Monday, January 10, 2011

Chapter 48: Escape Still In Doubt

Date: November 18, 1899
Location: Village Of Kota Ki-Bandahar
Situation: The Rescue Attempt Part 2
It's Elementary. Double-Clicked Images Are Best
Continuing narration of prisoner, Lt. Colonel James Lawford, 9th Bengal Lancers.

"Chapter 47, "The Rescue Attempt Part 1, previously related how the hand of fate suddenly passed through the village carrying everyone toward new destinies. Would my cruel captivity continue or end with me unhurt or shockingly disabled? No matter. I seized the hand extended to me as...."
"Gill's men pounded up the stairs arriving at the floor below in my Watch Tower prison. Enraged guards charged with drawn swords. The sowars barely had time to snap fire."

"The three fell - riddled by the fire. Of course I did not know this at the time. I only knew when fire ceased that heavy footsteps resumed the ascent to my floor. Whose would they be?"

 "Bracing myself I opened the door - careful to keep my manuscript in hand."

Lawford: "Gill! How..."
Gill: "No time Sir. Let's get out of here. Now Sir, if you please."

"An open window during  our descent allowed me to observe a troop of 10th Hussars cross the stream; smoke still drifting from earlier explosions."

 "The enemy saw and opened fire upon them from the distant bridge."

"The hussars ascended the bank moving in an arc toward the Watch Tower when...."

 "A third explosion occurred. This was the reason for the arc. Lt. Caddy had planted a third charge intending to draw attention away from my escape. When the charge failed to explode on time, he elected to cross the river to get on with the rescue operation. He arrived at the Watch Tower as we emerged."

Caddy: "Good to see you Sir!"
Gill: "Horses around the side, Sir."
Caddy: "Quite right Colonel. Time to dash away."

"We formed up to leave regrettably having lost Pvt. Jones (10th Hussars), one sowar also dead with two others wounded (9th Bengal Lancers)."

 "We broke into a fast trot increasing to a gallop to avoid enemy fire."

"We raced pell mell away from Kota Ki-Bandahar. There was no pursuit. Odd. The rescue operation had been a success - so far. "

"The next day we passed into an arid region seeing ancient ruins along the way.  Was one of them Alexandra's lost city? There was no time to stop." [From left to right: Gill, Lawford and Caddy.]

"The Column rode on."

"Several hours later a range of forested hills came more closely into view."
"We entered a vast pine forest on a small trail. The rest of our march was uneventful. A week later we arrived at Fort Grant and I reported to Major General Pettygree. He congratulated Gill and Caddy for a successful mission. I told him everything I knew. He seemed troubled by the party of Romanovs."

"What I did not know was the fate of my acquaintance Alexandra, her Uncle Villainovich and their quest to find the plundered treasure of Alexander The Great they believed is buried underneath the ruins of Alexandrapour. Was it true? Would I see her again?"

Lt. Colonel Lawford could not then know the answers to his inquiries. Luckily I know something of their next circumstances below.

Soon after Lawford's escape, The Supreme Leader, Muljadhi, hosted another private durbar. Colonel Villainovich and Alexandra arrived dressed to the nines.

I could not hear more than a little of their conversation but....

From past experience we know Villainovich promised delivery of an object before the next campaign season to the Tug leader. Also known unless it was a ruse to fool Lt. Col. Lawford was the matter of finding and exploring Alexandrapour.

The intensity of the Guru and the demeanor of the Romanovs indicate serious matters.

We may imagine Alexandra and her Uncle conferring before departure.

Two days later they arrived at ancient ruins. Do they believe this is Alexandrapour?

"I was looking forward to this game for some time. Seeing as I was the cause of Col Lawford's imprisonment, I was anxious to see how the next chapter would unfold. Bill and I had been bouncing ideas off each other about how to handle the game. I suggested trying a couple of "pulp" rulesets I've had for awhile as a bit of a diversion. We tried .45 Adventure and Where Heroes Dare. Bill liked the special attributes and flavor of the rules and suggested we use one for the rescue scenario. I agreed and chose to use Where Heroes Dare. I really enjoy .45 Adventure but didn't think it would be able to handle the number of figures Bill had in mind for this game."

"I had a few things to consider when making up forces for the game. First, Bill wanted the British to win. It didn't have to be easy for them but they were still supposed to make it off with Lawford. Second, the British were going to be heavily outnumbered. To aid the British cause, I made all the British officers "leads". In the rules this gives them three wounds, access to better abilities and 3 attacks in hand to hand. I also gave them armor. I know there weren't bulletproof vests on the Northwest Frontier so I told Bill to think of them as being extra lucky. I made all the British troopers "companions" giving them two wounds and two hand to hand attacks. I kept things pretty simple when it came to special abilities. I didn't want to slow things down with so many characters on the table."

"For the Tugs, I gave them only a couple of lead figures and two or three companions. The rest were made up of single wound supporters. The Iron Ivan yahoo group did the heavy lifting figuring out Tug stats. They already had a list of generic colonial characters and stats. It was very helpful."

"This game also allowed me to break out my new dynamite deck from the Virtual Armchair General. One of the ideas I had was for the British to set up some dynamite explosions as diversions to draw some of the guards away from the tower holding Lawford. The dynamite deck is a special deck of cards representing the fuse on a bundle of dynamite. The more cards the longer the fuse. It really added some uncertainty to the game. Ill definitely use it again."

"I was happy how the rules worked in this game. [Me too! Bill] I did forget one rule about checking for suppression whenever a group is shot at. I don't think it would have changed much. I look forward to breaking out Where Heroes Dare again. I have some freshly painted rocket troopers looking for a scrap."
1. Thank you Chuck for your involvement in everything! Mighty glad about it, I say.
2. This concludes the first person narration of Lt. Col. Lawford.
3. I'm looking forward to -- well -- let's just wait and see.
4. Your remarks are welcome as always at the word comments below.


Steve Gill said...

Phew, that's a relief!

Well done for incorporating the pulp mechanisms so successfully.

Bluebear Jeff said...

Interesting that you used a different type of rule set . . . that is something that I will have to think about . . . using different rules for different situations . . . thanks for the idea.

Your photos, as usual, are great . . . and who knows what lurks in the ruins of Alexandrapour? (Perhaps we will eventually find out).

-- Jeff

Anonymous said...

Always waiting for the next chapter.
Very good idea the activation with the cards.
For the 28 mm I use Flying Lead.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Bill - excellent narrative - as ever!

Prinz Geoffrey said...

Very exciting, great fun.

ColCampbell50 said...


Glad to see that Colonel Lawford was rescued. But what is that rascally Russian up to? Only future chapters can tell us. Looking forward to them.


Fitz-Badger said...

A rousing good adventure, well illustrated and executed!

Gallia said...

Thank you for all your remarks and intere Sirs!
There is more to come. Imagineering and planning are rattling around. Chuck has some clever scenic ideas to be used in 2011 and we've discussed ideas. Several items need painting too.

Larry Stehle said...

Smashing Good Show Lads!

Dynamite can be tricky stuff don't you know!

As usual, great photos and a good write-up!

Prinz Geoffrey said...

If you need any help painting stuff shoot me an email. Would love to help out.

Anonymous said...

That is a spectacular bit of photography there - posing, painting and putting together the scenes.

I've read through the archives of the last forty-eight chapters over the last week or so, and I am rather sad to reach the current chapter, because I now have to wait like everybody else to see what's next!

Excellent work. Is there any rhyme or reason to the forces the General has available to him, or is it just what you find most interesting?


Gallia said...

For Rob,
The Imperial orbat grew like most wargame armies depending on what appealed most to me. Bengal Lancers were an absolute must. More Imperial native units than regulars from back home was another key. Also, as time went by filling out such things as supply, heliograph sections, engineers and staff for the sake of completeness became important.

Here and there I think about The Guides and Gurkhas but to date I have no miniatures to paint for same.

There is also the very real game negativity of having too many Imperials compared to their foes.
Native foes needed to have miniatures from just about every manufacturer I could find.
We typically have a gargantuan Colonial battle in June. The back story will work up to that soon with some side trips along the way - especially since Alexandra is so "intoxicating" as Lt. Col. Lawford believes.
Meanwhile, you might find something interesting in The Campaigns In Germania blog. See: