Saturday, 8 June 2013

More Morschauser

Tim Gow recently sent me some copies of articles written by Joseph Morschauser for the good old WARGAMER'S NEWSLETTER. I am in the process of adding them to my growing file of stuff written by Joseph Morschauser, but I found them so interesting that I thought that I should share them with other wargamers ... so here is the first article. It was published in WARGAMER'S NEWSLETTER: No.66 (September 1967).

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At the moment I am preparing for a visit by herb Roig on the February 6th week-end. I’m taking Monday off and we plan a couple of battles on the old (1885 British) frontier. In one action, the beginning of a new Hauserstan campaign, the thin red line will face a howling horde of savages in white burnooses and other with not much more than shields. Some years back Herb and I fought the first Hauserian campaign. The British contending with both the local natives and the French and Italian took over the country and have since built a Cape to Cairo RR line right through the Sultanate (of Hauser). Now the Eyeties and Frogs want to have another go, have roused up the natives (under Sultan Joseph III, Mad Mahdi of Morobad). French Central Sahara borders the Sultanate (now called Hauserstan under the British) on the west, Italian East Somali borders on the east. Anglo-Sudan is north and British East/Central Somali on the S.E. Directly south of course is the Kingdom of Zulu inhabited by (naturally) Zulu types who have always been friendly to the Hauserians. It’s all imaginary but fun.

Sir Horatio H. Roig, VC (Lord Spoor of Lasher – Herb’s company is Spoor-Lasher Sand and gravel Corp) will command the Anglo-Hauserian Field Force. This is composed of a territorial foot regiment, a Naval/Scot regiment and an Empire regiment, a mixed cavalry regiment and a regiment of guns. When I started I was calling 4 trays a “regiment” but the 54’s have grown so I now have enough so I can call same a “company”. Thus the Empire foot regiment is composed of Anglo-Egyptians and Anglo-Sudanese companies, two Ghurka companies and one Sikh company. All in all the British will pit about 90 trays against 135 native trays but of course the Hauserians have less power per tray and lack artillery or Maxims. This battle will be fought February 6th for the city of Morobad where the Anglo-Hauserian field force is now quartered. The city is on a low plateau overlooking Corbe’ River which the native must cross to reach it.

Regardless of outcome the next day there will be an evenly-balanced battle between the British army and the Franco-Italian army. By the way Caliph Kirk, Mad Mulla of Morobad (John Kirk) will second the Sultan and Pukka Parker, Brig. Gen., (Parker is Larry Parker). Should be an interesting operation and I shall try for some photos at the time. If I get any I shall send some prints on.

The battlefield is gridded of course. Rules used will not make use of rifle fire, this instead being combined within a battle Power number for each tray. Thus action on this level will not take place until troops actually come in contact (trays in adjacent grid squares). This has the effect of enlarging the battlefield. You have to be out on a flank in a physical sense with troops to stop a flanking attack. You can’t do it at 3 foot range just with rifle fire as in the past. Only actual firing is done by cannon (dice rolling of course). Thus troops out of move distance from you are for practical purposes miles away.

I have built a lot of new terrain to conform to this 3 inch grid square idea. The city of Morobad for instance consists of streets (bases) of plyboard with buildings in “flat” form astride lines between grid squares. Erected in a zig-zag arrangement they are startlingly three dimensional but take up absolutely no space. Hills are uniform stepped jobs all built to conform to the same height step pattern. Even these don’t look bad at all. And of course there are the usual trees (plastic ferns from 5 and 10) plus roads etc. Not up to your realistic type of terrain but very practical from a game standpoint for me.
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I found this description most intriguing, and it put me in mind of the photographs of some of Joseph Morschauser's wargames that were featured in Donald Featherstone's books.


  1. That is a nice bit of background for the pictures which also appear in Morschauser's book (plates 9 & 12) where he describes the walls as the "Great wall of Morobad".

    The 2d houses are interesting and are something I have been thinking of the same for use with 40mm troops and a grid. Good to know he already tried it and found that it worked.

    I wonder why he didn't field more "regiments" and group them into brigades rather than going the other way, especially with the reduction in rifle range? The latter is an interesting development anyway.

    Thanks for posting this,

  2. Ross Mac,

    I thought that you might appreciate the article.

    I have given serious thought to making some 2D buildings just to see what they look like ... especially as they would be ideal for recreating built-up areas for my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War campaign project.

    I must admit that I would have fielded more smaller units than just a few large ones ... but that is a reflection of my personal preferences.

    All the best,



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