Friday, 12 January 2018

The 2nd Battle of El Blundar

After the debacle against the Arabs, see my previous post for details [link ] , the Legion assigned those officers to less dangerous posts and assigned new officers to command the escort of the donkey train to a distant fort....or in other words I rolled up their new characteristics.  Not too bad with good numbers and only one coward! He must had been a Flashman type as his leadership was very good meaning the unit will follow orders and maintain cohesiveness but not allowed to get near the enemy charge distance. Oh well, shooting will be the standard tactic this day.

The rules certainly do not require officer characteristics and these smack a bit of role-playing.  There are more generalized charts to establish command qualities; rolling a 1 will give you a fairly poor leadership, a 6 very good; and this varies being regular or tribal.

In this case I gave the French Foreign Legion units very good commanders and reduced the firepower of the Arabs giving them 'tribal' status which gives them more units and better fighting characteristics.

With the forces set, the battle plans were made.  The Arabs would again wait in ambush withholding fire...what worked once will work again.  The legionaries with knowledge of the ambush would attack the southern flank of the wadi and roll up the line. The machine gun on the left would cover any attack over the open ground and the middle rifle unit would be a fire reserve.  Thusly the Legion's right flank rifle unit, the 1st company,  advanced in skirmish formation and started firing into the wadi full of the waiting desert men.  The close range shooting did significant casualties prompting that unit to lose heart and vanish into the desert. The tribe beside it seemed unaffected by such self-preservation and were not pinned. Indeed that unit fired at the 2nd company who were at long range for the Arab's obsolete weapons causing no hits among the riflemen.
The 1st company in firing position.
Using their free actions, the 'right flank' Arab units moved along the wadi toward their 'left' and the advancing FFL to prevent the enfilading of their position.  Despite the protection of the wadi, the legionnaire's 'sharpshooter' status paid off as the Arabs suffered many casualties and continued to be pinned in the wadi.

While the firefight was going on at the wadi, to the north-west, the two units of Arabs emerged from behind the hill and advanced upon the FFL left held by the machine gun.  Despite the 'free action' which allows the tribal forces to move without an leadership/activation test, they had a lot of flat desert to cross and the machine gun opened up at long range causing casualties and with pinning tests and subsequent failed rally tests, very quickly both Arab units were swept away by the effective (read: lower dice roll required for hits) of the well-manned legionnaire gun.
Arab units in the wadi with casualties markers and pinned indicators.  Masters of concealment aren't they!

The second company having briefly helped the machine gun deal with the western attack, they now moved to the right and with the combined firepower of the formed up 1st company, quickly dissipated further Arab resolve.

The path to the fort now lay open.
Due to having only two units of rifles and only one machine gun, I was 'forced' to upgrade them significantly to obtain the prescribed 24 points of a field force.  As I have no intention of increasing the legionary numbers and think the upgrades suit the perceived quality of the FFL in any event, I am very pleased the numbers which happened to be in the purchase do work for the game.

Of obtaining and painting the Arabs?  I actually think the use of the sisal mats quite interesting as I can place the markers directly on them and think they play the part well.  Could use dust storms with coloured cotton batting, but I have more of the sisal and will, I think, cut appropriately sized circular patches.



  1. The whole tribe is wearing ghilli suits!

    1. Smitten with the idea of using only the sisal mats as the opposition - because I do not then have to buy nor paint them! Last night I took a couple of minutes to cut out large ovals in an area of size which 16 models would occupy.
      Still the masters of concealment to be employed against my FFL in solo actions.


  2. Sneaky buggers, those Arabs; I can't see a one of them. A very creative approach. Definitely been hearing the siren call of the colonials lately. I may have to add some Arabs to my mountain of unpainted Ral Partha Zulu and Boer war stuff. Or maybe I should actually paint some of what I've got first?

    1. As long as you stick to just doing the 24 points, it is not many figures to produce. With already Zulus on hand, an impi would be easy to create. Would cut a bit into the lead pile and relive that tension you have about your metals.
      After that the Boers to fight them. Yes, the Zulu natives did fight the Boers often and throughout the decades so would be usual enemies and being of asymmetrical qualities, would make a very interesting game. Regardless of the newer and larger models now available, the Ral Partha minis are nice and easy to paint and as they are on both sides, go together quite well on the tabletop.