And lo, 'tis done: the final battle in our 15-month, 15-game Hungary 1848 campaign has been fought.
The climactic battle of Temesvár (nowadays Timisoara in western Romania) is notable in a couple of ways. It is the decisive final battle of the war and also the largest, pitting about 30,000 Austrian and Russian attackers against 60,000 Hungarians. It is remarkable in that it was decided entirely by the artillery and cavalry, with the infantry scarcely firing a shot and certainly not crossing bayonets. This is because many of the Hungarian infantry were unarmed raw recruits, and all of them were exhausted and demoralised by constant retreating. The action opened with the usual artillery duel along the whole front; there was considerable manoeuvre by both sides, including several Hungarian spoiling attacks, one even by infantry; but ultimately the Hungarian artillery ammunition ran out, some raw troops on the right broke under fire, and this turned into an infectious rout covered by the hussars. Allied casualties were light, Hungarian losses devastating (mostly prisoners or just 'missing'), and most of the Hungarian formations were left worthless for combat.
Translating such a battle to the wargames table is a challenge. Do you script in the infectious rout? Do you make the Hungarian infantry unfit for combat from the start? Or do you give them a real chance of inflicting a bloody nose and pause for thought on the allies as their commander, General Bem, intended?
I opted to downgrade the Hungarian infantry's combat abilities significantly but not cripplingly. Any 'Aggressive' ratings were stripped away (even from the fabled Polish Legion). Even the best units were made Fragile, penalising them in both assault and movement. Most were rated XF - 'Extra Fragile' - making them much more likely to run away once disrupted. Many were rated as Ragged Volleys to reflect their armament with scythes rather than muskets.
The result was an excellent game, but one that only partly matched the history. Much of the Hungarian force was routed but, as the Austrian commander, I made some poor decisions that earned me a very bloody nose indeed. If you're interested in the detailed action, read the photo-AAR below. If not, you might want to skip to the end to see my reflections on the game.