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. 


  1. A gallant but doomed effort. At least the troops looked splendid as they advanced.

    Hopefully when the Boers assault Wagon Hill they will also conform to history.

    1. Indeed, looking splendid is the most important thing by jove!

  2. A beautiful looking game! So close and yet so far for the British! Very well done!

    1. To be honest Brad it was never really all that close!

  3. So Hamilton actually came back did he? Well if he asks, tell him I left a loaded Webley in the Officers' Mess.
    Now men, let's see if we can actually learn the lesson from this one as we seem to be repeating ourselves.

    1. If he had taken that option he would never have gone on to command at Gallipoli, ah, I see what you mean...

  4. Nice looking game, splendid armies!

  5. While the outcome was a foregone conclusion the butchers bill, while very high, was less than I expected.

    This continues to pique my interest into this conflict (like I needed any more distractions) to a serious consideration of transferring my Sudan figures to this front - eyesight (still) permitting!

  6. I think this is the perfect period for solo gaming as the armies are relatively small and you don't need many Boers, in fact you could game without any Boer figures at all (although where is the fun in that?).

    I'm still intending to add a few more units but I'm near the limit of what I can use on a 6' x 4' table.