Monday, 6 December 2021

OHW Scenario 10 - Late Arrivals

A few days ago I decided to have another game with my mdf figures and once again turned to the OHW scenarios, this time using Scenario 10: Late arrivals. This is broadly inspired by the 1866 Battle of Gitschin, where the challenge is for the Attackers to penetrate a bottleneck before they can bring their numbers to bear, whilst for the Defenders their troops arrive in a piecemeal fashion. Basic details and OOB follow:

Scenario Details
The Red Player deploys 4 units on table at the start of the game. On Turn 5 another 4 units arrive via the Southern table edge, then same again on Turn 10.

The Blue player has all of his units available at the start of the game and arrive via column of march on the road at the Northern table edge.

The Objective is to be in control of the town at the end of the game.

Both sides would use the National Characteristics from the HoW rulebook, as well as rolling to determine the quality of their Brigade Commanders. I had planned on using the weather table on p38, but frankly I forgot until mid-game!

Prussian (Blue) Attacker
6 x Infantry (1 x Superior)
2 x Light Infantry
2 x Cavalry
2 x Artillery

Austrian (Red) Defender
6 x Infantry (1 x Superior)
1 x Light Infantry
2 x Cavalry
3 x Artillery

The Game
As before, I will allow the annotated photos to cover how the game unfolded. Apologies for some of the out of focus photos, but my arm was having a shaky day plus I was trying to keep my shadow out of the image as the game was played at night.

An overview of the table, with North to the top.

The Austrian vanguard deployed, with the Prussians ready to arrive via the road at the top of the photo. As luck would have it, the Prussians had a Dithering Commander, but fortunately he was supported by the Dependable C-in-C. The Austrian Commander on table was Dependable.

The end of Turn 1. The Prussians advanced and began to deploy into line upon sighting the enemy. The Austrians held their positions and the artillery opened up, causing a hit on the Prussian infantry in line.

The end of Turn 2. The Prussians managed to get a double move and so quickly closed with the Austrian position. Both sides exchanged fire, with the Prussian Light Infantry moving to 3 hits (blue die). 

The end of Turn 3. The next wave of Prussians arrived with a Dashing Commander who made a double move towards the Austrian right flank and their Light Infantry. The Dithering Commander once again managed a double move, courtesy of some encouraging words from his C-in-C. The Prussian Light Infantry pulled back to reform and the Prussian Line Infantry unleashed a devastating volley that caused the Austrian Line Infantry to rout and the Artillery to move to a Blue die. The Austrian return fire was less than effective in comparison.

A view of the Austrian line that was under extreme pressure, with the loss of its Line Infantry (Red die).

The end of Turn 4. As the Austrians pulled back, the Prussians advanced to keep up the pressure, managing to rout the limbered Austrian Artillery on the road. 

The Prussians push on but are struggling to form a cohesive line.

The end of Turn 5. As Austrian reinforcements began to arrive, led by the Grenadiers but rather like the Prussians, commanded by a Dithering Brigadier who was lucky to have his C-in-C in tow too. The Prussians moved forward where possible to keep up the pressure as their Cavalry moved swiftly onto the table.

The Austrians march on, flags flying, led by their Grenadiers.

The end of Turn 6. The next wave of Prussians were available, but once again had a Dithering Commander who failed to move onto the table! Elsewhere the Prussians pushed on and caused the Austrian Light Infantry to rout off the table. The Austrians could do little other than begin to deploy into line in front of the town. Once again there was little shooting, which was largely ineffective, other than against the Austrian Light Infantry.

The Austrian Cavalry look on as their Prussian counterparts approach.

The Prussian refused right flank. the Austrian Light Infantry unsurprisingly succumb to the massed fire from the Prussians arrayed against them.

The Austrians slowly deploy.

The end of Turn 7. As both sides advanced and formed line, there was little shooting as most units were out of range. On the Prussian right flank the Cavalry charged the Austrians who bravely countercharged and in a furious melee, both sides were forced to retreat and reform, having taken 4 hits a piece.

The Austrian Cavalry look on as they reform, as do the Prussian Cavalry in the distance.

Both sides dress their lines.

A view from the Prussian third wave as they march down the road towards the town and the battle.

The Austrians have left one Line Infantry unit in the town as a precaution to provide a good fall back position should it be required.

The end of Turn 8. Both sides Cavalry failed to move and so stood there looking at each other, whilst the Prussian right wing again managed a double move and so began to try to turn the Austrian flank. Both sides Grenadiers exchanged murderous fire that saw both having to retreat to reform. the same was true of the Austrian Line Infantry unit caught by enfilading fire.

Both side have units that need to retreat to reform, with the Austrians coming of the worse.

The positions after both sides have made their fall back moves.

The end of Turn 9. Once again both sides Cavalry played long distance Mexican stand off, as the Prussian Line Infantry pushed forward where practicable. Pressure was kept up on the Austrian Grenadiers who managed to avoid more damaging fire despite having Light Infantry to their right flank. However the reforming Austrian Line Infantry were not so lucky and more fire caused them to rout of the table. 

The end of Turn 10. The Cavalry continued to try and outstare each other, whilst the Prussians closed in on the town. Austrian hopes were high that more reinforcements would arrive but Fate intervened in the form of yet another Dithering Commander who failed to move onto the table! Combined fire saw the Austrian Grenadiers rout as the Prussian Line Infantry took hits from the town, leaving two units on Blue dice.

Stares do not battles win!

The Austrian put up a spirited defence off the town, causing the Prussians to think twice about an early coup de main attempt.

A view of the Austrian positions, awaiting their promised reinforcements

End of the Game
At this point with the Prussians needing a Turn or two to get into position to assault the town, which would give the Austrians time to bring up their reinforcements, I decided to finish the game. Even though the Prussians had taken no casualties, it would be a bloody battle to try and take the town, one in which they would in most likelihood take significant casualties in the attempt. Time would also have run out, so I called the game a marginal win for the Prussians.

Post Game Thoughts
Another interesting game from the OHW scenarios and one which I had reservations about once again, but still it provided an interesting challenge and was very quick and easy to set up and play. With time not always on one's side, these sort of games are very appealing and have great merit as a result. But as always, some thoughts on the game in no particular order:
  • The Austrians could have just sat in the town from Turn 1 and awaited the Prussians to arrive, which would have probably taken at least 5 Turns. This would be rather dull and given the battle the scenario is based upon, I chose to deploy the Austrians across the bottleneck between the woods and the impassable rocky terrain.
  • I think the scenario would work better with the town further forward, so that the Austrians have to defend their lines of communication, which would give Prussians another objective rather than a straight forward assault on a BUA. Playing down a slightly longer, narrower table would have helped this, but of course hindsight is a wonderful thing!
  • Using the Prussian National Characteristics for the first time was enlightening, because boy do they move and manoeuvre more quickly than the Austrians, something that frankly I'm not used to as generally I play the Austrians.
  • Cavalry was of little use in this scenario, unless combined with the scenario tweak above re: LoC.
  • Both sides have more than their fare share of Dithering Commanders, but even so, the Prussians managed to get an inordinate number of double moves due to having the Dependable C-in-C to hand.
  • Alongside the Prussian speed a movement, they managed to get the Fire Initiative for most, if not all, of the game. This really kept the Austrians on the back foot from about Turn 2 onwards.
  • For this game I upped the unit count to 12 per side, again using the random OOB generator from the Wargaming 19thC Europe book. I think this gives a better number of units for a game and allows things to even out some of the vagaries of dice rolls etc.
  • I wished I had used the Weather Table as planned, just to see what, if any, impact it had on the game. Next time all being well if I remember that is!

So there we have it. I think I'll take a break from the OHW scenarios for a while as I want to try something else on the gaming front, but not sure yet what that might be. I'm awaiting some more mdf figures that have yet to arrive, that when they do, will jump to the front of the painting queue. My plan is to have two reasonable sized forces so that I can play some 'classic' SYW games, with cavalry on both flanks and some reserves. I'm not quite there yet with the figures I have.

Hopefully more updates in some shape or form soon but until then, stay safe and keep healthy!


  1. Great to see more HoW on your table. HoW has not been out on my table in oh, so long. I have been thinking about hosting HoW for an upcoming remote game but I need to refresh my memory on play.

    Back to your game, getting the move and fire initiative can be very important and Prussians are very maneuverable compared to the Austrians.

    I agree that upping the BMU count to about a dozen per side produces a more satisfying game and one mistake or bad roll is not disastrous.

    Enjoyable battle report, as always, Steve. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Jon:). I hope you get some HoW games onto your table at some point soon, FtF or remote, which ever works best. In this game I think the Austrians only got to move first and I don't think they got to fire first, other than Turn 1. More units certainly makes for a better game and allows for the swings and roundabouts that the dice can produce.

  2. Steve, you have been making a good case for increase the OOB size of the OHW scenarios. They seem robust enough to cope with that and visually, the ‘fuller’ table looks better.

    1. Thanks Norm. As mentioned to Jon above, the 12 units aside has proved their worth for many years now. The scenarios certainly work OK with this and the table is actually slighter larger than in the OHW book, hence its ability to cope with more units.

  3. Another interesting scenario and seems to have produced a nicely balanced game, although the rules seem to favour the Prussians, which may be historically accurate but majestic things harder for the Austrians

    1. Thanks Keith. The earlier period Prussians are a pretty tough bunch to beat, but not impossible. The later period ones where attrition has reduced the quality of the troops make for more of an even match. This was very much a quick pick up game and now having played the Prussians, I'd give the Austrians a few more troops, alter the objective, terrain etc to balance things out a bit.

  4. Great report, full of lavour. Thank you sir.

    1. Thanks Will and you're more than welcome:).