Friday, February 22, 2019

19 February 1899: Morning Battle At Bulawao Kraal

Date: 19 February 1899/2019
Location: Bulawao Kraal, Mafrica
Situation: Morning Battle
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"Mr. Pearson, I trust you will record today's events accurately for The Times?"

"You may rely on me to record the truth without doubt Colonel Blakeney."

Route of March: Port of Rulundi to The King's Kraal.
Jack Scruby's Mafrica Map accented by Cartographer David G.

The Royal Kraal.

The Zulu King was surprised by our arrival from the Jungle Trail upon the plain before his Kraal. However, he swiftly commanded that portion of the Impi still in residence to mobilize to counter our advance. Obedience was immediate.

These fellows appeared to our left.

Whilst these warriors appeared to our right.

The 66th Regiment of Foot straddled the King's Road at shoulder arms.

Our right flank was protected by The Naval Detachment's Gatling
opening fire early in the battle.

The immediate left flank was secured by two Royal Artillery Screw Guns
and sections of the 24th Foot arriving adjacent to the 66th.

Farther to our left, 24th Foot Flankers soon came to grips with the Zulu.

Hand to hand combat ensued.

In the center, the Impi surged forward independently without time
to mass into its traditional horns, loins and chest formation known as
 Impondo Zenkomo in the Zulu language.

We waited for them to come closer.

In the rear from left to right are Correspondent Pearson myself, Sergeant Major Crisp, Colonel Blakeney, Lieutenant Caddy Royal Engineers and Miss Margaretha van Deers.

The Screw Guns opened fire at long range,

Causing alarming results whilst the 66th waited.

Blakeney called out to the men,
"Steady my boys. You will give them hot stuff soon enough."
"One lad nearby grumbled, You ain't Wolfe and these ain't Frenchies at Quebec!"
Sergeant Major Crisp shouted back, "Mark a target soldier!"
Then the order came!

Our front erupted in an ear-splitting volley.

After two volleys, Blakeney ordered, "Cease Fire."
The Zulus were in full retreat.
Surely to rally, reorganize and hope for reinforcements to stop us.

And our grumbler said, "We ain't done with 'em yet."

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Good Morning Saturday Readers! 

1. In fact we plan to resume and conclude The Battle of Bulawao in early March.

2. Prodigious thanks to our keen players, Dave G., Chuck The Lucky, John The Formidable, Bill K. and yours truly Bill P. --- All provided inspiration, terrain, soldiers and the scenario; especially Dave G. for the latter.

3. And posthumous thanks to...Larry Brom who wrote the rules used.

4. Thank you for looking in. See you again soon!

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Monday, February 18, 2019

18 February 1899: March To Bulawao Kraal

Date: 18 February 1899/2019
Location: One Day East of Bulawao Kraal, Mafrica
Situation: Imperial Column Preparing To March
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18 February 1899 --- Imperial Camp
Foreground: Naval Detachment --- Background 66th Foot

"Colonel Blakeney. Riders com'n in fast. Looks like Lt. Hawkings and the van Deers girl."

"Right you are Sergeant Major Crisp. We'll wait for them here."

"Very good Sah!"

"Lt. Hawkings and Miss Margaretha, welcome back."
"Glad to be back Colonel."
"What did you discover?"

"Mixed news. Half the Impi is gone. The rest is at Bulawao."
"Ja. We saw the track of the Impi. It is three to four days old."

"Very well then. Time to march fast and strike."
"My family and our destroyed farm will be avenged."
"Yes. Now both of you get food and rest. Catch up with us later."

"Miss Margaretha. I have some tolerable brandy."
"Thank you. However, a change of clothes and breakfast would serve best." 
"Naturally. I only thought...."

"Captain Robbyns. The 66th will step off at the half hour."
"Aye Colonel. I'll break camp and bring up the wagons directly."

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1) This is the prelude to Game #2 of our Mafrica Campaign. Scroll down just a little to Game #1 played on 10 October 2018/1898. 

2) Rules: The Sword and The Flame 20th edition.

3) Thank you for looking in. Comments, remarks, etc. welcome.

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Merry Christmas Everyone


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Case For Tundra Con

Date: Saturday 5 January 2019
Venue: American Legion Hall, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA
Situation: Companionable and Fun Wargame Day

"I think we need a rest; a pleasant diversion from chasing about after Professor Moriarty all these months.  What do you say Holmes?"

"My dear Dr. Watson.... Yeeeesss, for once you have something there."

"Moments ago I was speaking with the military men behind us about a singular activity; The Tundra Con Wargame day. Here is the advertisement shown to me."

"It offers recuperation with elegant miniatures and battle problems. I suggest we join them en-route."

"Its elementary. A little active rest, entertainment in the form of tactical problems produced by clever games, superior cuisine we shall no doubt find and the opportunity to be with similar minded people will be just the thing. For one day mind you, Watson. Afterwards we resume the chase."

"There is not a moment to lose my dear fellow. We'll hire a coach to take us to Appleton. Meanwhile, I wish to learn more about this event from the military people with whom you spoke."

"Gentlemen. I beg your pardon.
Tell us more about Tundra Con, if you please."

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Have you been to Tundra Con?
Please leave your remarks below at Comments.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

SUDAN 54mm Three Battle Campaign Game #1

Date: 16 October 1898/2018
Location: Sudan Seacoast, Bebara River, Mafrica
Situation: Imperial Naval Landing Opposed By Dervishes

Rules: Batailles de le Ancien Régime/Colonial
Miniatures: 54-60mms
Weeknight Game --- Two Hours Duration
Players: Jim P. Der Alte Fritz, John B., Greg B. and me Bill P.

See previous post for set-up explanation and photos
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Imperial forces commenced a naval landing on the Sudanese Coast at the mouth of The Bebara River on the imagineered continent of Mafrica. Local Dervish forces immediately launched a counterattack to throw the Imperials back into the sea. This is what happened.

Morning Of The Landing

Northern Flank of the IEF Along The Bebara River
Royal Marines Assemble On The Beach
Naval Detachment Prolongs A Gardner Machine Gun Forward

To Support A More Forward Royal Marine Section Covering

The Most Forward Imperial Position Within A Stone Enclosure

Southern Flank Of The IEF
Dismounted Camel Corps Assembles On The Beach 
And Pushes A Screen Forward

Camelry Moves Inland
Left: Gatling Gun.    Right: Dismounted Camel Corps


Volley Fire --- Present --- FIRE!

Independent Fire

Royal Marines and the Gardner Quick March
To Support The Highlanders

Left: Hand to Hand At The Wall
Right: Dervishes Recoil Back 

 Royal Marines Move Forward Firing Into The Dervish Flank

Meanwhile More Dervishes Arrive To Overcome The Highlanders 

And Flank Them On The Left
Will The Oncoming Royal Marines Scare Them Off?

It Doesn't Look Like It!
Both Imperial Flanks Are Lost
Only The Center Holds On


The Camel Corps Is Rushed By Dervishes

Heedless Of Losses They Charge Forward

After Initial Melee Successes
They Become Surrounded

Survivors Defiantly Fall Back To Recover
They Fought With Fanatical Ardour!


This Looks And Is Dreadfully Bad For The Enclosure
Dervishes Are Within And Behind It!

Our game time was up at 9:20 pm. Many Dervishes had routed from the front of the enclosure and surely (?) the nearing Royal Marines, Gardner and surviving Highlanders would cause the winning Dervishes within to logically retire.

Kudos to the Dervishes (John B. and Greg B.) for putting a huge scare into the two Imperial commanders; Jim and I! Somehow we survived. 

The landing area is secure for the moment and the Dervishes are retiring to regroup and summon hordes of reinforcements for Battle #2.


(1) I am gravitating toward issuing game mission orders in the briefest way possible. It seems to help and allows players to use their own wits and intuition a bit more. And it is fast so a game can get underway without more than a few minutes of conversation. In recent years it seems as if lengthy game orders and speeches are not productive. Hence, this is all I gave to our four players.

(2) It helps enormously to use Quick Reference Charts. They are fast and each section has a number.

If you click on the above to make the image larger, notice that each little section is numbered. Thus, during a game all we have to say is, "Charlie the answer is in #19 or #44, etc." It's fast. Fast turn resolution is very important to maximize figuring things out and getting in more game turns.

(3) The enclosure creates an interesting and fun game tension. All of us know about Roarke's Drift. We recreated it a little differently.

(4) Bill's Imperial Roll Call After The Battle:
We should cobble together dice throws for KIA, Lightly Wounded and so on.

Stone Enclosure:
Burnaby Officer Commanding: 1 -0 = 1
Black Watch 42nd. Highlanders: 24 -6 = 18
Gordon Highlanders: 12 -3 = 9
Naval Detachment: 3 -2 =1

Officer Commanding and ADC: 2 -0 = 0
Royal Marines: 44 -0 = 44 (a)
Gardner Gun: 9 -0 = 9
Naval Detachment: 5 -0 = 5 (b)

(a)  22 unengaged (beach defense)
(b) 5 unengaged (beach defense)

(5) Jim's Imperial Losses

Major Edwards: 1 -0 = 1
Camel Corps: 50 approx. -6 = 44
Gatling Gun: 3 -0 = 3
Naval Detachment: 7 -0 = 7 (c)

(c) Unengaged (Guarding supplies on beach)

(6) Dervish Losses = ?

(7) Thank you for looking in.

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