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Ottoman invasion of Poland

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Phil and I brought down our 28mm Eastern Renaissance figures for a club night game on Friday 29 June 2018.

The scenario I devised was simple: an Ottoman Turkish invasion of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's southeastern borderlands (c. early 17th century). The Turks, played by Rob and Jonathan, had to take a fortified village (commanded by Noel) situated on a river; meanwhile, an allied relief force of Polish and German units (played by Phil and Pat), was hastening to the aid of the stronghold, on the Turkish right flank.

In what was probably the most enjoyable game I have umpired, the colour and splendour of the period came to light. A wide array of forces, including Polish, Turkish, Cossack, western German infantry, and Tartar, were on display. Character-commanders of varying ability were attached to individual units, adding flavour and modifying their capabilities. Players were dealt 6 cards for the game, allowing additional actions and capabilities for their units, should they be activated.

Noel garrisoned the village with six units, but took the initiative and raided the Ottoman attackers' lines with two cavalry units to great effect. Jonathan was in charge of the main Turkish force, consisting of Janissaries, irregular foot, six guns, and heavy cavalry. He made steady progress but was thrown off balance by Noel's cavalry raid, and did not ultimately have time to capture the village.

Meanwhile, Rob held off the allied relief column behind a river - on the Turkish right - in wooded terrain, with his medium cavalry. Rob also controlled a six-unit light cavalry force in support of Jonathan. Phil and Pat were inching towards the village, and outnumbered Rob, but could not find fords across the river, while Rob blocked their route across the three bridges available.

In one of the talking points of what proved to be a boisterous game, Rob played an action card enabling him to call one enemy unit to switch sides. A heavy cavalry unit of Polish Winged Hussars duly rolled and turned coat! This stabilised the Turkish right wing, across the river, and boosted Rob's morale to boot, after a few poor dice rolls (though he did once roll six sixes!)

All in all, an exciting and at times volatile game with good fun all round, with 58 units in play. The rules used were my 'Sobieski!' (v. IV), which allow two actions per unit each turn. Noel and Phil had play tested them on Monday 25th June at my house, which was useful. We intend to use the rules for the Relief of Vienna game in September, which I am now looking forward to organising.



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