David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Saturday 13 April 2024

The Battle of Bugerov 1854

'History' tells us little of this long forgotten encounter; few eyewitness accounts have come down to us, perhaps suppressed by Horse Guards wary of unwelcome news? It is however rightly remembered as a 'Bloody Affair'! Now, Dear Reader we may finally discover why in the following annotated photomontage assembled from the lost papers of the late General Flashman, a survivor of the battle it transpires ~

No doubt the blaggard survived by taking timely refuge in St Olaf's church, perhaps even helping himself to the silver along the way?

Meticulous research in the recently rediscovered tranche of Flashman's papers seems to suggest that the battle was not planned or even really desired by either side, simply occuring when two arms of the respective armies were surprised to encounter one another in the vicinity of the small village of Bugerov where pigs and chickens seemed to outnumber villagers ~

Despite the unwelcome encounter both commanders hurried to issue orders to their Division and Brigade Commanders. For the Roosians Grand Duke Gornellevic was not prepared to see the invader despoil even this collection of hovels ~

While in the British ranks the orders of General E Useless were awaited with equal parts of anticipation and trepidation ~

Enough of this waffling on, let's cut to the chase and get the AAR on the road! The Battle of Bugerov awaits!

Elements of the Rifle Brigade skirmish on the outskirts of Bugerov awaiting the arrival of supports from the Highland Brigade.
Roosian infantry from the Rifle Battalion exchange fire with the Rifle Brigade in the village while ominously large numbers of Roosian infantry advance slowly in their support.
The Ligh Division fields three battalions on the British right, supported by the small Light Brigade of cavalry. Useless hopes to use the Light Division to pin the Roosian left flank while the Light Brigade moves around and in their rear.
Elements of the Rifle Brigade have worked their way into Bugerov as the Highland Brigade and supporting foot artillery reach the outskirts.
Fighting for the village intensifies as Rifle Brigade and Battalion exchange fire at close quarters and massed columns of Roosian infantry reach the village's outskirts.
On Useless' right the Light Brigade of cavalry with it's supporting battery of the Royal Horse Artillery, advance in support of the Light Division.
Away on Useless' left flank parts of the First Division find themselves at a disadvantage as massed Roosian infantry close with them.
The 23rd find themselves assaulted by massed Roosian columns which their close range fire failed to mark at all! {At this point we made a fundamental mistake with the rules which with hindsight altered the game's development.}
Back on Useless' left the regiments of the First Division have formed line and delivered devastating close range volleys which Disorder the Roosian columns! Hurrah!
But on Useless' right the 23rd are Broken and flee! Oh the shame!
All along the front now the action is intensifying. While the columns of Roosian infantry faltered the Cossacks and Hussars sweep forward. The 13th are caught in line and put to the sword. Their morale crumbles and they flee Broken to the rear.
The Grenadier Guards though stand firm against the Hussars who are Disordered by a Close range volley! Their charge fails to break the British line here, but the Cossacks' victory sees the 13th's supports also broken!🎲🎲
In the centre the close quarter fighting for control of Bugerov swings first one way, then the other. Sadly though on the right the 33rd follow the 23rd in rout, having Broken as their supports. Their loss breaks the Light Division and leaves the Light Brigade unsupported.
Bugerov remains contested in the centre, but Useless' left is beginning to crumble as weight of Roosian numbers begins to tell while British firepower proves uncharacteristically ineffective. The Quartermaster General may have questions to answer it seems!

With his right and left flanks defeated General E Useless' finds his army is Broken and despite success in holding off the Roosian attacks on Bugerov he is forced to concede the field to Gornellevic. The fundamental rules error we made probably hastened this defeat we agreed the next day, when chatting over the game by text, but the failure of Useless' left to deploy and move decisively really handed the advantage to the Roosians by limiting their time advancing under fire. Nevertheless we now have several good ideas for rule adaptations in the next game to hone the feel of a Crimean battle, so keep an eye out in a fortnight's time for the next run out.


  1. It was indeed a grand day, and much blood was spilt.... yes, one or two mistakes were made, but it detracted none from the sheer enjoyment of such a spectacular game!
    A wonderful narrative there as well Dave to go with it. Allthough we're already familiar with BP, the key now is going to be experimentation with special rules to fine tune and add flavour to the period.
    The collection, that we've all been watching grow and come together over the last several months, is nothing short of breathtaking, and an absolute joy to play with.
    Once again, a great day out at GHQ... I enjoyed every minute 👍

    1. You enjoyed it then? 😉 Thanks for the thumping by the way!

  2. A fabulous looking game a joy to behold and no doubt a greater joy to play too. A wonderful narrative that captures that joy, a thoroughly entertaining post!

  3. Superb looking game and a great report, great win for the Russkies but questions will have to be asked!

  4. Splendid sight seeing them all on the table and getting stuck in.

    1. I agree, I was quietly pleased by the look of the collection on the table.

  5. Good to see the toys in action… regardless of the unfortunate result…
    The British need to bring some bullets with them next time..

    All the best. Aly

    1. Unfortunate does not even begin to cover it Aly! New dice please!🎲🎲🎲🎲🎲🎲

  6. Well in these days of speculation about the current army's readiness [including growing beards again] to confront the Bear it's reassuring to read this debacle for our splendidly attired chaps.
    I was looking forward to seeing your collection on the table and this does not disappoint in the least. A fine narrative, a glorious spectacle, and a reason for Armchair generals to write to The Times.
    Perhaps as well as "What about our boys in Mafeking" we can say, "Don't forget too, Bugerov!"
    As for Flashman.....
    Seriously though great stuff, much enjoyed.

    1. Really pleased you and others of course enjoyed the blog post, it's very much appreciated.

  7. A grand spectacle. Annoying to get a rules error, but you could have played it right and then rolled a 2 or a 12, I think over the course of a game, the odd mistake will get smoothed out and Black Powder is quite forgiving.

    1. Thanks Norm. The error fundamentally altered the balance of a melee and indirectly the collapse of the Light Division. But, we learn from our mistakes hopefully.

  8. Great to see old Flashman on the table and as always, a fine game to behold. Shame about the mistake altering the balalnce of the game but hopefully we all learn from such mistakes...

    1. I feel Flashman may figure strongly in these games!