Tuesday, 12 April 2022

Modder River - The Game


Things got off to a good start for the British when a die roll of  5 allowed them to discover Bosman's Drift. Methuen immediately ordered Colville to send half of the Scots Guards, supported by a maxim and the 9th Lancers, on a flanking movement against the Boer left.
Watching from the far bank of the river, Cronjie noted the enemy manoeuvre and issued orders to extend his flank. This is one of the few times I have actually moved any Boer units in one of my games!

9th Brigade begins to advance and the Northumberland Fusiliers start taking casualties as they lie in direct line of sight of the Boer artillery.

De la Rey looks on as the British forces move forward on either side of the railway line. The Boer guns are laying down an effective fire with no retaliation as they have not yet been 'spotted'.

The view from behind the now extended left flank of the Boer force. The Jacklex Commando and a pom-pom open fire on the Scots Guard column as it deploys into line.

Colville leads the rest of the Guards Brigade forward. At this stage they have only lost one man and one officer so confidence is high.

The 4.7" gun 'Joe Chamberlain' gets into action having finally spotted the Boer guns. This gun didn't arrive in time to take part in the real battle but as I have no 12pdr Naval gun model it seemed only fair to include it in the OOB.
Ouch! The Northumberland Fusiliers receive a devastating barrage from the Boer artillery backed up by accurate Mauser fire. They are reduced to 9 figures and removed from play - and it's only the end of Turn 2.

The left of the British line has advanced as far as the farm opposite the dam crossing point. The half-battalion of the North Lancashire's have taken a couple of casualties as have the A&S Highlanders on their right but nothing to slow up either unit.

Opposite them, good shooting from the British artillery has caused some of the Ross Commando to flee with the Commandant himself amongst the casualties. There is a chance here for a successful charge if the A&S Highlanders can just get a bit closer.

On the other flank the Scots Guards detachment have deployed but the heavy casualties received means that they become the second British unit to be removed from play. However, the maxim gun and Lancers are about to deploy.

Back at the dam, the A&S Highlanders and the North Lancashire's advance to within charging distance of the Boer line but the latter take a 'pin' which will prevent them from charging next turn.

In the centre the Coldstream Guards have no pins so are able to fix bayonets and charge forward. The result is that half of the Kraaidorp Commando is destroyed and the rest take to their ponies.

At the same time the British artillery take out both the Boer guns - well done Joe!

And to top it all the A&S Highlanders led by Methuen himself see off the Jacklex Commando at the point of the bayonet. Methuen received a slight wound in the process and had to be taken to the rear but a complete victory was now within his grasp.

On the British far right the maxim was now bothering the Boers whilst the Lancers looked for an opportunity to use their pointy sticks - but it was not to be.

A further spirited charge by the Highlanders broke the Newline Commando. With three Commandos now destroyed a British victory was declared.

Somewhat demoralised the Boer army withdrew.

It was a brief game lasting only five turns which surprised me a bit and I think the main reason for the British success was that I allowed them to start in a position too close to the Boer front line. If I had deployed them 6" further back it would have allowed a further turn of Boer firing before any British troops were close enough to declare a charge. This would have kept the result more keenly balanced as the British were only 14 casualties short of their breakpoint when the game ended.

However, I should not detract from the great pluck and determination displayed by the British soldiers and the personal valour shown by their general-in-chief. I have never played a game where I had three successful charges so the Empress Queen will undoubtedly be justly proud of this great victory!


  1. Well I never - a win! Some smart shooting by the 4.7" but sneaking up on the Boer before the starting gun was a smart move.

    1. There was no sneaking involved as we’re British!

    2. Are you sure? I think it was some American chappie who said the only reason the sun never sets on the British Empire is because God doesn't trust the British in the dark - very wise, but then he is God.

  2. An excellent game Ian with a very surprising result! Metheun turns out as the wounded hero, I thought for sure that he would be disgraced and killed in action! It just goes to show, you never know what may happen! Very well done!

    1. The fun of this sort of solo game is that you can never quite tell how it will play out. I really thought that the British would be hard pressed to get a win but I think luck was on their side in this one!

  3. An interesting Battle for sure - you've done exceptionally well IAN with your Boer War Project...great photos and report. Cheers. KEV.

  4. Somehow I missed this, which is annoying as I have been looking out for this particular post! Great to see a "proper" historical outcome at last!

    Excellent looking game (as always). My congratulations to the correspondent for his excellent report on the battle. London Evening News perchance?

    1. Cheers Matt - as the song goes 'things can only get better' especially once Buller arrives!

  5. I have just stumbled across this blog and what a find. A very interesting game with lovely scenery and figures. Most of all it had the feel of a Boer war action. Great stuff.

    1. Thanks Bob, it’s been a bit of a labour of love for an overlooked wargame period.