Sunday, July 24, 2016

54mm Battle of Tokar

Date: 23 July 1898/2016
Location: Near Dongala, Sudan - Home of Jim P., Der Alte Fritz
Situation: Battle of Tokar AAR
Turn 1: 9:30am
Finished: Circa 3:30pm after 12 turns.
Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien Régime 1740-1763 {BAR COLONIAL}
*****     *****     *****     *****


Back home again, it's time to put soldiers, terrain and rules away,
but someone....

These companions agree.
Seated from left to right: Jim H., Keith L., Morgan E. and Dan E.
Standing left to right: Yours truly Bill P., Jim P. Der Alte Fritz, John B. and Chuck L.


Camp Dongala on the Nile River.
The Army has already departed to capture the well at El-Dubie.

General Pettygree looks in and rides past Sinclair's square. 

Farther into the desert is Barlow's Square.
Squares and horsemen are carefully covering each other.
Someone must have studied Vauban's covering fire tactics.

Dervish scouts observe oncoming Imperials from El-Dubie.

Dervish infantry eventually appear on Barlow's right flank....

As Barlow reinforces his right flank. El-Dubie is closer now; upper right. 

The 21st Lancers support Barlow at the top by facing the same Dervishes. 


General Pettygree observes the charge start at the trot, then canter into....

Melee and charge through the Dervishes --- stopping their advance.

The foe will turn to engage the lancers but....

The greatly reduced cavalry gallops away leaving a side table....

Eventually entering Barlow's now contracted square for protection
back on the main table. It was the last many saw of Barlow's men.
The Dervish broke the square.


The next day.
"Waverleigh. Do we know exactly what happened to Barlow?"
"We do now, Sir."

"Dervish horsemen gathered on the far side of El-Dubie...." 

"Staying carefully out of sight of Barlow's weapons. To the right [4-5' away], a large mass of Dervish assembled in the village of Tokar. Their astonishing numbers washed over Barlow --- not without difficulty."

"One moment Barlow's men were blazing away. Then not a man stood where he had been. So, you gave orders for the rest of the army to pull back to the River Camp."

"Sinclair's men had been roughly handled."
 "They gave better than they received. No shape to press on."

"So we began to retire into the camp."

"Sir. This is Winston's tent. He was there. Why not speak to him?"

"Lieutenant, give me your account of Colonel Barlow's last stand."

"Sir, as the Dervish approached from the northwest, the remnant of the 21st rallied within the square. Then Colonel Barlow opened the square, we trotted out...."

"Formed line and engaged the foe then attacking the square in prodigious numbers."

"Though I was hotly engaged, I happened to turn about seeing only a section of the Black Watch who had beaten off the Khalifa himself and his bodyguard. The Marines had been cut down to a man and the Gardner crew was in great distress."

"Later I found Naval Detachment, Black Watch and Gordon's Highlanders men who had escaped. They returned to camp. From them I learned the fate of Colonel Barlow. Most likely dead Sir."

"Thank you Lieutenant. We must and will do better next time."


1) Dear readers, you now have the story of the Battle of Tokar from the standpoint of the 54mm soldiers under my command. Frankly I can't wait to take the field again. I'm already making plans. 

2) By now many of you have seen Jim's AAR on his Der Alte Fritz Blog. If not, please go there for the rest of the story soon.

3) This game featured a new way to use charismatic officers. We thew a D6 per officer. Officers with a Charisma/Skill rating of 2 were able to fire three individual revolver shots and count as three men in melee. Officers valued at 1 fired one fewer bullet and meleed as one less man. 

Shots hit targets in open order or cover on a D6 throw of 6. If the target was a mass, a 5-6 hit home. Hits got saving throws. This was a fun way to easily introduce heroic or professional skills for Imperial leaders. 

4) See you next time, perhaps at the club in Cairo. Meanwhile, why not leave a remark below at Comments? Later we can talk about it in the Mess. Tally Ho! Respectfully, Bill P.
*****     *****     *****     *****

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Day Before At Camp Dongala in 54mm

Date: 22 July 1898/2016
Location: Near Dongala, Sudan
Situation: Inspection
*****     *****     *****     *****


Royal Marines  and the Naval Shore party await the appearance of General Pettygree.

A section of 42nd Highlanders, the Black Watch, anchor the flank of the battle line as General Pettygree and escort arrive. All seems well enough except for a fellow falling over from the extreme heat. This is to be expected in The Sudan.

Sailors of the Naval Brigade appear eager for a fight. "Well done men."

"Gunner Thorpe --- is your gun crew ready?" 
"Aye General. So is Lochinvar, the finest 7 pounder there ever was!" 

 Royal Marines make up the largest body of men in the brigade.

The inspection team passes through the line.

 "Good luck General."
"Thank you Winston."

"Opinion Waverleigh?"
"I like our chances tomorrow General."

"Especially since Archie Sinclair's lads and cavalry are in high spirits."
"And if I may say so General, in good order too.
"Let the men eat a hearty evening meal and get a good night's rest."


1) The Imperials are outnumbered 2:1 and the foe is determined with many fanatical warriors.

2) John B, Chuck L., Keith L., Jim H., Dan E., Morgan E, and yours truly Bill P. are due at the home of Der Alte Fritz (Jim P.) at 8:30am July 23, 2016 for this first 54mm tabletop game. Wish us luck will you?

3) See you all soon -- at the club.

*****     *****     *****     *****

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Back To The Sudan in Amazing 54mm


Two months ago I had no 54mm miniatures. Jim P. did. He recently rediscovered a collection purchased a few decades ago in London and got them out to display. I suggested playing a game with 'em. He agreed. --- Let's do The Sudan said he. Naturally, I'll play said I. --- Carry on Jim.

There are no coincidences.

About the same time, Chuck L. said a local 54mm retailer was closing his store. I went there to check thinking Jim might want something. Not me though. Well, maybe a token something or other. All I bought was Fred Burnaby. But, look what else I saw.

John Jenkins Designs 1884-1885 British Royal Marine Light Infantry in the window display.

Elsewhere W. Britains Dervishes were attacking....

Britains Highlanders, Naval Brigade plus York and Lancaster Foot.

The sign greeting customers on the door said. "Going Out of Business 30% Discount." --- So I decided to be a decent chap, collaborate and buy some Hadendowah and Beja tribesmen for the first game. Meanwhile, Jim began sweeping up economical 54mms on the internet.

You know the expression about a snowball gathering momentum and becoming larger as it rolls down hill. The following images illustrate this for me though it is high summer here.

Fred Burnaby swings his sword in the upper left while Lt. Churchill rests his sword on his right shoulder. Chuck gifted me with the biscuit boxes and wagons a few years ago.

This is a staged photo simply to see how things look. The Royal Marines seen here plus more than thirty of their mates are no longer in the store. They are here with me along with....

Games 1 and 2 are on July 23, 2016 at Jim's home. We are preparing for it with happy enthusiasm. I hope you have seen his table on the Der Alte Fritz blog. It is a stunningly appealing sight to behold.

Larry Brom contends in The Sword and The Flame that natives must outnumber Imperials by at least 2.25 to 1. Stuart Asquith in War in the Sudan 1884-1885 A Campaign Guide contends the minimum is 3 to 1. So I came home with almost every Hadendowah and Beja tribesmen in the store.

Then Chuck told me about "Armies in Plastic" 54mms. I bought a trial box from the Sudan range containing twenty Beja tribesmen. Subsequently I found out buying three boxes earns a fourth for free. Five boxes earn three more free and free postage. Direct from Armies in Plastic in NY.

I took the lot outside. It would have been criminal to waste the sunny day above ensconced in a cold basement. Temperatures were moderate with light breezes. Perfect frankly for serious painting.

Rocket came over to check on dad several times.

I made good progress painting outside.


The Toy Soldier Shoppe has closed its doors and most of the inventory has been promised to a vendor. However, that did not happen before I swept up the remaining Royal Marines, a Naval Brigade Shore Party with Gardner, Skinners Horse, Highlanders, Beja and Ansar Tribesmen, two buildings, stone walls and even some WWII Afrika Korps soldaten for a story I'm writing. Naturally the gamer in me said go to the internet to raise proper numbers per unit. You'll see some in a moment.

Thanks to inspiration by Lewis S., I've been on a colorizing and chart numbering kick in 2016 for my rules, Batailles de l' Ancien Régime (1740-1763) and it's BAR variant for Colonial games.

General Pettygree recently said, "Colorized rules are easier on the eyes compared to black text on white. Also each chart is now numbered. Thus, if someone asks for  Imperial Infantry movement rates, we'll say see Chart #3. Singularly easy and fast." 

Naturally there were BAR Colonial adjustments and additions. Actually there always are as we learn new things and how to present these in rules. My Dervishes agreed to test the system twice.

 For the second test Jim suggested an attack on the corner of a square. Here it is.

Sailors are W. Britains and John Jenkins Designs.
The light blue marines are JJD.
It is hugely important to have a central reserve.

On the left are JJD Beja tribesmen.
Armies in Plastic Beja are on movement trays. Plastics are tippy.
So I glued rocks on individual bases and magnetized warriors on trays.
By the way, the Gardner jammed!

BAR allows up to three rounds of melee in three successive turns. Turns 4 and 5 were drawn; no winner. In Turn 6 the Dervishes decisively won, pushed back and followed the Imperials 6" and forced morale checks. The decimated sailors routed to safety. However, the marines and Highlanders passed morale and held! Rules call for disengagement after three rounds. The Dervishes had to leave.

Test #2 over. What's next? The games at Jim's on July 23, 2016.


1) Jim found Ashland Moss at a Michael's craft store.... 

Makes excellent dried branches to surround zarebas.

2) See you soon with the game AAR or AARs. Till then....

3) Your remarks are welcome below at Comments.