King Stépan IV's pleasure dome at Kragoneidin, on the shores of Lake Polishov

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A trial flag and Mopping Up after the Battle of the Zileherhoum Marshes

I was fooling about with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, making some trial versions of national and regimental banners for the Syldavians.  I worked up a basic flag modeI and then added 3-D texture following the very useful instructions that the resourceful MS Foy kindly posted on his  blog  (Prometheus in Aspic).  Here is what I ended up with:






The flag is intended to be a Baroque military version of the national flag that figures in Hergé's Ottokar's Sceptre.  I'm not so terribly happy with it, but it is a start. Something weird happened to the pelican's beak. Perhaps he swallowed a big fish!

________________________


1684  Mopping up after the Battle of the Zileherhoum Marshes


The end of the Battle of the Zileherhoum Marshes was marked by the collapse and rout of the Bordurian infantry battleline.  Two ortas of Bordurian provincial infantry and the Arnaut light infantry that had been repulsed by the Syldavian infantry broke and streamed away in complete disorder afterbeing panicked by the approach of the Syldavian horse. Things went better for the Janissaries after their bloody reverse on the Syldavian left.  They rallied and marched off the field with sullen defiance.  They even paused to level muskets at the Syldavian horse, daring them to come on (they thought better of it).  On the Syldavian right, Hassan Muhtar and a group of his officers gained some degree of control of the final two ortas and managed to steer them off the field in semi-coherent masses, in the direction of the Bordurian Rear Guard, the leading elements of which had by then come into view across the battlefield.  Briefly left to their own ends, the Syldavian cavalry created havoc in the rear of the routing ortas and took many prisoners.

King Ivan judged that his infantry too exhausted and disorganised to pursue the Bordurians.  He had seen the arrival of the Bordurian rear guard and for once he decided to be cautious; he recalled his cavalry as they were the only remaining units with which he could defend his army.  As the fading light hid the last of the departing Bordurians, the Syldavians set about massing up the wounded and the prisoners taken after the battle, and they improvised defenses for their camp.  The men cobbled together makeshift shelters for the wounded and dying (and there were distressingly many of them) and they scoured the ammunition pouches of the fallen for powder.  Finally, they sent out patrols to round up the stragglers who continued to arrive in trickles along the road. 

Aside from maintaining a sporadic long-range skirmisher fire toward the Syldavian camp just to keep the enemy on edge, the Bordurians avoided further battle as scrupulously as their enemies.  Their primary force was shattered; Hassan Muhtar’s own ortas were for the most part horribly depleted and demoralised.  Rather than committing his reserves to a new attack in the twilight, Hassan Muhtar used them to catch up his dispersed men and to deter a counter attack as he desperately worked to restore order into the night. Before dawn the next morning, the Bordurians quietly began their march back toward Klow. Hassan Muhtar knew that he would soon be able to face King Ivan there once again.  At Klow he would be able to unify his entire force and field both fresh cavalry units and all his guns, altogether a more promising prospect. 

King Ivan allowed his men to rest throughout the following day while cavalry patrols brought in the rest of his straggling men and fragmentary baggage train.  He and his officers interrogated as best they could their prisoners.  Many of the Bordurian provincial troops turned out to be conscripts from the Syldavian provinces under Bordurian rule (Zympathia,and Poliahov). The Syldavian dialect was their mother tongue and many of them avowed an ancient nostalgia for the Syldavian crown.  King Ivan noted the poverty of the conscripts and immediately saw an opportunity there not to be missed.  He promised these men travel passes back to their homes they remained on parole the rest of the war and then he offered grants to new plots of land as well as a bounty in silver if they entered his army as volunteers.  Between the fear of being declared deserters by the Bordurian authorities and the promise of pay (little of which was to be expected of the Bordurian governor) Ivan’s proposal was received by measured enthusiasm by the conscripts. The Syldavian officers, flags and musicians of Ivan’s tattered little army were brought forth to parade the recruits before the weary Syldavian private soldiers who, sceptical of the men who had so recently been in the ranks of the enemy, nevertheless managed to finish the parade with a hoarse and lusty cheer. 

King Ivan brushed at his moustaches with his gloved hand (rather weedy moustaches as he was then still a rather young man) as he surveyed the parade scene with a roguish glint in his eye.  “Ah, very good.  All this turned out well, didn’t it, Lorenz” he said to Col. Lorenz von Steyn, his lead adjutant.    Ja, Sire”, replied the old solider, an émigré officer who came to the Syldavian army after years in the Habsburg service, and with the King of the Danes before that.  “This day could have been a disaster, ja, that is the truth.  To have this victory and the men for a new battalion of musketeers from the enemy himself, well, it is a feat worthy of that grand old Ottokar himself, by St. Vladimir!” he said with a chortle.


I worked out losses for both sides resulting from the battle and from the Bordurian rout, using some simple dice rules.  Here is a summary:

Bordurian Army Roster    Pre/Post Battle



Initial Strength (figures)
Battle losses
Rout losses (casualties/prisoners)
Final Strength
Orta 1
Janissaries
30
-19
-1
10
Orta 2
Reg. Prov, Infantry
36
-12
-2
22
Orta 3
Reg. Prov, Infantry
36
-16
-4
16
Orta 4
Conscript. Prov. Inf.
36
-24
-12
-
Orta  5
Conscript. Prov. Inf.
36
-16
-20
-
Arnauts
Light Inf.
36
-26
-2
8
Sipahi 1

12
-7

5
Sipahi 2

12
-8

4
Wallachian Horse

12
-5

7
Light Cav.

12
-8

4
Field gun


captured

3

No batt;e casualties are immediately recouped as the Bordurians routed from the field and then retreated 

Rear Guard (unengaged)

Orta 1 (Conscript Prov. Infantry 36 figs)
Orta 2 (Conscript Prov. Infantry 36 figs)
Arnauts (Provincial Levy Light infantry 24 figs)
Bordurian Sipahi (12 figures)
Bordurian Light Cavalry (12 figures)
Light Field gun



Initial Strength (figures)
Battle losses /stragglers returned/battle casualties returned
Final Strength
Btn 1
Musketeer
24
-6/+12/+2
32
Btn 2
Musketeer
24
-12/+12/+4
28
Btn 3
Conscript Musketeer
24
-10/+12/+3
29
Btn 4
Irregular Skirmish Infantry.
24
-8/0/+3
19
Kurassier
Regular
12
-2/0/+1
11
Dragoon 1
Regular
12
-2/0/+1
11
Dragoon 2
Regular
12
-4/0/+1
9
Field gun

3

3

7 comments:

  1. A nice report, Jim. It gives so much more meat to the story to learn what happened after that sanguinary affair in the marshes. On the whole, I'd say the prospects are much brighter for Syldavia, when it could all have gone horribly wrong.

    A Merry Christmas to you and yours, and here's to much happy gaming in the New year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi AJ! Thanks for dropping in. I have been keeping an eye on your travel news on your blog. It sounds like things are going well and that you and your family are wringing all possible joy out of going back (to your) home. Well-deserved after all you have been through this fall.

    And yes, King Ivan did pull the fat out of the fire. It is hard to see how things could have gone better for his side. There is still some hard fighting to go, as the reunited Bordurian army has to be faced or they will retake Klow, and they are still more numerous than the Syldavians...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think the flag looks quite good, and when it's reduced down to size for miniatures any flaws will also be reduced, so you may not notice any you perceive at the larger size.

    Happy holidays to you and yours!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I did not recognize that as a pelican-I thought it was one of the crows from Song of the South.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I like the flag. The pelican sable displayed and billed (?) or seems to me fine. The depiction of heraldic creatures seems as much as anything susceptible to differences in style. As the story develops and builds, it is becoming the more interesting to follow.
    Cheers,
    Ion

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi all, many thanks. MS Foy's little manual worked well for me. Buy it!

    Saroe: Song of the South? I'm stumped.

    Ion: I like the proper heraldic lingo, sounds good. I think you have it right as well. It was simply that the fake folds gave the beak a swollen look. I tried a different texture overlay and that had a better effect. And as Fitz-Badger points out, only button counters could notice it when printed in scale. In my immediate situation, the flags will fly above 18 mm figures and that should hide lots of faults.

    ReplyDelete