Monday, 23 January 2012

Clearing a nest of Sea Rats!

A group of slave-traders (who were thought to be operating out of Marzibar) set up a temporary base inside an old abandoned coastal fort on the border between the Britannic Colony of New Surrey and Fezian Madasahatta. The area was disputed territory. According to the Fezians the fort was in Fezian Madasahatta, but maps produced by Britannic surveyors definitely showed it as being part of New Surrey.

The slaver-traders – who were led by the infamous Ali Yusuf – had arrived by dhow, and quickly restored the old fort. They stationed two Field Artillery Units (each armed with smooth-bore cannon) within the fort along with a Unit of Infantry armed with single-shot rifles. A similarly armed Infantry Unit occupied a nearby abandoned native village whilst a third Infantry Unit remained aboard the dhow.

In order to stop any possible slaving raids into Britannic territory the Governor of the Colony – Sir Reginald Goodman – had ordered military units to eject the slave-traders ('Remove that nest of Sea Rats!') and destroy the fort so that it could not be used for such a purpose in the future. The forces he had allocated to the task comprised:
  • The armoured gunboat HMS Indolent (commanded by Lieutenant Commander Barrington Muir)
  • A unit of Marines (which will be transported aboard HMS Indolent)
  • An Infantry Unit of the Scotia Highlanders (armed with magazine rifles)
  • An Infantry Unit of the Madasahatta Rangers (armed with magazine rifles)
  • A Machine Gun Unit
  • A Field Artillery Unit (armed with rifled field artillery)
  • Two steam-powered coastal passenger ship that will each carry an Infantry Unit and the Machine Gun Unit or Field Artillery Unit
The overall command of the force was given to Colonel Charles Wells, an officer of Marines who had a lot of experience of landing operations.

News of the impending movement of Britannic troops into the disputed territory caused consternation amongst the Fezian hierarchy in Madasahatta. The Governor – Abdullah Rahman – immediately ordered his military subordinate – Colonel Saleh Usman – to assemble a force with which to 'protect the sovereignty of Fezian territory'.

Colonel Usman mobilised two Infantry Units (armed with single-shot rifles) and a Field Artillery Unit (armed with rifled field artillery) as well as the armoured gunboat Osman III (commanded by Lieutenant Harun Mohamed). He also requisitioned two dhows to transport his force to the disputed area.

Turn 1
The Britannic force sailed down the coast towards the disputed area, led by HMS Indolent.

Turn 2
Whilst the two steam-powered passenger ships moored so that they could begin unloading their cargo of soldiers and military equipment, HMS Indolent sailed further along the coast to investigate the fort.

Turn 3
As soon as she came in sight of the fort, HMS Indolent was fired upon, but suffered no damage. She returned fire with her heavy armament ... and inflicted casualties upon the Unit of Field Artillery that had fired at her.

In the meantime the first Britannic Units had been unloaded from their transports.

Turn 4
HMS Indolent continued to trade fire with the fort with the result that HMS Indolent suffered some minor damage and the Unit of Field Artillery was destroyed!

By now the Britannic force was unloaded from its transports ...

... but the slave-traders had not been idle and two of the Infantry Units began to advance to meet the 'invaders' ...

... whilst the dhow manoeuvred so that she could sail out to engage HMS Indolent.

Turn 5
Before the advancing slaver-traders could get into single-shot rifle range they were engage with artillery fire from HMS Indolent and the Britannic Field Artillery Unit. This not only caused casualties amongst the slaver-traders but also forced one of the Infantry Units to retreat.

The Britannic Infantry Units used this opportunity to advance towards the fort.

The slave-traders countered by moving forward and firing at the leading Britannic Infantry Unit (The Madasahatta Rangers) ...

... whom they decimated!

In the meantime the slave-traders in the dhow were slowly making progress out of the small harbour they had been moored in and towards HMS Indolent.

Turn 6
The casualties cause to the Madasahatta Rangers showed that the slaver-traders were not going to be an easy enemy to defeat. As the main advantage enjoyed by the Britannic force was its firepower, Colonel Wells ordered HMS Indolent and the Field Artillery Unit to fire at the advancing slave-traders. The Field Artillery Unit's fire destroyed the leading slave-trader Infantry Unit and HMS Indolent's gunfire inflicted a casualty on the other slave-trader Infantry Unit, which seriously depleted its strength.

As this was happening the Fezian convoy came into sight, heading towards the fort.

The slaver-traders in the dhow immediately crammed on all available sail and made their escape seaward, leaving their compatriots to fend for themselves!

The remaining slave-traders (led by Ali Yusuf) fell back towards Fezian territory ...

... and the Britannic troops again began to advance on the fort.

Turn 7
As there were no suitable targets, neither side fired their artillery at their opponents. The slave-traders occupied the jetty near the fort ... and proceeded to surrender to the Fezians!

The Britannic troops continued to advance, led by the Madasahatta Rangers who were intent upon exacting their revenge on the slave-traders for the casualties they had suffered.

Turn 8
A Fezian Infantry Unit stormed ashore from the dhow that had been transporting it whilst the second dhow moored next to the fort prior to landing the troops it carried. The gunboat Osman III - carrying Colonel Usman – steamed towards HMS Indolent and signalled that the Colonel requested an urgent meeting with Colonel Wells, whom he rightly assumed was aboard the Britannic warship.

Realising that the situation had drastically changed and that there was a distinct possibility that fighting between the Britannic and Fezian troops could break out at any moment, Colonel Wells signalled the Britannic troops to stop advancing with immediate effect. This order was not well received by the Madasahatta Rangers, but they grudgingly obeyed it.

Turn 9
Whilst the Fezians rounded up and disarmed the slave-traders …

… the Britannic and Fezian commanders held a conference aboard HMS Indolent.

Colonel Wells knew that the fort was situated in disputed territory, and did not want to risk starting a war without approval from his government. His force had achieved its aim – the removal of the slave-traders – but he wished to make sure that they could not return at a later date. Colonel Usman realised that his force was out-gunned by the Britannic troops and gunboat, and he looked for some way in which he could ensure that he protected 'the sovereignty of Fezian territory' without risking an all-out fight with a potentially stronger adversary.

After some considerable discussion the two Colonels agreed that the fort should be destroyed by explosives. These would be provided by the Britannic Marines and the fuse would be lit by a Fezian officer. The slaver-traders (or 'traders' as the Fezian Colonel insisted on calling them) were taken into 'protective custody' by the Fezians, who returned them to Marzibar.

Turn 10
After the explosives had been set, the fort was destroyed in a huge explosion.

It is rumoured that an independent Boundary Commission is to be set up to adjudicate where the actual border between the Britannic Colony of New Surrey and Fezian Madasahatta lies ... but who knows how long that will take nor what could happen in the interim?

Monday, 3 October 2011

New Colonial wargames rules available to download

I have uploaded the Colonial version of my PORTABLE WARGAME rules (in PDF format) to THE PORTABLE WARGAME website so that any interested blog reader can download them and possibly use them.

This draft uses the same basic game mechanisms as the earlier 'Musket' version of the rules, but I have added some extra weapon types (e.g. Magazine Rifles, Machine Guns) as well as including an option for Native Infantry and Cavalry Units to make double-length moves if their Commander achieves the right score on a D6 die.

The rules are still very much a 'work in progress', and may be subject to change as and when they are play-tested ... which will hopefully be quite soon.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Colonial Wargaming website: Updated ... at long last!

After over a year of inactivity I have finally managed to update my Colonial Wargaming website.

Most of the updates are to the Books pages of the Inspiration section of the website, but over the coming months I hope expand various sections and to extend the scope of the website to include some of the non-colonial conflicts that took place between 1850 and 1920.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Colonial Wargaming website update

I have added details of my most recent acquisition – WARSHIP 2010 – to the Books pages of the Inspiration section of my Colonial Wargaming website.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Joseph Morschauser's 'Frontier' wargames rules

I realised this morning that the version of Joseph Morschauser's 'Frontier' wargames rules that I had made available as a download in PDF format from the Colonial Wargame Rules section of my Colonial Wargaming website contain several errors.

I have now corrected them and the new version of the rules can now be downloaded.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Joseph Morschauser's 'Frontier' wargames rules

Further to my last two blog entries, I have now re-written Joseph Morschauser's 'Frontier' wargames rules in the hope that modern wargamers will find them clearer and easier to understand.

They can now be downloaded in PDF format from the Colonial Wargame Rules section of my Colonial Wargaming website. Like all the other rules available in that section, they are not password protected.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Its quiet out there ... too quiet ... or is it?

The following images of what I think are the 'Frontier' rules in use on the tabletop are from Joseph Morschauser's HOW TO PLAY WAR GAMES IN MINIATURE and Donald Featherstone's ADVANCED WAR GAMES.

Its very quiet out there ... too quiet ...

Despite several people asking if I have given up on Colonial wargaming, the truth is that for the last few months my attention has been elsewhere. I have continue to develop my version of Joseph Morschauser's wargame rules, and have helped set up a blog that deals with the interwar era (from 1919 to 1939, give or take a few years).

The result is that I have had little time to do any actual Colonial wargaming but ...

One byproduct of my work on Morschauser's rules is that I now have a copy of his 'Frontier' rules. These are the ones that I think he used in the games that are featured in the famous photographs in Donald Featherstone's ADVANCED WAR GAMES. I intend to demonstrate these rules at the next COW (Conference of Wargamers) in July, and this will entail doing some work on the layout of the rules as their current format is a little dated.

A second byproduct is that I have begun to realise that there were a considerable number of Colonial conflicts during the interwar era, and that this is a fertile area for my Colonial wargaming in the future.

So things have bee quite out there for a few weeks ... but not too quiet!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Colonial Wargaming website update

I have added details of my recent acquisitions to the Books and Videos and DVDs pages of the Inspiration section of my Colonial Wargaming website.

Recent additions

Since my last blog entry I have acquired a couple of items that might be of interest to the colonial wargamer.

The first is a DVD entitled OMAR MUKHTAR: LION OF THE DESERT.

This film is set in the late 1920s, and tells the story of the Italian attempts to crush the remnants of Libyan resistance to Italian colonial rule. This resistance was led by Omar Mukhtar who proved to be a very able leader of irregular forces. The films stars Anthony Quinn as Omar Mukhtar, Oliver Reed as General Rodolfo Graziani, and Rod Steiger as Mussolini, and features a large number of recreated and restored vehicles, including some Fiat tanks.

I managed to see this film when it first came out in 1981, but only recently discovered that it had been released as a DVD. When I saw a copy on sale at a recent wargames show, I had to buy it!

My other recent purchase is a copy of the Osprey book about the OTTOMAN INFANTRYMAN 1914-18.

The book's author is David Nicolle, who is well known writer on medieval and Islamic warfare, and the illustrator is Christa Hook.

The book is the latest volume in the WARRIOR series (No.145 [ISBN 978 1 84603 506 7]) and includes chapters on:
  • Enlistment
  • Training
  • Daily Life
  • Appearance and Weaponry
  • Belief and Belonging
  • Life on Campaign
  • The Soldier in battle
  • Museums, Re-enactment and Collecting
The book as a short Introduction, a Chronology of the main events affecting the Ottoman Empire from 1914 to 1918, a Bibliography, and a very useful Glossary of Turkish military terms.