Friday 17 April 2020

Methuen on the march – part 2

The Suffolks move forward to relieve the Gordons who have been reduced to the point where they must retire.
Lord Methuen can't quite believe what he is seeing, how can these Boer farmhands be holding up the soldiers of the Queen?
Finally some luck for the British as the Commandant of the right-flank Commando is hit forcing a 'flee' test - drat, the Boers pass the test.
Time for some different tactics - the Suffolks lie down as soon as they get to medium range and return fire supported by the maxim.
It works - after a poor morale roll (of 2) the Boer right-flank Commando decide they've had enough.
Methuen orders the 5th Lancers forward in the vain hope that the Boer army will retreat.
What's left of the Suffolks look on as the enemy to their front retire.

I called a halt to the game after turn 10 as the British had lost over half of their force and had little chance of any real success. It was some consolation that one Boer Commando had been forced to retire but I had to concede that it was a British defeat.

I like the way the rules played out, but it did seem that things were quite heavily stacked against the British, so I have made a few further tweaks and additions in the interest of balance. In fact, I am so enthused that I have placed an order for one more British unit from Raventhorpe Miniatures.

Saturday 11 April 2020

Methuen on the march

Lord Methuen is on the march at the head of a column tasked with relieving Kimberley. The Boers, impudent fellows, have occupied a string of three kopjes dominating the road ahead. His Lordship wastes no time in deploying his force for a frontal attack.

The Gordons are on the left and the Guards on the right, between them is a battery of field artillery. The Suffolks (with attached maxim gun) are in reserve together with the 5th Lancers. The 4.7” naval gun occupies a small hill in the rear to lend fire support.

The view from behind the British lines at the start of the game. I'm playing longways up my 6' x 4' table with the Boer positions at the far end.
The Gordon Highlanders prepare for their first action.
The Guards are steady as ever, officers to the front.
The Boers are taking advantage of the cover offered by the kopjes. There are three Commandos supported by one field-gun and two pom-poms.
The Gordons advance but start taking casualties and pin markers that slow their movement rate. They're under fire from one of the pom-poms but grit their teeth and carry on.
Methuen decides to commit the Suffolks on the left as the Guards are taking a pasting on the right where the Boers have a field-gun as well as a pom-pom.
The 5th Lancers are ordered forward to provide some support for the Guards who are down to half-strength and finding it impossible to make further headway.
Methuen looks on from his HQ. The 4.7" naval gun only fires on alternate moves and is concentrating on trying to knock out the Boer guns.
The Boer infantry have taken very few casualties but the fire on the guns is taking effect. The green dice record strength point losses from the guns.
Turn 5 and the Guards have closed ranks and are now lying down under a terrible fire from the Mauser's of the Burghers to their front. The Lancers have come under artillery fire and the colonel is down!

So far the rules have held up well and its been an enjoyable game. The pin mechanism seems to work as it has slowed the infantry advance but doesn’t dominate too much. The British have had only one infantry officer casualty which has probably helped but both the Guards and the Gordons have failed 'bunching' tests which makes them more of a target.

With five turns played its already looking sticky for the British and all hinges now on the Suffolks!

Saturday 4 April 2020

Field Artillery

These gun batteries complete the British artillery for this project. The figures and guns used are all from the Jacklex colonial range. I removed the rammers from the hands of two crewmen as the guns in this period were breech-loaders.

The guns have crew seats over the axle on either side of the barrel which were a bit of a fiddle to fit. There is an illustration of guns going into action on the front cover of my dogeared copy of Pemberton’s Battles of the Boer War that shows two crewmen clinging for dear life to these seats as they charge forward. That must have been a terrifying ride in a real battle.

Now these guns have been added to the British OOB it will be possible to have a proper game at last.