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.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

TSATF on the NWF: Battle of The Bridge

On Sunday, May 19th, myself, my son Skylar, and our new gaming friend Jonathan, played a game from TSATF SCENARIO PORTFOLIO 2000: #16 THE BRIDGE.

THE SCENARIO

In preparation for a major operation, Anglo-Indian forces must secure the Bridge over the Tochi River.  In order to achieve this objective, they must occupy (uncontested) with at least 10 figures per objective, two of these three key features at game's end: 

(1)  the Bridge itself;
(2)  the village of Duurkat;
(3)  the 2 rocky hills overlooking the village.

Uncontested Occupation of all 3 features will result in the British Commander being made eligible for a Knighthood, while uncontested occupation of one feature will result in his being "reassigned."

In an effort to thwart the plans of the Infidels, the Pathans have identical objectives.  Occupying all 3 features will make the Hill Chieftain in overall command known as the greatest Holy Warrior of the Frontier.  Occupation of 2 will be seen as a marginal victory.  Occupation of one will result in his banishment.

Deployment of all forces -- both Anglo-Indian and Pathan -- will be by D20 (20-sided die) roll for each basic unit (20 Inf, 12 Cav, or 1 Mountain Gun & Crew) on the first game turn, during which no firing is allowed.

The element of RANDOM DEPLOYMENT was a big change from how I usually set up games, but added an element of spontaneous unpredictability, and allowed the two sides to come to grips much faster than if the Anglo-Indians had marched onto the table via one or two pre-assigned entry points. 


THE TABLE


OBJECTIVE ONE: THE BRIDGE


OBJECTIVE TWO: THE VILLAGE:


OBJECTIVE THREE: THE HIGH GROUND



THE ARMIES

* * *
PATHAN TRIBESMEN:

224 figures, organized into...

11 X 20-FIGURE CLANS, including --

8 Clans organized into 2 x 61 figure Tribes (122 figs) and 1 x 41 figure Tribe, all armed with 50% rifle & 50% sword-&-shield...




...and 1 x 61 figure Tribe of Ghazis (religious fanatics) armed with sword-&-shield only but treated as Zulus for Close Combat & Morale, and also given a 50% chance "saving throw" on all "wounded" results in Close Combat (D6: odd = fight on; even = KIA)



***
ANGLO-INDIAN FIELD FORCE:

118 figures, organized into...

1 x Infantry Brigade (85 figures) comprising 4 x 20-figure Infantry Sections, each 1 x Officer, 1 x SGT, 18 OR + 2 x Officers,  2 x NCOs, and 1 x Mounted Commander (w/canine mascot)...


Close-Up of ROBBIE, the Commander's pet...


1 x Cavalry Brigade (25 figures) comprising 2 x 12-figure Cavalry Squadrons, each 1 x Officer, 1 SGT, 10 OR, +1 Cavalry Commander...


1 x Mountain Battery consisting of 2 x screw-guns each with 1 x NCO, 4 x Crew + 1 x Handler w/2 mules...



THE BATTLE:

This was the first chance I'd had to host a game for way too long.  It was awesome to get the chance to wargame with my son, Skylar, and meet for the first time and play with Jonathan -- who we were lucky to be introduced to by my brother (THANK YOU Myles!).  The game was a lot of fun.  I took the British while Jonathan and Skylar commanded the Pathans.

You'll see in the photos below that I'm experimenting with movement trays, using a set of "Horde" trays from Litko (CLIK THIS LINK to visit their site)), and magnetic trays from Wargames Accessories (CLICK THIS LINK to visit their site).  I have a lot of the magnetic stands for use with my collection of French & Indian War figures which are singly mounted on thin steel bases.  After the game I bought a ordered a bunch more of the Litko "Horde" trays, enough to field all of my Ghazis.

You'll also see I labelled 20 ENTRY POINTS around the table edge to match the potential D20 die-roll results, and make it fast and easy to bring units on the movement phase of Turn #1.

We mark basic which have FIRED with WHITE COTTON, those that have MOVED with DUST-CLOUD BROWN.

The game was a close-run thing, hung in the balance for some time, but the result was very one-sided.

I lost miserably!

My last chance to seize victory from the jaws of defeat came when my Bengal Native Cavalry -- which had dismounted to occupy the village and been reduced to only its British Officer was CHARGED by a clan of Ghazi fanatics.  Outnumbered ten-to-one, but with the +2 that comes with "Defending a building" and the "+1" for being a Leader, the Officer took out EIGHT foes -- before losing with a "1" on his melee die, which all TASTF players will know = KIA.  The only consolation came when his "VICTORIA CROSS" die roll came up "5" -- granting him the medal even without the "+1 for posthumous attempt" I was prepared to toss in if the results had been a "4"!

Pathan co-commanders Skylar & Jonathan confer over their anti-Imperial stratagems...


BLACK JOKER = BONUS PATHAN MOVE OR FIRE

(they were happy when this card got flipped)





10th Hussars (or at least their NCO) close into combat with Tribesmen occupying the bridge...




Bengal Native Cavalry approach the Village...



GHAZIS advance on the village...



Ghazis engaging with Guides Infantry...


...leaving them "SHAKEN"...



Click on this pic and squint really hard and you will glimpse the Officer and NCO of the Bengal Native Cavalry occupying the shadows of the village building...


Red Ghazis swarm the village...





Red Ghazi casualties courtesy of the British Cav Officer...



More Ghazi casualties removed from the field, atop
a Wargames Accessories magnetic movement tray...


The Officer and his faithful Sowar after they both "Died with their boots on"...



Gurkha Rifles supported by screw gun & crew...








72nd Highlanders...






The lone Cavalry Officer defends his position...



Thanks to Jonathan for sending this next batch of higher quality pics...

THANK YOU, JONATHAN!





LITKO "Horde Trays" in use...


Bengal Native Cavalry CHARGE Green Ghazi clan...





72nd Highlanders advance from their entry point on the North table edge...











72nd Highlanders FORM SQUARE in expectation of a Tribal clan Charge...


Red and Blue Ghazi clans and a Tribal clan all advance towards the village...




Another view of the 10th Hussars ill-fated charge to the bridge...


Blue Ghazis vs. Guides Infantry...




Red Ghazis approach the village where they will soon battle it out hand-to-hand with the future Victoria's Cross winner (posthumously)...


The Anglo-Indians (aka: me) achieved none of their objectives.  But it really was close for a time, with Imperial troops poised to take 2.5 of the 3 key terrain sites!  The table still has the same terrain set up, and hopefully we'll gather again soon and see if the Imperialists can reverse their awful fortunes and perhaps manage to win a victory!




8 comments:

  1. A great battle report Ethan and your terrain and troops look superb, as always.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Pat (silver whistle blog)

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  2. Spectacular! Great gaming at its best.

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  3. Gorgeous terrain! Splendid figures! There's always next time for the result!
    Best Iain

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  4. Welcome back to gaming. Cracking stuff there!

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  5. Such a treat to see the fine collection and table in action.

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  6. Great AAR brother, wish I was there with you and Sky. Please send my regards. I'm really glad you got to get in a game with him and host as well. Your terrain and figs are always inspirational my friend. I think I will try those horde bases. Based on your recommendations.
    Cheers, Sgt G

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  7. Well that looks just splendid!

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  8. Just a quick question. In one of your posts you refer to "heavy Dry brushing." Does that mean more paint or harder pressure? I'm trying to teach myself how to dry brush using your instructions and this question has popped up.
    Thanks in advance.
    John S. Beardsley

    ReplyDelete