Saturday 3 January 2015

Battle of Nasiriyeh - July 1915 - Scenario

A 28mm game in Mesopotamia

Gurkha's disembarking from a Gunboat, gaming doesn't get any better !

I always try and get a Xmas game in here in Yarkshire and WW1 in the East seems to becoming a bit of a festive theme. I started it a couple of years ago as its the nearest thing we do to the holy land. Its also good as the "desert" terrain we have also doubles up for usage in our WW2 North African, Punic War and Spanish Civil War games and we had nearly all the gang there as well, a bit crowded but good fun, those who couldn't attend come back soon y'all.

Historical Background

The British Empires actions against the Turks lasted throughout most of the 1st World War, mostly overshadowed by the fighting on the Western Front. The Gallipoli Campaign has a reasonably high profile mostly thanks to the great work the ANZAC nations do to remember their dead, however the actions in Iraq, Palestine and Africa are less well celebrated. My Great Uncle fought in this conflict, sadly he didn't come home, he still lies in the Commonwealth Cemetery in Baghdad. Its a lifetime ambition to visit him and pay my respects, sadly with the trouble in the area I don't think I ever will.

The Empire forces pushing out of their base in Basra had defeated the Turks earlier in the year in Qurna, General Nixons ultimate aim at that time was Kut, he decided to further that course of action he needed to set Nasiriyeh, further up the Euphrates, as his next target. Initially 30 Brigade was tasked with the attack, consisting of 2 battalions of Gurkha's and 2 Punjabi Regiments, 4 x 4.7" guns and a mix of Sappers and Pioneers, this was woefully short of the number of troops required for the task and numbers were soon increased. The area around Nasiriyeh has very fertile soil and was likened to parts of England by contemporary writers (hence the western trees we used in the game), it had also been a biblical year for floods in the area which had left large marshy areas around the area. Add to that shade temperatures recorded up to 113 F and hostile marsh Arabs known as "Budhoos" who hated everyone, this was going to be a fun operation.

The operation took a number of weeks and our scenario rolls together most of the aspects of the operation in one easy to swallow game.

Table Set Up

I know, I'll get round to that Map App soon, in the mean time here is a photo of our table set up with the game in progress. The Euphrates runs up the centre of the table, in the far ground on the right bank is Nasiriyeh, there are two lines of Turkish defences on both side of the river and a generous spread of woods and marsh areas. The marshes give light cover but are classed as bad going for movement. Table is 12 ft x 6 ft.

The Rules

Home made activation cards.

We use "If the Lord Spares Us" from the fantastic Toofatlardies, available as far as I am aware as a download only, I paid the sum of a whole 7 of your English pounds, from their website. I won't give a full run down here as this is not a rule review, basically they are a unit card activation system, similar to the other Lardie sets. The rules cover everything you could think of for the period (eg Gunboats) and campaign area, no glossy hard back full of gaming porn just a damn good set of rules.

The rules suggest basing figures in pairs, something I'm not keen on in this scale, mine are based singularly.

The Scenario

NB: The troops we have used are very much based on my collection of figures and not on an historical orbat.


The Turkish player starts with the 72nd Infantry Regt on the table, this consists of 3 battalions, each of which has;

1 x Brigade HQ 4 figs (d4 actions)
1 x HQ Company 2 figures
4 x Companies of 6 figs
1 x MG base.
All are morale level 3.

They may set up on either the middle 4 ft section of table or in the section containing Nasiriyeh and have 4 lines of trenches to defend.

As support the Turks have 2 batteries of off table Artillery (mostly off table because I haven't got any).

Empire Forces

The starting forces for the Empire are,

1 x Brigade HQ 4 figs (1d6 minus 1 actions)
1st Battalion 8th Cheshires, 4 companies of 10 figs, 1 x 2 fig HQ and an MG base.
Nelson Battalion of the RND, 4 companies of 8 figs, 1 x 2 fig HQ
2nd Battalion 7th Gurkhas, 4 companies of 8 figs, 1 x 2 fig HQ and and MG base.
1 x Company of 6th Sikh Battalion 10 figs
All morale grade 1

Supported by 1 gun boat armed with 2 Mgs, an on table Artillery Battery and an off table battery.

Sikh Battalion is 10 figs because I haven't painted the rest yet, same for the RND Mg

Empire enter from the table edge furthest from Nasiriyeh, they can load 2 coys and one weapon onto the gunboat.


Arabs !!! Led by some dodgy looking guy in a Fez
 Starting from the first turn Infantry on table engages each other from short range (9") add a Turkish and an Empire reinforcement card to the deck along with two Arabs cards, each time the card is drawn in normal game play roll 1 d10, needing a 10 for the reinforcements to arrive (-1 per turn drawn)


1 Battalion of Regular Turkish Troops, 4 coys of 8 figs plus HQ and MG base. Morale 2
1 Battalion of Stormtroopers as above no MG Morale 0

Arrive in Nasiriyeh.


2 x Battalions of Australian Light Horse (dismounted) use 4 x 8 plus HQ and MG Morale -1

Arrive on Empire table edge.


When they arrive roll a die to determine which half of which table they arrive on, only count areas in which action is taking place. So if you have action on the right and and centre 4 ft sections roll a d4 to determine which table and "north or south" they arrive on. Then use a random die to determine which piece of unoccupied terrain they have been hiding in.

Place a group of 10 Arabs in that terrain feature, the nearest unit will become the enemy. Their mission is to be a pain in the backside. As they have no traditional means of removing suppression they will leave the table when they reach 10 points, if they are not fired at in a turn they can recover 1d4.

The objectives are straight forward, the Empire need to capture Nasiriyeh, the Turks need to stop them, the Arabs just need to nick anything that isn't nailed down. So there you go, an AAR will be published when we get done, probably last a couple of sessions minus time for chatting obviously.

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