Wednesday, August 17, 2011

1st Campaign Battle Fought!

note -- game was played August 8, 2011 with Murdock playing the British and Alex running the M'tubel (who look surprisingly like Zulus).

(Also note that Murdock has posted his own account of the battle on his
Murdock's Mauraders blog.)

The word along the river was that the main focus of strife and discontent within the District was a certain Chief M'Shoota (shown with rifle and yellow plume in image -- click for larger view). This was confirmed by Reverend Wilfred Vernon, the head of the mission in M'tubel,

Chief M'Shoota was ruler of the village of M'Eezee, so Captain McMurdock determined to burn that village to the ground. He therefor set out with his entire command to do just that. His command consisted of:
  • Capt. McMurdock and Lt. Sharpe
  • Lt. MacDavid and 18 other ranks of the 92nd Foot
  • Sgt. Woodley and 9 other ranks of the 58th Foot
  • Lt. Cosgrove and 19 Sepoys of the 21st NMI
  • Havildar Sonam and 8 Gurkhas of the 4th Gurkha
  • 6 mules and muleteers and two wounded
While relatively flat, the terrain was heavily forested with tropical plants (dark green areas were heavier jungle than the tall grasses of the lighter green areas), making movement difficult.

The "jungle telegraph" had obviously preceded them because M'Eezee had been cleared of all except warriors by the time the British reached it.

However before they could, in fact, reach M'Eezee, a band of black shield M'tubel charged the Gurkhas (who were scouting ahead of the main body) from the cover of the jungle.

While the Gurkhas rifle fire dropped a number of the M'tubel, disrupting their throwing spears, it was the work of the Gurkhas kukris that ended the fight. This was especially effective when Havildar Sonam took the head off of the black shield's leader with a single blow.

Still, the black shields outnumbered the Gurkhas by two to one, so the fight was not all one-sided. Gurkha Gurung (#5) went down with a thrown spear to his chest in the initial charge; and Gurkhas Limbu and Kunal (#6 & #9) were killed. And before the fight was won both the Havildar and Gurkha Rai (#3) were also seriously wounded.

Nevertheless, the bulk of the black shields lay dead or dying and only a fraction were left to flee.

As the rest of the company closed up to tend to the wounded, a band of white shield M'tubel also attacked the column's left flank from cover hitting the Madras Pioneers (21st NMI). Sadly Havildar Bama (#2) and Sepoy Hati (#19) were slain in the resulting hand-to-hand fighting; and Sepoys Gauri (#3) and Bhanu (#20) were wounded.

But the Pioneers held . . . chiefly because Sepoy Lakshmi (#5) personally slew at least four of the white shields while protecting Lt. Cosgrove from their spears. With the death of Havildar Bama, Gosgrove promoted Lakshmi to the rank of Havildar as his new second-in-command.

As this fight was ending, a band of red shield M'tubel made a huge charge that ended just short of hitting the 58th and part of the 92nd in the rear. (see image -- and click as always for larger view).

Fortunately the British units were able to turn about and deliver deadly volleys into the red shields.

Indeed, between the Brits, Highlanders and four remaining Gurkhas, the 19 of the 20 red shields fell from the withering fire over the next several minutes without ever successfully closing to hand-to-hand.

With all three M'tubel bands broken (and the leaders of each unit dead) the survivors gathered in the village of M'Eezee for a last stand. But as an Imperial volley dropped more of the warriors, the remaining white shields routed and the rest of the prepared to run as well.

At this point the saddest event of the day occurred. Chief M'Shoota, who had remained at a distance throughout the running battle fired his only shot . . . indeed it was the very last shot of the battle . . . and dropped Lt. Cosgrove with a bullet to the side of his head.

With that the M'tubel having lost fully three quarters of their warriors, abandoned the village and Captain McMurdock's forces then burned it to the ground.

================== XXX ==================

Notes from the battle:
  • rules were "The Sword and the Flame: 20th Anniversary Edition"
  • we used one of the Virtual Armchair General's TSATF card decks
  • the huge red-shield "charge" mentioned above was not a charge in rulebook terms. It was a normal 3d6 move for which Alex rolled 15" plus an extra 3d6 bonus due to a special event card from the above-mentioned deck and he again rolled 15" for a total move of 30"!
  • at one point, the 92nd Highlanders drew a "bad ammo" event from the deck above and the only shot from the unit that struck home was from Lt. McDavid's pistol.
Casualty Report :

21st NMI (Madras Pioneers)
  • Lt. Neil Cosgrove -- wounded
  • Havildar Bama -- dead
  • Sepoy Chandrak -- dead
  • Sepoy Hati -- dead
  • Sepoy Gauri -- seriously wounded
  • Sepoy Bhanu -- wounded
4th Gurkhas
  • Havildar Sonam -- seriously wounded
  • Sepoy Limbu -- dead
  • Sepoy Kunal-- dead
  • Sepoy Rai -- seriously wounded
  • Sepoy Gurung -- seriously wounded

Afristan Map after Victory:

So moves for the March turn are now due.

Remember that you can move into any adjacent District or travel through a maximum of one hex of a District in order to reach another district. An example of this can be found in the Tyger River area.

The Field Force is in Luni. It could move to G'umb . . . or it could travel through one hex of G'umb to either Swati or M'wez (with a slight penalty to the Rebellion die roll).

Of course, if like the Cango River Field Force, you are "on the river", you can move to any District which the river touches.

-- Jeff


  1. Jeff,

    Very nice to see all your Ral Parthas in a battle.


  2. Stirring stuff, indeed! Part of the charm of gaming for me is the randomness, such as the mighty Charge of the Red Shields. In a recent TSATF game I had a band of African native levies perform the most lackadaisical rout ever - a matter of 4 inches. "We're just going over here for a spell..."

    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to more accounts.

  3. A splendid opening action!

    I hope Lt Cogsgrove will recover and return to duty ere long.

  4. Ross, it is likely that he will recover. It was a light wound, grazing the side of his head and sending his helmet flying.

    At the time he was the only British officer visible to the M'tubel, so they all think that Chief M'Shoota killed the British commander.

    -- Jeff

  5. And so the real action begins. I eagerly await the next battle report!

  6. Allow me to note that Murdock has posted an account of the action from his point of view:

    -- Jeff