Tuesday 27 June 2023

Colenso – The Game

Apologies for the delay but I finally got the chance to play out the Colenso game that has sat patiently on the table for four weeks. It was an interesting game with another unexpectedly good result for the British.

I threw a die at the start of turn one to see whether the Boers would hold their fire - they didn't and the Mausers sprang into action straight away concentrating on Long's guns.
At least this meant that the 4.7" Naval Gun could start to fire on turn two although with limited results.

Long's batteries immediately started taking hits as they were deployed at medium range for the Boer rifles.

Hildyard ordered the Brigade to advance and the West Surreys came under heavy fire from their front and flanking fire from across the Tugela.

At the end of turn 2 Long's guns had gone silent - now he had to try to get them away!

The Heidelberg Commando were laying down a terrific fire directed from amongst the buildings of Colenso.

And across the river the Boer artillery was blasting away at the advancing British line.

Despite heavy casualties, the West Surreys made a successful bayonet charge that sent the Boers in Colenso running for their ponies and off across the bridge. The town was now in British hands.  

Hildyard's reserve battalions started to come up in support of the first line.

The Vryheid Commando having received a direct hit from the 4.7" Naval Gun rolled a 1 for morale and took off leaving Fort Wyllie undefended.

As Long extricates his guns the Devonshires come under fire and the crew of their supporting Maxim gun is wiped out.

A lucky break for the British - the pom-pom gun rolls 3 x 1's and is jammed for the remainder of the game.

The Devonshires are taking casualties but the reserves keep coming forward behind them.

Another low morale roll sees the Krugersdorp Commando flee on their ponies. The Colonel of the Devonshires has ordered his battalion into a single line to develop maximum fire power.

The end of turn 8 - the West Yorkshires form column and approach the bridge but it's game over for the Boers.

At the end of turn 8 the final VP scores were 15 to the British and 9 to the Boers. The Boers did have some dreadful morale throws and the British some good ones that resulted in very few PINs enabling them to advance quite quickly. It could have been closer if the Boers had succeeded in preventing Long from carrying away most of the guns.

This game ends my series of early war battles of 1899. I may have a go at Spion Kop next although that will require some thought to produce a playable scenario.