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.