|Hookah Chitlik (Farm) seen from the south, behind |
Far to the north of Medifluvia, far beyond Sakhdad, Tenveh, Lake Fordor-Sedan - even beyond Trebizond and almost as far as Alania - was sketched, in the year 1875, the nebulous northern fringes of the Settee Empire of Turcowaz. A troublesome region, this Hyperborean territory lies far distant not only from Bosphoran Ionople, but equally so from Moscovgorod, and even farther from the Tsar's favorite residence in Sankt Peterburg. Making this trouble, across this border, the local Zelenian governor, Count Nicholai Pavlovitch Ignatiev, far from idling his hours and his command in the usual sybarite debaucheries associated with distant, ill-supervised, and semi-forgotten garrisons, entertained himself by frequent cross-border forays, clashes with the local Turcowaz forces, and raids upon the unfortunate subjects of the Sultan.
|Hookah Farm, seen from the north, behind Zelenian forces.|
The Sultan, ordinarily somnolent to the point of comatosity, could, now and then, be aroused to choleric outbursts and, therefrom, effective decisions. In the wake of one particularly destructive (and profitable) raid by the Zelenians, the Sultan recalled a certain turbulent subject, sneering, bellicose and violent, Abdul Ameer, disgraced for assorted breaches of the peace in the capital, who might after all contribute more to the well being of the Empire the farther he was from its capital. So Abdul Ameer found himself some months later, in the fortified frontier town of Alkalkalaki, listening to a gabbled and garbled report from some peasant or other complaining of the burning down of the pile of sticks he called a home by the loathed and feared Tsarist raiders.
The following action is taken from the classic scenario from H.G. Wells's Magnum Opus, Little Wars: the Battle of Hook's Farm. The action between the border forces of Turcowaz (TURQUOISE) and Izumrud-Zelenia (EMERALD-GREEN) took place at an equally bucolic location, Hookah Ciftlik. In the diagram, substitute Taverna for 'Cottage', Ylerif Mosque for the Church, and Hassan the Hermit's Hovel, for 'Hovel'.
This scenario was adapted for a gridded table, as suggested in Bob Cordery's book, Developing the Portable Wargame, except that I adapted for my own 10x10 board, and included the re-entrant in the ridgeline near Hassan's hovel. As it transpired, the forces engaged were exactly similar, as follows:
1 Commander (Abdul Ameer and Count N.P. Ignatiev respectively) @ 6SP
6 Infantry units, rifle-armed, @4SP = 24SP
3 Cavalry units @ 3SP = 9SP (I've just discovered a typo in my book!)
2 Artillery units @ 2SP = 4SP
Totalling: 11 units and 1 commander; 43SPs
|Turcowaz on their start line.|
I used my dice system for determining initiative and activation. To determine initiative for each pair of moves, one blue (Turcowaz) and one green (Izumrud-Zelenia) were rolled, the high score going first. Whose turn it was then rolled a die to determine how many units were activated. The 'median' of the number of units as 6, a roll of 1,2 allowed 5 units to act; 3,6 allowed 6; and 5,6 allowed 7.
The battle narrative is rather quickly told. The Turcowaz moving up slowly, the Zelenians themselves wrested the initiative and occupied the ridgeline about Hookah Chiftlik. A protracted firefight developed there, as Zelenians penetrated the woods on the western end of the ridge, and elements of Turcowaz infantry pushed through the scrub near the hovel.
Despite heavy losses, the Turcowaz got rather the better of the firefight and pushed back the Zelenians right off the feature, to a line alongside the Taverna. Elements reached the hovel and even the walls of the Ylerif Mosque. Only a single unit remained cling onto its position at the wooded west end of the ridge. Meanwhile, a Zelenian cavalry unit attempting a wide flanking sweep east of the mosque, was met, and seen off, by waiting Turcowaz horse.
This appeared to be the turning point of the action. The Zelenian expeditionary force mounted a strong, coordinated attack all along the line, that gradually swept the Turcowaz infantry out of Hookah Farm, off the ridgeline, and into the plain beyond. For a space a couple of units clung on to their patch of scrubland, but a flanking attack forced at least one of them out. With the Zelenians advancing just about all along the line, the Turcowaz fell below their 'exhaustion point'.
Counterattacks out of the the question, the Turcowaz clung on, its left-flank cavalry unit even dealing shrewd blows against Zelenian light horse that sought to drive them off and open a flank. The Turcowaz cavalry seemed to have a slight ascendancy over the Zelenian in this battle!
That was enough to discourage further Zelenian advances. They, too, had reached their exhaustion point, just one or two turns after the Turcowaz army. The battle was over.
Both sides claimed the victory, of course, but both had some reason for satisfaction. From a tactical point of view, the Zelenians has driven the Turcowaz quite back to their start line - even beyond in places. But there was no doubt that the Turcowaz had set a term on Zelenian raiding expeditions for this year.
|The Turcowaz uncoordinated early moves...|
|Turcowaz reach the Hookah Farm and the hovel...|
|...but Zelenian infantry seize the ridge west of the farm.|
|Firefights develop all along the ridge line.|
|Who holds Hookah Farm?|
|Turcowaz establish an ascendancy, and carries the farm.|
|Turcowaz elements reach the Ylerif mosque.|
|Waiting Turcowaz horse sees off a sweeping flank move by Zelenian light horse..|
|General view. Turcowaz 'owns' the Hookah farm line ... for now.|
|Zelenian infantry gather for a counter-blow.|
|Zelenian counter-attack under way. Already Hookah Farm has been abandoned.|
|Zelenian advances sweep the Turcowaz from the ridge line.|
|A rather depleted Zelenian foot unit strikes a Turcowaz unit in flank - enough to drive it out.|
|Turcowaz remaining hold on the ridge line, the two units in the thin cover, both threatened from a flank.|
|There's no recovering the lost high ground now!|
|Though the Turcowaz by now have exhausted their strength, a cavalry clash on the their left goes in their favour...|
|End of the action. The Zelenian offensive has also tun out of steam. Both sides laid claim to victory.|
It has been quite a while since my last posting. I had played a few games, and the armies in this battle had just recently been painted, but motivation for posting seemed to be wanting. And then I caught a chill that developed into a chest cold and morphed into pneumonia. I haven't fully recovered yet, though feel perkier today than I have done for a goodish while. So I still have a couple of battles to report and possibly another article on WW2 OOBs.