Saturday, 16 May 2015
This is the background of the fourth of the seven scenarios of a campaign game covering the Russian Invasion of the Colony of South Australia, The Russians are on the attack against outnumbered but emplaced Colonial troops, little do the Russians know the South Australians have reinforcements close at hand:
A week into the invasion of South Australia Lieutenant-General Lazarev was satisfied with the progress his ‘army’ had made. Every evening since the landing had he held a council of war in which he met the fleet commander, Lieutenant Commander Rozhestvensky and the force’s diplomat, Aleksandr Jomini to discuss the day’s events and plan the next ones operations. Saturday night’s meeting centred on two salient points; the first was the failure of securing sufficient supplies and horses for the army through foraging and the second was what should be the objective of the next attack to be launched against their cunning enenmy. The long discussion on the latter topic ended in the conclusion that the securing of a deep water port i.e. Port Adelaide was a higher priority than occupying the City of Adelaide itself. Sound and conservative reasoning advised against advancing inland without a secure supply base. Seizing the port would offer a safe haven for the Russian ships and there was also the expectation that the ports warehouses would be filled with crucial foodstuffs for the army. With this direction of advance in mind strategies were formulated for the Sunday morning offensive.
In the final plan while 3 battalions of Lazarevs infantry were to advance from the Russian beachhead northward to Port Adelaide with support from the big guns of the fleet, the remaining infantry battalion with the Cossacks attached were to act as a diversion probing aggressively towards the South Australian capital hopefully pining down the defenders. Little did the Russians know their troops exertions toward the port were to be wasted as the South Australian commander Downes with the support of Governor Jervois had decided to sacrifice Port Adelaide and concentrate all their forces to defend the City of Adelaide. They considered holding the capital was crucial to maintain the morale of the populace and they believed any reinforcements forthcoming from the other colonies would not arrive in Port Adelaide with the Russian fleet prowling just off its entrance.
This meant that less than a quarter of the Russian force was about to assault the full strength of the prepared South Australian defenders!
Adelaide’s peace was broken on that fateful Sunday morning as the Russian’s fleet’s big guns bombarded Port Adelaide and hundreds of Russians advanced under the barrage’s cover.
Meanwhile as part of the diversion a half Company of the West Siberian Combined Battalion commanded by Captain Pushkin moved furtively along the route of Port Road towards Adelaide. Just before 10:00am he was alerted of a Colonial defensive position blocking their advance by an excited Cossack scout and he moved forward to reconnoiter it. He was faced by a palisade the locals had hastily erected to defend the roadway. He consulted his sergeants and decided on an immediate frontal attack! His infantry with a few Cossacks in support moved forward…
Sergeant Stanley Bruce and his guard detachment manned the palisade facing the Siberians. His men were part of the Adelaide Rifle Company and impatient for a ‘scrap’ with the invaders. He knew reserves from the Company were close at hand so was confident he could hold his position. The palisade he and his men had constructed the previous day was dubbed by the locals 'Stanley’s Redoubt', they had named it in his honour. As he watchwed the enemy pressing forward toward him Sergeant Bruce reassured himself that his men would successfully push them back but yet a feeling deep within his sub conscious wished it was a sturdy redoubt he was standing behind instead of a handful of hurriedly erected logs!
AAR and scenario forces, set up, special rules and victory conditions to come soon!