Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Friday 23 December 2016

Neil Thomas' Wargaming C19 Europe: The Battle of Bulganak

For a quick, light game I decided to have a go at recreating the Battle of Bulganak Crimean War scenario written by R. Robinson and published in Miniature Wargames 004.

The forces involved were:

The Russian Army:
4 Cavalry units (average cavalry)
4 Cossack units (rabble, dragoons, smoothbore muskets)
1 Artillery unit (smoothbore)

The cavalry and the artillery to arrive on turn 3.

Russian leadership is rated as 'Poor'

The British Army
2 Cavalry units (elite cavalry)
5 Infantry units (elite, close order, rifled musket)
3 Artillery units (smoothbore)

The infantry and two of the artillery units to arrive on turn 3.

British leadership is rated as 'Average'

The Battle:

British to the left, Russians to the right.  The objective of both sides is to control the valley without losing more than 2 units.

British Hussars observe the valley

As do Russian cossacks from the opposite slopes

A few turns in, the main body of the British turn up.  In this scenario, the infantry is not allowed to advance past the slope into the valley.  It is really there just to protect the guns

A vigorous skirmish continues in the valley.  The British artillery is doing some damage but although the Hussars have had the better of the hand-to-hand fighting, they have been seriously attritted by the fire from the cossacks.

A  few photos just didn't turn out properly here.  But in essence, the British hussars and a unit of cossacks have both been eliminated here.  Russian cavalry attempt to charge the British guns.

British light dragoons (extreme left-centre) have elminiated a unit of cossacks and are attempting to eliminate a unit of Russian cavalry to win the game.  The Russians have been able to replace their damaged units in the front line, however.

Stalemate!  The light dragoons have succumbed to the Russian cavalry (top) but the British artillery (supported by the guns on the slope) have eliminated the cavalry attempting to capture them.

Both sides have lost two units and must withdraw to their respective start lines.
 Game Notes:
Neil Thomas just can't help writing great, simple sets - this one being Wargaming Nineteenth Century Europe.

They are written in his 'standard' format, so players of his other rulesets will find much that is very familiar here. The mechanisms are so simple that a player can use them fluently in the first game, but the interplay can be quite subtle.  In the real action, there was plenty of (ineffective) fire from the cavalry of both sides, so perhaps all mounted troops should have been allowed to fire as dragoons.  The only other thing to change would be either the smoothbore artillery range or the set-up of the terrain.  In the game, the British artillery couldn't quite reach the opposite slope, whereas in reality it could - this distinctly changed how the sides had to approach the scenario.  But as ever, Thomas' mechanisms are so simple that they are very easy to modify.

Played on a 3'x2' table, using Baccus 6mm Napoleonics as proxies for Crimean War troops.


  1. Great looking game. I have been considering this period after I complete the Austro-Prussians I am working on.

  2. Thanks very much. Dead easy, this one. A couple of hills, a few bits of rough ground, a small section of stream, nine bases of 6mm figures a side, a tenner tops for the rules...simple and fun.