General de Brigade scenario details are here.
Finns and Swedes occupy the forest north of the field. There are quite a few brigades but some of them are extremely small, especially the Finnish 2nd and 6th which only have one battalion present each. In 4th (Savo-brigade) the Savo battalions have been strengthened by combining them.
Before Russians managed launch the attack with Kulnev’s and the recently arrived Demidov’s brigades the Swedes had time to man the positions on the north edge of the meadow. On the western edge of the meadow lies the Gulf of Bothnia (ie. sea) and the terrain south of the bridge around the stream is quite soggy. The stream itself is several meters wide but a Swedish officer writes in his memoirs that he was able to go across with dry feet with the use of hay pole. On the meadow were quite a few barns which the Finns dismantled and used them to build positions quickly. Some trees had also been felled on both sides of the meadow.
Initial positions. Finns and Swedes on the left and Russians on the right. Gulf of Bothnia in the front. Russians have claimed that Swedes used some gunboats during the battle, but Swedish records don’t show this usage.
Turn 1. Demidov’s brigade (the further units) starts to advance through the forest. Kulnev’s brigade, now commanded by Riman, supports the attack and guards the retreat route. Finns and Swedes have decided to leave the barns intact instead of dismantling them and erecting them as temporary cover.
Turn 2. Russian troops advance slowly through the forest.
Turn 3. Moving slowly through forest and felled trees the Russians advance. Swedish artillery opens up and manages to hits a Sievsk battalion.
Turn 4. Demidov’s troops reach the meadow.
Turn 5. Demidows troops reach the stream while Riman’s troops just start to emerge from the forest.
Turn 6. Having crossed the stream Demidov’s skirmishing jaegers now engage 4th (Savo-) brigade and even manage to score a hit against one small Karelian jaeger half battalion.
Turn 7. Most of the two Russian brigades have now crossed the stream. The large 1st battalion of Pohjanmaa regiment trundles towards the front lines from the reserve. Artillery of neither side is willing to expend ammunition for extreme range counter battery fire.
Turn 8. The Russian advance consists mainly of skirmishers and to counter this threat half of the 2nd Västerbotten battalion is deployed in skirmish order. Furthest up to east Savo jaegers of 4th brigade score a couple of casualties against 1st Perm musketeers.
Turn 9. 1st Petrov musketeers charge Savo infantry who decide to retreat before the Russian onslaught. Slightly to to north Savo jaegers are now harassing the right Russian flank and manage to score three hits on the 1st Perm musketeers causing them to retreat but also mortally wounding Demidov. These are timely hits since without a brigade commander the Russians are more or less unable to launch charges against Finns!
Turn 10. One half battalion of both Savo infantry and Karjala jaegers are now low on ammo. The retreating half battalion of Savo infantry rallies but on Russian side the retreat of 1st Perm Musketeers turns into a rout.
Turn 11. The remainder of 2nd Västerbotten battalion deploys into skirmish as 1st Pohjanmaa battalion reaches the front lines behind it. 2nd Sievsk musketeers (the one closest to camera) are now low on ammo. The routing 1st Perm battalion disperses, but brigade is unaffected.
Turn 12. Two different fighting areas are now formed. Riman leads 1st battalion of Sievsk musketeers into a desperate charge against 2nd Västerbotten battalion and crushes the opposing Swedes breaking the sole unit of the brigade which thus disperses. Further down the meadow Savo jaegers have now been lured into open and pay a heavy price in the Russian crossfire as they receive five hits. Riman’s troops guarding teh retreat route start towards moving towards the fighting.
Turn 13. After four turns of trying to get new orders through to 1st Pohjanmaa battalion CIC Adlercreutz finally manages to convince Lieutenant-Colonel baron von Otter about engaging enemy. They immediately adopt skirmish formation to plug the gap left by the dispersed Västerbotten battalion.
Turn 14. Von Otter leads his Pohjanmaa battalion in a desperate charge against 1st Siev musketeers. Lieutenant-Colonel Cedergren likevise charges with both of his Savo infantry half battalions, personally leading one of them. Both fights result in push back and follow-up. Pohjamaa looses with von Otter having his horse shot from under him and Savo battalions win against 1st Petrov musketeers. Colonel Ushakov arrives with the lead elements of the Russian main forces. Along with these forced marched troops is also the Russian CIC Lieutenant-General count Kamenski. The troops slowly start advancing towards east through the cover of the forest.
Turn 15. The lead elements of Riman’s 3rd jaegers move across the meadow with count Kamenski in tow. On Swedish side baron von Vegesack orders his 2nd brigade to engage the enemy. 1st Pohjanmaa and 1st Sievsk musketeer battalions fight to a standstill, but Savo infantry cause 1st Petrov musketeers to retreat. 2nd Petrov musketeers ar now low on ammo.
Turn 16. The retreating 1st Petrov musketeers disperse while continuous fighting forces 1st Pohjanmaa battalion into retreat giving the Russians a foothold in the northern forest. Count Kamenski rides forward in order to issue new orders to Riman.
Turn 17. Both Karjala jaeger half battalions charge 2nd Perm musketeers. One hesitates but the other sweeps towards the Russians which causes the musketeers to retreat. The retreat of 1st Pohjanmaa battalion turns into a rout which then breaks the brigade. As it is the sole unit of the brigade it thereby disperses.
Turn 18. 1st Västmanlands battalion turns to face 1st Siev musketeers that push forwards in the woods while all three Hälsinge battalions move towards the gap in company columns. Russian 3rd jaegers are clearly also headed in the same place. Further east 2nd Petrov musketeers charge but fire from Savo infantry and jaegers turn the charge into a retreat. Recieving one of the count Kamenski’s aide de camps as their brigade leader replacement the 2nd Perm musketeers, however, rally. Count Kamenski’s arrival also sparks Russian artillerymen into action and they fire at 1st Upplands battalion guarding the Swedish artillery’s right flank.
Turn 19. 2nd Petrov musketeers seek shelter in the stream ravine and manage to rally. 1st Uppland battalion steps back into the cover of the forest to avoid drawing further fire from Russian artillery.
Turn 20. 1st Västmanlands battalion does it’s best to slow the advance of Russians as the first Hälsinge battalion begins to arrive to the fray. Despite heavy losses incurred earlier on Savo jaegers score three hits on the 2nd Perm musketeers. Apparently this lack of regard for musketeer lives causes a suspicious friendly fire incident and Demidov’s replacement goes to report that shameful conduct to count Kamenski.
Turn 21. More Russians into the breach. Unfortunately for them Savo brigade manages to retreat 2nd Perm musketeers out of the forest.
Turn 22. As the skirmish battle closer to Swedish batteries slowly escalates the 2nd Perm battalion rallies.
Turn 23. The more eastern fighting quiets down a bit as both sides have expended most of their forces. Closer to the camera Riman manages to start reforming two of his skirmishing battalions despite of enemy vicinity. Ushakov’s 25th jaegers start to emerge from the forest after having received new orders not to go further eastwards to oppose 4th brigade.
Turn 24. Count Kamenski on the way towards Riman.
Turn 25. kamenski decides to let Riman keep on doing his thing. As Ushakov’s 25th jaegers move along the meadow the remainder of Russian main forces now start to arrive (off picture).
Turn 26. In order to combine all the cavalry available count Kamenski start to form a separate cavalry brigade. The 4th (Savo-) brigade notices that all of it’s troops are one casualty away from 1st dispersal check and they suddenly become much more cautious retreating further down into the forest.
Turn 27. 1st Västmanlands and 3rd Hälsinge battalions both charge 2nd Sievsk musketeers. This onslaught causes the Russians to retreat which finally disperses them. Off picture, the Russians finally get their heavy 12-pounder artillery to the battlefield. Ushakov’s lead jaegers start engaging the enemy.
Turn 28. 1st Hälsinge battalion charges Riman’s 2nd battalion of 3rd jaegers who retreat. To counter the skirmish threat to the batteries 2nd Upplands battalion covers their left flank and engages Ushakov’s more and more numerous jaegers. Artillery also starts firing canister against the jaegers. The lead elements of Russian main force, the few companies of 26th jaegers, take the positions on the edge of the delta.
Turn 29. 2nd battalion of 3rd jaegers retreats into the meadow while two massive snaking skirmish lines shoot it out. 1st Sievsk musketeers disperse.
Turns 30+ are somewhat vague since our regular photographer didn’t attend the last game and we had to settle to inferior equipment.
Turn 30: Even the last skirmishing unit of Riman’s brigade manages to reform. The retreating 2nd battalion of 3rd jaegers also rally.
Turn 31: 1st battalion of 3rd jaegers charges the side of long column of Hälsinge infantry which goes into retreat but is still caught as the unit’s deployment in single company columns makes it so very long. The following melee is a massacre (18 vs 7) resulting in breaking the whole brigade.
Turn 32: Swedish 1st brigade receives new defend orders to defend the side of the batteries. There’s a massive jaeger melee in front of the Swedish battery which cause the 1st Västmanland battalion to be pushed back but also disperses one small battalion of 25th jaegers. Artillery duel also heats up as the Russian 12-pounders take a hit. They reply in kind scoring a bullseye on one Swedish gun and destroying it!
Turn 33: 1st Västmanlands battalion gets charged from both front and rear and it disperses. Swedish cavalry starts to advance closer to the batteries.
Turn 34: 2nd Upplands battalion tries to slow down the Russians while waiting for the Hälsinge battalions to put their act together again.
Turn 35: Hälsinge battalions manage to form up which means that the skirmishing Russians won’t be able to charge them. Meanwhile in the east a half company of Savo infantry disperses.
Turn 36: Hälsinge brigade receive new orders to defend the left flank of the batteries. The 2nd Uppland battalion charges the two companies of Mohilev musketeers and dispersed them. The 4th (Savo-) brigade also tries to break the deadlock by doing a combined charge which unfortunately results in dispersal of one half battalion of Karjala jaegers.
Turn 37: 4th brigade receives new orders to retreat northwards in order to save whatever troops they still have.
Turn 38: A thick mist starts to rise from the sea.
Turn 39: It gets darker and darker and thereby ending the fighting.
Around 10 AM Adlercreutz had the main lines occupied. Russians followed the retreating Swedish rearguard and had their artillery in positions around 11 AM and for the next hour artillery duelled as the Russians organized their attack and started to advance around noon against the Swedish right flank which met a lively artillery and infantry fire. Kulnev decided to try to flank the Swedish left flank instead and moved more troops against them and this attack commenced around 1 PM.
The Russian advance was stopped by the fire from 4th brigade and Västerbotten battalion who followed this up with a counterattack. Upon getting closer to the western forest edge they met extremely lively musket fire from the Russians occupying the forested hill in three lines all of which firing against the advancing Finns who thus had to retreat back to their own lines. Savo infantry’s I battalion under Major G. A. Ehrnrooth did this strictly according to the book by having first rank fire, retreat a bit where the second rank fired and so on.
Around 2 PM the Russians renewed their attack on Swedish left flank. Adlercreutz noticed that they had moved troops from their center to reinforce the attack and he wanted to renew the successful attack against such weakened a center as he had done at Siikajoki in April. He ordered his adjutant de Suremain to give order to attack to commander of the 1st Swedish brigade, Lieutenant-Colonel Brändström. De Suremain had barely managed to move few metres when he badly wounded to the thigh. Adjutant von Otter was now sent to perform the same function but was also immediately wounded to the chest. “It seems to be a tough day for my adjutants” remarked Adlercreutz as he sent third adjutant, Björnstjerna, to deliver the order.
Brändström made a determined and immediate attack with the reserve battalion of Upplands regiment and Västmanlands battalion as well as Captain Panachéen’s two 6-pounders from the artillery’s left flank. The Pohjanmaa battalion on their left and the whole 4th brigade decided to join this attack which rolled irresistibly forward even though Brändström was badly wounded already in the early stages of the attack. Before this forceful attack the Russians had to retreat and even Adlercreutz and von Vegesack themselves were both compelled to join the attack.
Meanwhile Russians had sent couriers to their advancing columns urging them to move quickly to the battlefield whatever the cost. As Swedes reached the site of the earlier rearguard battle site around 3 PM, Ušakov’s column accompanied by Russian CIC count Kamenski had reached the battlefield just in time to deploy and ready themselves for the Swedish attack. A couple of hours of hard fighting took place and on the Russian side only Kamenski believed in a victory and sent one adjutant after the other to hasten the advance of the remainder of Ušakov’s troops.
These troops arrived around 5 PM and Kamenski greeted them by shouting “Let us show those Swedes what the Russians are made of! We shall not leave here alive unless we first crush the Swedes. Level bayonets! Follow me! God is with us! Forward, hurrah!”. On the right flank was Colonel count Sibriski, on the right colonel Byström and in the centre Kulnev. A pair of 12 pounders was giving support. All this was too much for the badly intermixed Swedes and Finns who had also lost a large number of officiers and NCOs and who now had to retreat. Troops on the Swedish right flank were separated from the other troops to the cape by encircling Russians and had to resort to a forceful bayonet charge to push through the Russians and return to their own side. Some few men even swam to the other side of the bay. Even so, a 100 men furthest to the right were captured by the Russians.
The Swedes retreated to the main positions where Hälsinge regiment was on right flank and Upplands regiment on the left. With considerable casualties from the Swedish artillery Ušakov managed to get his troops over the stream to threaten Swedish right flank. In the middle the exhausted Swedes didn’t have any more ammunition and had no hope of getting a resupply and thus grimly faced Kulnev’s troops with just bayonets. Demidov’s troops started to threaten the Upplands regiment’s flank and the Swedish lines had to be drawn back towards north and Oravainen village.
A thick mist rose from the sea and then darkness descended over the battlefield and the hard pressed Swedes sounded retreat around 10 PM ending the 15 hours of fighting. 4th brigade was ordered to take care of the rearguard duties but basically withdrew along the other, now intermixed, troops in the face of the advancing Russians. Ensign Ljunggren with two companies of Väsmanlands regiment guarded the leftmost flank but nobody remembered to relay the news about the retreat to him. Even if the outnumbering enemy was threatening to encircle him he didn’t want to retreat without orders. Finally after several hours of resistance Ljunggren, whose hat had been hit twice by Russian bullet recalled his jaegers and retreated in close order through extremely tedious terrain towards the own lines. Eventually he reached Oravainen village with 30 prisoners. Everyone else had thought he had been killed and were overjoyed to see him alive. His brigade chief thanked him for putting up such a tenacious resistance and thus guarding the brigade’s left flank. Later on he even received a gold medal for bravery even if he himself had expected a different kind of wecome: “I on the other hand was expecting to be admonished of leaving my post without orders and was thus totally taken aback. But such is life. You receive laurels out of the blue. Everything in this world is luck. Good luck or bad luck.”
The Russians were so exhausted that they quickly gave up the chase after reaching the Oravainen church, only Kulnev drove on, albeit slowly and not that far. The worn out troops didn’t even want to prepare any food but rather cast themselves to the ground to get some rest. When count Kamenski walked through the troops and gave them his thanks they did regain cheerful mood.
Casualties for Swedes were 103 dead, 276 wounded and 361 captured (out of these were 2+25+6 officers). However the dead only lists men that were known to have died and Russians reported receiving only 150 prisoners. On Russian side casualties were 121 dead, 665 wounded and 109 captured (of which 1+25+1 were officers). If the battle for Ruona and Salmi had killed the morale of the army, now the actual fighting power had received a similar blow. Of the retreat Ljungren wrote: “Darkness was so deep that someone continuously bumped into you and you couldn’t tell who he was. Hundreds of voices could be heard through the night, the wounded were groaning everywhere each with his own language. Artillerymen and the drivers were shouting at their exhausted horses and gave a tenfold of curses every time they got stuck somewhere, which happened all the time. Wheels and guns clattered, soldiers bawled. Everyone was exhausted by being tired and hungry.”