Sunday, 17 April 2016

First Balkans War Demo Game

Greek point of view. 
In 2016 Tring Wargames Club are running Demo Games at several local shows.

We have two Demo Games planned for this year. One is based on the French invasion at Fishguard (1797) using Donnybrook rules. The second is set during the First Balkans War (1912-1913) using Chain Of Command rules.

Here's some info and a Battle Report for the First Balkans War game.

This game depicts a skirmish near the city of Ioannina, by the shores of Lake Pamvotis, in the spring of 1913, using the CHAIN OF COMMAND rules by TOO FAT LARDIES.
All miniatures used are from TIGER MINIATURES.
The First Balkan War occurred due to the Weakening of the Ottoman Empire; which had just lost the Italian- Turkish war in North Africa, and the determination of the new Balkan League (Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Montenegro) to resolve their issues of National unity.
Turkish hopes to transfer an army from Syria to the Balkans were abandoned due to Greek naval strength and operations in the area. So the Turks had to rely on troops already in the area, some of whom proved to be of poor quality.
Montenegro was the first member of the league to declared war on 5th October 1912. The official start of the war was the 17 October 1912 the same day the Bulgarian Army Crossed the border and attacked Eastern Thrace.
The conflict can be divided up into areas or ‘theatres’ for ease.
  • Eastern Theatre (Thrace)
  • Western Theatre (Macedonia, Albania and Epirus)

The Epirus Campaign
The Greek army of Epirus crossed the border on 19th October moving northwest it occupied the town of Philippias on the 26th October. Dividing the force one part moved to Preveza and laid siege to the old fortifications, which held out until the Turks surrendered on 4th November.
The second force headed north where Greek forces encountered heavy resistance, this slowed their advance. After the surrender of Preveza on the 4th November Greek forces were reinforced with an Italian volunteer corps under the command of General Ricciotti Garibaldi, son of the famous Giuseppe Garibaldi. Strong resistance meant that the Greeks didn’t arrive to lay siege to the city of Ioannina (Janina) until 25th November. Reinforced by volunteers and irregulars from Crete and Greece, the Greek army faced a heavily fortified city; which itself had been reinforced with Albanian irregulars and Turkish troops retreating from Macedonia.
Despite skirmishes and assaults the defenders held out and the siege continued until the end of the war.
The war was ended with the Treaty of London in May 1913. The following month the Second Balkan War broke out when Bulgaria attacked its former allies, Serbia and Greece.

This Battle Report is from a test game played at the club in preparation for the first showing at Vanquish. Rules used are Chain Of Command by Too Fat Lardies.

Table viewed from the west.
Jump Off Points - Red for Turkish, Blue for Greek
For the Turks, the area from the sunken road to the bridge was about to be their main deployment area.
For the Greeks, the rough ground area outside the bend in the river and the woods inside the bend in the river were of main use.

Turkish troops deploy in the sunken road

more Turks overlook the bridge.

Greeks deploy around the rough ground outside the bend in the river.
From here they can see the Turks in the sunken road and those overlooking the bridge.

Inside the bend in the river there are more Greeks in the wood.
There are regular troops at the front who can see the Turks in the sunken road.
At the back are some Irregular Militia who have a plan.

 The Greek Irregulars from the wood start a flank move heading for the road approaching the bridge.

The Greeks managed to get their artillery support into a good firing position and steadily inflicted casualties.
The Turkish gun was caught out of  position moving along the sunken road.
Greek viewpoint of the Turks in the sunken road and those overlooking the bridge

After having a Senior Leader wounded, the Turks decide they are losing the firefight
and bring in fresh troops to rush the Greeks in the rough ground.

Greek firepower increased with a machine gun by the river bend causing casualties and shock on the fresh Turkish troops.
At the back you can just see more Turkish troops being deployed to face the Greek Irregulars approaching from the other side of the river.

A second wave of Turkish troops head off but again are caught in the open.

The Turkish commander called it a day before losing any more of his men.

The squads on each side were large rifle units with no separate teams. Fairly short sections of cover meant that in many cases it wasn't possible for the whole squad to fire because they couldn't all get into a good position. This worked well, encouraging movement and probably true to life.

Both sides had plenty of supports but, as is the case, it's getting them all to do what you want that was the problem.

The flank move by the Greek Irregulars proved to be more use as a distraction against the Turks than causing any real damage. The Irregulars never got into a firing position but their flank move meant some Turkish troops had to cover their approach.

Some unusual troop types and good terrain make this a good game for a show Demo Game. Many gamers will be familiar with the Chain Of Command rules, but not with using them in this setting.

Balkans War info by Graham
Battle Report by Colin