Above is a pic of Lt. Colonel James Galbraith, Regimental Colour in hand, alongside Bobbie the regimental dog and some of the other "Last Eleven" survivors of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, making their last stand in one of the walled gardens just South of Khig village, a few miles West of the Afghan town of Maiwand.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

BATTLE OF KANDAHAR - PART 2

This past Saturday August 22nd we picked up our Battle of Kandahar 140th Anniversary game where it left off last Saturday.

We played 2 more turns -- 4 and 5 -- before having to take another pause.

The 3HR time difference amongst players and between some players and the GMs made it difficult to press on past dinner time on the East Coast.

Once again everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and stay engaged throughout the day's festivities, from about 10:45AM to 5:15PM, with a 1HR lunch break, some 4-1/4 HRS of remote gaming goodness.  

The 2 long-lasting turns were jam-packed with action.  They were later described by an Afghan player as "wow, what a slug-fest!" and a British player as "very intense and fun!"  As a GM, player feedback doesn't get much better than that.

The best part -- at least for me as a neutral party -- is that at the end of turn five I still don't know who's going to win.

It remains anyone's game.

Since I didn't include much info on how the battle had been going in my prior post, here's a summary of how the game stood at the end of our first session:

TOWARDS THE SOUTH END OF THE TABLE
-British Gnl. MacGregor ATTACHES himself to 4th Gurkhas and they CHARGE Tribal Foot in entrenched canal, Gnl. MacGregor is KIA by fire from Tribal Foot;
-4th Gurkhas CLOSE w/entrenched Tribal Foot who then STAND & FIGHT – Gurkhas inflict many casualties BUT are defeated and driven back, then fail to rally and ROUTE off East edge of table.

-Tribal foot charged by Central India Horse in Orchard fail to stand and RETREAT – but rally before routing off-table.

IN THE CENTER
-BRITISH 2nd Brigade’s 3rd Bengal Lancers advance to East edge of Baba Wali Pass;
-5th Gurkhas & 3rd Sikhs in column behind Lancers approach the Pass;
-British C-in-C Gnl. Roberts DETACHED BRIGADE (72nd Highlanders & 2nd Sikhs) also advances towards Baba Wali Pass, 40-pdr Heavy Field Gun drawn by elephant limber team.
-Still no Afghans visible in Baba Wali Pass.

TOWARDS THE NORTH END OF THE TABLE
-British 1st brigade continues advance over Marza Pass, 2nd Gurkhas in lead, 24th Punjabs in middle, 23rd Sikhs behind; 92nd Highlanders in LINE to left of Marza Pass; 2 x RA screw guns deployed to Highlanders left flank, covering rocky ridge.

-Afghan Regular Inf. & Cav. maneuver around Marza Village to face approaching 1st Brigade;
-Down the road to the South Battery of 2 Afghan Guns about-face & prep to fire at Brits when they emerge from Marza Pass;

CASUALTY COUNT END OF TURN #3:

AFGHANS:       33 CASUALTIES combined WIA + KIA (includes 4 Leaders)

BRITISH:          32 CASUALTIES combined WIA + KIA (includes 3 Leaders)
                        + 8 ROUTED

...and a bit more detailed summary of how things stand now, after completing TURNS 4 & 5:

BRITISH SITUATION END OF TURN 5:

On the British LEFT FLANK the 3rd Brigade advance continues in stops and starts due to prior death of CO but by end of TURN 5 they have forced 1 Tribal Foot to retreat from entrenched position in canal and 2 Tribal Horse to retreat prior to completing their charges, so 3 Afghan units scrubbed.

In the British CENTER the 3rd Bengal Lancers are eliminated by multiple enemy fires – including Afghan bonus fire – just before closing into combat with Afghan gun at West end of Baba Wali Pass.  In midst of the Pass the 5th Gurkhas have one wing facing North and one wing facing South, in dual firefights with Tribal Foot occupying the adjacent heights, while at the East end of the Pass 3 Inf Battalions and the 9th Lancers are waiting to advance and the 40-pdr Heavy Field Gun has deployed so it can fire next turn if the Tribal Foot are still in place on the heights North of the pass.

On the British RIGHT FLANK both 2nd Gurkhas and 24th Punjabis have crossed Marza Pass, routed one Afghan Reg. Cav. Unit off the table, and forced Afghan Reg Inf unit to redeploy into Marza Village.  Brits taking fire from Art. Battery down the road to South, near the Afghan Camp & Baba Wali Pass.

AFGHAN SITUATION END OF TURN 5:

AT THE NORTH Reg Cav unit holds position on road West of canal bridge; Reg Inf unit defending Marza Village is now leaderless & reduced to 9 effectives (below 50% strength); 2nd Reg Cav unit has been ROUTED off table after suffering heavy casualties by fire from 2nd Gurkhas & 23rd Sikhs; 2-gun Reg Artillery battery has left their fortified position, turned around and FIRED on approaching British forces, and has suffered 2 casualties from long range rifle fire by 24th Punjabis.

IN THE CENTER Afghans redeploy battery of guns down off Kharoti Hill, to block the West end of Baba Wali Pass.  Only one gun was able to reach flat ground in time to fire at the Bengal Lancers.  The  Lancers charged that Gun BUT were hit by FIRE from 2 units of Tribal Ambushers +2 units Reg. Inf + the gun itself en route to closing.  On top of that they were finally hit by Afghan BONUS FIRE card assigned to Afghan Gun & Reg Inf Brigade, which WIPED OUT the Lancers before they could attempt to close & melee with the gun.  But 5th Gurkhas remain in the midst of Baba Wali Pass facing off with Tribal Foot, who are taking hits by fire from multiple British units at East end of the Pass. NOTE: Afghan C-in-C Ayub Khan himself descended the hill with his troops.

AT THE SOUTH one unit of Tribal Foot ROUTED OFF TABLE by Central India Horse charge, and 2 x Tribal Cav units forced to retreat when they failed to close with 60th Rifles who they charged on the road; a 3rd Tribal Horse unit reduced to 3 figures and forced to retreat after failed morale check, and 4th Tribal Horse reduced to 5 effectives.  But Reg. Inf. still occupy Pir Paimal Village and the British advance still hampered by lack of Command for 3rd Brigade.

So, like the situation at the end of TURN 3, a seesaw stretch of turns with both sides tasting success and failure in different sectors of the battlefield, and with the final result still very unpredictable.

Last but far from least, here's about 50 pics from the BATTLE OF KANDAHAR -- PART 2...

Looking East at the South end of the table,
note first 2 FORDS across Arghandab River:


Same view from further North, note Kharoti Hill
in the center and the 3rd FORD to the North:


Still further North, note AFGHAN ARMY
MAIN CAMP w/Ayub Khan's HQ tent:


View further North again, note Afghan Regular Artillery Battery
which has ABOUT FACED and is about to leave its fortified position
to move North on the road towards approaching British forces:


The far North end of the table, note MARZA PASS
being crossed by British 1st Brigade, Marza Village
garrisoned by Afghan Regular Inf, unit of Afghan
Reg. Cav. deployed along North table edge & 2nd
Reg. Cav. on road in the foreground...


Central India Horse followed by 3rd Punjab Cavalry
advance through orchards at South edge of table...


Baba Wali Village and the Afghan Camp
at West end of Baba Wali Pass...


British 2nd Brigade navigates bottleneck
at the East end of Baba Wali Pass...


The abandoned British Outpost near East end
of Marza Pass, note Royal Artillery Screw Gun
Battery deployed to cover the Rocky Ridge...


1st Brigade's 23rd Sikh Pioneers head
West into the Marza Kotal...



2nd Sikhs skirt the Ahmed Shah Shrine,
behind RA 40-pdr. drawn by Elephant...


THE TRAP IS SPRUNG: Tribal Foot on both
of the Pass OPEN FIRE on the Indian Cavalry... 


6/8 Battery RA covers high ground to left
of Marza Pass with its screw guns...


Rest of 1st brigade advances over Marza Pass,
exchanging fire with Afghan regular Inf
& Cav to the West as they go...


2nd Gurkhas deploy out of Marza Pass
into line versus Afghan Reg. Cav...




2nd unit of Afghan Reg. Cav. waits across canal
bridge from Marza Pass and Marza Village...



Afghan Guns that about-faced on the road
cross another canal bridge & OPEN FIRE
on British 1st brigade to the North...



At the main Afghan Camp, Royal Horse Artillery Lieutenant Hector MacLaine finds himself at the center of intense debate between a FRIENDLY Afghan Regular Cavalry Officer and HOSTILE Ghazi Mullah, while a NEUTRAL Regular Infantry Sentry looks on (more on this when the game -- and MacLaine's fate -- enters its final act)...




Afghan Reg. Inf. Regt. on road between the main camp &
Baba Wali Village, occupied by 2nd Reg. Inf. Regt...


3rd Bengal Lancers CHARGE out West end of Baba Wali
Pass under continued fire from Tribesmen on both dies
of the Pass, 2 units of Reg. Inf. and the GUN they're chaerging...



Another unit of Afghan Reg. Inf. redeploys off
Kharoti Hill towards Baba Wali Village...



Screw Guns of RA Battery 6/8 sit alone, covering the high ground to the West...



At the dead center of the table, 3rd Bengal Lancers (Skinner's
Horse) lead the British advance West through the Baba Wali Pass...


24th Punjabs head South in line towards Afghans in
Marza Village, 2nd Gurkhas and 23rd Sikh Pioneers
visible behind them, Afghan Reg. Cav. to the right,
Afghan guns visible down the road in the distance...



Afghan Reg. Artillery about to open fire on
24th Punjabs astride road to the North...


3rd Punjab Cav. pauses at edge of canal along the
South edge of the table as  Central India Horse
CHARGE Tribal Foot entrenched in the canal...


Center West of the table, showing the mini valley wedged
between Kharoti Hill and the West side of the Rocky Ridge...


Afghan Reg. Inf. entrenched in Pir Paimal Village...


At South end of table 60th Rifles engage in firefight with
entrenched Tribal Foot in drained section of canal...


Wider view of the fight shaping up between
3rd Brigade and Afghan Tribal Foot & Horse...


C.O. and NCO are all that remains
as 3rd Bengal Lancers try to close
with the Afghan gun they charged...


9 Afghan privates are all that remain of the Inf. unit holding Marza Village...


5th Gurkhas in Baba Wali Pass exchange
fire with Tribal Foot on both flanks...


Afghan C-in-C Ayub Khan visible on the
left, 2nd gun being manhandled down the
Hill in the center, Reg. Inf. on the left...



Wider view with Baba Wali Pass visible in the upper left...


Afghan Reg. Cav. cross the Ford beside Baba Wali Village...


Ahmed Khan Shrine and the road to
Baba Wali Pass in middle of the table...


Wider view showing the 2nd Brigade advance on Baba Wali Pass...




11/9 Battery RA deployed in Gundigan Village...






VIEWS FROM FOUR SIDES OF
TABLE AT END OF TURN 5...

LOOKING WEST FROM BRITISH LINES...


LOOKING EAST FROM AFGHAN LINES...


LOOKING SOUTH FROM BEYOND MARZA PASS...


LOOKING NORTH FROM BEYOND GUNDIGAN VILLAGE...


TUNE IN NEXT TIME FOR WHAT -- HOPEFULLY -- WILL BE THE FINAL INSTALLMENT OF THIS EPIC REMOTE WARGAMING EXTRAVAGANZA...



6 comments:

  1. Thanks to Mad Guru and his minions ;-). You guys rock for putting on this game. Tons of fun!

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    Replies
    1. You're very welcome, "Anonymous"! Which side were you on, I wonder...???

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  2. Terrific stuff! I look forward to the next installment.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, AJ! Hope the Grand Finale lived up to your expectations!

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  3. Fantastic looking game! My favourite has to be the elephant drawn artillery (although the Indian Lancers come a close second!)
    Best Iain

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  4. Thanks, Iain! I had not expected to need the Elephants to move the 40-pounder at limbered high-speed. I thought the British would set up the heavy gun on turn #1 and start shooting. Never ASSUME! Luckily the draught elephants in question were in my office/game-room closet.

    ReplyDelete