October 25, 1854,
Russians army of 45 units opposed to Allies army of 76 units
for a battle of complexity 0.94 at Company(I) level
on a 2.5 Km/Hex map
for 55 turns of 6 Hours each.
by Mark Stevens submited on 29-03-2004
Rugged-Defense Playing Statistics
The Battle of Balaclava, 25th October, 1854.
This is another scenario using the modified XIXth database for TOAW - CoW. You can download it here
In 1854 the French and British (and Sardinians!) came to the support of the beleaguered Ottoman Empire, under pressure from the Russians. As the two major Mediterranean Powers, neither wanted the Russian fleet to gain access to the sea by capturing the Turkish capital Constantinople, or by forcing the Sultan to sign a disadvantageous treaty.
The Allied plan was to land in the Crimea, where their naval superiority could be of some use, and capture the main Russian Black Sea naval base of Sevastapol. The Battle of Balaclava took place when a powerful Russian relief force attempted to cut the British supply route between the harbour of Balaclava and the main siege lines around Sevastapol. Although this sector was mainly a British responsibility, there was a French 'Corps d'Observation' and some Turks in support.
The Russian plan was a two stage affair: (i) clear the strategic Causeway Heights and (ii) press south to take the village of Kadikoi, which would cut the only track from Balaclava to Sevastapol. If the offensive went well, it could be continued towards Balaclava harbour itself. In fact the offensive stalled on the Causeway Heights, after some heroics by the 93rd Highland Regiment and the Heavy Cavalry Brigade and, famously, the near destruction of the Light Cavalry Brigade in a suicidal charge due to misunderstood orders. This allowed significant Anglo-French supporting troops to arrive on the field. The expected counter-attack didn't materialise as the British commanders were traumatised by the loss of the Light Brigade. After six weeks the Russians realised that their position on the Heights, far from any source of supply, was untenable and they withdrew.
This scenario starts at dawn on the 25th October, as masses of Russian troops pour over the Tchernaya River. Weak Turkish forces are stretched thinly along the Causeway Heights, with regular British troops and marines defending the approaches to Balaclava, and the two cavalry brigades stationed in the valleys. The French Corps D'Observation and some Turkish battalions, plus the British First and Second Divisions, will become available during the course of the battle.
Despite what the automatic calendar says, each turn represents about fifteen minutes of real time.
All of the British were full time professionals; despite some very poor senior leadership, and problems with supply and medical services, the individual units were very, very good: the 750 strong Heavy Brigade defeated four times their number of Russian heavy cavalry, and the 550 men of the understrength 93rd Highlanders ('the thin red line') stood off a cavalry charge while deployed in a two deep line. Accordingly their proficiencies vary from 80-90%
The Balaclava garrison units are a mixture of invalids and men detached from their parent units, etc., so has a far lower proficiency (50% - 75%).
These were poorly trained, ill-equipped Arab levies and have a proficiency of only 15%. Some put up a decent enough fight defending fortifed positions, but they proved useless in the open. (It's only fair to mention that the Turks had kept back their better troops for the European front.)
Two regiments of Chasseurs D'Afrique, with a proficiency of 80%
Two infantry brigades, with a proficiency of 75%
Despite their overwhelming superiority in numbers in the first few hours, the Russians were unable to defeat the British, and fell back on the defensive when the main Anglo-French reserves arrived on the field. The Russian infantry and artillery displayed their customary dogged determination, but the cavalry were hopelessly outclassed by that of the Allies. Accordingly their proficiencies are set at 65-60% for the infantry and artillery, 50% for the heavy cavalry, 40% for the Uhlans, and 30% for the Cossacks.
In a one day battle this was not a crucial factor. There are a number of Russian supply points along the map edge where they first appear, and additional points in Balaclava, Kamara, Kadikoi and the British Light Cavalry Brigade camp.
Balaclava, the French Camp on the Sapoune Ridge, the Light Cavalry Brigade Camp, Kamara, Kadikoi, and the entry points on the map edges where the reserves arrive. If the stores in Balaclava are looted it ceases to be an Allied supply point.
4. Victory Points
25 for Balaclava and Kadikoi, 10 for the British Light Brigade Camp and Kamara, 15 for each of the four completed redoubts (Nos. 1 - 4) on the Causeway Heights, 5 for the unfinished Nos. 5 and 6, and 20 for the French Camp on the Sapoune Heights.
The Russians need to push on PAST the Causeway Heights to gain a victory. If the British can hold on to the Inner Perimeter until their reserves arrive they'll probably win.
No replacements, but all units apart from named officers and the Turkish Redoubts will reconstitute around their start/entry points. Several units did break and then rally during the battle.
When playing the PO the initial Russian attack will be to clear the Causeway Heights and capture Kamara: they'll then switch to attacking towards Kadikoi, Balaclava and the British Light Cavalry Camp.
The Allies will initially defend the Causeway Heights and the Inner Perimeter, then go onto the offensive once the reserves arrive. This is variable, so watch the News Strings.
As dusk draws on the temperature will fall and both sides suffer increasing shock penalties.
As with other XIXth Century scenarios, I strongly recommend that this is played with 'Possession' turned off: a quick supply check at the start of each turn only will provide a more realistic game.