Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Strackenzian Revolution

At the end of the First World War and in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution many countries suffered Communist-led revolutions ... and the former Duchy of Strackenz was no exception to this. In December 1918 the Duke of Strackenz had gone into exile in Paris, and a democratically-elected Socialist government had tried to take over ... but a Spartacist-inspired rising had ensured that a proletarian dictatorship now ruled Strackenz.

Under the leadership of Karl Rot (the Chairman of the ruling Proletarian Council) a 'People's Militia' had been formed to 'defend' the People's Democratic Republic of Strackenz from reactionary forces. Most of the Militia's rank-and-file were factory workers and students, and although they had plentiful supplies of small arms and ammunition, they lacked training and experience. The same could not be said to be true of their opponents.

A freikorps led by Colonel Erik von Sapten and recruited from ex-members of the Strackenzian regiments of the former Imperial German Army had been assembled just across the border in Mecklenburg. It was well-equipped with machine guns, mortars, and artillery, and its leader was determined to rid Strackenz of the 'Red Menace' that was 'infesting' his beloved homeland.

In response to the threat of an invasion, Karl Rot had ordered four battalions of the Strackenzian People's Militia to take up positions astride the road leading from Mecklenburg to Strackenz City ... at exactly the same place that the Mecklenburg invasion had been beaten off during the nineteenth century.

The opening positions
The Strackenzian Peoples' Militia had occupied positions astride the road on the western side of the river.


Von Sapten's Freikorps advanced along the road from the Strackenz-Mecklenburg border and emerged from the forest covering the Jotun Gipfel.


Turn 1
The Freikorps had the initiative and advanced towards the river ...


... whilst the Militia stayed where they were.


Turn 2
The Freikorps again had the initiative, and continued their advance ...


... and despite the entreaties of their commander (who had been a corporal during the First World War and therefore had some military experience) the Militia were fired up by the rhetoric of their Commissars and began to move forward.


Turn 3
This massed infantry proved too tempting a target for the Freikorps artillery and mortars, who opened fire on the advancing Militia. Although their fire did not land exactly where it had intended to, it did hit units of the Militia ...


... and destroyed them!

The Strackenzian People's Militia had the initiative and surged forward ...


... and their advance was met in several places by units of the Freikorps ...


... with catastrophic results for the Militia, who lost three units and had one force to retreat!


Turn 4
The Freikorps artillery and mortars opened fire yet again on the advancing Militia, but proved to be much less effective this time and only destroyed one Militia unit.


The Freikorps had the initiative, and used the opportunity this presented to consolidate their position by realigning some of their units.


Despite their mounting losses, the Militia continued their advance and engaged the Freikorps machine gun units in battle ...


... which they lost, but without suffering casualties.


Turn 5
As the Militia was almost on top of them Freikorps artillery and mortars opened fire at close range in the hope that this would cause the Militia to retreat. Their fire was accurate ... and very deadly!


This did not stop the Militia's advance, and their leading units were soon battling units of the Freikorps.


The fighting led to the destruction of a Freikorps infantry unit ...


... whilst elsewhere the Militia was unable to prevail and one of its units was forced to retreat.


Only one Freikorps unit counter-attacked, but it destroyed its opponent without difficulty.


Turn 6
Although only the Freikorps artillery unit and one of the mortar units were in range of any Militia units, the artillery unit did manage to hit and kill the Militia's commander.


This did not deter the Militia, who charged the line of Freikorps units ...


... and forced one of them to retreat.


The Freikorps were veterans, and this minor setback did little to stop them taking their revenge upon the Militia. One of the Freikorps machine gun units destroyed one of the Militia units attacking it ...


... whilst some distance away the Freikorps unit that had been forced to retreat returned to the combat and destroyed its opponent.


At this point the morale of the remaining Militia units broke and they began to fall back. The Freikorps were not prepared to let them get away, and the retreat turned into a massacre. Only a few of the People's Militia made it back to Strackenz City ... and they were swiftly followed by von Sapten's Freikorps, who exacted bloody revenge upon the revolutionaries. Karl Rot and the rest of the Proletarian Council were imprisoned and later shot after a very short series of courts martial that were organised and chaired by Colonel von Sapten. Von Sapten asked the Duke of Strackenz to return, but the latter refused to do so, and within a matter of month von Sapten had handed power over to a democratically elected Christian Democrat government.

The Strackenzian Revolution was over!

Note
For the purposes of this battle the Strackenzian People's Militia were given a Battle Power of 4 and the Freikorps mortars were treated as if they were light field artillery.

Conclusions
The changes to the combat system seemed to work well, and produced a number of reasonable results. It is fair to say that the Freikorps did have some lucky dice scores, but I don't think that this unduly skewed the results too much during the play-test.

One thing that became obvious is that artillery (including mortars) is deadly if troops move about the battlefield en masse. On several occasions during the play-test artillery and mortar fire did not hit the intended target ... but other enemy units were so close to the intended target that they were hit (and often destroyed) instead.

I really enjoyed this play-test and feel that the rules have lots of potential for further development. Interestingly the changes to the combat system actually reduced the length of the rules slightly, which was an unintended bonus. My thoughts are now turning to the incorporation of armoured fighting vehicles into the rules ... but more of that later.

6 comments:

  1. Interesting report. I was surprised that the Revolutionaries lasted as long as they did. Seems like they took a beating and never came to grips with the freikorps.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sean,

    I am glad that you enjoyed reading this battle report.

    If the Militia had dug trenches or had artillery, I suspect that the result would have been rather less one-sided.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another great AAR! And it was interesting to see the march of history.

    I dread the coming of the Nazis, though.

    Best regards,

    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  4. Chris,

    I am very pleased to read that you enjoyed this battle report.

    I think the Strackenzians would share your dread of the rise of the Nazis ... but you cannot prevent the inevitable.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  5. One thing is for sure: if by 1914 Strakenz had become highly industrialised (not implausible - there may have been coal and iron ore in them there hills and mountains), there will be some capitalist types who would be wondering where their proletariat was going to come from after a massacree like that!

    "Plus ca change, plus cela meme chose". (I wish I knew how to do accents...)...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Archduke Piccolo,

    I suspect that by 1914 Strackenz would have become partially industrialised but remained essentially pastoral.

    Any heavy industry would have been concentrated in Strackenz City with some mining taking place in the Jotun Gipfel hills. It would have been the urban proletariat who would have formed the bulk of the People's Militia, with a smattering of left-wing students from the University of Strackenz making up most of the rest. Their loss would not have weighed nearly as heavily upon the minds of the Strackenzian capitalists as would the loss of their beloved factories and mines. (You can always recruit more workers, but building factories!)

    Von Sapten's Freikorps would have been recruited from the sturdy and essentially conservative Strackenzian peasants who would have been recruited into the Army. They would have had little love for the effete urban workers and the students.

    All the best,

    Bob

    PS. The accent sounded fine over the Internet!

    ReplyDelete