Top 10 battles where time ran out!

Righto… Here I am hat in hand. Asking you dear readers for assistance in expanding my knowledge and understanding of famous, infamous, tragic and epic battles where if not for running out of time one side may have overcome the odds or been overcome!

Wellingtons quote from the Battle of Waterloo “Give me Blucher or give me night “ comes to mind as the most succinct expression of the type of battles I am looking for.

Where the element time played a crucial role in so many aspects of this battle.

Situations generally speaking, where we need more time as the attacker and less as the defender [subject to VC’s].  A lot of history focuses on the commanders who overcame spatial disadvantage by using time to their advantage via Forced March, having better logistics or perhaps just a better plan. Exploring this factor of time could be an interesting topic!

So what other battle and conflicts come to mind?

The battle of Metarus in 207 BC when Nero moved between Carthaginian armies defeating each separately first at Grumentum then with Marcus Livius at Metarus, covering over 100kms.

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Ideally, Land based battles. Any period. Any scale. If you can name an accompanying game title and a book all the better.

Help me identify ten good ones and we will recreate them and explore them here over 2017 & 2018. All comments that are used to flesh out the Top 10 go into a draw to win a game for one draw and a book for another.

Please comment on the blog here, not on etc…etc…



14 thoughts on “Top 10 battles where time ran out!

  1. I’m sorry I cannot help you too much, but I want to say hello from here, less than 30 km from the above mentioned Metaurus Battlefield, along the Metaurus (now Metauro) River.

    The only battle I can think to, is the (in)famouse Caporetto 1917. Probably some more time would have helped the Italians to reject the German-Austro-Hungarian forces… or maybe not.

  2. Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864. Jubal Early’s outnumbered Army of the Valley won a stunning victory in the morning against Sheridan’s larger Army of the Shenandoah, and then suffered a stunning defeat in the afternoon. From Winchester to Cedar Creek by Jeffry Wert and The Guns of Cedar Creek by Thomas A. Lewis are both very good books. As for games, Richard Berg has done 2 games on Cedar Creek, one from GMT in the third installment of their Glory series, and another when he had his own company SDI. The former is a brigade level treatment, the later regimental. I would also throw in 3rd Winchester where Early had fought Sheridan to a tactical draw but then Sheridan’s cavalry showed up late in the day and drove in Early’s flank. Only one game I know of in 3rd Winchester, it’s from High Flying Dice Games.

    • Kev, an addendum to my post. Vae Victus also did a game on Cedar Creek. It was an area movement treatment with brigade sized units.

  3. My comments above were based on Early wanting the day to end sooner, which from re-reading your criteria are not what you are looking for. If it is a case of the attacker needing more time, and still looking at the american Civil War there are two classic examples. The first being Chancellorsville. Jackson’s famous flank march of May 2, 1863 was offset by the fact that by the time his forces deployed for battle, the daylight was almost gone, and it was a combination of lack of daylight, and confusion in the ranks from the way the battle lines were deployed that brought Jackson’s attack to a halt. Given another few hours of daylight, Jackson might not have been shot in the dark by his troops while he was scouting a way forward, and he might have succeeded in shattering Joe Hooker’s flank and dramatically alter the outcome of the battle and potentially the war. I quite liked Stephen Sears book Chancellorsville. As for games on the subject, the 2nd game in GMT’s Glory series covers Chancellorsville, and there are various other treatments of the battle

    The other situation that comes to mind is Gettysburg July 1, 1863. Richard Ewell’s Second Corps greatly contributed to the defeat of the XI Corps, which in turn undid the Union position on McPherson’s Ridge. Ewell had victory within his grasp when he became confused about his orders and failed to secure the high ground above Gettysburg. By the time he found his nerve, Union forces were on their way to being well dug in on both Culp’s Hill and Cemmetery Hill and it was too late in the day to attack. If Ewell had found his nerve sooner, or daylight had lasted a little longer, the Second Corps, reinforced by Ed Johnson’s freshly arrived division, might well have succeeded in taking the heights and possibly altering the outcome of the battle of Gettysburg. There are various books on Gettysburg. Two of my favourites on the first day are Gettysburg-the First Day by Harry w. Pfanz, and Gettysburg by Stephen Sears. There are numerous Gettysburg games out there, at various scales. i’ve enjoyed Thunder at the Crossroads by The Gamers, a brigade level treatment, and have dabbled with Three Days of Gettysburg from GMT, a regimental treatment.

  4. Chancellorsville, where Jackson’s flank attack began late in the day, necessitating a continuation into the night. In the confusion of a night recon Jackson’s men, an hour after a night time brush where the 9th Penna. Cavalry blundered into them in the dark, heard Jackson’s recon party returning and shot him from the saddle. That delayed the attack and A.P. Hill’s wounding later that evening meant the final attack never fell to cut the US army off from the aptly named US ford.

  5. How about the reinforcement of the British airborne at Arnhem during Market Garden. If Horrocks had been able to drive XXX corp up the road as fast as possible, he probably could have linked up with the Airborne units who were holding at least one side of the bridge.

  6. Also going to add Tannenberg where the Germans were able to defeat the 2 wings of the Russian army before they could come together

  7. Tried posting from my phone last night, don’t think it worked but I shall Tannenberg here too. The Germans managed to beat both wings of the advancing Russian army before they could meet up

  8. Battle of the Río de la Plata, please. (“Plate” is an incorrect translation. The word means “silver”, as in the metal, not stuff that’s made out of it.) But yes, time ran out because of international rules. I would also nominate the Battle of the Bulge. The German timeline was probably unrealistic to begin with (ditto the British timeline for Market-Garden), but at least German commanders on the spot knew they only had so much time before Patton showed up. (It’s in the records of their conferences during the planning stage.) A reasonable date to pick for when time ran out is December 23, the day the weather cleared.

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