Soldiers of the Queen (SOTQ): Issue 162

The latest copy of SOTQ (Soldiers of the Queen, the quarterly journal of the Victorian Military Society) was delivered on Christmas Eve, and I have just got around to reading it.

The articles included in this issue are:

  • An English Adventurer and the Clash of Empires in Abyssinia by Dr Frank Jastrzembski
  • For the Empire or the Company?: Cecil Rhodes, Leander Starr Jameson and the Matabele War by David Snape
  • Soldiering and the Scouts: The Military Men who influenced Baden-Powell by Geoffrey A Pocock
  • Two Victorian Soldiers by Howard Browne
  • Book Reviews
  • About the VMS

The content of this particular issue was of especial interest to me, and I particularly enjoyed David Snape’s article For the Empire or the Company?. I lived in and around Bishop’s Stortford for three years in my twenties, and Cecil Rhodes featured quite highly in the history of the local area. As a result I have always had an interest in the at sometimes rather odd story of his life and times.


COW2016 bookings: Further information

The following is information for members of Wargame Developments who read my blog but who are not members of the Wargame Developments Discussion Group (WDDG) on Yahoo Groups or readers of The Miniatures Page (TMP).


As things stand at the moment, I have no room left to take any further bookings EXCEPT on a shared room basis.

To make matters clear, Knuston Hall has the following rooms that can be used:

  • 15 x Single rooms
  • 13 x Twin rooms
  • 5 x Double rooms
  • 2 x Triple/Family rooms

If all the beds are used, this gives a maximum capacity of 57 attendees BUT as most attendees want single rooms, the maximum single room capacity is 35.

I already have 40 residential bookings for COW2016, which means that I have 3 x Twin rooms being used as such by attendees who have agreed to share and 2 x Double rooms being used by couples. I also have one non-residential booking.

Please DO NOT TRY TO BOOK A RESIDENTIAL PLACE AT COW2016 WITHOUT CONTACTING ME FIRST. The two people who volunteered to share have now got someone to share a room with, and unless I get further volunteers I cannot fit anyone else in.


COW2016 bookings: An urgent and important message!

Yesterday I received a further residential booking for COW2016 (the Conference of Wargamers) … with the result that there are now no more single rooms available.

One of the existing attendees has offered to share their room with someone, but this only releases another residential place at the conference … and it would have to be on a shared room basis.

I can still accept non-residential bookings, but please don’t try to book a residential place via the website without contacting me first.

Knuston Hall, Northamptonshire: The venue for the Conference of Wargamers.

Nugget 286

I managed to collect the latest edition of THE NUGGET (N286) from the printer today, and I plan to post it out to members of Wargame Developments at some time tomorrow.

By the time that this blog entry appears, I will have already uploaded the PDF versions of THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT to the Wargame Developments website, and both should now be available for members of Wargame Developments to read online or to download and print.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the fourth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2015-2016 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can still do so if they want to. This can be done by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website.


It looks all right to me: Using my modular fortress on Hexon II hexes

My modular fortress was designed to work with a grid made up of 50mm x 50mm squares, but as I also own quite a lot of Hexon II hexed terrain I wondered if it might work on that as well. I therefore set up some of my Hexon II hexes with modules from my modular fortress on them to see how they looked. The results can be seen below.

I don’t think that the modules look too out of place on my Hexon II hexes, mainly because the hexes measure 100m from face to face (i.e. twice the size of a module).

One thing that is apparent is that I need to think about making some corner modules that aren’t towers … or at least that aren’t tall towers. I am not sure when I will be able to get around to making these corner modules, but hopefully I will manage to do so at some point early in 2016.


The Attack on Morobad

I have finally managed to fight my version of ‘The Attack on Morobad’, and here is the battle report.

Note: Special rules for this battle:

  • If a section of wall or a tower receives three direct hits from artillery fire, it is deemed to have been demolished.
  • If two sections of wall are demolished, the Hauserians must take a morale test. If they fail, the Sultan will surrender.
  • The morale test is repeated every time a further section of wall is demolished.
  • If an enemy unit manages to enter the city of Morobad, the Hauserians must take a further morale test. If they fail, the Sultan will surrender.

The forces involved
The British sent an Infantry Brigade to attack the Hauserian capital, Morobad.

The Brigade consisted of:

  • 1st Battalion, The Cambridgeshire Light Infantry Regiment
  • 1st Battalion, The Royal Essex Regiment
  • 1st Battalion, The Mackay Highlanders
  • A & B Field Batteries, the Regiment of Royal Artillery
  • Machine Gun Battery, The Loyal Kent Regiment

The outnumbered Hauserian defenders were all riflemen armed with slightly obsolete single-shot rifles.


The terrain
The approach to Morobad was across a flat plain that was dotted with clumps of palm trees.

As can be seen, Morobad was surrounded by a considerable wall that the British artillery would have to breach if they were to be able to capture the city.


The battle

Turn 1
The Hauserian defenders were already manning the Great Wall of Morobad …

… as the British approached.

Turn 2
The British force advanced …

Turn 3
… until the artillery was in range of the Great Wall of Morobad.

Turn 4
The fighting began when the two Field Batteries of the Regiment of Royal Artillery opened fire on the Great Wall of Morobad …

… and caused some damage to the corner tower and inflicted a casualty on the defenders. Under cover of the artillery fire, the British infantry continued to advance on the flanks whist those in the centre began to form up into an assault column.

In spite of this growing threat, the Hauserians stayed behind their defences and patiently waited.

Turn 5
The British artillery failed to hit anything of significance with its second salvo …

… and the Mackay Highlanders and the Machine Gun Battery continued to move forward on the British right flank.

Turn 6
The third salvo of British artillery fire hit a section of city’s wall twice, and although no casualties were inflicted, this gave the Hauserians some cause for concern.

Whilst this was happening the Mackay Highlanders and the Machine Gun Battery deployed into line to meet any potential threat from within the city.

Turn 7
A further salvo of British artillery fire hit the same section of city wall for a third time, inflicting a casualty and causing the wall to collapse. It also hit the city’s gateway and caused a further casualty on the defenders.

Stung by this some the Hauserian defenders rushed forward to attack the oncoming British …

… who countered by moving the Royal Essex Regiment forward. Such was the ferocity of the Hauserian attack that the Royal Essex Regiment suffered three casualties!

Turn 8
Because the presence of the foremost Hauserian troops masked the city’s gateway from further artillery fire, the British artillery fired at the corner tower …

… which they hit once, causing further casualties on the defenders.

(The British artillery batteries did not want to risk hitting their own troops if they fired at the Hauserian infantry!)

The infantry melee continued, with the initiative first going to the Hauserians, …

… who wiped out a company of the Royal Essex Regiment, …

… and then to the Cambridgeshire Light Infantry, who attacked one of the Hauserian infantry units from the rear …

… inflicting two casualties on the Hauserians in the process.

The Royal Essex Regiment managed to gain some degree of revenge on the Hauserians when they forced the main attackers to fall back.

Turn 9
The deadly accurate British artillery fire hit the corner tower yet again …

… causing it to collapse and killing all the defenders who were on it.

The initiative in the infantry melee was now firmly in British hands. The Royal Essex Regiment pressed forward, …

… causing further casualties on the Hauserians and forcing them to retreat.

The Cambridgeshire Light Infantry Regiment likewise pressed home their advantage …

… and also inflicted casualties that forced some more of the Hauserians to fall back.

The Hauserians were now faced with an almost total collapse of their morale, and failed to counter-attack the British.

Turn 10
Faced with almost inevitable defeat, the Sultan of Hauser considered surrendering the city of Morobad to the British … but he didn’t.

The British artillery now switched their fire to the walls facing the Mackay Highlanders … and two lucky shots hit adjoining sections of wall, causing casualties on the defenders.

The Hauserians who were outside the walls of the city now withdrew back through the city gateway …

… whilst the British reorganised themselves prior to making their next move.

Turn 11
The British artillery continued to bombard the Great Wall of Morobad, …

… and forced some of the defenders to abandon them for fear of suffering further casualties.

The British began a general advance …

… and the Hauserian defenders prepared to meet them.

Turn 12
Yet again the British artillery fired at the Great Wall of Morobad and hit it in two different places.

Further casualties were inflicted on the defenders, who had now begun to assemble in the open area behind the Great Wall.

The British halted, and waited for the Field Batteries to do more damage to the Great Wall before making their final assault.

Turn 13
The British artillery fired at the Great Wall of Morobad for what they hoped would be the last time … and missed their target with both shells!

Although only two sections of the Great Wall had been demolished, the British infantry surged forward and began their assault.

The fighting was intense, and both sides suffered casualties …

… but eventually numbers prevailed, and the British managed to enter Morobad …

… at which point the Sultan surrendered and ordered his troops to lay down their weapons!

The result
The Sultan was allowed to remain on his throne, as long as he accepted British control of Hauser. As one of the conditions of his acceptance was a sizeable annual annuity, the Sultan was only too keen to accept … although some of his subjects were less happy to have the benefits of European civilisation (i.e. a British garrison, regular and efficient tax collection, and Christian missionaries) thrust upon them. Only time will tell if they will remain acquiescent or not.


I fought this battle after a period of three months during which I had done no actual wargaming … and I thoroughly enjoyed getting troops back onto the tabletop! It also allowed me to fulfil a long-held ambition; to re-fight Joseph Morschauser’s ‘The Attack of Morobad’ wargame using my interpretation of his ‘Frontier’ wargame rules.

Preparing for and fighting this battle has revived my interest in both wargaming in general and Colonial wargaming in particular. It has also left me with a modular fortress that I can use in further wargames, so it has been a ‘win-win’ all around for me!


The Attack on Morobad: A brief introduction

As I explained in a blog entry in late November, after a recent hiatus during which I have not fought any wargames, I gained inspiration – and renewed interest – from a photograph of the attack on the Great Wall of Morobad.

This was a wargame fought by Joseph Morschauser using his gridded wargame rules, and dealt with a British attack on the capital of the Sultanate of Hauser, Morobad. Morschauser described the Sultanate as follows:

French Central Sahara borders the Sultanate … on the west, Italian East Somali borders on the east. Anglo-Sudan is north and British East/Central Somali on the S.E. Directly south of course is the Kingdom of Zulu inhabited by (naturally) Zulu types who have always been friendly to the Hauserians. It’s all imaginary but fun.

I have now completed work on my modular fortress, and can reproduce the Great Wall of Morobad … or at least that section that the British force will attack. I already have written a draft of the rules that I am going to use (my own version of Morschauser’s ‘Frontier’ wargame rules), I have plenty of suitable figures to use to represent both the British and the Hauserians, and I now have the terrain; all I need now is a long enough block of time to fight the battle!