Friday, 31 July 2020

Talana Hill – Take Two

As the figures were still laid out on the table, I decided to have another crack at the Talana Hill scenario. I’m not going to show a blow by blow account here, but I can say that this time the British managed to achieve a victory.

They were helped by two major events firstly, once again on the first turn the British artillery knocked out the Boer artillery with a fluky roll of 5 x 6’s. Secondly, the Boer ‘Flee test’ severely weakened their right flank taking the Commando at Smith’s Farm down to just 7 men.

The British were also a bit more tentative about their attack with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers lying down to return fire to cover the advance of the other two regiments. The Ross Commando at Smith’s Farm was soon reduced to below half strength and forced to retire with a similar fate awaiting the Jacklex Commando a couple of turns later.

A costly victory for the British but a victory nonetheless!

Friday, 3 July 2020

Talana Hill - The Game

The British got off to an unbelievably good start when the two RFA batteries managed to roll 3 x 6's. 
And the Boer artillery on the receiving end failed to make a single saving throw (they were saving on a 3,4,5 or 6!) result - battery destroyed.
A further consequence of the British fire was that the Boers had to make their 'flee' test as per the scenario rules. A total of 6 Boers took to their ponies and decided to go home. So far so good for the British.
The Royal Dublin Fusiliers begin their advance. They take a few casualties but nothing to slow them down.
Behind them the Kings Royal Rifles cross Sand Spruit and prepare to deploy into line.
The Boers at Smith's Farm are starting to take casualties from the British artillery fire. It all seems to be going so well for Penn Symons!
But of course that's where the luck ran out for the British as the Mausers and the  Pom-Pom sprung to life. The Dublin Fusiliers were decimated and pinned (In the heat of the action I forgot the rule that Penn Symons had to attach himself to them, not that it made much difference).
The Royal Irish Fusiliers hurried forward to lend support.
And Penn Symons tried to steady the Rifles as they too started to take heavy casualites.
By the end of Turn 7 the Ross Commando had been forced to retire from Smith's Farm but the British force had now lost 50% of its total strength. Under my rules this was a victory for the Boers and even if I had played on I doubt whether the British could have made further headway. At least Penn Symons survived.

An enjoyable but frustrating game from the British point of view. It started so well that I thought a spectacular victory over the Boers was on the cards but once again, when the Mausers got going, everything fell apart.

The constraint of having all the British troops in close order did lead to extra casualties but I think the real problem was the unimaginative frontal attack. In the real battle the British did force the Boers off Talana Hill but they took heavy casualties in the process. It’s probably worth me playing the game through one more time though just to see if I can get a better result for the British.