Sunday, 9 July 2017

Palestine 1917

Yes, not all World War One battles must be in the mud and cold of the Western Front but can be in the dust and heat of the Middle East.  My "Palestine 1917" collection is one which I really have forgotten how/when/why I have the figures.  But as they are 1:72 (20mm) plastics, I changed my usual method of painting to a white primer, basic colours without much worry about "keeping inside the lines" and finished with a wash/dip. One of my very quick doings.  Not good by any measure but fine for this minor diversion.
Australian Mounted Infantry in the desert

In keeping with my current interest in Dan Mercey's series of "Rampant" rules, I thought to use his "The Men Who Would Be Kings" colonial rules for this campaign.  Not historical for sure, but it should give a reasonable game and is malleable enough.  I want to use airplanes (and tanks?) but I think even that is conceivable within the framework.

The organization of the units was the most difficult point, trying to decide, based on the numbers I had, and the suggested sizes of the rules; what would 'feel' best for the scale of game I wish to portray.  To be honest it is more the former than the latter which dictated the result.

An infantry unit (company?) will have 12 bases (of two figures each), an artillery unit (section or battery?) of four guns equating to the 4 crew in the rules and 4 machine guns again matching the number of crew within the TMWWBK rules. A gun is removed rather than any figures. The doctrine of the day had machine guns generally operating in whole units than independently as part of an infantry command; so the use of groups of machine guns is not strange and fits with their effect within the rules.
Ottoman Turk Infantry
Turkish machine gun unit
Turkish artillery.  Not well served in this game through rather poor dice rolling for them.
Turkish cavalry. Did give them the lance advantage in combat but were destroyed before able to use them!

The Australian mounted infantry would have been a challenge but surprisingly the HaT box contains 12 mounted versions, 9 on foot (in nice kneeling and firing poses, rather than some of the silly poses one often gets from the manufacturers in this scale of plastics) and 3 horse holders (actually looking the part!).  As the rules do not make a distinction between mounted and dismounted and suggests a mix of ‘operations’ a benefit, the box nicely fits within the scheme. Therefore each unit has a mix of poses.  One certainly could divide up the poses as so to replace the mounted version on the tabletop with the dismounted version should the unit dismount on the tabletop but the mix allows a doubling of the number of units.
Sample of the mounted infantry basing
my two units of mounted infantry. 

The morning before club night I made a spur of the moment decision to probably put on the game and thus a day of frantic cutting of bases, gluing of figures, quickly painting of bases, and making terrain occurred. Newly purchased hills at the last convention B&B made their debut as did some rocks I picked up along the way!

Still don’t know about the final terrain on the bases; whether I leave them as is , sort of old school,  or try to match with the mat better.  Simple is good sometimes.

During lunch I was quick reading the rules as this would be my first go at them. (lots of page flipping during the game unfortunately)

While the rules are certainly designed for the Hollywood version of colonial warfare, they adapt easily for this era.  However I did not give gone-to-ground or close order, etc. as these are not applicable to this era.

With modern warfare is less ‘personable’ , I did not use any leadership traits and leaders and simply gave all the Aussies 6+ and the Turks 7+ leadership - a historical reflection I consider (the rules range from superior 5+ or abysmal 9+)  Both have modern rifles but the Turks are downgraded in most categories.  Just means more of them on the tabletop!

 As the game was ad hoc, I gave the players (FrancisM as the Australians and DennisC as the Turks) a brief scenario and even briefer descriptions of their troops.    The Australian Mounted Infantry, as befitting their excellent war record, were significantly upgraded, while the poor Turks historically were seconded in this campaign and so downgraded with the result they have more units on the table including large numbers of machine guns and cannon.  The points were approximately the same for this game but much of the Turkish units could not redeploy against the Aussie attack on the flank of their hasty defence.
Start of the game. The Turkish wide deployment result of not sure the direction of the Australian attack as theirs was a desperate rear guard action.

I do have Australian infantry painted but they did not participate in this campaign, having been sent to the Western Front after Gallipoli.
FrancisM ever the comedian offered that:  “You know how the Aussies are. After a night of heavy drinking, they forgot the horses!”  So mounted infantry but without the mounts?, I reply.  “Exactly!”, he beamed.   Yeah, OK, I guess that works for me, I concluded.  I rated them as infantry nonetheless.

A significant action in the battle happened as I gave the beleaguered Turks a unit of horse; but as they came into the battle, the fortunate die rolling of Aussie firepower destroyed them.
The Turkish cavalry (bottom) already at half strength and pinned, would not make it through another turn unfortunately.
The rules have infantry and cavalry units with 360 degree arc of fire.

The effectiveness of the mounted infantry was certainly evident.  With future additions of heavy weapons they will be a potent force. But I think with a more historical use of defensive positions, well placed machine gun and artillery, should allow the Turks a better go of it.  

3 comments:

  1. What a great idea! I will have to finish the bunch of 28mm figures I have for this theater.

    I was always confused about Turkish WW1 uniforms. Where they khaki or more of an olive shade? I see you solved this conundrum by mixing in both.

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    1. Actually, Bill, I used the same color but the amount applied was rather random as these were very much speed painted >20/hr. The wash helps 'blend' to some extent.
      An excellent uniform guide was this page done for the many New Zealand painters for Peter Jackson's and the Perrys ANZAC museum display.
      http://anzacdiorama.blogspot.ca/p/page-1.html

      cheers

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    2. Oh, nice tip! The Turks look like a combination of Afrika Korps and ACW Rebels.

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