Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Ladysmith - The Game

Their ranks dressed, Col. Hamilton's Brigade prepares to advance.
The Colonel is not sure of the wisdom of a frontal attack on the Boers after his experiences at Elandslagaate but "orders is orders".
As well as the Long Tom the Boers have a 75mm Cresout gun on Pepworth Hill. This became an early target of the British Field Artillery although scoring hits on it was hard at long range.
On come the Gordon's - so far so good. 
The Boers let the British advance to medium range and then...
...the crack of their rifles rings out and the first men start to drop.
However, despite this the casualties were surprisingly light and I was starting to get optimistic about the chances of the British as they closed on the Boer position.

But then things started to unravel a little as more men fell and the Gordons received a pin which broke up the neat Brigade line of advance.
The Maxim finally came in to action but by now had already been reduced to one SP (strength point) so was pretty ineffective.

But it wasn't all one-way traffic as the Boers were taking hits too.

Turn 5 and some devastating fire from the Mausers caused severe losses and PINs amongst the British battalions. Things were not looking good.
The Boers defending the Long Tom started to take a few hits...
...but Hamliton and his men were in a desperate position.
The Devons and the Manchesters were worn down and fell below 9 figures so were forced to retire.
Only the Gordons remained unpinned and in reasonable condition but it was too late now as the army had fallen below 50% strength - a Boer victory was declared.
The one good result for the British was the failure of  'Long Tom' to cause any serious damage to Ladysmith. The three blue counters record the only hits on the town! 

This was a difficult scenario for the British to win so there was no real surprise at the result. There was a point though where the British rallied off all their PIN markers in one turn and I thought they may be in with a shout to make a charge, but the following round of Boer firing put paid to that idea.

The British may have been able to win if I’d played a more tactical game and bombarded with the artillery for a few turns before advancing and possibly stacked up two units on the right opposite the Long Tom, but I wanted to go with the historical deployment.

The British forces are now bottled up in Ladysmith so the action will move next to the Orange Free State and the advance of Lord Methuen’s column. 

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.