Friday, 17 March 2017

The Battle of Tapio-Bickse, Hungarian War of Independence 1849 - a BBB AAR

Well if last weeks game was a bit 'left field', this weeks one certainly was. As planned we met up to fight a small battle from the Hungarian War of Independence, which to be honest I'd never heard of. At college we covered the effect of the 1848 Revolutions on Britain in terms of the Charterists etc, but what happened in Europe was only briefly covered if my memory serves me correctly.

As with all of the Bloody Big Battles scenarios, there is a nice piece of history included to put the scenario in context.  Without going into too much detail, broadly speaking our game starts with the Hungarians having caught part of the Austrian Croatian 1st Corps napping in the village of Tapio-Bickse. The Hungarians have pushed them out of the village, but the Croats have recovered and are about to counter-attack to try and retake the village. Both sides have suffered in the firrst encounter, leaving most of them Disrupted.

This is a very small scenario, with the Croats only having 2 Brigades of infantry, supported by some artillery and a cavalry Brigade. The Hungarians have almost double the number of troops, half of which are re-inforcements. The Croats importantly have better quality troops at the start, with the on table Hungarians frankly a pretty shoddy bunch. However the reinforcements are a different matter, being both Trained and Agressive. To quote from the Scenario Notes:

"Much will rest on how the first three turns go, while the Croats have a slight superiority in numbers and quality. It is set up so that dice favour them, they may be able to repeat the Otachaners' dramatic charge that routed both Dipold and Bobic and captured 10 guns. They could then be in a good position to block the road against Gorgey's reinforcements"

We were both looking forward to this scenario after last weeks game and Dave chose to be the Croats, with the caveat that if he lost he could blame it on history. Funnily enough this is an excuse that I've used before in my games! So with the table set we were ready to do battle.  

An overview of the table, with the main objective of Tapio-Bickse on the left hand.
Bde Dipold in Tapio-Bickse, with the Croats poised to launch an assault to regain the village.
Bde Bobics can be seen in column of march with their supporting artillery, whilst Mesterhazys' cavalry Bde have just crossed the bridge over the Felso-Tapio stream.
Things got of too a flying start with Rastic's Bde launching the predicted assault on the village. Dipold's Bde failed to halt them with Defensive fire...
...whilst Rastic's Offensive fire saw the loss of one stand of infantry, but leaving them Low on Ammo.
Losing one stand meant that Dipold's Bde became Spent as they were Raw infantry.
In the ensuing Assault, Rastic's Bde made short work of the Hungarians, with them losing two stands...
...which caused the Bde to break leaving Rastic in control of the village. Naturally Dave gave a big thumbs up to Rastic's Bde, whilst I was somewhat stunned, apart from uttering a few Anglo-Saxon phrases. Certainly not the best start for the Hungarians.
To add insult to injury, as Bobics' Bde advanced and deployed into line just outside of Tapio-Bickse, defensive fire from the Croats saw the Hungarian Bde lose a base and become Spent.
After an eventful first Turn, the battlefield looked like this.
The Croats were in a better position than the Hungarians, who had moved Mesterhazy's cavalry Bde forward to protect the gun on the hill.
After a blistering start to the game, Turn 2 seemed quite sedate in comparison.
As the Croats reinforced Tapio-Bickse, the Hungarians withdrew slightly and deployed their artillery, to try and form a better defensive line.
At least the Hingarian re-inforcements had started to arrive, albeit somewhat slower than hoped due to a poor command roll for Kiss' Bde, which then slowed everyone else down.
At the start of Turn 3, the Croats moved out of the village en masse, to take the fight to the beleagured Bobics Bde. Once again some stunning die rolling...
...led to another big thumbs up from Dave as Bobic's Bde was more or less hors de combat. My thoughts at this point in the game do not bear repeating.
Halfway through the Turn and the Croats are certainly gaining the upper hand.
A glimmer of hope finally arrives as the Hungarian reinforcements cross the bridge and start to become a threat to the Croat Bdes.
Mesterhazy's cavalry Bde at least managed to survive against twice as many cavalry, but was pushed back as a result. Bobic's Bde is not looking to be in too good a position.
The Hungarian reinforcements somewhat strung out, but getting close enough to start affecting the game.
The Hungarian reinforcements caused the Croats to have a rethink on their position, which led to them withdrawing partially into Tapio-Bickse.
The Hungarians deploy their artillery into a massed battery, but their line of fire is blocked by their own infantry.
A view from the Croatian side.
The Hungarian pressure has forced the rest of the Croat firces into the village of Tapio-Bickse.
The Hungarians try a form of oblique manouevre towards the woods on the hill to avoid the artillery in the village. Kaszonyi's cavalry Bde is moving on a wide arc on the right flank to try and threaten the Croatian cavalry on their own left flank. The remnants of Bde Bobics fails to move due to a poor command roll, leaving the bulk of the Hungarian artillery being unable to fire. A case of some Blue-on-Blue called for...?
The Croats can do little other than react to the general advance of the Hungarian troops.
Bobics Bde still refuse to move, causing immense frustration. the hungarian infantry have moved onto the edge of the woods, ready to push towards Tapio-Bickse. Kaszonyi's cavalry Bde have moved to the edge of the stream, forcing the Croat cavalry back to try and maintina their line-of-coummunication.
The Hungarian troops have moved into position at then end of Turn 7, ready to try and win the game in the final Turn.
Batter late than never, Bobics Bde have moved out of the way of the massed Hungarian guns.
The final Turn and could the Croatian troops manage to hold on to the village to win them the game? Kiss' Bde and Leiningens' Bde both move into the assault and the Croatian troops fail to halt them with Defensive fire.
Some good Offensive fire followed by an assault saw the Croatian troops comprehensively beaten, leaving the Hungarians in charge of the Tapio-Bickse and winning the game, literally with the last roll of the dice!

Once again what a cracking game! For once we actually managed to play all of the Turns and the outcome literally hung in the balance right until the final roll of the dice as to which side would emerge victorious.

Post Game Thoughts
So as always some musings on the game:
  • Even though this was a very small battle in terms of the number of units, it felt much bigger as there was so much going on right from Turn 1. This is in large part to the way the scenario has been constructed, so all credit to Chris Pringle for this.
  • We both felt that this scenario would make a good demo game for the rules, as there aren't too many units, therefore making it easy to get to grips with things.
  • It was nice having some cavalry action that felt like it would have an effect upon the game. In fact for a future bash we may look at the 'Kurudere' scenario from the Crimean War.
  • Once again this felt somehwat Napoleonic in nature, which is not suprising given the weapons used by both sides. In fact post game we felt that this scenario would not feel out of place in the Peninsula War. Dave is going to look into some scenarios from this conflict that may transfer well to BBB. Should be fun.
  • Both of us have really enjoyed these games set circa 1848. So much so that I've ordered a Ralph Weaver book on the Hungarian Army for a bit of background detail and future 'what if?' scenarios. We may even look into playing some more of the scenarios from the Yahoo groups set during this war. 

Sadly this may be our last game for sometime due to Dave's work commitments, but what a last game to go out on if this is the case. I might get around to basing up some units for BBB and who knows even painting them!


  1. I'm chuffed that you had such a good time with this scenario. Congratulations on your last-minute victory! If you do want more Hungary 1848 action, try Pakozd. It's small enough to suit your format, and it's full of local colour.


    Bloody Big BATTLES!

    1. Thanks Chris:). We'll check out the Pakozd scenario for when we might be able to next meet up.

  2. A nice to and fro game and shows the rules work well with smaller battles.
    OK, I give in - I'll try to order the rules this weekend.

    1. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do Colin. I think I ordered mine from Caliver books. It's also worth getting the Bloody Big European Battles scenario book.

  3. Thanks for sharing your game.

    Is there an OOB for The Battle of Tapio-Bickse, Hungarian War of Independence 1849?



    1. Glad you liked it GH. I don't have the OOB to hand, but I highly recommend joining the BBB Yahoo Group as they have a whole load of scenarios in the Files section.

    2. Thanks for that tip.