David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Thursday 9 April 2015

De Whytt's Gamble

Jon and I recently managed to fit in another game, this time a tussle between the Boer Kommando of the cunning De Whytt and a British Mounted Column under that generally fragile general, H.W.Hardly-Worthitt. The Boers have to remove five elements of ammunition from the homestead to win the game while the British have to prevent this. All the British force can start anywhere along their table base edge, while only three Boer elements plus the ammunition waggon can start on the table. Remaining elements of the Kommando enter by random dice throw, the % needed decreasing from 90-10% each turn by 10%. The table layout at the onset of the action ~

Jon has divided his column into three, each thrusting for one of the gaps in otherwise impassable terrain of rocky hills and expanses of elephant grass, while the Boers who began on table are clustered around De Whytt's homestead and their encampment in the distance. Other elements of the Commando would enter the table, or not, on a random number generator as laid out in the rules, Washing the Spears. More of this later...

Mounted infantry advance on De Whytt's homestead through the gorge and come under fire from the Boer defenders while Volunteers move towards the Zulu kraal in the foreground. At this stage neither Jon nor I knew if there were any Zulus in the vicinity or where any such might appear. The kraal is as yet incomplete - I had forgotten all about it!

On the Boer left more Volunteers are cautiously engaging those elements in the Boer encampment, while the Boer artillery element and a single marksman cover the rear of De Whytt's homestead from attack. A firefight lasted almost the whole game on this flank with hardly any casualties resulting for either side!!

Meanwhile a solitary Boer takes his mark on Hardly-Worthitt, with equally little success!

Hardly-Worthitt, inspired by the near miss it seems, leads another of the Volunteer elements towards the escaping Boer ammunition waggon.

Fierce fighting develops around the homestead, with the Boer defenders holding their own despite being outnumbered. One waggon load of ammunition has been safely removed from the table and the second is on its way, so things are looking up for the Boers.

Sadly, mounted elements of the Kommando are driven off by volunteers while the Native Horse captures the second waggon load at the end of turn 13. The final Boer reinforcements did not enter until Turn 10, too late to really influence the game's outcome, while the Zulus never appeared, each of the three blinds on the table proving to be a dummy!
While neither side scored a clear win, Jon's British force clearly had the better of the draw having prevented all five ammunition loads being evacuated and causing more casualties to the Boers than they received in return. As I mentioned, we used my own Washing the Spears rules to run our game with some small amendments to the Pluck Test to take account of the smaller unit sizes. Great fun and perhaps a new legend created in H.W.Hardly-Worthitt?