Thursday, February 17, 2011

Retreat from Boongobe - CLA East Africa

My friend John Bertolini popped by this evening to have a go at Ever Contemptible Armies (a combination of Ever Victorious Armies and Contemptible Little Armies – I like a lot of EVA and ECA just updates it a bit and brings it into the 20th Century with a few rules pilfered from CLA… and a few additions of my own…).

German East Africa, 1915


A small group of British and Belgians have been on a raid into German East Africa at Boongobi. The raid did not go so well. They met a German Shutztrupe Feldkomagnie they weren’t expecting to find and are now retiring back to their own base of operations with a large number of German askaris in hot pursuit!


British and allied forces must attempt to retire their forces in good order off the far end of the table.

Allied forces must set up at least 4’ away from their escape edge (the green line). German forces set up at least 6’ from the edge (the blue line). Three German units were to remain off table and enter from their table edge on the 2nd turn.

Victory will be determined by how many units the British and allies can get off the table edge. (for this purpose the teams of porters each count as a “unit”, as does the MG detachement).

6 units – British Stunning Victory
5 units – British Major Victory
4 units – British Minor victory
3 units – German Minor Victory
2 units – German Major Victory
1 unit or less German Stunning Victory

For every two German units lost, however, the number of British units required to escape off the edge for each level of victory is reduced by one.



C-in-C Hauptman von Braun

4 Zug Shutztruppe Askaris (15 ea) T5 M4

1 group Settler Volunteers (8) T5 M5 Marksmen

1 unit of Ruga Ruga (9) Irr M3 Single Shot Rifles

1 unit of Tribal Allies (15) Irr M4 Ferocious, Spears only

1 Machine-gun detachment T5 M5


C-in-C Major Burton-Liddy

2 Platoons Kings African Rifles (15 ea) T4 M4

1 Platoon Belgian Askaris (15) T3 M4 Single Shot Rifles

1 British Army MG detachement T4 M4

2 units of Native Porters


(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

The Table. In the foreground are the forces available. In the background you can see the green and blue lines marking the British and German deployment zones.

Initial deployment. Two of the Allied units started the game in columns, ready to make a run for the table edge. The entire baggage train was centrally located – where they could disappear behind a hill on the first turn (not that that mattered – they couldn’t be shot at only captured by contacting them). One platoon was held back deployed in skirmish order to try and stem the tide of advancing German forces.

Major Burton-Liddy MC

Turn one – RUN AWAY! The columns made some progress but the two Baggage groups only made it 1” and 2” respectively…

Hauptman von Braun

The Belgians and the British MG detachment making for the border – their baggage train slowly making their way over the hill.

More of the same.

On that first turn some shots were exchanged between the KAR platoon left to delay the German forces and the German volunteer marksmen – both units lost one casualty. A unit of Shutztruppe shot up the other KAR platoon taking two off the end of their column.

Hearing the shots whizzing past their head the baggae carriers picked up the pace (moving 5” and 6”, respectively). The KAR platon that had been in column quickly reformed into a skirmish line – realizing that in column they just weren’t going to get far enough, fast enough.

The rest of the German forces arrived – the regulars in column to make a speedy advance to the front.

Two KAR platoons holding their ground and trying to shoot up the advancing German forces.

Fire had not a lot of effect. Skirmishers firing at skimishers…

The German MG detachment got one turn of firing in all game and, I think, took out one or two KAR askaris.

The German allied tribal warriors charge into the KAR platoon – though the KAR took a few out on the way in, they were overwhelmed and wiped out.

The other KAR platoon executing a fighting retreat with Shutztruppe askaris in hot pursuit – slowly they were picking away at each other.

Then the Schutztruppe blundered into the field of fire of the British MG detachment and they were just murdered!!

The rest of the German force making their way up.

With the KAR platoon knocked out the tribal warriors pursued the slower baggage porters, while the rest of the force tried to catch up.

The next turn the porters moved a bit faster, but it wasn’t enough…

The remaining platoon of KAR, having suffered already heavy casualties, continues to cover the retreat of the other group of porters. They are exchanging fire with the second line of German Shutztruppe, while the German Allied tribesmen ravage the other group of porters. The british MG took out a few as they charged in…

The Belgians did happen to exit the table having suffered no losses.

The end is nigh.

The German forces second line moves forward.

While the Tribesmen looted the Baggage, the British MG detachment turned to face another threat – more Schutztruppe askaris advacnign around the other side of the stand of trees. The MG took out three of the advancing Schutstruppe and managed to hold their ground and fight two rounds of close combat, but they too were eventually overwhelmed and lost.

The scene when we called it.

The Belgians were actually already off. John called it at this point. If he’d done enough damage to one more unit of Germans to make them route, and gotten the remaining platoon of KAR and the section of porters off he could have squeaked out a minor victory. He figured the fresh second line of German troops were a bit too close for that to possibly happen so we didn’t play it out.

It was a VERY tough scenario for the British and allied troops. I have to fiddle with the morale system – units stayed on the field far too long (which has always been a problem with CLA..). Also if fully half of the German force had started off table and not arrived until the Third turn – I think he might have had more of a chance… I think we both had fun just the same.

I realized after the game I'd totally forgotten to use the random events I'd been planning on trying out... doh...

I'd be interesting to try it again using a modified version of Black Powder...

We’ll probably be playing something similar again next week at the 7th Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash!

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:



  1. Good stuff :) wish I had table space; only small-action skirmishes for me, I'm afraid...great to see though!

  2. Nice report

    i will have to look at geting hold of a copy of CLA and giving it a read. Ive looked at buying a copy a few times but always seem to end up buying a few more bits of lead. What size table were you playing on?

  3. Love the hats - are those yours or John's?

  4. Cheers!

    The table is 8'x5' - but there's a bunch of storage bins stacked at one end so the effective playing area is about 7'x5'...

    There's a new edition of CLA out and there's apparently been a few changes. What we were playing was closer to Ever Victorious Armies, which is also by Chris Peers, but written for ~1800-1880. I've brought in a couple things from CLA that aren't covered in EVA, and also have been making a few other tweaks myself.

    I don't want to NOT recommend CLA, the new version may have plugged a lot of the holes in the original that' we've played. Just wanted to be clear that that's not really what we were playing...

  5. Hats are mine, just got them...

  6. Where do you get your hats? I have been thinking about a pair of tricorns. But I don't want to drop $70 each!


  7. The pith helmets I got off ebay.

    I'd like a couple tricorne hats but I haven't been able to find any anywhere... except for cheapie costume "pirate hats".

    I've also been eyeing up some reproduction picklehaubes... but they're $80-$100, so might have to wait until next year (as I've just about expended my entire years toy budget... yeah... in February....).

  8. You don't want two Captain Feather Sword pirate hats? I think you standards are just too high! Thanks for the ebay tip.