Monday, February 22, 2016

SHAKO Battle at the Library - Danube Valley flair

This past weekend saw a return to the library room for another tabletop game of SHAKO II.

Along for the ride this time was a visitor from Nanaimo, David B, we had met briefly before at a Salute event in Burnaby, now he's on Vancouver Island and was able to come out to share in the pushing of lead.

My youngest son, who has the most tabletop experience, took on the challenge of starting of the game and decided to be Austrians, then we rolled for offense/defense; putting the Austrians on defense.  We then rolled for terrain, with the Austrians lining up three small hills on their side of the table and the French rolled up two woods, placing them on the flanks and an open field area.

David B then arrived to take over command of French attacking forces and we set about laying out the tablecloth over the hills, setting out the woods and fields; then finally setting out the troops and writing the plans.

table at game start

French had the light horse on the right wing

artillery in the center

the plan was to strike hard with the horse on one flank while a marching column of light infantry hit the other flank
Turn one was an artillery barrage:

using timed moves the experienced French commander showed great skill
Horse raced forward

cannon belched fire and death

from the Austrian cannon came more casualties

Austrian foot remained ready to take on the advancing French

more Austrian cannon

The only Austrian move was to cover the right flank before the large woods, as they could not deploy in this area, these troops marched onto the right flank hilltop of the Austrian lines and delivered fire from their attached horse battery

A French Guard Division makes an appearance

all the while French batteries in the center fire constantly
by Turn three the French horse had reached into the Austrian flank and the French Light Infantry flank force were to burst into the woods.

sporting the backdrop a view of the panorama from the French Gun lines

a backdrop shot of the Austrian command behind their own gun line (taking some hits now) and the Austrian light horse division in the distance

and another backdrop shot of the French Lancers about to charge towards Austrian foot

on the center right were German and Italian troops with Guard closing in from behind.
turn 4 a critical moment for the Austrian lines

Italians pour into the Austrian center left

French Guard march right behind the Italian Division

The Austrian guns obliterated the lancers as they charged across the guns to fall on the Austrian foot in line, then the gunners were hacked to pieces by the French Chasseurs a cheval.
all plans and lines have become a ragged mess as both sides are now locked in the close-quarter-battles of hand to hand combats

the center was open to the ongoing artillery duel, though the Austrian commander shed some tears over the loss of his Uhlans, these light horsemen completely broke up the attack of an entire Division of French Infantry

Austrian Uhlans (center frame) slashed into a French Infantry Division, driving back the commander, General Victor, and causing the loss of support for one battalion (which was destroyed in hand to hand combat) and sending two other battalions into headlong retreat and thus causing the demoralization of the entire Division.

limited to only artillery targets the Austrian center batteries were outgunned 3:1

Austrians on the left flank formed squares to hold off the French light horse, now they had to keep those squares as Italian infantry marched up in columns.

the German Division (right) had been halted due to contact with Austrian foot, while the Italians (left) were still storming forward in columns to the attack!

Now the clock started to work against us, as we had to be clear from the room by 4:30 pm.  It would have been so great to have had just another half hour to really permit these two good players to decide the match fairly.  As it was the French player just went on with a reckless series of attacks that would have better been done more patiently with an extra turn of recovery and artillery barrage.

with two Divisions halted in desperation morale and strength of the overall attack fading the French pushed for just one more round to see if they could score the two more hits needed.

General Victor was halted, having stopped the marauding Uhlans with squares, 1/3 of his Division was dead and one other battalion was stuck in column in front of Austrian artillery supported by infantry

Austrian combined arms was working on the Austrian right flank, keeping the French trapped in the woods

the French column would be smashed this turn by the artillery at point-blank range

Austrians on the right flank, pivot to hold off the French light infantry boiling out of the woods

Italians are slowed by the breakout of Austrian light horse, forcing some battalions into squares

while the final results were declared a draw, only another turn or two would have told a different tale

Another great game day at the Library and we had another 5-8 visitors come in during the day to ask about what was going on and when we were going to game next.

March 12 is next date set for Library.