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"Peachy & Danny's Excellent Adventure Part II" Topic


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325 hits since 16 May 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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FearAndLoathing17 May 2017 8:51 p.m. PST

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Second game of The Men Who Would Be King at Little Wars featured a hypothetical attack on the holy city of Sikandergul by the Afghan warlord Muhammed Khan.

Word of the vast treasure of Alexander the Great, er, Danny Dravot, has leaked out and Khan is eager to claim it for himself. His mixed army features 3 units of tribal cavalry, 3 units of irregular infantry with obsolete rifles, 3 units of tribal infantry and 3 units of ferocious ghazi infantry. Of course, the ghazis are more interested in destroying Sikandergul's pagan temple and killing infidels than securing the treasure.

Here's a look at the game table in my basement.

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The city is situated atop a rock plateau with two roads leading to a front gate and a small market gate. On the far right a goat trail provides another access point. The cliffs are climbable at points where there is no lichen at their base. The large building in the center is the temple. Danny's palace is to its left. The wall has a couple of places where you can mount a single unit behind hard cover.

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On the left side, a wooden bridge built by Danny provides access across the river gorge (the famous rope bridge from the book and movie). Note the collapsed section on the front wall. Sikandergul is a holy city, not a fortress. No one would dare attack it! (By the way, over the years these buildings have served as part of Khartoum and the village at the end of "The Wind & The Lion")

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The game begins with all 12 Afghan units attacking. Everyone gets a free At The Double on Turn 1. Peachy & Danny defend with 6 units: two irregular infantry with modern rifles (one managed by Peachy, the other by Billy), Danny's ferocious tribal cavalry and three units of tribal infantry. Reinforcements of two units of tribal infantry and a unit of cavalry will arrive in the corner. They can either ford the river or cross over the bridge. Arrival time was based on a secret D6 roll, unfortunately the player rolled a 6, so help wasn't coming anytime soon…

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The Afghan decide to press the right side, with a weak attack by 4 units on one of the main roads, with everyone else more or less pressing for the goat trail. Peachy's and Billy's rifles were poised atop the wall on the only two hard cover points in the game, while Danny's horse held the flank above the goat trail.

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The red Afghan unit on the right is getting hammered by the Kafirstani rifles! One thing about TMWWBK: if you take a whole bunch of casualties in a single turn, that unit is probably screwed. Most of the units attacking on that side ended up in that category. But they did tie up the Martini Henrys!

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Attack on the right flank goes better since all the rifles are still covering the front. A ghazi unit charged straight up the cliff (tribal infantry is unaffected by terrain) to hit Danny's horse, causing 3 casualties, although they ended up getting nearly wiped out in the process. However that and a couple of costly subsequent attacks eventually ended up driving off the remnants of Danny's unit into the safety of the city. Two guard infantry units were moved into the gap. One took heavy casualties and became pinned.

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Another Afghan attack up the cliff was driven off at the summit of the cliff. Fire from Afghan rifles then pinned the remaining Kafirstani unit! Danny remains nearby for leadership support (units within 12 inches of him get +1 on discipline rolls).

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Game pretty much ended at that point as we ran out of time. I called it a marginal victory for Peachy & Danny, who still had one intact and one mostly intact rifle unit left, plus Danny. With reinforcements coming … eventually.

Lessons learned:
1. Afghans need to concentrate all their rifle fire against one of the Kafirstani rifle units. Even with their terrible shooting disadvantage (hard cover at long range requires 4 hits for 1 kill), it's still possible to get at least one casualty. And one casualty is all you need to force a pin check. If the Kafirstanis lost their fire support from one unit for even single turn, the Afghans probably would have gained the main gate.

2. It's all about the schwerpunkt. Afghan really need to force one point. A couple turns before the mass pinning atop the cliff, one of the Afghans pushed his camel unit over to support the doomed frontal assault.

Next time I'll remove the uphill terrain modifier on the main road. It's just too hard to slog up the road in the face of all that gun fire. Maybe let the Afghans assault from the bridge side, too.

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