Saturday 2 May 2015

Gallipoli Landings - A Scenario and AAR - Part 1

28mm WW1 Action in the Dardanelles

ANZAC troops advance through broken ground under Artillery Fire
With the 100th Anniversary of the landings this year I had decided in December to stage this game at this time and I spent quite a bit of time trying to sort out a suitable Scenario / Game plan. My WW1 collection has become a bit of a Christmas Game tradition and it usually sits in its Really Useful Boxes for the rest of the year waiting for its festive outing, no doubt the little metal fellows were quite surprised to be back in action so soon after our Nasiriyeh game.

I decided to base our game around the Z Beach landing at ANZAC Cove and set about doing some planning. It became very quickly apparent that the terrain would be a challenge and that I would struggle to represent the rocky undulating hills and crags of the battlefield, I didn't have nearly enough hills and had to resort to something I haven't done since I were t'lad, books under a green cloth ! Those of you familiar with the real thing will notice similarities between game table and real life, the main three plateaus are in place for example.

There was also going to be a figure issue with trying to recreate the Z Beach landings exactly, troops, I have 2 battalions of ANZACs and one of our other regulars has just got a battalion as well, that's no where near enough, even with recycling casualties (and there will be a lot) so I will need to use the remainder of my Empire WW1 stuff at some stage. My biggest disappointment was that I wouldn't be able to use my Camel Troops who are one of my favourite units at the moment. So this was very much going to be a game "along the lines of" rather than a simulation.

We would be using the trusty If the Lord Spares Us rules from Toofatlardies with some minor modifications to the game sequence during parts of the game. I will be posting this battle as a joint Scenario / AAR post in a series of episodes for a couple of reasons. One, the game is ongoing and there is quite a bit of stuff upcoming which the players don't know about and I would hate for them to "cheat" by reading what was going to happen next on here. Two, this game could be on the table for a while, there is a lot of stuff to get on and a lot of difficult terrain to get through, added to that some of our band of table top generals are off to the US of A next month so there we be a break in gaming here at Castle R. I like to keep these posts manageable in size and exciting enough for you guys and girls to come back for more. So I will post up the game in a time line format, each of our game turns will represent 10 minutes of real time.

The Map

Terrain Notes

Layer 1 hills are classed as a rough ground and units lose 1d av movement on them, same for the patches of rough ground. The building on the hill over looking the beach represents the Fishermans Hut and offers cover as a standard building. The effect of higher hills will be revealed to the players in the next game. All troops whilst stationary will be classed as being in light cover, this represents the undulating rocky terrain interspersed with numerous bushes and other light cover. Turkish troops will be classed as being in heavy cover if fighting from their initial start locations as they would have had time to prepare their positions.

04.30 Move 1. (Dark)

Turkish Troops - On table at the start is the Second Battalion of the 27th Infantry, 1 HQ (2figs), 4 companies of 6 figs and 2 MG models, classed as Johnny Turks. They have a free set up anywhere off the beach. Set up on blinds (one per company / mg) with 7 blanks.

Empire Troops - There are three boats which set up one move off the beach, to simulate the confusion of the landings on the day divide the beach into 20 equal sectors, sector 1 by the Fishermans Hut, 20 by the headland, roll 1 d20 per boat and set up opposite that location.

Each boat will contain 2 companies of ANZAC Infantry (each company is 10 figures from the same battalion, three different battalions are represented in the first wave) classed as Diggers, roll 1d6 for each boat on a 1,2,3 the HQ company of that battalion will be in the boat, 4,5,6 and there will be an MG base in the boat.

Move Sequence - rather than the usual card driven activation I decided to use an alternative to give the Turks the initiative of firing from unseen positions on the hills around the beaches. Troops in the boats count count as being in soft cover, firing out they are classed as moving.

Turks Spot, Move, Fire
Empire Spot, Fire (count as moving in the boats, MGs are not set up)
There is NO suppression removal for either side whilst dark / dusk.

Split any suppression randomly against all the units in the boat,the boats themselves are representative of a large number of smaller launches and damage is not recorded against them, loss / damage to boats will be reflected later in the game.

Usually once a unit shoots it is visible so there is no modifier in the rules for spotting a firing unit, to reflect this use one cover level lower to spot during this phase of the game.

Our game saw the three boats as follows, No 1 with MG set up 10 from the Fishermans Hut. No 2 with a HQ section 14 from the hut. No 3 with an MG and set up 17 from the hut or 3 from the headland and the hidden MG, if you prefer it that way. Some poor dice rolling for the Turks saw the ANZACs pick up 7 suppression across the whole force of 68 figures.

First shot of the day from the Turkish MG, it could only get better
04.40 Move 2 (Dark)

Landing boats beach.

Our game saw a round of better shooting from the Turks inflicting 3 casualties and 13 suppression.

04.50 Move 3 (Dawn)

Troops Disembark. Boats leave the table.

Not a lot of room on this part of the beach.
05.00 Move 4 (Dawn)

A MG on the headland with enfilade, predictable and not nice
More casualties for the ANZACs as they attempt to get off the beach, the Turks on the headland are spotted and an MG is set up to counter them.

05.10 (Daylight) Move 5

The confusion of the night landing is over and the troops start to get organised, to reflect this normal suppression removal rules are back in play.

The Turkish player receives 1 battery off small calibre Artillery (on table 3d6 attack).

Spotting rules return to normal.
ANZAC MG opens up on the Turks on the headland.
The Turkish dice had woken up at this point and one company was down to 4 figures and retreating due to its suppression level as was another company at the Hut end of the beach. The above MG lasted a whole turn, the Turkish MG firing back (which had rolled 3 1s in the first turn) rolled 3 6s and wiped out the Empire MG in 1 shot, not good. On the positive side the Infantry had got off the beach in the centre where opposition was the weakest and was starting to do some damage to the visible Turkish troops.

05.20 Move 6

Normalish service resumes rules wise, we revert to the standard ITLSU card activation, however the deck contains only unit cards (no stiff upper lip etc) and with agreement of the players no Tea Break card at this stage.

That's enough sitting on the beach, lets go exploring.
The landing troops start to advance off the beach, most of the Turkish fire has been suppressed at this point, however once in sight of the hills the Turkish Artillery starts to have an effect.

05.30 Move 7

The second wave of boats arrives on the table containing the remainder of the three battalions who arrived in the first wave.

Boat 1 has two companies and a HQ arriving a position 20 (that's right next to the headland and the Turkish MG !). Boat 2 has 2 companies and a MG arriving at position 17 whilst the final boat with 2 coys and a HQ is the first boat to land near the Fishermans Hut at position 5.

The second wave hits the beach
Boat 1 took heavy casualties from the MG at very close range but managed to suppress the MG into silence.

A good start to the game, the Turks have inflicted some heavy casualties on the Empire troops who in the confusion of the landings have drifted close to the Turkish MGs, now coming under fire from Turkish Artillery they are looking to seize ground quickly before Turkish re enforcement arrives. We've got evening sessions set for the 4th and the 14th which should see us get another 2 or 3 hours into the game real time. Tune in next time.

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