Thursday, 4 March 2021

Ladysmith - Scenario

Following the British victory at Elandslaagte General White ordered all the British forces to fall back on Ladysmith. The Transvaal Boers followed up and soon occupied the high ground dominating the town. When news arrived that the Orange Free State Boers were on the way to join the Transvaal Boers, White decided to attack the enemy positions to prevent a junction of their forces.

White, having previously served in India, had no experience of facing troops armed with modern weapons and underestimated the abilities of the Boers to manoeuvre as well as to fight. He attempted a double envelopment of the Boers with Carleton advancing on the left and Grimwood on the right whilst Colonel Hamilton (with the Brigade that had been engaged at Elandslaagte) attacked Pepworth Hill in the centre.

On the morning of 30 October, with the attacks on either flank having failed, Colonel Hamilton found himself required to make a frontal attack on the central Boer position on Pepworth Hill. The Boers had a strong gun line established on the Hill which included a Long Tom gun that could out-range the British artillery and reach to Ladysmith itself. 

Special Rules
1. Ladysmith is located on the base line of the British forces and is allocated a Damage Point (DP) value of 15. The Boer Long Tom may fire on the town and inflict DP's as if firing on troops in open order. If the town receives total hits equal to it's DP value the British will lose heart and retire resulting in a victory for the Boers.
2. If the British succeed in eliminating the Long Tom the game ends in a British victory (note that the British Field Artillery are out of range of the Long Tom and cannot fire on it nor can they move).
3. All other rules are played as normal.

Order of Battle

British C-in-C Lt General White
Col Ian Hamilton
Devonshire Regiment
Manchester Regiment
Gordon Highlanders
1 x Maxim Gun
3 x Batteries Royal Field Artillery (21st, 42nd & 53rd batteries)

Boers C-in-C Commandant Joubert
Ross Commando
Jacklex Commando
Newline Commando
1 x Field Artillery
1 x Pom Pom
1 x Long Tom

Victory Conditions
In addition to the victory conditions already stated the game will end in a Boer victory if the British fail to destroy the Long Tom by the end of turn 12.

Sunday, 28 February 2021


26 October 1899, Ladysmith Natal, 12.00 noon – General Yule has just brought his column in from Dundee after a gruelling retreat across the Biggarsberg Hills. The Transvaal Boers are closing in on the town and now control the main Dundee to Ladysmith road.

The British troops are exhausted and demoralised after their march from Dundee but relieved to reach the safety of Ladysmith.
General Yule reports to Lt General Smith
"Sir, I have brought every able-bodied man with me from Dundee."

"What of Penn Symons what, what?"
"Sir, he was dreadful wounded at Talana Hill and had to be left behind with our other sick and wounded, I fear he is in Boer hands."

"Poor show, well can't be helped begad!"
"No sir, and I fear the enemy are not far behind us."

Meanwhile on Pepworth Hill just beyond the town the Boers are installing one of their 155mm Long Tom guns.
"Get that gun carefully sighted, the Brits down there will soon be in for one helluva surprise!" 

Ladysmith will be the next battle in my series of re-fights.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Long Tom

Nobody makes a 20mm Boer Long Tom gun in metal, so I bought the plastic one from Strelets. I’m glad I did because it is a really superb little model, and the crew figures are useful too. With the Long Tom done I decided to further expand the artillery park for both sides in preparation for the coming campaigning season.

155mm Cresout Long Tom Gun by Strelets, the crew are a mixture of Strelets and Jacklex. The appearance of the Long Tom on the battlefield was something of a surprise to the British as it could out-range anything they possessed (including the 4.7 inch naval guns) and the smokeless powder it used made it very difficult to spot.
75mm Cresout Gun. This model was an Old Glory one given to me by Roy and is actually 25mm scale but by switching the wheels with some by Newline I think it looks just right for 20mm. The crew again are a mixture of Strelets and Jacklex.

With all this Boer heavy ordinance about I thought I should beef up the British line with another maxim gun from Jacklex. Each British infantry battalion had a couple of maxim guns attached however they were difficult to employ in an attack and consequently had little impact in the fighting - but they are nice models!

And of course another field gun seemed like a good idea. The gun and crew are Jacklex. I must say that the quality of the Jacklex castings has improved greatly under the new ownership.

With the larger forces now available to the British I thought I should introduced a couple of Brigadiers to help with command and control. These are from Jacklex.

And finally, another mounted Boer commander (Jacklex) and Commandant on foot (Raventhorpe). The Commandant on foot will eventually get his own Commando.

This gives me a lot of choices to depict artillery in my games and the Long Tom opens up the possibility of gaming the Battle of Ladysmith.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Elandslagaate – The Game

The British advance begins. The Imperial Light Horse are followed by the Gordon Highlanders with The Manchesters on their left.

The Devons move off supported by two batteries of Field Artillery. The job of the Devons is to pin the enemy to their front so that the flanking movement may succeed.

Generals French and Hamilton watch as the attack begins.

The Boers await developments on top of the ridge. The fence section was scratch built for the game, really I should make a few more.

The Boers only have one under strength Battery in this scenario which is good news for the British.

Actually not such good news for the Devons who are in the direct line of fire.

This is the situation by Turn 3. The Devons are taking fire however the other British units are so far unscathed.

The 5th Lancers move up to support the Devons who are under pressure.

After several attempts, The Royal Artillery knock out the Boer guns.

But now the Mausers have sprung into action adding to the Devons losses (including 2 Officers down).

But it's not all one-way traffic as the Boers are taking losses too.

The Manchesters press forward and start to take casualties.

The Devons are now prone (blue counter) and have taken two pins (red counters) but they are doing their job.

With cries of "Remember Majuba!" the Manchesters surge forward and cause the Ross Commando to break and Flee!

It would appear that Ross and his lads have remembered an urgent appointment somewhere else.

The jubilant Manchesters carry the Boer line.

Meanwhile on the right, the Newline Commando wave a sneaky white flag at the Imperial Light Horse who come forward in a gentlemanly way to accept their surrender only to receive a point-blank volley. Fortunately the Boers roll low and only 2 casualties result.

The Newline Commando holds its ground despite the loss of the Ross Commando to their right.

"Charge 'em lads!"

The Manchesters wheel to their left and launch another charge this time directed at the Jacklex Commando.

Who are forced to retreat from the ridge.

At the same time, the Imperial Light Horse charge forward and see off the remaining Boers. It is a text book victory for the British in just 5 Turns.

The first battle for the Gordon Highlanders and they didn't even get a look-in. The war will definitely be over by Christmas.

A convincing win for the British, which was a relief to be honest, although it was always going to be a tough one for the Boers. By flanking the Boer line, the British were able to avoid the massed rifle fire experienced in the Talana Hill game allowing them to close with the bayonet.

This was the first time I had properly played my Melee rules, and they proved to be both dramatic and fun, although I did make one mistake with a charge move that benefitted the British but we don’t need to dwell on that.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Elandslagaate – Scenario

Special Rules
1. In the real battle British Generals French and Hamilton displayed unusual common sense by insisting all the infantry maintain extended order to minimise casualties. Rule: British troops are not subject to the bunching rule and remain in extended order throughout the game.
2. At this early stage of the war officers still displayed obvious signs of rank making them easy targets for Boer marksmen. Rule: Officers become casualties from rifle fire on a die roll of 1, 2 or 3 (rather than the normal 1 or 2). This rule does not apply to the Imperial Light Horse.
3. In the actual battle, the British flanking force advancing along the hill became held up by barbed wire fences near the farm. Rule: It takes a whole turn for a unit to cross the barbed wire fence, during this turn the unit will count as being in close order if fired upon.
4. There was an infamous event during the battle when Boers waved a white flag then opened fire on the British as they moved up to accept the surrender. Rule: Once during the game a Boer unit within 12” of a British unit may wave a white flag (at the start of the turn), the British must move forward 6” and then receive full fire from the Boers without retaliation (all pin markers are removed from the British unit prior to movement).
5. The Imperial Light Horse were awarded two Victoria Cross medals for their gallantry during the battle. Rule: The Imperial Light Horse do not receive PINs in this game.
6. The 5th Lancers famously charged the retreating Boers at the end of the battle inflicting many casualties. Rule: All fleeing Boers must exit the table to the left, the 5th Lancers may charge these (provided they are within 15”) without making the usual Melee die roll. If contacted the Boers are eliminated.

Order of Battle

British C-in-C Major General French
Devonshire Regiment
Manchester Regiment
Gordon Highlanders
Imperial Light Horse
5th Lancers
2 x Batteries Royal Field Artillery

Boer C-in-C Commandant Kock
Ross Commando
Jacklex Commando
Newline Commando
Field Artillery

Victory Conditions
If the Boers have not been defeated by the end of turn 12 the game ends in a British defeat.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Imperial Light Horse - Finished

In the end I decided to modify each figure in the same way I did the test figure, by snipping off part of the hat brims and building them back up using Magic Sculp. I did tentatively try bending the metal as suggested by Rob, but it felt like the whole head would snap off which was not the look I wanted.

I found this blurb somewhere on the internet, can’t remember where -

The first commander of the Regiment (consisting of 444 officers and men, chosen from 5,000 volunteers) was Colonel John James Scott-Chisholme, who led the unit at its first engagement, the Battle of Elandslaagte on 21 October 1899. During this battle two Victoria Crosses were awarded (to Captain Charles Herbert Mullins and Lieutenant Robert Johnston).

The Regiment subsequently saw service at the Siege of Ladysmith (where another Victoria Cross was awarded - to Trooper Herman Albrecht at Wagon Hill) Colenso, the Battle of Spion Kop and the Relief of Ladysmith. At Spion Kop, the ILH was successful in capturing Commandant Hendrik Frederik Prinsloo, the commander of the Carolina Boer Commando. The ILH was then specially selected to join the Mafeking Relief Column under Colonel Mahon. Eight men under Major Karri Davies of the ILH were the first to enter Mafeking on the night of 16/17 May 1900 to break the siege.

The figures are by Newline Designs except for the Officer who is converted from a Raventhorpe Miniatures Boer.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Imperial Light Horse

I haven’t been able to find anyone who produces a 20mm Imperial Light Horse figure in metal so have had to resort to modifying the Frontier Light Horse figure from Newline Designs. To this end, I have snipped off the left side of the hat brim and re-built it in a turned-up position using Magic Sculp. Not a huge amount of conversion work but fiddly all the same.

The figure on the left is Newline Designs Zulu War Frontier Light Horse, the painted figure is my Imperial Light Horse "conversion" of same.

I need a 12-figure unit of dismounted Imperial Light Horse for my Elandslaagte scenario as they played an important part in the real battle (the regiment was awarded two Victoria Cross medals following the action). Now I just need to give the same treatment to the remaining 11 figures.