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.


  1. Hi IAN- a most interesting Battle- and great photos too. Seems the Boars got of lightly compared to the British - perhaps in another replay the results could be different- especially if the British try to out flank the Boars as well as a Frontal attack. Thanks for posting. Cheers. KEV.

    1. Thanks Kev, in this particular fight its difficult to flank the Boers but the British could try lying down and returning fire to whittle away at the defenders, something I may try.

  2. I don't understand this, these tactics work perfectly well when the enemy are armed with spears...

    1. I agree, it was very unsporting of the Boers to use rifles!

  3. So close order drill and stout hearts couldn't cut the mustard up against "modern magazine-fed bolt action rifles" (and pom-poms!).

    We need Guns, More Guns, Big Guns, Lots More Big Guns...

    The British public expect to read about victories over their breakfast; another defeat and you'll have to change you moniker from Stryker to Punch-bag. ;o)

    1. Don't worry Rob I'm sure this was just a fluke, get 'em next time!