Sunday, 6 September 2020

The attack on the Great Wall of Marzibar: Battle report

Turn 1: Initial positions
The Dammallian Field Force began the battle in the following locations:
  • General Sir Garnet Diamond: N10
  • 1st Queen’s Own Rifles: N10
  • 1st Royal Essex: N9
  • Port Albert Rifles: N14
  • British Dammaillian Police: N13
  • 1st Dammaillian African Rifles: N7
  • 2nd Dammaillian African Rifles: N6
  • Dammallian Native Police: N4
  • 1st Battery, Port Albert Artillery: N11
  • 2nd Battery, Port Albert Artillery: N12
  • MG Battery, Royal Naval Brigade: N5
The Marzibarian force began the battle in the following locations:
  • Colonel Ahmed Gourd: E13
  • Sultan of Marzibar’s Guard: C13
  • Sultan of Marzibar’s Zouaves: A12
  • 1st Arab Militia: I9
  • 2nd Arab Militia: E6
  • 3rd Arab Militia: E12
  • 4th Arab Militia: C11
  • 1st Battery, the Sultan of Marizibar’s Artillery: E13
The Dammallian Field Force had no idea of the location of any of the Marzibarian troops other than up to 50% of them may be deloyed outside of the Great Wall of Marzibar.

The initial positions occupied by the Dammallian Field Force (in red) and the Marizibarian force (in green).
Turn 2
The Dammallian Field Force advanced in two main bodies.
Turn 3
The Royal Essex and 1st Dammallian African Rifles both spotted enemy troop hiding in the palm trees ahead of them.
At the same time, General Diamond ordered the 1st and 2nd Batteries, Port Albert Artillery, to deploy.
Turn 4
Whilst the 1st and 2nd Batteries, Port Albert Artillery opened fire of the main gate in the Great Wall of Marzibar, the Royal Essex and Queen's Own Rifles moved forward and opened fire on the Arab Militia in the palm trees.
At the same time, the 1st and 2nd Dammallian African Rifles - supported by the Royal Navy's Maxim gun detachment - advance on the next group of palm trees.
Turn 5
The Dammallian artillery  continued firing at the main gate ... and demolished it!
Whilst the Royal Essex and Queen's Own Rifles mounted a bayonet charge into the palm trees, the British Dammallian Police and Port Albert Rifles advanced towards Marzibar City, as did the 1st Dammallian African Rifles.
The 2nd Dammallian African Rifles spotted movement in the palm trees that were ahead of them, and prepared to attack whoever was hiding there.
Turn 6
The Dammallian artillery switched their fire to the section of wall adjoining the main gate. At the same time, the Sultan of Marzibar's Artillery fired at the British Dammallian Police. Light casualties were caused, and the unit continued its advance towards Marzibar City alongside the Port Albert Rifles.
The bayonet fighting in the palm trees resulted in the total destruction of the 1st Arab Militia by the Royal Essex and Queen's Own Rifles.
Turn 7
The Dammallian artillery began to destroy the section of the Great Wall of Marzibar that they had previously fired at.
In return, the Sultan of Marzibar's Artillery continued to inflict casualties on the British Dammallian Police.
The 2nd Arab Militia attacked the 2nd Dammallian African Rifles, but the fighting was inconclusive.
General Diamond ordered the British Dammallian Police, the Port Albert Rifles, the 1st Dammallian African Rifles, and the Queen's Own Rifles to move close to Marzibar City whilst he - in company with the Royal Essex - moved up in support.
Turn 8
The Dammallian artillery finally breached the section of wall that they had been firing at just before the 1st Dammallian African Rifles stormed through the destroyed gate and began fighting at close quarters with the 3rd Arab Militia.
In the palm trees, the 2nd Arab Militia and 2nd Dammallian African Rifles continued to fight each other at close quarters.
The Sultan of Marzibar's Artillery had been unable to fire at the depleted British Dammallian Police because the latter had reached the Great Wall of Marzibar and were storming up it, using gaps in the rough stonework as hand and footholds.
Once over the wall, the British Dammallian Police began putting Marzibarian gunners to the sword ... including the commander of the Marzibarian defenders, Colonel Ahmed Gourd.
Almost immediately, the remaining defenders surrendered, and the white flag was seen flying over Marzibar City. The Dammallian Field Force had prevailed, and Marzibar City was in their hands!
Comments and conclusions
Although the Dammallians outnumber the defenders, the result of this battle is by no means a foregone conclusion. They have to fight their way past outlying defenders and batter down the gates and/or sections of the walls to mount an assault. As it was, the Marzibarians only deployed two of their units outside the defences (in the post-battle debrief, the Dammallian commander said that he had expected to have more to contend with) and hoped that the Dammallians would become exhausted before they were able to mount an assault.

In fact, the Dammallian artillery did an excellent job of smashing open the gates and beginning the destruction of a section of the wall well before the Marzibarians had expected, and no one could have foreseen the ferocity of the British Dammallian Police once they got over the wall. They were down to 50% of their original strength, but swept through the Marizibarian artillery like avenging angels, killing Colonel Gourd in the process. At that point, the Marzibarian defenders lost all heart, and surrendered before it was to late to do so.

The minor changes to the rules worked well, and the battle took about ninety minutes to fight from beginning to end. I had a great time, and I think that my opponent is already looking at the possibility of using the scenario himself, but probably not in a Colonial setting.

I originally intended to show the progress of the battle using photographs taken at the end of each turn, but I decided to experiment with a colour map on this occasion. It took me longer to do this than I expected, but I think that the results were worth it. By way of comparison, here are some of the photographs that I would have used:

Finally, a couple of pictures of the tabletop action:

The situation inside Marzibar City at the time of the surrender.
The fighting in the palm trees between the 2nd Arab Militia and the 2nd Dammallian African Rifles.
All the figures were manufactured by Essex Miniatures, the artillery was made by Peter Laing, and the Great Wall of Marzibar was made from thin cardboard. The houses are from a board game called SANTORINI.


  1. Hi Bob,
    I particularly like your 15mm Essex Colonial figures and the color photos.
    I like how you have made Marzibar with the card walls and Santorini buildings - most effective. Thanks for posting. Best Wishes. KEV.

    1. Kev Robertson (Kev),

      I like the figures manufactured by Essex Miniatures, and they form by far and away the largest part of my Colonial collection.

      As the game was very much a ‘one off’, I saw no reason to build a more substantial set of city walls (my online opponent built his from Duplo), and I had the SANTORINI buildings to hand for exactly this sort of game. The buildings come with upper floors and small domes that just stack on top of the basic bottom storey of the building. This makes them suitable for almost everywhere in the Mediterranean, Balkans, or a Middle East.

      All the best,


  2. Great report Bob and I'm sure it was a very good game to play. I think the map is very effective for reporting and can imagine playing an entirely map based game, though I'd prefer playing with miniatures. The buildings are very effective for Colonial games.

    1. Maudlin Jack Tar,

      Thanks for your kind comment about my battle report. It was a most enjoyable battle to take part in, and I’m thinking about using this sort of map display in future battle reports.

      It is possible to play PW as a purely map-based game, but other than for times when I’m away from home, I’ll always prefer to use figures rather than counters.

      The buildings are ideal for wargaming, and I’m surprised more wargamers don’t use them.

      All the best,


  3. Hi Bob,
    What size grid were you using? Was it 50mm ? I will have to look into the buildings too.



    1. Mike C (Mike),

      The grid squares are 40mm x 40mm.

      The SANTORINI game is on sale on Amazon, although I bought mine in Cadiz, Spain.



  4. Methinks, Bob -
    That somewhere in my many 'colonial' campaigns there must be an assault up Morobad - or some similar place. It just looks such an interesting battle to fight. I like the map!
    I find having at least one in my postings helps to orient the reader (me, usually) whilst viewing the photos.
    Archduke Piccolo

    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      If you can find your version of the Attack on the Great Wall of Morobad, I'd love to read your blog post!

      The maps worked well, and although they took longer to do that I expected, the end result was well worth it.

      All the best,


  5. The map works a treat Bob and makes it really easy to follow the action.

    1. Steve J.,

      Thanks for your helpful feedback. Using the maps to help to tell the story of the battle has achieved the outcome that I had hoped for.

      Al the best,



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