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Friday, 17 November 2017

Border trouble: Into the Shin Valley!

As Sir Hector Boleyn-Green led the Shin Hills Field Force out into the flat land of the Shin Valley, the reason for the apparent precipitant withdrawal of the Shinwazis who had been defending the defile was clear ... it had been done to entice the Britannic troops into a trap!

Arrayed across the valley floor and centred on a stone-built tower atop of which could be seen the leader of the Shinwazis – Emir Abdul Ifran – praying for divine assistance and encouraging his troops to destroy the farangi.


In response, Sir Hector formed the Shin Hills Field Force into a line, with his Artillery Battery and Machine Gun Detachment in the centre. On his right he placed the two Companies of the South Yorkshire Regiment and one Company of the Frontier Rifles, and on his left he had the two Companies of the Macfarlane Highlanders and other Company of the Frontier Rifles.


Sir Hector decided that he would wear down the Shinwazis with artillery fire before attempting any sort of advance, and ordered his Artillery Battery to concentrate on destroying the opposing Shinwazi Artillery.

The experienced Britannic gunners knew their stuff, and their first shells hit one of the Shinwazi Artillery batteries and caused casualties.


The return fire from the Shinwazi Artillery Batteries was ineffective, but it was the signal for the tribesmen the charge!


The Britannic response was devastating. The sound of rifles being fired in volleys, mixed with the rattle of the Gatling Gun, could be heard across the Shin Valley. The Shinwazis suffered terrible casualties before their charge had reached the Britannic line, and several bands had been forced to withdraw.


The opposing Artillery Batteries continued to exchange fire, and the Britannic gunner managed to score more hits on the already depleted Shinwazi Artillery Battery, knocking it out of the fight.


The Shinwazis were also more successful than they had been, and caused casualties amongst the Machine Gun Detachment.


Although some of the impetus of their charge had gone, several of the bands of Shinwazis reached the Britannic line and considerable fierce hand-to-hand fighting took place.



With both sides still refusing to give ground side, the casualties continued to mount.

Despite suffering casualties, the Machine Gun Detachment continued its deadly work, and one of the bands of Shinwazi tribesmen was obliterated.


At this point Sir Hector turned to the commander of the Artillery Battery and said 'It's time to end this slaughter! Can you hit that tower and put an end to that jackanapes who's atop it?'.

The young Captain replied 'With you here sir, I think that we can'

'Then do it!' replied his superior officer.


The Britannic Artillery battery fired ... and hit the tower ... but the Emir was untouched. The remaining Shinwazi Artillery Battery fired back ... but the gunners were poorly trained and their rounds landed nowhere near their target.


Meanwhile the hand-to-hand fighting continued along the whole of the Britannic line.


Neither side would give ground, and the casualties began to mount.

Sir Hector again spoke to the young Artillery Captain. 'Things are getting desperate and I don't know how much longer the men will be able to hold the line. I'm relying on you to end this ... and to end it now!'

The young officer – whose name was Crook – gulped and stammered out an answer. 'Yes, sir! Right away!' He personally selected the next round from the nearby caisson, loaded the cannon, and aimed it himself.

'Fire!'

The Bombardier in charge of the gun pulled the firing lanyard ... and after what seemed like an age (but which was a matter on milliseconds), the gun fired.


The shell flew towards it target ... and hit the very top of the tower!


All of a sudden the Emir's voice could no longer be heard echoing around the battlefield.

'Well done, young man!' said Sir Hector to Captain Crook. 'I wouldn't be surprised if you have something important to tell your dear mama in your next letter home ... Major Crook!' The young officer looked away, embarrassed by the fact that he was intensely proud of what he had done.

All along the line the Shinwazis were falling back. The loss of their beloved Emir seemed to have taken all the fight out of them, and they now seemed more concerned with their own personal preservation than fighting the accursed and ungodly farangi.


The Major in charge of the Macfarlane Highlanders sent a message to Sir Hector to ask if his men should advance after the retreating tribesman, but Sir Hector's reply was in the negative.

'See to your wounded, Major. The men have been fighting hard these last few days and have won a close-run battle today. They need to have some rest and a hot meal. We'll camp here tonight, and tomorrow we will begin punishing the Shinwazis.'

And punish them they did. All the new rifles that the Shinwazis had bought were collected in and taken away. (The maker's markings had all been filed off, but the design was one used by the Rusland Army so there was little doubt of their place of origin.) A levy of five thousand Maria Theresa thalers (a currency that was widely used amongst the frontier tribes) was imposed on the Shinwazis, and a new, more friendly Emir was appointed to lead them in the future. He also agreed that a representative of the Britannic government would be welcome to stay in the Shin Valley for the foreseeable future.

As for Captain (acting Major) Crook ... well his promotion to the rank of Major was confirmed and he was awarded a Military Medal for his actions during the Shin Valley Campaign.

22 comments:

  1. Marvellous stuff. I quite fancy playing a Colonial Game now!

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    Replies
    1. Maudlin Jack Tar,

      I'm very pleased that you enjoyed this series of battle reports ... and if it has inspired you to do some Colonial wargaming, then all the better!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Bob,
    A very well written and interesting account of proceedings- well done! I do have a large collection of unpainted Minifig 15mm Colonials - after reading and viewing your series of Scenarios I am most tempted to go for individual bases - most effective. Cheers. KEV.

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    Replies
    1. Kev Robertson,

      I am very pleased to read that you enjoyed this battle report. It sounds as if you have the necessary figures to stage your own Colonial battles, so it might be worth considering painting done if you want a rest/change from your current project.

      If I was basing these figures now, I'd probably use round steel bases. Nowadays British 1p, 2p, and 5p coins are all plated steel, and are cheaper than the equivalent size of steel washers! The law about not defacing coins of the realm has been rescinded, and this makes them a viable choice for individual figure bases.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Hi Bob,

    What can I say! I REALLY enjoyed this and only wish that my gunnery was as good as my namesake....

    The small scale Heroscape works very nicely and I noted your previous comment about base sizes. Singles are certainly the way to go and I am thinking that for 15mm infantry perhaps 15mm would be about right - I am guessing yours are 20mm.

    It has certainly got me reaching for my NW Frontier library!

    All the best,

    DC

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I am reaching for my NWF library too!

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    2. David Crook,

      No doubt in time your shooting prowess will improve to the standard of your namesake!

      If I was basing these figures now, I'd probably use 5p or possible 1p coins. They are ideal for 15mm figures.

      My inspiration for this mini-campaign came from watching GUNGA DIN, THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, KIM, and THE DRUM on DVD ... and reading some of the Osprey books.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    3. Jonathan Freitag,

      It will be well worth doing so.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. "and a new, more friendly Emir was appointed to lead them in the future. He also agreed that a representative of the Britannic government would be welcome to stay in the Shin Valley for the foreseeable future."

    Gov't putting a most accommodating perspective on this episode. "Really, we are your friends. We make these changes for your benefit!"

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    Replies
    1. Jonathan Freitag,

      Wasn't it always thus? It certainly seemed to be the way the British in India did such things.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. Oh dear! Massed on the plain! Will they never learn? I was expecting them to appear from a gully or behind a ridge on the flank. Well the lesson has been taught again!

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    Replies
    1. Ross Mac,

      I think that the Shinwazis were relying on ferocity and martial prowess to overcome the ungodly (and obviously weak) farangi. It didn't work ...

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. Nice report, but those casualty rings do look so unsightly...

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    Replies
    1. Mike,

      I'm glad that you enjoyed the battle report.

      At least the clear plastic casualty rings are not as visibly intrusive as the white ones.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. Replies
    1. Rick Krebs,

      Cheers! I am pleased that you enjoyed reading it; I certainly enjoyed fighting this mini-campaign.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. Kippled like Kipling with a touch of Ripping Yarns :)
    Well done Bob

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    Replies
    1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      One of the joys of solo wargaming is that it enables you to have the time to write an interesting narrative battle report.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Jonathan Freitag,

      Battles rarely take place in isolation. They occur for a reason, and there are always consequences. For me these are an important part of any battle report as they put the action into context.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  9. Bravo! I really enjoyed your battle report. Someday I will venture into Colonial but for now I am still obsessed with Ancients. Your report reminded me of Ripping Yarns as well.

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    Replies
    1. David Cuatt,

      One of the big advantages of fighting mini-campaigns is the fact that you can mention characters to your battle report, which seems to make them more interesting to read. Sir Hector has been featured before, and hopefully Major Crook will make a reappearance at some point as well.

      One advantage of Colonial wargaming is the relatively small number of figures one needs to fight a battle ... unless - of course - your ambitions lie in recreating the Battles of Omdurman, Isandlwana and the like, where the size of the battle would seem to require a larger space and more figures than are needed for most battles fought using THE PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

      All the best,

      Bob

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