Friday, July 22, 2011

This week - White Eagle Vs Red Bear 1920....

This weeks game at the SESWC was a 20mm Game of a fictional action from the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-21. All the figures used are from the B and B Miniatures range.

Red Army artillery and Kronstadt sailors await the attack

Background April 1920
In early 1920 the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic had lost control over most of Ukraine. The city of Kiev had undergone numerous recent changes of government. The Ukrainian People's Republic was established in 1917; a Bolshevik uprising was suppressed in January 1918. The Red Army took it in February 1918, followed by the Army of the German Empire in March; Ukrainian forces retook the city in December. During February 1919 the Red Army regained control; in August it was taken first by Symon Petlura's men and then by Denikin's army. The Soviets regained control in December 1919.

The forces of the exiled Ukrainian nationalist leader Petlura, head of the Ukrainian People's Republic, controlled only a small sliver of land near the Polish border. Petlura accepted Pilsudski's offer to join an alliance with Poland and on April 21, 1920 they signed the Treaty of Warsaw. In exchange for agreeing to a border along the Zbruch River, recognizing the recent Polish territorial gains in western Ukraine, Petlura was promised military help in regaining the Soviet-controlled territories with Kiev, where he would again assume the authority of the Ukrainian People's Republic.

Pilsudski struck on April 25, and captured Zhytomyr the following day. Within a week, the Soviet 12th army was largely destroyed. In the south, the Polish 6th Army and Petliura's forces pushed the Soviet 14th army out of central Ukraine as they quickly marched eastward towards Kiev. The 14th Army has turned to make a stand at the important rail junction and regional centre of Vinnitsa 160 Miles west of Kiev.

The Polish train Smialy closes on Red village No 1....
The game of this delaying action was fought down a 8ft by 6ft table using the Contemptible Little Armies rules. Hugh Wilson and Colin Jack commanded the Polish Army with Joe Reilly commanding the allied Ukrainian Army. Ray Neal and I commanded the Soviet forces. I designed the scenario whilst Colin Jack provided the Polish and Ukrainian forces and I provided the Soviet forces.

Orders of Battle
6th Polish Army
Infantry Brigade Morale 3
3 x 14 Polish infantry
1 Gun
Armoured Train Smialy

Motorised Brigade Morale 3 Lorried
3 x 14 Polish infantry

Cavalry Brigade Morale 4
10 Polish Uhlans
2 x 10 Polish lancers
Ukrainian People’s Republic Army morale 2
3 x 14 Ukrainian infantry
1 Gun
2 x 10 Cossacks
1 tachanka

Smialy under hail of ineffective Red artillery fire....

RED 14th Army Morale 3
1st Infantry Brigade
3 x 16 Red Infantry
1 Gun
Armoured Train Ilya Mourometz

2nd Infantry Brigade
3 x 16 Red Infantry
1 Gun

Cavalry Brigade
3 x 10 Red cavalry
2 tachanka

How the Game Played
The red players deployed their infantry in a defensive line based on 3 farms with the armoured train and the cavalry brigade in reserve. The Polish players decided to attack with their 2 infantry brigades and the armoured train and all the Ukrainians whilst leaving their cavalry brigade in reserve for the advance on Kiev.  They gained an early success knocking one of the Soviet field guns. The Polish infantry then advanced and got bogged down in an long and for them damaging action with the Red Infantry.
Polish artillery ranging in on Red battery

The armoured trains engaged each other and the Polish Train Smialy succeeded in destroying the gun carriage on the Red train Ilya Mourometz. Other than these hits scored by the Polish guns and a single Polish truck destroyed by the Red train the artillery on both sides proved very ineffective.
The stricken Ilya Mourometz
Eventually to break through, the Poles and Ukrainians committed all their 5 units of cavalry to a mass advance on their left. Their charges destroyed a Red Mg, the last Red field gun and 2 infantry units. Their reduced strength cavalry were then brought to a halt by the Soviet cavalry which had to be committed en masse to stop them.

Polish cavalry about to make their final desperate charges
 The game ended at this point with the Polish players agreeing that they would not be able to break through towards Kiev. The Ukrainians met their secret objective which was to preserve their army and let the Poles do most of the fighting. This will be the figures last outing as I am currently selling my 20mm Reds on Ebay as we are now concentrating on 28mm figures for RCW and BOB.


  1. Very cool looking board and an enjoyable write up!


  2. Looks like you had a good game on the go.

    Sorry I couldn't look more closely as I was up to my ears in Hail Caesar for the first time.