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Kupyansk

 
This game was run by me at a convention for the two players who had played the Slovechno scenario the day before. Again I wanted a game that played fairly quickly to a definite conclusion, but which felt very different from the game the previous day.
 

Introduction

This was given to both sides, and left for any passers-by to read as well.
 Whites vs Konnarmiya
North of Kupyansk, Ukraine 1919


Late in 1919 the Armed Forces of South Russia – the main White army striking from the Ukraine and Caucasus – were defeated along their front and forced to retire southwards. The élite Markov Division of the AFSR was defending the right flank of the main drive towards Moscow. It was defeated around Voronezh and pursued by the Soviet 1st Horse Army, the famous Konnarmiya of Budënniy.

This game represents the sort of action frequently seen in those days: some units of the mobile Soviet cavalry have penetrated the thin line of the Whites and now attempt to cut off the retreat of the main body by destroying a bridge – defended by a small force of Markov infantry.

Markov Briefing

You command a couple of battalions of Markov infantry, guarding a vital bridge. You noticed that a unit of the enemy cavalry had crossed the river downstream during the night and have crossed your men to that side so as to defend it.

Enemy within striking distance is, as far as you know, only to the south.

You expect the main body of your division to arrive during the day, but you do not know when.

Victory Conditions

Hold the bridge at all costs.

There is no reason why you have to adopt a defensive strategy to do so, except that the enemy will have far greater manoeuvrability.

Your Units

Two infantry battalions, each of three regular companies, each of 4 bases. There is also an élite “officer company” and two MG bases for each battalion. The regular infantry is good, but can be fragile if it suffers a large reverse. The officer company is exceptionally good, but slightly smaller.

Two heavy howitzers. You have 12 rounds of artillery supply for each. Please note that they have a minimum range.
 

Soviet Briefing

You command a brigade of Konnarmiya cavalry. You have crossed the local river downstream during the night, with the intention of attacking the enemy from behind. Sadly, they were informed of your actions, but you must nevertheless carry out the attack as ordered.

You enter from the south.

Victory Conditions

You must capture the bridge and place charges on it to destroy it. One cavalry unit must be designated as carrying the charges, and must spend three moves unmolested on the bridge in order to destroy it.

As the main body of the enemy division is heading for the bridge quickly, you must attack with some speed.

Your Units

Three cavalry regiments of 3 squadrons, each of 4 bases.

You also have four tachankas, which may be distributed as desired.

Two horse guns. The difficulty of crossing the ammunition over the river, however, means that you only have 6 rounds per gun.

Note that the cavalry, and indeed the tachanka MGs, may be dismounted to fight.

If you dismount cavalry at the beginning of the game then the entire unit fights on foot as standard Red Army infantry. If you dismount during the game, then a base from each unit must be left to hold the horses.
 

Terrain

The main river is uncrossable in game time. The stream is a minor obstacle. The hills are all very minor: just enough to block line of sight really.

main picture of table
(The pictures are reduced in size to fit all monitors – they will be larger and more detailed if saved to your computer.)

As usual for my games, any troops starting in the village (or the valley behind) were not laid out until they moved or fired. However, I made the defenders in the open deploy first, before the Soviet cavalry made their plans.
 

Thoughts on how it went

This seemed to be quite a balanced scenario, and I don't think I would alter much if I was to run it again. Again it ran for three hours or so of playing time. My plan was to have the Markov main force march onto the table to end the game if the first Soviet attack faltered (around move 16 or so) but in the event they were able to drive the infantry from the bridge, slaughtering not a few in the process.

The Soviet made a mistake in not dismounting some of his cavalry before the game started. He needed some firepower to soften up the infantry around the bridge and the tachankas were too vulnerable to the enemy firepower to get there in good time.

The White commander put too many of his men in the village. Although he later sent them out to reinforce the bridge, it was too late.

Both sides used up their artillery rounds too early. With limited ammunition, it pays to wait until the sides close, as then each Terror or Retire result is much more effective.



Close-up of the Markov defenders in some difficulty. The cavalry was soon to ride down the unit in front of them, but the other two units held on for a bit longer (they had been moved by then so that the cavalry pursuit did not fetch up in their rear).

Note the Markov command stand on the far side of the river, where it's safe. The player doing it got a fair bit of stick for this!



The game almost over. The Markovs are still in the field, but it is only a matter of time before the demolition charges can be placed.
 
 
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