Colonial Skirmish game 8th May 2010

>> Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Ford Escort mission!

(Note hidden deployment markers on the table)

It is April 1881. A party of civilians and their porters are moving ‘Up country’. As the wife and daughter of a local official are amongst them, a small detachment of Regular British infantry act as escort.Local native unrest has made free movement in this area of East Africa somewhat risky!
The detachment commander has decided to move off the beaten track to minimise the risks, but cannot avoid crossing a river at one of several known fords. Each a potential ambush position.
The British force consists of a Lieutenant, a runner and bugler, and three groups of 10 infantry, each with 1 or 2 NCOs . Most of the civilians are armed with a variety of small arms, and the porters’ boss is well armed with a Martini-Henry.
The Action:
The British officer directed the first section of infantry to scout ahead of the main body to ensure the ford crossing was viable.The other 2 groups were stationed both ahead and behind the civilians, ready to escort them across when safe to do so.

Accordingly, the main column advanced slowly while the scouts pushed ahead, scanning the terrain ahead for signs of trouble.Suddenly, several natives were seen on the edge of some trees, and the scouts opened fire, with apparently little effect, as moments later, the 40+ native musketeers, their ambush detected, unleashed a volley which killed 2 of the scouting party and wounded a third.At the same time a large group of native spearmen sprang up from behind a hillock and advanced on the reeling Europeans.The Sergeant in command of the scouts, seeing this fresh attack, tried to fall back, firing, but a lucky shot hit him in the head and his remaining men gratefully fell back to greater safety in the trees to their rear.

Seeing all their enemies apparently fleeing, one of the musket armed groups advanced forward on the flank of the advancing spears.
The Lieutenant rapidly formed an improvised defence on the edge of the wood. A section was detailed to move round the left flank of the natives via the woods, taking the civilians with them, and the rearguard moved up to support the reformed scouts.
The natives showed great courage, as they advanced into the subsequent storm of fire, but after a few heart stopping moments, they were stopped at about 20 yards from the firing line, and then retired leaving many warriors dead and wounded behind.The supporting muskets were relatively untouched, but as they fell back to their ambush position were ambushed themselves by the outflanking section coming through the woods, and were scattered, though they did shoot dead one of the British privates as they retreated.
The British sections then advanced and overwhelmed the second native musketeer group, who understandably did not wait to be butchered like their comrades!
In the subsequent pause in the action, the British regrouped and reorganised, the scouts now being lead by a lance corporal. Fearing further native assaults, the British formed a rough line and in a change of plan moved rapidly to bypass the ford along the right bank and cross at a smaller ford visible 300 yards further down river.
The old rearguard section was detailed to escort the civilians, while the scouts moved up the hillock the enemy spearmen had previously occupied. The third section, on its own initiative moved through the woods behind this hill to protect their flank.
To the scouts’ surprise, they stumbled into another large group of spearmen sheltering in the lee of the hillock, and fired at almost point blank range.The natives were stunned and for a few seconds simply milled around as they were shot. Soon, however they reacted and retreated back toward the second ford and safety.
Reaching the ford, and encouraged by the sight of several units of friends on the far side, they raised their war cry and charged back up the hillock. Their undoubted courage carried them close to their enemies before their unit disintegrated under the steady British fire at the range of a few yards.A second war band tried to move from the far side of the river in their support, but taking heavy losses from the third British section fell back into their woods.
On the British right, the wayward British section moved to the river edge trying to give supporting fire to the scouts, but were surprised by a storm of arrows from a warrior band across the river which eventually killed 3 of them. The sergeant managed to hold the line however, and they fired back, taking a steady toll on their attackers. With the help of some supporting fire from the scouts on the hill, the native archers fled.
Denied fire support to engage the British at range, the remaining warriors decided the game was up and forlornly slipped away.
(Figures a mix of Lawrences’ Perry, Foundry and others)Pictures by Lawrence and Richard, Rules - the clubs own)


Galpy 28 May 2010 at 03:02  

looks like you had a real fun game lots of great looking mintures

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