Saturday, 6 January 2018

Engagement at El Blundar. FFL action.

January 6, 1927

Dear Mere,

I have my arm bandaged but do not worry as I was lucky to receive but a minor scrape.  I am afraid many were not so fortunate.  

Yes the bullets were flying but only from the Arabs. (see previous post for pre-action report

The first shots mowed down our machine gun crew along with its officer in the first moments. The remaining soldier made a runner quickly thereafter.

We literally did not see the enemy the whole time, with them in cover, the dust and the smokeless powder of their rifles.  They are very good shots and surprisingly well-led with the ability to keep up the fusilade.  

We just could not reply. Once the casualties immediately occurred, we were pinned and could only try to rally with the sergeants and corporals yelling us to keep together. Our officers were useless. That is all we could but try, sometimes with our superior discipline to keep order.  Then another round of fire would occur and again all we could do is rally.  No order could be given to fire back.

I did hear the rattle of the Arab machine gun but it quickly stopped for a time but later would add to our woes.  

Within minutes all our units were moving away from the enemy.  Surprisingly the volume of fire diminished and a new unit, unseen by many but I am told was ready to pounce upon us from a slight rise but did not make any move nor did any from the wadi.  It is what saved us from total destruction. Nevertheless, we had 16 casualties from 31 of us who started the battle.  

I know that you like animals and can be relived to know the donkeys had more sense than our officers and bolted immediately and thus were well out of range and thus spared.  

I am tired but hopeful our next battle will fair better.  
Love to the family 

Editor notes:  While the discipline of the Legionnaires was very good at +2, the poor officers I foisted upon them rolling for officers at 9+  - ugh - certainly did not help the die rolls.  The units lasted longer than one could hope but it just meant they were in for another round of fire.  The arabs activation was universally good (of course I would roll well FOR THEM as, if you were like me, cheering for my newly painted unit of the French Foreign Legion….) but like the narrative letter above indicates, the hot streak of the Arab's activation would lessen eventually and allowing the Legion to retire.

“The Men Who Would Be Kings” rules do have their quirks and should units fail to un-pin, little can be done with them but given the scenario, probably a logical outcome.
The rules do allow for a more respectable 'choice' of leadership.  Random dice still, but giving more competent leadership quality.  My roll for the Arabs was exceptional of course!.
Note the substantially fewer models, and the pin markers.  My 'desert dice' on show.  You need lots of dice for TMWWBK.
Arab units somewhere in the distance unseen.

1 comment:

  1. Do Foreign Legionaires have mothers?

    Nice write-up. You'll need to get some Arabs painted soon, so Beau Geste et ses frères won't be facing a faceless enemy.