Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Attack on Morobad

I have finally managed to fight my version of 'The Attack on Morobad', and here is the battle report.

Note: Special rules for this battle:
  • If a section of wall or a tower receives three direct hits from artillery fire, it is deemed to have been demolished.
  • If two sections of wall are demolished, the Hauserians must take a morale test. If they fail, the Sultan will surrender.
  • The morale test is repeated every time a further section of wall is demolished.
  • If an enemy unit manages to enter the city of Morobad, the Hauserians must take a further morale test. If they fail, the Sultan will surrender.

The forces involved
The British sent an Infantry Brigade to attack the Hauserian capital, Morobad.

The Brigade consisted of:
  • 1st Battalion, The Cambridgeshire Light Infantry Regiment
  • 1st Battalion, The Royal Essex Regiment
  • 1st Battalion, The Mackay Highlanders
  • A & B Field Batteries, the Regiment of Royal Artillery
  • Machine Gun Battery, The Loyal Kent Regiment
The outnumbered Hauserian defenders were all riflemen armed with slightly obsolete single-shot rifles.

The terrain
The approach to Morobad was across a flat plain that was dotted with clumps of palm trees.

As can be seen, Morobad was surrounded by a considerable wall that the British artillery would have to breach if they were to be able to capture the city.

The battle

Turn 1
The Hauserian defenders were already manning the Great Wall of Morobad ...

... as the British approached.

Turn 2
The British force advanced ...

Turn 3
... until the artillery was in range of the Great Wall of Morobad.

Turn 4
The fighting began when the two Field Batteries of the Regiment of Royal Artillery opened fire on the Great Wall of Morobad ...

... and caused some damage to the corner tower and inflicted a casualty on the defenders. Under cover of the artillery fire, the British infantry continued to advance on the flanks whist those in the centre began to form up into an assault column.

In spite of this growing threat, the Hauserians stayed behind their defences and patiently waited.

Turn 5
The British artillery failed to hit anything of significance with its second salvo ...

... and the Mackay Highlanders and the Machine Gun Battery continued to move forward on the British right flank.

Turn 6
The third salvo of British artillery fire hit a section of city's wall twice, and although no casualties were inflicted, this gave the Hauserians some cause for concern.

Whilst this was happening the Mackay Highlanders and the Machine Gun Battery deployed into line to meet any potential threat from within the city.

Turn 7
A further salvo of British artillery fire hit the same section of city wall for a third time, inflicting a casualty and causing the wall to collapse. It also hit the city's gateway and caused a further casualty on the defenders.

Stung by this some the Hauserian defenders rushed forward to attack the oncoming British ...

... who countered by moving the Royal Essex Regiment forward. Such was the ferocity of the Hauserian attack that the Royal Essex Regiment suffered three casualties!

Turn 8
Because the presence of the foremost Hauserian troops masked the city's gateway from further artillery fire, the British artillery fired at the corner tower ...

... which they hit once, causing further casualties on the defenders.

(The British artillery batteries did not want to risk hitting their own troops if they fired at the Hauserian infantry!)

The infantry melee continued, with the initiative first going to the Hauserians, ...

... who wiped out a company of the Royal Essex Regiment, ...

... and then to the Cambridgeshire Light Infantry, who attacked one of the Hauserian infantry units from the rear ...

... inflicting two casualties on the Hauserians in the process.

The Royal Essex Regiment managed to gain some degree of revenge on the Hauserians when they forced the main attackers to fall back.

Turn 9
The deadly accurate British artillery fire hit the corner tower yet again ...

... causing it to collapse and killing all the defenders who were on it.

The initiative in the infantry melee was now firmly in British hands. The Royal Essex Regiment pressed forward, ...

... causing further casualties on the Hauserians and forcing them to retreat.

The Cambridgeshire Light Infantry Regiment likewise pressed home their advantage ...

... and also inflicted casualties that forced some more of the Hauserians to fall back.

The Hauserians were now faced with an almost total collapse of their morale, and failed to counter-attack the British.

Turn 10
Faced with almost inevitable defeat, the Sultan of Hauser considered surrendering the city of Morobad to the British ... but he didn't.

The British artillery now switched their fire to the walls facing the Mackay Highlanders ... and two lucky shots hit adjoining sections of wall, causing casualties on the defenders.

The Hauserians who were outside the walls of the city now withdrew back through the city gateway ...

... whilst the British reorganised themselves prior to making their next move.

Turn 11
The British artillery continued to bombard the Great Wall of Morobad, ...

... and forced some of the defenders to abandon them for fear of suffering further casualties.

The British began a general advance ...

... and the Hauserian defenders prepared to meet them.

Turn 12
Yet again the British artillery fired at the Great Wall of Morobad and hit it in two different places.

Further casualties were inflicted on the defenders, who had now begun to assemble in the open area behind the Great Wall.

The British halted, and waited for the Field Batteries to do more damage to the Great Wall before making their final assault.

Turn 13
The British artillery fired at the Great Wall of Morobad for what they hoped would be the last time ... and missed their target with both shells!

Although only two sections of the Great Wall had been demolished, the British infantry surged forward and began their assault.

The fighting was intense, and both sides suffered casualties ...

... but eventually numbers prevailed, and the British managed to enter Morobad ...

... at which point the Sultan surrendered and ordered his troops to lay down their weapons!

The result
The Sultan was allowed to remain on his throne, as long as he accepted British control of Hauser. As one of the conditions of his acceptance was a sizeable annual annuity, the Sultan was only too keen to accept ... although some of his subjects were less happy to have the benefits of European civilisation (i.e. a British garrison, regular and efficient tax collection, and Christian missionaries) thrust upon them. Only time will tell if they will remain acquiescent or not.

I fought this battle after a period of three months during which I had done no actual wargaming ... and I thoroughly enjoyed getting troops back onto the tabletop! It also allowed me to fulfil a long-held ambition; to re-fight Joseph Morschauser's 'The Attack of Morobad' wargame using my interpretation of his 'Frontier' wargame rules.

Preparing for and fighting this battle has revived my interest in both wargaming in general and Colonial wargaming in particular. It has also left me with a modular fortress that I can use in further wargames, so it has been a 'win-win' all around for me!


  1. Superb stuff Bob. This has been a terrific project and a joy to follow. Great BatRep too. Well worth the wait imho. Many thanks indeed for taking the time to put this together. It is very much appreciated.

  2. Blaxkleric,

    I am very pleased that you enjoyed reading this battle report; I certainly had a lot of fun both fighting the battle and writing the battle report!

    Now that I have the bit between my teeth, I hope to fight another wargame as soon as I can ... but it is likely to be set during the middle of the twentieth century.

    All the best,


  3. Great game and set up. I really like the fortifications and the dots to form the grid.

  4. I have been following the building of the walls and the ruins with interest and I wondered how it would all come together. Absolutely marvellously!
    Thank you for the inspiring posts.
    I came across your rules for Portable Wargames Ancients a few days ago and assume they are ok for the 15mm Dark Age figures that I have.

  5. Tradgardmastare,

    Cheers! I am very pleased with the way the modular fortress bits worked together, and I can foresee it being used a lot in the future.

    The use of dots to mark the corners of the grid areas makes them a lot less intrusive than lines ... and is much easier to draw!

    All the best,


  6. Nobby,

    I think that the modular fortress has turned out to be even better than I had hoped it would. It is one of my most successful projects to date, and I hope to use the same techniques to build further buildings and fortifications.

    My Portable Wargame Ancient rules should work all right with your 15mm-scale figures BUT I must warn you that they have not been properly play-tested as I don't actually own any Ancient figures of my own!

    All the best,


  7. Hi Bob,

    Absolutely magnificent! The whole thing works so well together - the look, the narrative, the fortress and the spotted playing area. You have nailed it and I am looking forward to seeing how this develops in the future - you must be delighted!

    Very well done Bob.

    All the best,


  8. David Crook,

    Cheers! It has all come together even better than I had hoped, and has given me a lot of ideas for future projects. For example, I hope to use the modelling technique that I used to build my modular fortress to create modular built-up areas. I also think that any future grids that I create will have dots or small crosses to mark the corners rather than lines as the latter are far too intrusive.

    All the best,


  9. I thoroughly enjoyed the report, and it's great to see the project come to full culmination. The look of the fortress, troops, and board all mesh together well!

  10. Gonsalvo,

    Many thanks for your kind comments. I am extremely pleased with the way everything came together ... and it certainly revitalised my desire to wargame!

    All the best,


  11. Well, its pretty much been all said but what an excellent little game Bob! All "just right" and sufficient to prod the imagination to bring it all to life in our minds.

  12. Ross Mac,

    Cheers ... and thanks again for your kind comments about this and many of my other blog entries.

    It is difficult to explain how much I have enjoyed preparing for and then staging this re-fight. It really has reignited my desire to fight lots more wargames ... and to do so in the near future.

    All the best,


  13. Xaltotun of Python,

    I am glad that you think so! I certainly enjoyed preparing for and fighting this battle, especially as it fulfilled a long-term ambition.

    All the best,


  14. Well done Bob. That looked well, read well and I believe played well. Did you have a time limit on the British? Just looking at the scenario, I was wondering as the Hauserians didn't seem to have any artillery, would there be any penalty in the British sitting back and pounding 'em?

  15. Conrad Kinch,

    Thanks very much for your kind comments; they are much appreciated.

    I did not set a limit on the number of game turns but did limit the number of times that the British artillery could fire ... and they were getting close to that limit when the British assault went in. As to the lack of Hauserian artillery ... a well there were none in Morschauser's photograph, so I didn't give them any. If they had, I suspect that the British attack might not have been possible without a lot more artillery being available.

    All the best,


  16. That was an enjoyable read. Loved the fort and rubble!

  17. Splendid Battle BOB- all the pre-planning ( including building your Fort) has paid ten fold- a most enjoyable report- very thorough and concise. Well done. KEV.

  18. Cincinnatus,

    I am very pleased to read that you enjoyed reading the battle report and seeing my modular fortress.

    All the best,


  19. Kev,

    Cheers! You are right about the pre-planning helping to ensure that the re-fight went well.

    All the best,


  20. There are a lot of things I could say about this; simple, elegant, evocative. Pretty, too. You've got me eyeing my own 19th century project and wondering if maybe...

    I liked the use of the Mahdists for Hauserian troops. That reminds me. What I had in mind for my own colonial project involved (along with the European colonial powers) was a coastal, vaguely Arabic/Turkish semi-independent city-state (Morobar) whose main reason for existence was a slave trade with the interior. The interior was to be peopled by a dark hued vaguely Zulu sort of people, not, perhaps so organised as the Hauserian Empire, or the Zulus of Shaka and Cetswayo for that matter, but an independently minded tribal warrior people taking a dim view of colonisation (and, maybe, even dimmer of the Morobar slave raids...). The British main settlement would be Marsbar on the African coast; the French at Chocbar on the shores of Lake Eugenie (Onogo)...

    Pity ESCI no longer produces those African types... There again, it's probably just as well...

  21. Archduke Piccolo,

    Thank you for your very kind comment about my recent battle report.

    The clothing worn by the Arab Mahdists was sufficiently generic to be useable for almost any Arabic-looking tribesmen, and I have used them as such in lots of wargames. I have even used them as substitutes for North West Frontier tribesmen.

    I like the background to your proposed Colonial set-up. It is not that dissimilar to Eric Knowles's MADASAHATTA campaign or my own British Dammallia, German Mankanika, and Sultanate of Marzibar ... and they have given lots of enjoyment and generated quite a few mini-campaigns in their time.

    I do hope that you turn your idea into an reality as I suspect that it is a project that you will be able to re-visit again and again once it is set up.

    All the best,



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