Monday, January 21, 2019

Harad - an occasional project...

Troops of the Tchagai Palace Guard, c.1980
About a million years ago, a certain Evil Uncle Brian (He of the Fist Full of Plastic blog) persuaded me to join in his Harad project - a fictitious Imagi-Nations narrative set vaguely 1980, somewhere in the Middle East. The vast Empire was crumbling, the erosion  its infrastructural nervous system of road, rail, and communications networks leading to a socio-political and economic 'numbness' in the more remote imperial lands. A good half of the Empire to the west, the semi-desert regions of Khand was threatened with a growing powerful separatist movement, and elsewhere in the empire, other bands were merely awaiting the chance to carve out autonomous territory for themselves.  Unfortunately, 'Uncle' Brian moved to an off-shore island, known as the North (a.k.a Te Ika-a-Maui), where greener pastures flourished.

Guard infantry company and armoured platoon.
Just beyond the eastern border of the Harad empire lay the considerably smaller sovereign state of Tchagai, ruled by the Nabob, Yeswih Khan, a potentate whose proprietorial autocratic rule proved no curb to his acquisitive ambition.  He long desired to seize for himself a sizable slice of Harad lands.

Regular motorised infantry and Centurion armour: 
Tchagai's existence as a sovereign state was comparatively recent, though the territory had had a centuries long history as semi-autonomous provinces acknowledging the suzerainty of more powerful imperial overlordship.  The last of these was the Britannican Empire of Rajistan.  After seeing off the threat from the Eastern Cooperative Prosperity Sphere (the outlying regions cooperating in the centre's prosperity) the Vice-Regency of Rajistan suddenly found their empire too difficult to hold in the face of a newly awakened sense of national identity of the people they ruled.

Tchagai troops undergoing exercises near the Harad frontier.
At that, Rajistan nationalism was not united, the religious identities of Hindustanites and Islamistanites being so disparate as to encourage mutual hostility almost - but not quite - equalling their hatred for the expiring Vice-Regency.  The latter's attempt to divide and rule was a everywhere a failure - everywhere but in the southwest corner province of... Tchagai.  The then ruler, Maibiwih Khan, was not slow to see the possibilities of breaking free from Islamistan to form his own independent state.  It took some doing to amass the forces and weaponry he required to dislodge the regional Islamistan hegemony, though for ever after he and his son had to reckon with the sometimes dormant, often active, hostility from Islamistan without, and of the northern hill men under the redoubtable Rancid Akhbar, within.

The late 1940s, early 1950s, back history of Tchagai seemed to me the ideal background for the 'linear campaign' outlined in Bob Cordery's book, Developing the Portable Wargame.  In addition to the successive regional, provincial and national capitals and the railway station scenarios, one might add a sea port, and perhaps an airfield, and/or an oil field for good measure.  Of course, the adversaries will have acquired certain amounts of war equipment, stolen, no doubt, from the Vice-Regency, but also provided from less-than-innocent bystander nations not sorry to see the demise of the Auctoritas Britannica.

I haven't started this campaign yet, but I have in fairly recent weeks added some infantry units to the 'modern' (c.1980) Army of Tchagai.

Tchagai Palace Guard.
Pictured are the elite Leopard squadron of of the Palace Guard, along with the infantry battalion: the 'Blue Berets'.  The infantry bear a striking resemblance - coincidental of course - to the Soviet-era Spetsnaz.  That battalion is organised as follows:

1st Palace Guard Battalion:
HQ:  Battalion Command stand, HQ Coy command stand, HQ Platoon stand, 2 sniper stands:
Akhbar Coy:  1 Command stand, 4 infantry stands, 1 ATRL team (RPGs)
Bashir Coy: 1 Command stand, 4 infantry stands, 1 ATRL team
Chowki Coy:  1 Command stand, 4 infantry stands, 1 ATRL team
Daku (Weapons) Coy: To be decided.
Attached: Armoured squadron: 1 command Leopard I tank, 2 x Leopard I tanks.

There are now two regular infantry battalions in addition, with possibly 3 more later being added.

Tchagai regulars.


  1. Replies
    1. I'm glad somebody does, Francis! We'll see how the thing goes in due course...

  2. Cool stuff. Hope you weren't harassed by mosquitoes taking the photos I was quite literally swarmed by them when I tried to take outdoor photos for the ninja.

    1. So far, this far south the mosquitoes aren't too much of a problem, though you do see them from time to time.

      I still have some vague notion of having some sort of action on my back lawn, though that is more likely to be my larger Army Men stuff. What can be a problem is the heavy dew falls we get as we get closer to the equinox.

  3. You got me excited about this one! No that I don't enjoy your many other posts. What rules do you plan on using?

    1. Hi Chris -
      The Harad project originally used rules from the 'Command Decision' stable. Here's an account of one such action several years ago:
      For this project, I'll begin with Bob Cordery's 'Portable Wargame' as having a similar 'feel' for scale. If the thing escalates, I might be forced to look at Hexblitz, Megablitz or Not Quite Mechanised.

      For post-WW2 back-history, we will no doubt see British WW2 kit, and maybe some Russian as well...

  4. I find your idea compelling and wish to subscribe to your newsletter...

    More seriously, I would like to read more as you progress the campaign. Please keep us informed!

    1. I'll endeavour to do so - my main problem is that a bunch of non-wargames projects have rather knocked a hole in my agenda. We'll see how we go...

  5. I'm with Chris, really interesting lead-in Ion. Looks like wargaming in the garden at it finest!

    1. My agenda right now is an all out war against certain plantery things in the front yard, and camouflaging the house into looking as though it has been freshly repainted. Using fresh paint. I overestimated how much 'free' time I'd have available.