troops
Sari Süleyman Paşa (main command)
6 x Line Infantry (Janissaries).
12 x Warrior (Balkan, Segbans foot).
1 x Light Artillery

Mustafa Pasha of Rodosto – (support command)
4 x Warrior (Balkan, Segbans foot).
3 x Skirmisher (Arnaut foot).
2 x Light Artillery

Eseid Mustafa Pasha (reserve)
8 x Cavalry (Sipahi and Timariot cavalry).

The battlefield.
From the illustration you will note the Imperial battle line facing the dense woods. Ahead of the woods are positioned Ottoman infantry with the cavalry and Janissary Corps held in reserve near the fortifications. The defensive position can be seen at the top of the illustration. The game table is therefore, divided into two segments; the first where the main battle took place and a second, if needed, would reveal the fortifications.
Victory is reached when the enemy has lost two commands regardless of size.

 Tomorrow, part two, the actual battle.   

vrijdag 26 juni 2015

2. Border Tension (1678)

Following the Battle of Saint Gotthard, a peace treaty was signed between Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire ending the War of 1663 – 1664 and as part of the treaty, the Croat and Hungarian territories occupied by the Ottomans would remain under their control. Denied their promised liberation, many of the noble families in the occupied territories would attempt to undo the peace treaty by taking up arms. In sympathy for the plight of their brethren, Hungarians within the Hapsburg territories took up arms to crusade against the Ottomans placing the peace treaty in jeopardy.

Hungarian Rebel Troops - Colonel Bercsényi
4 x Light Horse                              Lesser nobles or Hussars.
3 x Warrior or Skirmisher             Hajduk levy.
2 x Skirmisher
1 x early Dragoon
2 x Horde, (solid)                            Slav peasants.

Free Hungarian Allies - Colonel Rákóczi
6 x Light Horse                               Lesser nobles and Hussars

Sanjak Arnawud Ibrahim
3 x  Cavalry                                      Roumeliot.
2 x Light Horse                                Delis.
1 x Conscript                                    Janissaries.
3 x Warrior.                                     Slav sharpshooters.
2 x Skirmisher                                 Anatolian sharpshooters.
1 x Artillery                                      Light Artillery.

Moldavian Allies – Hospodar George Duci
3 x Light Horse                                Cossacks.
3 x Warrior                                      Feudal levy.
1 x Skirmisher                                  Feudal levy.

The rebel force encamped near the village formed their cavalry on the open ground while the rebel infantry took advantage of the cover offered by the village in front and the fields further to the right. The hordes of peasants would hopefully deter the Ottomans by their sheer number. The Hungarian volunteers formed up on the left around the enclosure.

The Ottomans deployed their cavalry to make use of the open field between the village and the heavy woods to the right. Ottoman infantry by seizing the hamlet would secure the left flank while the Janissaries served as a reserve. The Moldavian allies, positioned on the right would face the Hungarian light horse. Having the advantage in cavalry, the Moldavian would make use of the available cover provided by the woods and enclosure.  

The opening moves.
The Ottomans, showing contempt for the rebels, flung their cavalry at the rebel horse. The Ottoman infantry were hard pressed to keep pace, but did maintain a steady momentum.

The rebels, demonstrating a bit more aptitude for the fight, moved only their infantry forward and held their cavalry back in echelon formation thus giving an opportunity for the Hungarian volunteers to fall on the Ottoman open flank.

The Hungarian volunteers however, quickly found themselves in a dilemma as the very nature of the ground did not work to their advantage. An attempt to encircle the Moldavian was foiled by musketeers. After a brief clash, these took a new position in the woods which effectively covered the road. The Hungarian cavalry would be forced to return back the way they came and continue the fight at the opposite end of the enclosure.

The middle game.
The Ottomans now found themselves reassessing the situation. The cavalry assault failed and after losing a unit decided to fall back and reform behind the infantry. The Ottoman infantry, now formed outside the village were firing steadily and pushing the rebels back. The situation was improved as the Janissaries were moved forward and the artillery began bombarding the rebel cavalry.

The Moldavian seemed to have their fight under control as their infantry were moving steadily forward with their cavalry in support.

Rebel infantry and skirmishers, taking advantage of the fields and village, now formed line and poured several volleys taking out a unit of skirmishers. After a long musket duel, took out two more Ottoman infantry bringing the Ottoman losses to break point.

On the Ottoman right, the Moldavian succeeding in stinging the Hungarians into a rash assault. Led by their Colonel, all the Hungarian cavalry were thrown into the assault. The Moldavian infantry were equal to the task and drew their own swords to hamstring the horses and cut down any fallen riders. Three LH died in the attempt and Colonel Rákóczi was also among the fallen.

The rebels, having beaten the Ottomans paid dearly with the loss of Colonel Rákóczi. The Hungarian volunteers would return across the border and with their departure, the rebel forces would now have to move back to the mountains.

Sanjak Arnawud Ibrahim would report a victory and sing high praises for the Moldavian. Although the rebel leader escaped, he would not dare to come down from the hills again. But that is another story.