Thursday, 29 July 2021

Belmont – Scenario

Lord Methuen was tasked with marching from the Orange River along the line of the Cape Town to Bulawayo Railway and relieve Kimberley some 75 miles to his north. Both he and Buller were confident this could be achieved quickly, and that the Boers would not put up any stiff resistance when faced with British regulars.

As his column began to advance reports soon arrived that the Boers were occupying a line of Kopjes at Belmont. Methuen did not believe that the Boers were present in any significant numbers and rejected the suggestion that he should outflank the enemy resolving instead to carry the position by a frontal attack.

This scenario recreates part of the resulting battle on 23rd November 1899 and concentrates on the action to take Mont Blanc.

The table showing the main terrain features. The Boers have two lines of defence, the first anchored on Table Mountain and Gun Hill and the second on Mont Blanc.

Special Rules
1. The Orange Free State Boers were reluctant to stay put under shrapnel fire, and many left the battle early once fired upon. Rule: On the first turn that the British artillery fires on a Commando roll 1xD6, the result is the number of Boers who panic and flee.
2. During their night march to the start line the Guards became bunched up losing their extended order formation. Rule: The Guards may not fight in extended order.
3. 9th Brigade was ordered to wait until the Guards attacked Gun Hill before advancing. Rule: 9th Brigade may not advance or fire until the turn after the Boers open fire on the Guards.
4. When the British reached the dead ground in front of Table Mountain and Gun Hill, the Boers lost heart and retired to Mont Blanc. Rule: if a British battalion makes it to the dead ground in front of either of these Kopjes the Boers will abandon both positions and retire to Mont Blanc. This rule applies even if the British infantry are pinned.

The table layout showing the initial dispositions of the troops.

Order of Battle

British C in C Lord Methuen
Guards Brigade (Colville)
Grenadier Guards
Scots Guards
9th Brigade (Featherstonehaugh)
Northumberland Fusiliers
Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
1 x Maxim Gun
2 x Batteries Royal Field Artillery (75th & 18th batteries)

Boers C in C Commandant Prinsloo
Jacklex Commando
Ross Commando
Newline Commando
1 x Field Artillery
1 x Pom Pom

9th Brigade prepare to advance. Their objective is to take Table Mountain before joining with the Guards for an assault on Mont Blanc.
Lord Methuen examines the Boer positions prior to ordering the attack to commence.

Victory Conditions
To win the British must occupy Mont Blanc with at least one unit by the end of Turn 12. The Boers win if they can reduce the British force to below 50% strength or prevent the British occupying Mont Blanc.