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Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day 2021


Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Anglo-Russian War: The Battle of Malana, Part 1

 The Izmaylovsky Lifeguards Regiment crosses a tributary of the Amu Darya River.

Our first recommended 24 point game for The Men Who Would be Kings has the Imperial Russian Army attempting to capture or destroy the village of Malana.

The Russian plan.

For the Russians, The Izmaylovsky Lifeguards Regiment will be the main effort as they are the elite unit and have the best leader on the table (Destined for Greatness). Unfortunately, the Russian General forgot to move the Machine Gun from the photo shot that was supposed to be supporting the Lifeguards frontal attack. The 21st Frontier Guards mission is to keep the Himachal Militia busy while not much hope or expectations were given to the weak Naval Brigade. The idea is to move fast and hard before the British Indian Army reinforcements show up.

The British Plan is simple: hold out until reinforcements arrive. The Royal Regiment of Chaimbellistan under the Brutal Colonel Chrochet will defend Malana while the Himachal Militia will be on the left flank in the hills (Hard Cover). The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) will arrive on the table on Turn 2 and the 19th Punjabis on Turn 3.

The Defender's starting position.

The Izmaylovsky Lifeguards Regiment use their free move of shoot and then move across the bridge. The Royal Regiment does a good job of ducking hiding behind the walls at the extreme range. As a reminder the Leadership trait for the officer is "Destined for Greatness."

The 21st Frontier Guards fail to activate.

The Machine Gun moves to try and get in a good position to support the Guards.

The Naval Brigade fails to move (no surprise there!)

Colonel Crochet yells "Fire" and a Russian Guardsman falls.

Due to the superior leadership of the officer, the Izmaylovsky Lifeguards are not pinned due to the casualty.

The Himachal Militia advances in the Difficult Terrain.

Once again, the Izmaylovsky Lifeguards Fire then Move. Two figures of the Chaimbellistan Royal Regiment exit the game.

Due to his Brutal methods (Discipline is -2), Colonel Crochet fails the Pin roll and the unit receives one pin marker.

Closer to the walls of Malana.

The 21st Frontier Guards start to ford the branch of the Amu Darya River in their supporting attack to tie down the militia.

The Naval Brigade activates and moves!

However, a wasted resource due to a mistake in positioning, does not move.

The villagers of Malana flee . . .

. . . while south of the village the Royal Fusiliers show up At The Double.

Colonel Crochet fails to rally the Royal Regiment of Chaimbellistan and they have to retreat from their defensive positions. Using the optional rules for the Royal Regiment, Maharaja Tukoji Rao II Holkar relieves him and takes personal command of the regiment. He rolls and his Leadership Value is "5" ("Yes!" exclaims the British General) and his Leadership Trait is "Up and at them". This means if his unit is able to make contact, they must attempt to "Attack" the enemy instead of giving any other order (except Rally).

The Himachal Militia puts some serious lead downfield against the 21st Frontier Guards. Fortunately for them, the steadfast leadership of the 21st keeps them from being pinned.

"Dang, the Russians are getting close."

Two more are shot by the Lifeguard; including the Brutal Colonel Crochet. No tears are shed.

The Lifeguards breach the out wall.

The 21st Frontier Guards fire at the Himachal Militia in the Difficult terrain and with great marksmanship take two figures out of the game. Under the fierce gaze of their leader they are not pinned.

The Machine Gun Company slowly moves into position to support the Lifeguards and the 21st.

"We like it here in the shade; I don't think we will move."

The Maharaja rallies his men and prepares to defend Malana with his much diminished force.

The 21st takes another hit and is pinned. "We have got to get out of the open and out of this river quickly."

Major Elliott Naple-Cooper Stone stops his men to catch their breaths so they will be ready to engage the Russians (yep, failed activation). But . . .

. . . the 19th Punjabis arrive At the Double and outpace their comrades in The Royal Fusiliers.

 Brigadier General Nigel Humphreys-Farrell and his staff, with reinforcements in sight, observe the situation from the roof top after 3 turns of play.

Next: To be continued.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

The Anglo-Russian War: The British Indian Forces at the Battle of Malana

"Send another wire to Headquarters: //Situation a bit sticky in Malana. STOP. Things are pretty sticky up there. STOP. Would you mind sending some troops? END// Yep, that should do."

As mentioned last time, though not officially declared, war has come to the disputed territory between the Russian Empire and the British Raj in the Princely State of Chaimbellistan. The advanced elements of the 2nd Siberian Corps, under the command of General Baron Georgii Karlovich Stackelberg are advancing on the town (village) of Malana which is lightly held.

Maharaja Tukoji Rao II Holkar, leader of the Princely State of Chaimbellistan, is rapidly mustering his forces and has officially requested military assistance from Calcutta. First on the scene is Brigadier General Nigel Humphreys-Farrell, KCSI, DSO, etc.

"I say Charlie, isn't that a Russian Army over there on the other side of the Amu Darya River ?"
"Yes sir."
"Not very sporting of them not tell us that they would be here, is it?"
"No sir."

Using The Men Who Would be Kings, here is the British Field Force that will oppose the Imperial Russian Field Force at The Battle of Malana:

1. In Malana:
    a. The Royal Regiment of Chaimbellistan.
    b. The Himachal Militia.
2. Reinforcements:
    a. The 19th Punjabi Regiment.
    b. The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment).

The Royal Regiment of Chaimbellistan is an Irregular Infantry Unit (4 points) that are Veteran (+1 point) giving them a discipline of +1. We will be using the optional rules for 
Colonel of the Realm James Bartholomew, the Maharaja, and Princess Sita Devi. These optional rules can be found here. Total cost for the unit is 5 points.

Maharaja Tukoji Rao II Holkar and his sister Princess Sita Devi.

Using the optional rules, when rolling for Leadership Value, Colonel Crochet will never have higher than a 6+ unless a Leadership Trait changes it. After a roll of the die, his Leadership Value is 6+ and his Leadership Trait is (drum roll please) is Brutal. Uh oh. The Royal Regiment's Discipline defaults to -2 which is permanent for the entire game.

The Himachal Militia is a Tribal Infantry unit. In addition to the normal rules for Tribal Infantry (3 points), the Himachal will also be Fierce (+1 point) which increases their Fighting to 4+. In addition, they will be Well Armed Sharpshooters (+2 points) which gives them a firing of 5+. Total cost for the unit is 6 points.

The Big Guy.

And now for the leader. With a die roll of "6" his Leadership Value is 5+ (Good!) and his Leadership Trait will be . . . Brave. This allows his unit to remove one Pinned marker for free before activating the unit.

The 19th Punjabi Regiment is a Regular Infantry Unit (6 points) and they don't take guff from anyone. They are use to being up close and personal with the enemy so they will also be Fierce (+1 point) which makes their Fighting 4+. Total points: 7. Now let's pray that their new officer is up to the task.

Lieutenant Colonel John Bryce Hill.

Nervously the die is rolled for his Leadership Value; a "5" giving him an LV of 5+ (whew!). His Leadership Trait is . . . Inspirational! He may reroll every failed Rally once.

The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) is a Regular Infantry unit and the first unit to wear shorts in a battle on my tabletop. Total Points: 6.

Major Elliott Naple-Cooper Stone.

One more leader to go and his Leadership Value is also 5+ and his Leadership Trait is . . . Jolly Sporty. The Royal Fusiliers may add +2 inches (Imperial, of course) on a successful At the Double Action.

Well this should be an interesting action with the weak point in the British Indian Forces the Royal Regiment of Chaimbellistan led by the brutal Colonel Crochet. Time to line up and at them!

Will the defenders of Malana be successful?

Friday, May 21, 2021

The Anglo-Russian War: The Russian Forces at the Battle of Malana


The area where the Battle of Malana was fought in the Princely State of Chaimbellistan. Note the natural rock formations near the branch of the Amu Darya River that look amazingly like giant white and red dice.

Though not officially declared, war has come to the disputed territory between the Russian Empire and the British Raj in the Princely State of Chaimbellistan. The advanced elements of the 2nd Siberian Corps, under the command of General Baron Georgii Karlovich Stackelberg are advancing on the town (village) of Malana which is lightly held. General Baron Stackelberg has given orders to seize the town, or failing that, to destroy it. That will teach the Britishers and their Indian puppets a lesson in military power.

General Baron Georgii Karlovich Stackelberg, Commander of the 2nd Siberian Corps. He loves a good cigar. Figure by Copplestone from the European advisors pack in the Back of Beyond Range.

The Brigade that will attack Malana consists of:

1. The Izmaylovsky Lifeguards Regiment.
2. The 21st Frontier Guard Company.
3. The Naval Brigade from the Battleship Sissoi Veliky.
4. Machine Gun Company Number 3.

Finally! We are ready for the first major battle of the Anglo-Russian War using the rules The Men Who Would be Kings. The scenario will be a combination of Scenario B Seek and Destroy and Scenario F Take the High Road. Both sides will have 24 points and the Russian Player (the attacker) can decide at any time during the game which Scenario is his mission. If the game ends and no declaration has been made, the scenario will automatically be Take the High Road. To add some more tension, the British player (the defender) must roll for their reinforcements as only 12 points of forces will be on the table at the beginning of the battle. Each unit will roll and When a 1or 2 will be Turn 2, a 3 or 4 will be Turn 3 and a 5 or 6 will be Turn 4.

"Are they here yet?"

The Russian Forces:

The Izmaylovsky Lifeguards Regiment is a Regular Infantry Unit (6 points) that are Poor Shots (-1 point) which makes their firing 6; but, however, they are an Elite unit (+1 point) and their discipline is now +2. Total Points: 6. Why Poor Shots? Russian tactical doctrine at the time emphasized Volley firing vice individual marksmanship except for specialty units. Now let's roll for the leader.

And a roll of the dice is a "6" making his Leadership Value 5+. A Russian Officer that inspires the men! And his leadership Trait is . . . Destined for Greatness. Yikes! Not good for the British at all. The leader's unit may make a free action (for Regular Infantry they are Form Close Order and Volley Fire) and then test for a second (different) action every turn. I wonder which unit will spearhead the assault?

The 21st Frontier Guard Company is a Regular Infantry Unit. A prerequisite in joining the Frontier Guard is that you have to have served as a soldier first and be honorably discharged. Not your run of the mill Russian soldiers. Total Points: 6.

Rolling for the Leadership Value the officer gets a "5" which is also a Leadership Value of 5+.  So far good officers for the Russians. And the Leadership Trait is . . . "He's the Major General's favorite nephew" which allows him to choose one additional upgrade for his unit for free. Uncle General Baron 
Stackelberg says so. The 21st Frontier Company are now Keen Shots which raises their firing to 4+. Not looking good for the British Raj.

The Naval Brigade from the Battleship Sissoi Veliky are Irregular Infantry (hey, we're sailors!) which is 4 points. They have modern rifles (Well-Armed +1 point) which increases range, etc. In addition, it is a Veteran unit (+1 point) that fought in the Boxer Rebellion and their discipline is now +1. Total: 6 points.

Now the officer. He rolls on the Irregular table a "3" for a leadership of +7 (not great). And his leadership trait is "What a fine moustache (which I'll change to haircut)" which changes his leadership value to +9 (gulp) making him an otherwise forgettable fellow. Maybe that's why he is in Central Asia instead of on a ship!

Machine Gun Company Number 3 is a well drilled machine gun crew. Not much else to say. Total: 6 points.

And the officer. He rolls a "3" giving him a leadership value of 6+. Not bad. And the Leadership Trait is . . . I don't believe it. He is also "Destined for Greatness". Well, this should be interesting.

"They will never know what hit them."

Up Next: The Forces of the Princely State of Chaimbellistan and the British Raj.