It's Xmas Time, or it was a month or two ago, and Xmas means Mesopotamia here at YG. Over the years we have fought our way up from Basra to the outskirts of Bagdad only to be forced back to Kut where our last game saw the Turkish forces trying to break into that town.
With the Poona Division tied up in Kut we move to the newly formed Tigris Corps and their attempts to relieve the siege.
|Highland Regiment waiting to attack
South of Kut at Ali Gharbi, Lt Gen Alymer was putting together a force to save Gen Townsend and his besieged men. Pressure from above was strong to get the relief force in motion and Alymer set off on the 4th Jan 1916 with just three Brigades of Infantry and some Cavalry, around 10000 foot and 1340 Cavalry supported by 42 guns of various calibre.
|British Cavalry waiting for the off
|Turkish troops wait patiently for the Empire troops to advance into range
The game was played on our usual 12 x 6 table using the Too Fat Lardies rules "If the Lord Spares Us" which are specifically designed for Mesopotamia Palestine etc using 28mm figs from a variety of companies, mostly Woodbine Design Company but with Artizan, Great War, East Ablaze and Empress added in.
Above shows the Turkish positions, empty of figures for the moment, the picture below is the Empire side.
The terrain is very sparse, the odd area of scrub with a couple of low rises randomly placed. The river Tigris has been considerably shrunk in width to give more playable area, it had no effect on the Battle other than splitting the attacking and defending forces. Below is the only map I have found of the battle, pretty sparse as you can see.
British Briefing and OOB
The British task is simple break through the Turkish positions in front and race to Kut to rescue the besieged troops there. The game represents the initial attacks of the 6th.
Each Empire Battlion is represented on table by a 2 Fig HQ, 4 x 8 men Companies and 1 MG base, not all units present on the day are represented.
Army Command - 4 figs rated Eton.
28th Brigade - 2nd Leics Regt (with 1 Lewis Gun per Company), 51st Sikhs and 56th Punjabi, set up on the left bank (as viewed from the British Lines).
|British Signallers with urgent Tea supplies
35th Brigade - 1/5 Buffs (no Lewis Gun Teams), 37th Dogras and the 97th Deccan Infantry in support off table. Right side of Empire lines, as shown in set up photo so flank is about 2/3 of the way down the table, with 1 Sqn of Cavalry on right flank (thats all 1 have painted).
Artillery 4 Batteries (1 gun model each) , 1 with each Brigade and 1 spare.
Empire Supports arrive on a throw of 9 or more on 2d6 any turn after the 5th.
Empire troops are unaware of the exact location or strength of the Turkish Troops and at the start of the game all they can see are empty trenches. Turkish troops become visible at 20", and cannot be fired at from a range great that that by none artillery units.
British units are give a Rating of 0, Indian 2, Highlanders are classed as Aggressive.
Turkish Briefing and OOB
Unbeknown to the Empire leaders on the 6th January they outnumbered the defenders quite considerably nearly 4 to 1. The Turkish troops initially will struggle to cover the whole frontage.
|It's not Mesopotamia without some random Marsh Arabs
Initial on table units are 3 Battalions each with,
1 HQ Section 2 Figs, 4 x 8 Fig companies with 1 MG base in support.
Also there are,
2 Batteries of Artillery, 1 unit of Lancers (12 figures) and 1 unit of Camel Mounted Marsh Arabs.
The Infantry can set up (hidden) anywhere in the trenches, the mounted units on the left flank.
Turkish troops fire and spot as normal with no restrictions. Turkish Troops are all graded 2.
There are two Battalions of Infantry in reserve, organised as above. They are activated if the British get a foothold in any of the Turkish trenches. The Turkish Commander must decide which side of the river each battalion is before the game starts.