This post shows how far behind I have got on the blogging front as this was our Xmas game ! Admittedly it rumbled on for a few sessions but the festive season is our little groups opportunity to continue with our "Carry on up the Tigris" adventures.
|Early in the game, Sikh Troops in a motor launch|
Last year we re fought Es Sinn and this year it was the turn of Ctesiphon. General Townsend has been leading his British and Indian troops gradually towards Baghdad and had been involved in a series of victories over the previous year leading upto this point where at the historic Arch of Ctesiphon the Turkish Troops turned to face the advancing Empire Forces.
|Gurkhas come under sporadic Artillery Fire whilst waiting to advance|
|Brownlows Punjabi Regiment start their advance.|
We used the Toofatlardies rules, If The Lord Spares Us, so all Morale and Officer classes refer to that set. The rules are designed for 15mm with 2 figures per base however we have been playing them for years with 28mm figures counting 2 figures as a base (subtle eh).
Empire Forces Set Up
|Sikh Troops on launches pass the Ox Bucks waiting to jump off.|
|The gunboat arrives.|
1 British Battalion - 2 Command Figs, 4 Coys each of 8 Figs plus a supporting MG base, classed as Jolly Good Fellows.
1 Sikh Battalion - as British Battalion but classed as Havildar Heroes.
1 Indian Battalion classed as Havildar Heroes but with 4 Coys of 6 Figs each.
Supported by 1 gunboat armed with a 4 inch gun and a 12pdr (I counted it as an Artillery unit of 2 guns) and 2 unarmed launches.
The British and Indian troops start the game in the light cover along the banks of the Tigris. The Sikhs start with the HQ, MG and two Coys on the gun boat and 1 Coy in each of the launches.
|Part of Column B in pre advance position.|
1 British Battalion of 2 HQ, MG and 4 x 8 Fig Coys classed as Jolly Good Fellows
2 Indian Battalions of 2HQ, MG and 4 Coys, 1 unit has 8 Fig Coys the other 6. Both Havildar Heroes.
The set up in the "open" ground between the Tigris and the Wadi.
|The Signals go out for column C to advance.|
1 Gurkha Battalion of 2 HQ, MG and 4 x 8 Fig Coys classed as Kukri Killers.
1 Indian Battalion classed as Havildar Heroes organisation as the Gurkhas.
1 Mass of Arab Irregulars with 2 HQ and 2 x 8 Fig Coys classed as Damned Sods, they may use Camels to move.
1 Artillery Unit, on table.
Column C sets up along the Wadi.
The Turkish position is a strong one consisting of 2 lines of trenches.
In the front line positions there are the following,
2 Battalions of Turkish Infantry each with 2 Fig HQ and MG and 4 Coys of 8 Figs each rated as Johnny Turk.
In the second line of trenches contain 3 Battalions of Arab Turkish Infantry each with 2 Fig HQ, an MG and 4 Coys of 6 Figs each rated as Pasha Bashers. The second line also contains the 4 fig Regt HQ (rated Young Turk) for both Regts present.
|Looking down the Turkish position.|
In reserve are 2 further battalions, 1 of Regular Turkish Infantry which is organised as and part of the front line unit and finally a Veteran Turkish Battalion with a 2 Fig Hq and 4 x Coys of 8 Figs (but no MG) rated as Mehmetciks. The battalions can be requested when Empire Troops come into close range of the trenches lines, place the requested units card in the game deck from that point and on its first activation roll 1d6 and that is the number of activations required before it arrives on the Turkish table edge where required.
Table and Game Set Up
In haven't done one of my usual maps this post as I have been having a spot of difficulty with the mapping program I was using, however I do believe that the photos would give you a good guide to table set up. If you are looking to stage the game yourselves and have any questions please feel free to get in touch.
|Looking over Column C as they jump off.|
The Turkish position is as shown with two lines of trenches the rear trench should fill most of the table length, the front line just over half with a redoubt at the "open" end.
In between the lines near the Tigris I placed a couple of buildings and further along a couple of gun emplacements with a general spread of scrub areas (Light cover).
|Arab Turkish Infantry waiting for the attack|
The Tigris initially runs along the Empire edge of the table for about 4 ft before it turns 90 degrees so that it runs down the table edge through the Turkish lines. The banks of the river along the Empire edge are covered in vegetation and this is where the 2 Battalions of Column A who are not in the boats start the game. There are random areas of light scrub between the vegetation and the Turkish front line.
|Column A under way and under fire|
|Column B on the move showing the temporary cover markers.|
So there you have my set up notes, it's a straight forward enough battle with the Empire Troops trying to break through the Turkish lines whilst the Turkish are trying to hold and and prevent Townsend reaching Baghdad.
After Action Report
So how did we get on with the battle. For those of you who don't know I am lucky enough to have a permanent set up here at YG so we are never under pressure to finish games quickly, I can't recall how long we spent on the game probably a couple of Sundays and a couple of evenings.
We had 5 players most of the time, with one player in charge of each of the Empire Columns and 2 for the Turks.
All the Empire Forces Set off on turn 1, column C had the furthest to go whilst Column A started softening up the Turkish position whilst waiting for the Gunboat to come into action. The main action therefore was with Column B in the centre as their troops set off at top speed (no point hanging about with MGs around) towards the Turkish position to their front which included the mound at the end of the front line which had been reinforced by MGs.
|Don't go anywhere without your stash of "Yarkshire Tea"|
|Casualty Rates are high.|
|Round 1 to the Empire as the Mound falls.|
The Gunboat was also proving to be effective causing casualties amongst the Turks. Initially the Turkish Artillery had targeted the Gunboat and had started to cause some damage, however the fire was switched to the advancing land troops and the Nautical element of the attack was able to continue.
|Gunboat Diplomacy at its very best.|
|Brownlows under fire|
|A badly shot up Indian Coy reaches the Turkish front line|
|Whilst the Mound is back in Turkish hands|
|Column A is in the trenches|
But as Column A got into the trenches the Veteran Turkish Battalion arrived in the buildings in front of it, queue an epic firefight. But with the high quality Ox Bucks unit in the cover of the trenches with covering fire from the Gunboat the British supported by the now disembarked Sikhs cleared the village and comfortably held the trench line.
|The end of the game for Column A as the Turkish front line collapses|
|Turkish MG keeping the heads of Column B down|
It must have been an inspiring site as even the Arabs who had been hiding in a Wadi all day got up and joined the Gurkhas in the attack. The poor quality Arab Turkish Infantry didn't really stand a chance, the Turkish support weapons were keeping Column B at bay and the Gurkhas were in.
And that was where we called it a day. Column A had captured the front line in front of its positions and with it Gunboat support it was comfortable but with its Indian Battalion shot to pieces and the Sikh Battalion needed to secure Column Bs position the second line was a "Trench too Far".
Column B had been destroyed, the British Battalion had a single company left as did one of its Indian Battalions. It had gained it's objectives but at a very heavy price.
Column C had lost its Punjabi unit and had gained glory at the end of the game but a single Battalion, even of Gurkhas wasn't going to roll up the whole of the 2nd Turkish Line.
A cracking game all round and enjoyed by all. We had reached, at the end of our refight, the exact position that Townsend found himself in. Partially successful in the battle but without the strength to push on, history tells us he retreated to Kut-al-Amarah where he was surrounded and besieged.
The game highlighted my lack of Indian Figures and I purchased another 2 Battalions at York this year, I also have a unit of Highlanders for the theatre to paint, having done a test company early this year & some Aussies I picked up off flea bay. Add to this I have some Cavalry for both sides ready to go. I have decided to put these figures to one side for now whilst I concentrate on other projects and I plan to do the lot this winter as a theme for my Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 2017.
It's all Naval at YG at the moment with our ongoing Baltic WW2 Campaign however I hope to get back on land soon with our delayed Jarama refight, I am also starting to look longingly at my WW2 Desert collection !
We will return to Mesopotamia and the efforts to relieve Kut at Xmas.