Monday, 10 April 2023

Second Battle of Alfatar: closing of the Russo-ottoman wargame campaign

Our wargame campaign of last year had given us an high number of small battles with both sides have wins and lost battles.

The previous Russo-Ottoman campaign had ended with a victory of the Russians. The idea of the new campaign was that if was close to 1812, with the relations of France and Russia deteriorated and Napoleon preparing for the big invasion. The Tsar wanted a quick conclusion of the Ottoman war and did send reinforcements to force events. However, the Sultan wanted a revenge, and had assembled a very large force, including a corps of Wallachian exiles led by Prince Petros Caragea of Wallachia, wanting to become ruler of Wallachia after Russian expulsion. Also, Moldavian exiles and a British expeditionary force of 2 battalion of marines had sided with the Ottomans, but the scenario allowed the use of the latter only in rare occasions

It was time to conclude the wargame campaign with a big battle, with all remaining troops. With some units depleted by earlier losses.

Based on the actual terrain, and the typical Ottoman strategy, with fieldworks, the map was set.

The larger part of the Ottoman forces were deployed on the table, while the Russian had options to move the larger part of their forces off table to position of their choice. Also flank marches were possible.

The Ottomans had a bigger army, but many troops of poor quality (irregulars and levy) , and also much more cavalry, yet also all being irregular.

Both CICs of the campaign were not present but had their say in the deployment of their army.

The Russians had 372 figures, including 36 infantry battalions, of which were 8 grenadier, and 3 elite grenadier.The Ottomans had 535 figures, of which 37 units were infantry (including the 2 British). 15 Units being irregular.

Victory would depend on the possession of the 3 redoubts, at de conclusion of the battle. So it seemed the Russians had an advantage in infantry., which should give them the possibility to storm and hold the redoubts.

 Present, Steven, Peter and Ronny as Russian commanders, Siegfried and Thomas as Ottomans.

Steven was the acting CIC of the Russian. He was demoralized by the strong position and the sheer numbers of Ottoman infantry, mostly concentrated on the Ottoman right.  He also feared the Ottoman artillery if he would advance in battle column formation. 

So the Russians started with a cautious advance and a grand battery on the hill in the centre to bombard the redoubts. 

Peter on the Russian left was very reluctant to confront the vast numbers of Ottomans in de woods and hills, while the Ottomans there had not the intention to leave their strong position, which resulted in almost no fighting on that flank.

Ronny on the Russian left concentrated his infantry to the flank, facing the vast numbers of Ottoman irregular cavalry.  The Russian advance was countered by a massive first wave of cavalry, that was repulsed with heavy losses.  Confident, the Russians continued their advance, also sending troops off table by the flank.  The losses didn’t bother the Ottomans, as more cavalry brigades came on table. 

More to the centre both Steven and Ronny had opted for an advance in line with their infantry from fear of the artillery, resulting in a slow advance, taking casualties on the way.  The strong grenadier brigade was directed between two redoubts, ending up with crossfire from both positions.

Ronnies centre brigade reached the small redoubt, and the leading unit was able to fight a way within the earthworks but was destroyed in the end.  Ronny had no reserve in the centre to follow up.

On the left flank, Ronnies leading battalions were ridden down by a second wave of Ottoman cavalry.  With still more Ottoman cavalry entering the table, he started to form hasty squares. Also, here the Russian attack stalled.

Remained the grenadier brigade supported by a j├Ąger brigade. The big battery was enlarged by two more batteries. The combined fire starting to make some casualties within the janissary units in the central redoubt, but not in numbers to trouble to Ottoman players. 

An attempt by one of the grenadier battalions to enter the central redoubt was repulsed, and with fire casualties mounting in the elite battalions, all hope for a Russian victory were melting away.

On the left, the ottomans did send an irregular unit, storming a heavy battery, but were repulsed. From the Russian Guard cavalry brigade (one unit of hussars, one of uhlans) , the hussars charged the irregular unit, destroying it, but the breakthrough lead them deep into Ottoman lines, where they were destroyed on their turn. Another shock for the Russian players moral. 

The Russians gave up.  The following negotiations would not give the Tsar the wanted favourable peace, territorial losses inevitable.

In the game, the Ottoman players were never in rouble.  A better starting deployment and quick advance in great numbers in battle column on the redoubts would have given another result, or at least, a close battle.

Thanks to players Ronny, Steven, Peter Umans, Siegfried and Thomas, and to campaign players Patick, Marcel  de Jong and Peter van der Waal, for an unforgettable campaign and battles.

Thursday, 6 April 2023

54mm WW2 Miniatures for Sale

 I am selling my 54mm WW2 collection. It is based around Operation Market Garden and includes US, British and German infantry and paratroops. Many are professionally painted to a high standard by an English seller on eBay. You can see samples of the miniatures on my posts to this blog:

Shipping from California, where I live, is expensive to Europe, but I am pricing my figures so that I hope they will still be a bargain, even with shipping costs.

If interested, please send inquiries to


Nick Stern