On Thursday we started another six-player Maurice campaign. Unfortunately Gary (Ottomans) couldn't make it, so we rigged the pairings for the first war so that Caesar (French) opposed him, with their game to be played at a later date, whilst the remaining four of us picked one or the other to support and paired off against each other.
So the first war consists of Gary (Ottomans), Peter (Austrians) and myself (Haapasaard-Skando) vs Caesar (French), Ralph (Prussians) and John (Irish).
The last two nations in each alliance might seem unfamiliar. The Electorate of Haapasaard-Skando is basically a Swedish-inspired army based around a fictional Baltic nation which grew out of the Swedish victory in the Great Northern War. It gave me an excuse to use my Swedes, but padded out as required by Russian troops. The 'Irish' army is Cearbhall's Cataphracts which is, as best as I can tell, an army-sized gang of Irish mercenaries with an improbable backstory.
Anyway, as described above, at some point in the future the French will fight the Ottomans. On Thursday we saw the Austrians defending against a Prussian attack, whilst the Irish found themselves assaulting the army of Haapasaard-Skando.
I couldn't resist weighting my campaign army towards cavalry, something which will, no doubt, come back to bite me on the bum over the next few weeks. Haapasaard-Skando fields seven units of regular cavalry and three of irregular.
The infantry is very much the secondary force - six units.
Faced with a strong cavalry force on one flank, John decided to march his Irish against the other, hoping to overwhelm the defenders of the village of Bona-Polari.
I switched my cavalry to that flank as well, catching the Irish cavalry formed up just before his infantry could move up in support.
It was tight though.
The Irish cavalry fought like demons, and it has to be said that the Swedish horse were not at their best, despite their flank attack advantages and hard-charging Cavaliers special trait. The Irish cavalry did give ground, but not as fast as they should have done. This left the horse of Haapasaard-Skando very battered even after they finished off the majority of the Irish.
John pretty much abandoned his cavalry anyway, focusing his command on getting his infantry into position to face mine. Some of this involved polishing of the remains of my cavalry, though, leaving my morale in a very precarious position.
The Irish led with their elites, but Swedish musketry was better than their use of sabres and they halted the Irish attack, even counter-attacking to finish off a guard unit on the point of breaking.
The Irish made a bold attempt to assault the village with another guard unit, but were thrown back. The Swedes sacrificed a unit of irregular horse to finish off the attackers before they could rally (not pictured).
With his second line of infantry still disorganised, and very much in the wrong part of the battlefield, John decided to withdraw his army at that point, despite a heft morale advantage. My troops could afford to play for time, and nightfall was fast approaching. This gave Haapasaard-Skando a minor victory.
Meanwhile Ralph's Prussians assaulted Peter's Austrians. I don't have the details of this battle to hand, but I know that it started with some brisk fighting between opposing hussars in the woods near the Prussian baseline, followed by a Prussian attack on the Austrian infantry that nearly broke them, the deadly Prussian musketry tearing great holes in the white-coated ranks.
Peter snatched a victory but pulling his cavalry out of reserve and onto the flanks of the Prussian infantry, giving Ralph pause for thought and causing him to call off the attack and quit the field.
This gives two victories to the Ottoman/Austrian/Skando alliance. The war could end if the Ottomans win or don't lose heavily. I hope so, because in rolling for post-battle experience my troops didn't do so well, and after replacing losses a lot of my army is now conscripts in dire need of a period of peace for essential training.