Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hero’s Gambit 2006: Friday Night

Hero’s Gambit 2006 Game Reports

Part I: Friday Night

Here are some Reports from the Hero’s Gambit 2006 gaming convention that I came across while purging old emails not long ago. Originally they were sent out by email to friends, and anyone else I thought might be interested that I had an email address for, as I didn’t have this blog at the time. Now I have the blog, so I though I’d reprint them here for everyone else to enjoy.

First I'd like to thank John Bertolini and Gary Chappell for running the other two historical games over the weekend. They both put a lot of work into their events and were a lot of fun. Next I'd like to thank all the folks that played all the games I ran organized, without then it would have been a whole lot of not fun (especially John Burt and CVT who came all the way from Calgary and Edmonton, respectively, to play!)

Friday night we kicked things off with a Contemptible Little Armies: Back of Beyond game.

The scenario was set in Sinkiang (Northwest China) in 1920. In that year Cossack General Annenkov has crossed into China with a host of White Russians. Governor Yang Tseng-hsin realized he must deal with him quickly lest the carnage of the Russian Civil War spill over into his province… or the Russian General decided to carve out his own domain!

Historically Yang lured Annekov to Urumchi, the capitol of Sinkiang, for "talks". When the General arrived Yang imprisoned him and fed him opium until he didn't want to fight anyone anymore. Leaderless Annekov's troop were easily interned and the situation dissolved.

For our scenario we assumed that attempts at negotiations or luring the Russian General into a trap failed so Yang has to lead his troops to the border area where the Russians are camped and neutralize the threat by force.

Because I didnt have the hordes of Chinese that would be required to attempt an attack on a semi prepared enemy I also included in the force two battalions of British battalions as well as British machine-gun and armoured car detachments. This would have been rather unlikely, as the British, though traditionally concerned about Russian advances and gains in Central Asia, were at the time quite sympathetic to the Whites.

Gary, Tim, Jeff C and my dad, Rob (who I haven't played games with for the better part of two decades!?), joined in this game. Gary and my dad took the Russians, Tim the Chinese, and Jeff the British. The British and Chinese were essentially making a set piece prepared attack on the Russians who were holed up in a frontier town.

The Chinese force consisted of four battalions of infantry, one battalion of specialist assault troops (armed with Bergman SMGs), a regiment of regular cavalry, a machine-gun detachment, a heavy mortar battery, an executioner, and a surplus French Spad. The British consisted of 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment (actually it might have been Royal Ulster Regiment by 1920...), 2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment (both regiments were stationed in India at the time..), a machine-gun detachment, and a Rolls-Royce Armoured Car Detachment.

The Russians had a large host of Cossack Cavalry (borrowed from John Bertolini), a machine-gun detachment, and four battalions of infantry.

There was also a pile of Basmachi Muslim Guerillas sitting on the slopes of a mountain off to one side waiting to wee what would happen. Once one side lost a unit they would join the opposite side!

The Russians deployed their MGs in the town along with one of their infantry battalions. One of the other battalions of infantry was deployed in a single extended line to the south-west of town by the mountain with the Basmachis. The other two Russian infantry battalions were deployed in lines on the other side of town, one in front of the other. The Cossack Cavalry started on the north side of the mountain, in reserve, to wait and see how things developed. General Annekov was attached to the Cossack Cavalry.

(remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version...maybe...)

Gary (left) and my Dad (right) and the initial Russian deployments.

Worms eye view of the Russians to the east of town. In the background are the Russians to the south west of the town, the town itself occupied by the Russians, and the Basmachis on the mountain west of town. All of the Russian infantry figures are made by John Bertolini with the exception of the officers which are Coppelstone Castings (all were painted by myself). The "Basmachis" are old Minifigs Dervishes.

The two British Battalions were on the right flank of the Chinese/British attack. On the left were two battalions of Chinese in close order assault columns. In the center were the rest; two more Chinese battalions in more open order and the close assault infantry between them, all the MGs, the mortars, and the armoured cars were more or less dead center as well; the cavalry was off to the left of center.

The mortar made a few shots off the start and killed everything that was in range (not very much...) and then sat out the rest of the game, being immobile. The cavalry and the close order infantry surged forward.

The Chinese advancing, led by Governor Yang himself! Yang is the Chinese Warlord figure from Coppelstone Castings. The Chinese infantry and cavalrymen were made by myself, though the horses they're riding on are from Hinchliffe.

More of the Chinese advancing. The White Russian officer/advisor leading this particular unit (from beyond!?) is from Coppelstone casting as is the armoured car in the back ground, the Chinese again are my own models/castings.

The Cossacks reacted to the close order infantry, who were obviously trying to sneak around the backside of the mountain, and set off to head them off at the pass.

General Annekov and the Cossack Cavalrymen in the rough ground of the pass about to be attacked by the lead battalion of Chinese. The Chinese Infantrymen, again are by myself, though the officer is Coppelstone. The Russians are all modeled, cast and painted by John Bertolini, the horses are either Scruby or Eagle Games plastic ones, I can’t remember..

The Chinese cavalry set the Russian Infantry battalion to the south west of the town to flight and pursued them to the edge of town where they finally rode then down.

The Chinese cavalry charge!

Chinese cavalry attacking the Russians. Their officer, the one in the back that doesn't have his arm raised, is from Coppelstone Castings, the rest are my own (on the Hinchliffe horses..)

Things were looking very bad for the Russians at this point and I thought it was going to be a very short game indeed. When the Chinese close assault columns caught the Cossack cavalry in the rough ground of the pass I thought it was all over.

The Russians defending the town mauled the already somewhat depleted Chinese cavalry and then set about blowing apart the other two Chinese infantry battalions that were now coming within range of the Russian HMGs. Things looked a bit less certain. The Cossacks threw back the Chinese infantry in the pass and followed them up.

The Spad showed up and flew over the advancing Chinese without attacking any of them and strafed the two Russian battalions east of town causing a few casualties in each. It then circled around and made an attack on the town itself before running low on fuel and flying off.

My Dad, The Spad (Airfix), and other things. In the foreground are Coppelstone Chinese Assault troops. On the right in the background are the British, more of my own models/castings, to the left are more of my Chinese and beyond them are John's Russians.

There was a bit of back and forth for a bit as the remaining Chinese assault troops and the Glosters attacked one of the Russian infantry battalions to the east of town. Casualties were taken on both sides and the melee continued another round. The now combined attack of two Chinese close order battalions threw the Cossacks back into the rough ground of the pass.

Then things started to go downhill for the Russians again. The first Russian Battalion to the east of town was finally routed from the melee. The Ulster Irish had climbed a low rocky mound and started firing upon the second Russian battalion on the left. The Russians could not reply as the Irish, being "marksmen", had a much greater effective range, and the Irish started to inflict severe losses. Though the Russian MGs in the town fired upon the Irish to some effect it wasn't nearly enough to relieve the pressure.

On the other side of the table the Chinese did not pursue the Cossacks into the pass but rather held and shot them up as they scrambled to get out of the bad going. A pair of Cossacks made it out of the bad going and galloped off around the mountain back towards the town. The rest were cut down in the pass, causing the two galloping escapees to route. Annekov alone was not killed in this slaughter. The Chinese surged forward again overtaking the general and capturing him.

General Annekov Captured!

The Chinese MG had also finally made it to a position in range of the town and set up next to the parked Rolls-Royce which had already been firing into the town, inflicting losses on the Russians still holed up in there. The Basmachis on the hill even got into action sniping some Russians in the town.

I can't remember if the second Russian battalion to the left broke before we called it a night... but whatever the case it was a pretty clear Chinese victory. The remaining Russians in the town would have soon found themselves leaderless and surrounded by Chinese and British. The only sensible option would be surrender and internment. Perhaps some would find freedom from the internment camp in the form of recruitment as mercenaries into other Chinese Warlords armies.

Well that was Friday night. Stay tuned for The Hero's Gambit Report Part II: Saturday Morning

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