Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Molefe saves the day

We interrupt Seven Years War Imagi-Nation tales temporarily to bring you 1980's Cold War Africa....

The Ridiculusium mine at Bazinga in the Eastern province was always going to be a major bone of contention, sighed President-For-Life Mokele-Mbembe. Educated at Oxford (Poly), he took over the country in the 1960's Uhuru, and his grateful people had made him Leader for life, which was now being propped up by all sorts of modern medical miracles.

So long as the there was Ridiculusium so close to their border with the Communist supported Social Democratic People's Republic, there would be war and turmoil. And that meant requiring far more of an army than the President necessarily wanted. His view of an army was that it should be small, professional. and his posssession alone.

Mbembe had inherited the British colonial forces at Independence (mainly WW2 equipment plus a few Saladin armoured cars), and in the 1960's and 70's was still largely linked to Britain. But the British wanted to charge top whack for new equipment, so the only modernisation the army had in the 1970's was when he wangled some old ex Vietnam equipment after a speech at the UN where he and Kissinger got drunk one evening in Little Italy.

It was during the Scorpion Affair in 1980 when he realised that being a French client state got you more contract kickbacks and Foreign Aid, especially the sort provided by the Foreign Legion - very useful by then, as the Marxist rebel leader Emela-nTouka was causing much trouble in the Eastern provinces, funded from across the border.

One French language laboratory course and the switching of squirrelled family assets to France later, and the President and country became Francophone, much to the bemusement of the population, though the switching of beer from bitter to biere in the state shebeens was welcomed. The more tangible result was a shipload of old gear (quite a bit of it ex-US) that the French didn't need anymore.

 Aerial view of the Ridiculisium Mine at Bazinga, with the Regiment deployed. East is to the left

Fast forward to today, a clear blue late spring sky has dawned, and Private Molefe, a newly conscripted recruit of the Eastern Province Regiment, was sitting on his Toyota 4x4 pickupe cleaning his 106mm Recoilless rifle while his section, posted as vedettes, watched the East from their position among the old ruins of Zimwebab. The rest of his Regiment (well, more a battalion really) was posted around Bazinga town and the Ridiculusium mine, as there were rumours that Cuba Libre mercenaries had arrived and the Social Democratic People's Republic may mount an attack to seize it. So seriously were these warnings taken that the French Foreign legion and the President's First (and only) Mechanised Brigade was driving up that day to secure it.

A drone in the air, initially lost in the morning chorus of cicadas, became audible as the lookouts up on the ruined walls shouted down that they could see vehicles approaching along the road - from the wrong direction for the French. They tried to raise the HQ at the Mine, but clearly the lazy buggers were still getting breakfast.

 Tanks come pouring over the rise, Molefe and Co are holed up in the ruins (bottom left)

Within minutes, tracked vehicles were going past them on the main road, and Molefe gulped and aimed his weapon. A boom and whoosh was followed up by an immense bang! as the shot struck home and the leading vehicle went up in smoke.  At that point 2 other Technicals came hurtling round the ruins, shouting to get the hell out as "many, many tanks" had come over the rise. The sections kicked into gear - with an entire enemy tank battalion coming up their arses.- and the pickups bounced across the veld, aiming for a nearby kopje where another vedette section was posted

"Good Shooting, Lance Corporal Molefe" beamed the Lieutenant

Molefe's section was fired at from the pursuing tanks, who found it very difficult to hit the small bucking technicals as they bounced along, but it was clear that the angles were all wrong, so Molefe and Co stopped behind a useful donga and decided to give the enemies another shot to see if they would draw away. There was some superb shooting and Molefe's gun put a round into the HQ section, causing total confusion among the enemy units. Sadly, Molefe's section took hits as they exited and the other jeep was hit.

"Good shooting, Corporal Molefe" yelled the Lieutenant, "You are in charge of the section now" as they re-mounted their jeeps and ran for the mine before the enemy collected their wits again.

 Molefe's section shoot down 3 of the enemy scout section before trying to retreat over the veldt to the kopje (corner bottom right)

By this time the main enemy thrust had reached the town of Bazinga and were deploying their first wave as the inexperienced conscripts of the Eastern Province regiment fired AK-47's and RPG-7s wildly over their heads. Old Colonel Tembu, who had been trained at Sandhurst and Moscow, prepered to sell his life and that of his inexperienced troops as dearly as they could (before they ran), when suddenly boom! boom! boom! and the enemy first wave vehicles started to blow up. Tembu turned his glasses West, and there he saw large wheeled vehicles on the far side of the vlei moving rapidly forward, shooting as they went. The French had arrived! 

J'arrive - the big AMX 10 RC guns start blasting the enemy personnel carriers from across the vlei.

With the Legion now arriving at the mine, and the Spahi d'Afrique's AMX 10's big guns outranging those of the aged T-55 tanks of the Cuba Libre "mercenaries" that the enemy were using, they decided to retire as dusk fell. The Ridiculusium mine was still intact in State hands for now.

(First game using Fistful of Tows III - 450 pages of ruleset were quite daunting, but they worked well and played quickly once we got the hang of it - the differences of morale and equipment effectiveness gives nuance, but there is still room for the gods of fate - Sergeant Molefe's uncanny abiity to throw sixes, and the enemy's inability to hit the techinicals - to blunt the best of tactics, in this case one side of the enemy's pincer attack!)

Friday, 6 April 2012

Perfidious Albion on the march

Perfidious Albion is building forces in Europa

A bit of a backstory to the Saxe-Märchen blog so far....

In essence we are building up to a big game (France v Prussia) in a few weeks time, and in the meantime we are going to have a smaller "Wargames Scenario" game between the Reichsarmee Brigade and some Unknown Furriners to try out Maurice Lite - the blogging here is the machinations to all that.

And in the meantime, the painting buildup of British forces is starting. They are based on Age of Reason organisation (like my French). The first British battalion is done but unflagged (centre pic, and there are 3 brigades now nearly based as follows:

- Centre of pic - British brigade, 3 line battalions, 1 fusilier 
- Right - Hanoverian Brigade - 4 line battalions.
- Far right - Mixed Brigade - 2 Highlander battalions, 2 Legion Brtittanque battalions
- At the far rear is teh fisrt battalion of the German forces (Hessians, Brunswickers etc)

On  the left is the start of the cavalry brigades, as follows:

Front - Hanoverian Garde du Corps and Grenadiers (1 squadron each). To be joined by British Dragoons and Brunswicker heavies.

- Centre - Royal North British Dragoons. To be joined by 2 more German Dragoon regiments

- Rear - British Light Dragoons - to be joined by 2 German Hussar regiments 

On the front are 3 of 4 Light infantry detachments, and 2 of 3 planned combined Grenadier battalions.

Not shown are 2 Heavy Guns and 4 Medium Guns.

We are also awaiting drafts of Officers, Standard bearers and Musicians.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Prussian blues

An Aide of Field Marshal Souibise rode up to the Duc de Pinotage and his Generals...

"Have you found the Prussians?"

"No - Have You found the Prussians?"


"Well, tell us if you find them"

"Yes, You too"

"Oh - and what of your Reichsarmee lot?"

"They are going north into the Hesse Hatlland"

"Have they seen the Prussians"

"No, just Hessians with various hats"

"Oh. Ah, Soubise told me he is assigning the Hohenzollern Kurassiers to you. There are 61 different states in their 2 squadrons. Wants you to lick 'em into shape. Byeee...must dash"

(When Soubise's army invaded Saxony, the thin Prussian forces scuttled away, Frederick had to make haste from the other side of Prussia.)

Monday, 2 April 2012

On the Road

On The Road North

Leopold, commander of the Saxe-Märchen contingent, galloped up to the Comte de Syrah as the Reichsarmee Brigade marched up the North road. The cavalry was already a few hours gone to clear the way, and now the infantry battalions stretched in marching columns along the road, interspersed with guns, supplies, coaches of officers' mistreses and waggons loaded with everything including the kitchen sinks.

"So what is going on? - why North to the Hessian lands - Saxony is due North-East, surely"

Leopold was merely repeating word for word what Werther had asked him a while earlier.

"Well, I had a word with (Le Duc de) Pinotage last night" said the Comte de Syrah, "and its all very, well, confusing. Apparently, Soubise's main army - which moved off some days ago -  found the countryside abandoned, the Prussian garrisons were ordered to send off the artillery and stores, to blow up any suitable works, and to join the "Britannic Army of Observation" which is apparently now assembling to the North. This army is under British pay and consists of various stripes of Hanoverians, Brunswickers, Bückeburgers, Hessians and Sachsen-Gothaers".

"I see - but what has this to do with us - why are we being sent to go stomping around up in the Hessian heart-and-hat lands?" Leopold was brave, energetic, and a fine figure of an officer, but without Werther he found the not-totally-obvious slipped tenuosly from his mental grasp.

"Well, Soubise is concerned as he doesn't know what this army will do, and he doesn't know what the Prussians are really up to. So, he has ordered the Corps du Vin to screen his main army from all this lot - until he hears from Richelieu about what is happeneing to the other invasion , of Hanover itself. And we have in turn been ordered to screen the Corps du Vin on its North West flank, by grabbing some strateghic river crossings - so here we are....."

"The other Invasion?"

"Ah, yes....You would not have known - another French army is due to invade Hanover from the Low Countries as well, with various Reichs armee contingents joining it too. It was actually a toss-up as to which army the Saxe-Märchen contingent would join, but it was decided you would come with us and then join the other Reichsarmee units against Prussia."

"I see - and what prompted that decision"

"Tails, I think...." said the Comte.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Moving Out!

Sir! Sir!

"Sir! Sir!  Young Werther ran up to the Comte de Syrah, who was taking a walk with his mistress, the lovely Lady Charlotte.


"Orders from the Duc de Pinotage Sir, we are to move the ReichsArmee Brigade out in the morning, due North and to occupy the key bridges over the Vielenfisch River between Bad Salz and Pfeffernussenkirchen, and interdict all traffic on it, making sure no supplies get to Prussia. Also, we are to make sure that no Prussian spies pass through the area" 

This came out as a single stream of words. Werther gulped a breath

"And sir, the Duc said that we were to take the Sarkozy Hussars. Arquebusiers de Bergerac and Malthus's Dragoons with us to demonstrate towards Hesse Fedora, whatever that means"

"I see. Thank you Werther. Can you go and tell your Uncle Leopold to make ready, and then tell Malthus to get all the cavalry saddled up, and the Arquebusiers to make ready. We will move out at Nine onto the North road, cavalry first. I will tell the Batalion Valais myself."

"Yessir. Will we see any action Sir"?

"Maybe, young Werther, maybe. But lets cross that bridge when we come to it. Aha aha...cross that bridge"

"Very Good Sir! Anything Else Sir"

"No Werther, go and tell the others" 

"Are all your aides as keen?" asked the Lady Charlotte as Werther ran off into the distance.

"In fact, Werther is a bit of a dreamer" said Le Comte "I'll go and check with Pinotage later that we got the full message".

"Well, he seems to interrupt you an awful  lot when I'm with you" thought the Lady Charlotte, a small smile playing on her lips......