Saturday, 17 January 2015

The Ford on the Bugaroff Part One

Sir Hew Fotheringay-Buttpimple had been dispatched to destroy the bridge over the Bugaroff river and seal off the possibility of a flank attack by Russian forces designed to cut off the Allied lines from Balaklava. Unfortunately his dithering had led to a hard fought skirmish against the Russians before the bridge was able to be destroyed (battle report here). In the end the Russians were repulsed and Sir Hew died heroically at the moment of victory. Of course this did not stop the rumours circulating of how close the whole enterprise had come to disaster.
Although the bridge was destroyed, a ford further up the Bugaroff valley offered another possible avenue for a Russian turning movement. Lord Raglan took the possibility of a Russian push in this area very seriously, and sent General Sir Lancelot Stark-Raven to secure the crossing. Sir Lancelot took control of the 9th and 63rd and was given a battalion of the Rifle Brigade and an artillery battery to reinforce him. He quickly built two redoubts covering the ford, and established his camp on the next ridge back from the crossing. Not far away the camp of the Guards Brigade was set up, and beyond that the Light Brigade and the main British lines.
A month passed and Stark-Raven's Brigade kept a dedicated watch on the crossing, skirmishing with Russian jagers on a relatively regular basis.
Then, one Tuesday morning while the Rifle Brigade was on picket duty, something more than a few jagers was on the far bank of the Bugaroff. It was General Pavel Onegin-Offagin and his Caucasus Brigade, supported by 2 batteries of artillery.
The Russians were coming!

A bird's eye view of the battlefield, showing the position of the two redoubts and the camp of the Anglian Regiments
The British artillery in their redoubt
Another shot showing the objective flag
The Rifles moved to the bank of the river in order to skirmish with the Russians as they crossed.
The Caucasian Jagers begin to skirmish forward, supported by artillery
The view from the redoubt occupied by the Rifle Brigade's supports
Commander of the Russian attack General Ivan Gotanich oversees the operation.
Aleksander Verdlunchko leads his reserve brigade up in support of the attack.
Onegin-Offagin supervises the jagers as the Caucasus regiment marches along the road.
The rifles begin to take casualties from long range fire.
The Russians move forward.
The jagers skirmish across the Bugaroff ford.
Screening the Russian column comes at a cost. Luckily the stubborn rule keeps them in the fight.
Stark-Raven gets his Brigade moving.
A long range perspective on the battle.
The jagers continue to suffer as the main body of the Russians cross the ford. They are sensible enough to focus on the Rifles and stay away from the canister firing artillery in the redoubt!
'Help is coming boys - Hold On!'
The first battalion of Russian infantry is across.
It's a race - will the Brtish get there in time?
Onegin-Offagin leads his 1st battalion towards the assault.
Rolling a 6 for morale and the jagers are still in the fight!
Bottleneck at the ford as the reserve brigade catches up to the advance guard.
In a brave and daring charge the Russians charge the redoubt and destroy the artillery. Too late the 9th reaches the ridge crest.
The Russians continue to cross the river.
Now occupying the redoubt the Russians are subjected to a volley by the 9th.
The 63rd unleashes a volley and the Rifles stand their ground. Now is the time for the British counter-attack.
The Russian cavalry begins to arrive.
Shock! Horror! The Norfolks are repulsed! The 1st Caucasus hold the redoubt, despite heavy casualties and being staggered.
The brave jagers withdraw from the battle to allow Verdlunchko's battalions to deploy. The Rifle Brigade's fire is disappointing to say the least. They should have withdrawn, but stay to fight it out.
The Dniestr and St Petersburg regiments charge the rifles who are savagely beaten and forced to withdraw. The 2nd Caucasus battalion charges and defeats the 63rd, staggering them. Things are not looking good for the British.
The British continue to withdraw towards the camp ridge. They don't have the strength to retake the redoubts - they need to hold on until reinforcements arrive.
And here they come! The Guards Brigade under Sir George Paddington-Beere begin to arrive.
The cavalry continue to advance
The British line begins to form.
The Russians begin to reorganise for the next push. The Caucasus Brigade will hold the redoubt ridge line while Verdlunchko's troops lead the next assault.
The cavalry reach the Bugaroff.
And that is where we leave part one of the battle, with the Russians firmly in control of their first objective. The timidity of the two Anglian regiments was represented by some shocking dice in combat and in morale. Despite two attempts to rally the staggered 63rd, they remain in their shaken state. This must represent the effects of the mauling that they got in the battle at the bridge. On the other hand the Russians have benefited from being stubborn and from rolling 6s for their morale.
It would be tempting for Gotanich to send forward Verdlunchko's Brigade now, but the British reinforcements make that a dubious move. I'd say that he will wait for the cavalry at least before making an assault on the next ridge-line. But he is well back at the moment in the middle of the reserve column. Will the impetuous Verdlunchko take things into his own hands? We will find out in part two.



  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Barks - stay tuned for part two in a couple of days!

  2. Ford and redoubt...excellent for a game! Great report, splendid pictures and armies!

    1. Thanks Phil. I really didn't think the Russians had much hope of achieving the first objective let alone be in a position to assault the second!

  3. Enjoyable account of the battle, thus far. Hilarious officer naming conventions used. Onegin-Offagin holds the redoubt. Will O-O hold the redoubt after the next assault or will he be off again?

    Are these Rank and File figures or Lancashire?

    Looking forward to part two.

    1. Cheers Jonathan. The figures are old Lancashire Games with a smattering of Irregular (the Rifles and the artillery).
      I've created personalities for all of my generals to go with their silly names. I have a feeling that this may have a bearing on the next phase of the battle!

  4. Nate, love the names! We once had a campaign that featured the famous Russians Boris Knockeroff and Inoff the Red, and the even more famous Colonel Grossbladder of the Rhineck Cuirassiers.

    1. Cheers Mark. It certainly brings a bit of character to the game. The Rhineck Cuirassiers don't sound like they would have preferred to be lagered up...

  5. A very exciting and attractive game, the figures are first rate. Like Mark, I love the names.
    The flags on the objective markers are a nice touch.
    Looking forward to seeing whether the British can retrieve the day.

    1. Thanks Michael. The flags were a last minute thought after I'd set the game up. I looked at the British positions from eye level and thought that the redoubt really needed a flag flying over it.