Dec 6, 2012

Virtual tercios battle... the Prussians!

A multi-player game to test the reliability of the dreaded Spanish tercios, and against whom else than their worst enemies, the Prussians (random choice by my opponent). I went on with the smaller (306 men) versions of the formation, fielding 4 of these and 190-190 men of cavalry on each flank, roughly a total of 1500 soldiers plus command.
The Prussians came up with about the same amount of men, but only 160-160 heavy cavalry on the flanks, and a less well-distributed, bulky body of foot, muskets in the first lines and pikes in the rear, with the intention of bringing on salvoes first, then breaking the Spaniards with the storm of pikes. 

The tercios could support each other too. Now the battle went on in a quite interesting manner, behold:

(Welcome to Kyle Van Helsing, no blogger link on your profile but it must have been the 'Witch hunt' post that brought you here; let me know if you have a blog and I'll link back.)

The Prussians, at the beginning of the battle, quickly threw all their cavalry on their left flank, leaving the right of the infantry line exposed. (I didn't really understand the decision at the first place, but trusted my dragoons enough to face almost twice as many as they were, complete with the heavy cavalry) so left my left flank as it was, thinking it would come handy if I wanted to outflank the marching Protestants.

What happened on my right was little due to my maneuvering genius (retreating from an over-powered situation, then holding ground in better circumstances, leaning the left end of the line on an outcrop, then keeping my dragoons out of harm's way while shooting salvoes at the oncoming cuirassiers) and much more to the successful caracoling of the well-trained troops. And then, even better more due to the clumsy movement of the enemy, who first fragmented the two cavalry units by making them circle dead ground: the point is, in the end the glorious Spanish horse defeated the heavy cavalry body of 320 men, (themselves counting 190 again, 90 cuirassiers and a hundred dragoons) and barely losing forty of their own.

Meanwhile, the Prussian line, being shorter and operating with bigger formations (196 and 120 men in them, against my 72/36/15, but more complex ones) charged head on to the two tercios in the middle, so I changed the facing of the ones on the flanks, preparing the counterattack, while going Hannibal with the cavalry. 
The Prussian charge was received, a gunfight ensued and both the Spanish and Prussians lines started melting away, so at the critical point I launched the two tercios on the flanks along with the pike in the middle two to counter-attack.

One tercio was still relatively intact and at this point the Prussians were totally Hannibal'd (my actual quote), the dragoons and cuirassiers storming into their rear, the musketeers and the heavily suffering pikemen attacking from the front. 

I give it to them: the Protestant scum held on for a while bravely, fighting to the last man.

Pretty much the contrary of the battle of Rocroi where the Spanish lost the battle on the flanks: here they won it because the Prussian cavalry could not handle the extra firepower of the dragoons and was not organized in its attack. I've still lost 3/4 of the pikemen in the pitched battle (a common trait in Cossacks games as they are always exposed too much to enemy musketry), but the end statistics (and common sense) clearly show it was the Prussians who lost the day.
The weakness of the tercios is being clearly shown: while their firepower is well distributed it can still be insufficient, and with the pike divided to two units they cannot defend the 'shot' if attacks come from more than two directions. The formations are quite flexible and with well trained soldiers mobility and firepower isn't such an issue. I may just increase the pike units to four, one to each side when it comes to defending the musketeers. 

Here's an animated GIF of the battle, click on to view if it doesn't move:


  1. Wow! I had not previously noticed that you had done postings on the Cossacks game. I have had it for years, but lent it to a friend a few years ago and haven't tried it since.

    I could never get the hang of the game. Any tips you could give me (at a very basic level!!) would be welcome. I'm not even sure whether I could run it in Microsoft Vista...

    1. I think it has problems with Vista but works on win7/8. Not sure though.
      The game relies heavily on economy. To maintain an army, it requires hundreds of peasants. And it's always better to play against a 'human' opponent because the AI plays dirty. Anyway, it is pretty realistic besides units won't rout but die instead.

  2. very interesting. good game and well done on rewriting history :-)

  3. Very nice Andrew, a great game, and animation!

  4. Love the new technology in the posting, inspirational stuff.