A random series of articles on war gaming in 40K, FOW and other systems. The headings are, WiP; Conversions and models in various states of assembly. PiP; Paint works on various models. Mission Critical; scenarios or missions to bring a bit of a twist to a normal game. MiA; rules for units and characters that could/should/might appear in a game. Dig In; How to guides on making various types of terrain for different game systems. Sit Rep; Battle reports and after action reports on games played

Thursday, February 1, 2018

It's war in the Burning Sands (TMWWBKs campaign)

Tonio looks bemused one minute, he is innocently inquiring if anybody is available for a game at the club next week, next thing he is drafted into the French Foreign Legion promoted to captain and sent of a campaign for a “couple” of months.  In my defence the Burning Sands project is nearly done (ignore does blisters on the back shelf) with one unit, the Tuareg Machine gun, left to paint.

The concept is simple, Captaine Steiger command a legion expedition freshly arrived to Fort Beaujolais, he has orders to bring the local francophobic chieftain called Almakhtar to justice for some perceived slight against France. 

Almakhtar’s camp is the furthest West point on the map.  The legion gets no relief during the campaign so each man last cannot be replaced and will be missing for the rest of the campaign.  The force’s unit leaders, their leadership and their traits are only determined when the unit is first used in a game so nobody knows if they are a bunch of crack sharpshooters or drunken idiots until you need them and then it is too lates because you are stuck with them for the rest of the campaign. Below is the starting strength of the force.

Captaine Steiger's expedition

The opening options for the French were to take the Northern trail which is the quickest way to the camp but is home to some of the strongest tribes in the region, the Southern path was considerable longer but the tribes were distinctly weaker while the central way a balance between to extremes.

Tuareg trouble
In the end Captaine Steiger opted for the middle path and moved towards the Beni Ahsen. Being a civilized fellow he first opted for diplomacy.  But the tribe was not impressed and questioned the lineage of the Captaine’s mother. Incensed the Captaine resolved to take the lands of the Beni Ahsen by force and dispatched a column for this purpose.

The column was made up of of two units of legion regulars, three units of tirailleur irregulars and the legion’s machine gun.   The Beni Ahsen were not idle and quickly raised a force to block the column’s advance. The defenders consisted of two units of tribal warriors, three units of irregular infantry and three units of irregular cavalry.

As the column moved forward the first of the expedition’s characters were revealed.  Sergeant B Spencer commands 1st squad 1st (legion) platoon he has lost a lot of friends to Tuareg and has a tendency to resolve problems with the bayonet rather than sensible shooting the offender from a suitable distance.  Caporal F Marneau commands 2nd squad 1st (legion) platoon he is well past his prime and is far too fond of the Gauloises as a result he can not run more than thirty without stopping due to a wheezing attack.  Çavuş El Krim commands 1st squad 1st (tirailleur) platoon he has a bit of a sadist and is unpopular with his men  .  Onbasi Sharif commands 2nd squad 1st (tirailleur) platoon he is lucky with cards and women sometimes his good fortune accompanies him during engagements.  Onbasi Aziz commands 3rd squad 1st (tirailleur) platoon he has seen one to many Tuareg massacres and seeks solace in the bottle and is frequently drunk during battle.  Sous Lieutenant T Hill commands the legion machine gun section he is not the brightest graduate from the St Cyr nor is he the worse, he is distinctly average.

Tuareg cavalry switch flanks
The engagement saw the Beni Ahsen attempting to force the column back.  The irregular infantry occupied village in the centre of the line. Irregular cavalry went on their left flank with the tribal warriors on their right.  In response the legion put the Machine gun in the centre with the legion units on its right and the tirailleurs its right.  

Mounted Tuareg have an unfortunate encounter with a machine gun
The initial moves went in favour of the Tuareg with their fast moving cavalry and tribal warriors moving from cover to cover to close on the column. The legionary units advanced and then pulled back outnumbered by irregular cavalry. The tirailleurs line begin to fracture with Onbasi Aziz being on the bottle and moving too far ahead of the rest of the line.

Tuareg attempt to swarm the tirailleurs 
Sensing weakness the Tuareg cavalry switched flanks and together with the warriors menace the tirailleurs. If would have been a lethal skirmish if Sous Lieutenant Hill had not spotted one of the cavalry bands as it tried switch flanks. Cranking the handle the machine gun fired the first shot of the game and knocked over half ot the cavalry out of their saddles (Ouch!).  Alert to the danger the tirailleurs decide to stand and fire rather retire.  The resulting fire stopped most of the Tuareg in their tracks but one band of warriors still managed to assault Onbasi Aziz squad inflicting casualties and forcing them to fallback.  

Onbasi Aziz's squad run for their lives
Neither the legion units or the machine gun could see the tuareg attacking the tirailleurs so the tirailleurs were very much on their own fighting for their lives. Onbasi Sharif squad was charged by cavalry and was forced back with losses.  But the withdraw opened line of sight for the machine to some Touareg cavalry the resulting fusillade again knocked over half the cavalry from their saddles.  

Onbasi Sharif's is forced by a cavalry charge 
Frustrated with the particularly lethal machine gun the survivors from the first band of cavalry charged it attempting to silence the gun. But Hill had other ideas and fought the band of in combat and has they fell back the legion units were able to finish them off.

Sous Lieutenant Hill's section bat of a cavalry charge
Tuareg swarm the tirailleurs

With the tirailleurs the situation was touch and go.  The Tuareg irregular infantry arrived and began to snipe at them from the hills while the warriors and the cavalry regrouped to charge again.  The tirailleurs focused fire of the cavalry and reduced the last band to less than half their number.  With most of the cavalry gone the Tuareg morale collapsed and they fled for the hills leaving the land of the Beni Ahsen to the French. 
The cavalry is pinned before it can charge again
The engagement cost six tirailleurs dead and five injured to return later in the campaign. Sous Lieutenant Hill gets mentioned in dispatches for gallantry in the field.  After the engagement the expedition rooster and the map are shown below.

Campaign notes.
  • I may need to re-do the path at the moment there is not incentive for captain Steger to move from the central trail to the northern trail but there should be.
  • The Machine gun is painfully.
  • The campaign starts with the French strong but the degrade over time it is to early to say if the campaign is balance. But that may not matter if all the players enjoy it.
  • I may need to introduce attrition al la Longstreet to degrade the French but that is very harsh and may be to dispiriting if not relief is available.

Legionary platoon 
Tirailleur platoon
Mounted infantry section
Cavalry section
The guns
Unit Pin markers (still to be painted)
random photo from  nearby Dead Mans Hand game

That is all for now thanks for stopping by.


Frank O'Donnell said...

Nice start to the campaign mate & would agree that in a campaign that balance is not such a big thing, I know you might feel that you should change or force one or two things but it might be best to wait until you guys have played out a few games.

Joseph.Cade said...

Very cool campaign! Like the concepts.
One thing I always think about rating the Legion or Brits v.s. Pathans or whatever European force one is playing - inevitably you get some really bad officers. Logical enough but what about the tribals? Would they too not have some very inept people in charge sometimes? Maybe their leaders should be rated also?
Just curious and wondering what other's thoughts might be?
Oh and nice paint jobs too!

Dakeryus said...

I agree Franco the temptation is to "adjust" something but some times it is better left alone.

Dakeryus said...

Hi Joseph,
Normally I would generate traits for the tribals. I even have half a draft for Tuareg themed trait table.

For the campaign I dropped it partly because the tribals are NPC's they show up for battle then disappear into the desert afterwards. Partly because I was concerned there would be too much pre-game dice rolling. Currently we roll for force strength, then unit type, then unit leadership, then unit upgrades/downgrades most with some form of modifier depending on the circumstances. I was concerned adding another set of rolls would add more time to preparation phase and take away from the game time.

Joseph.Cade said...

Ahh, makes sense then. Bon chance to the French.

Phil said...

Atmospheric and great looking game/campaign!

Dakeryus said...

Thanks Phil

Post a Comment