This is a generic scenario for the very first months of the Russian Civil War – the "Railway War" period.

With the fall of the Kerenski Provisional Government to the Bolshevik coup in October 1917 (November in the modern calendar), the extreme left sought to take control of all the major centres of the former Russian Empire. Led by the Bolsheviks, but including many Left-SRs and anarchists, they were only opposed where there were pockets of troops who actively preferred the previous government – which wasnt very often. The Cossacks however clearly stood to lose their privileges under the new régime and sometimes put up a brief fight.

With both sides fielding minuscule forces, cobbled together from whoever would volunteer, fighting was almost exclusively along railroads. Already "armoured" trains were fielded, but with the revolution only weeks old, they were sand-bag and field gun versions still.

The scenario is based on the resistance of the Astrakhan Cossacks (picked because that is a Host I have painted figures for, not for any more sophisticated reason). The Astrakhan forces resisting the Soviets were apparently approximately 1,500 men (including some 300 officers), with 4 guns and 30 machine-guns, but this might only be those in Astrakhan city.

Chapchachi is a real town to the north of Astrakhan, which might well have been chosen as a defensive position. There are quite a few villages in Russia with similar arrangements, though not normally quite so flat. Similar forces and villages for this scenario might also have been seen in the Don and Kuban.


This is for smallish forces, and would suit beginners, because the forces fighting were completely new and the command structures were still very poor. The leaders at the time tended to be those who imposed themselves, rather than those of any particular military worth.

Chapchachi scenario

I wrote it as a potential kriegsspiel, but it works fine as a table-top game too.

It assumes a rule set which uses company sized units as the manoeuvre element.

Battle report

I fought the battle solo, just to see how it would go:

This is a report (note: it is 1.2 MB due to the many pictures).