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"Battle of Kandahar/Baba Wali 140th Anniversary game prep" Topic

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19 Mar 2020 12:00 p.m. PST
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Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2020 1:54 a.m. PST

It's been a while since I've posted anything on my blog, and even longer since I posted anything Second Afghan War related, so I'm happy to share a LINK to a hefty post I just put up about my efforts to prepare a refight of the September 1st 1880 Battle of Kandahar AKA: the Battle of Baba Wali, a little before its 140th Anniversary this Summer.

It took me a long time to prep this blog post, and while I was working on it the coronavirus situation went from foreign to domestic, and from an event to a crisis. Luckily for me my entire family is home and healthy, and our loved ones near and far are doing well. I sincerely hope the same is the case for you, and if it's not, then I hope and pray that you and/or your loved ones make a speedy and full recovery. And if you're a medical professional, all I can say is THANK YOU!

Life goes on, and for me a fun part of life is this hobby. Indeed, in our current environment, working long hours on a hobby project all alone in the middle of the night in my office or garage has its advantages. Hopefully by the time mid August rolls around, daily life and transportation will have returned close enough to normal for a bunch of my good friends and fellow colonial wargamers to travel from across the country and the world and fight a bloodless bloody battle on my table. In the meantime I will continue to prepare the terrain, armies, and scenario details needed for the game.

If you'd like to read a whole lot more about it, see a wide variety of visual reference, and get a look at the WIP layout, click on the LINK below to visit, and thanks in advance for your time should you choose to do so:


Keep your distance for the time being -- physically speaking -- and stay healthy!

I always post some "teaser" pics to entice visitors to my blog. In this case they're not all that exciting, but I'll try just the same…








EDIT: Apologies to the 18th Century gamers out there, I screwed up and posted to your Scenarios Board by mistake. I will notify the Editor and hopefully he clean things up! Meantime, hope all you Spanish Succession, SWY, AWI, Revolutionary Wars, etc, types manage to stay healthy too.

Durban Gamer19 Mar 2020 6:14 a.m. PST

Thanks for a superb wealth of detail for anyone wanting to re-fight this battle. Fantastic research!
For my smaller table, my 1/300 figs will help the hills to look higher.

Personal logo chicklewis Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2020 4:48 p.m. PST

Completely WONDERFUL as expected, Mad Guru !!


SgtGuinness Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2020 8:29 p.m. PST

MG, this sounds like it will be another amazing and epic Mad Guru spectacular! Very well done blog post and deeply researched NWF scenario. The blog post is well worth the read and time well spent. I will continue to eagerly follow the progress of this project.
Sgt G.

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2020 11:07 p.m. PST

Hey there Sarge! Many thanks for popping this thread back up, and thanks also to Durban Gamer and the one and only Chick Lewis for your super positive comments!

Between when I put up that first Baba Wali Refight post and now, thanks to a great old friend of mine who has a big old military history book collection, I've managed to get my hands on several contemporary detailed maps and panoramas of the battlefield, which I've used to update and IMHO improve the table. And spurred on by none other than Sgt. Guiness himself, I've bitten the .577/450 Martini-Henry bullet and EXPANDED THE TABLE WIDTH BY 2', making it 12' wide x 6' across. This made room to include the MURCHA/MIRZA KOTAL pass at the far North end of the rocky ridge line that runs down the middle of the battlefield. This should make the game a bit more interesting, as it opens up the possible routes of attack for the British, and also potential counter-attack by Afghans. Or, maybe it will just sit at that far end of the table, unused by either team of players, as it did for the most part on the day of the actual battle. Time will tell. But even if that's the case, it will hopefully still look good. And the wider version of the table definitely looks more "epic". Now I also feel fully confident there will be enough room on the field for all the troops in the OOBs.

I still have a ton-and-a-half of work to do on the terrain and also need to start play-testing the scenario, but fingers crossed, with a little help from my friends (like Sgt. Guiness!) it will all be ready in time.

Of course the bigger hope in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is that by the time mid-August rolls around, daily life and travel will have returned to normal, or something very close it. Otherwise l will have way too many troops to move on my own, with some help from my son, and maybe one of my daughters, if I'm lucky, but that will be the least of our problems. Though there are no guarantees, for now I am sticking with my plan and remain confident a mid-August game with visitors to my home is a reasonable expectation.

Spurred on by that same hopeful enthusiasm, I am posting 2 pics of the new table layout here before I've even posted about them over on my own blog:

(1) AFGHAN VIEW from the West, with the Arghandab River in foreground, the baseboard for the new Mirza Kotal at the North table edge, Ayub Khan's main camp at the foot of the Baba Wali Kotal in the middle, and the village of Pir Paimal to the South…


(2) ANGO-INDIAN VIEW from the East, with the villages of Gundigan and Gundimullah Sahibdad to the South, Karez & Piquet Hill and the Baba Wali Kotal towards the middle, and the open Kandahar plain and Mirza Kotal to the North…


Chick: Stay safe and healthy my friend, and if we're both lucky maybe you'll manage to be here in Los Angeles when this game comes to pass, rather than visiting a colonial theater of war in South Asia, Central Asia, Africa, Mexico, the Caribbean, or the Pacific Islands, so you can be here in person. I know it's unlikely but at least I can hope!

Mr J197001 Apr 2020 1:19 a.m. PST

Just wanted to say hugely inspirational stuff for somebody like me who's just bitten the "Afghan" bug as it were. Terrain looks superb. What rules are you looking at using, I'm aiming towards Men Who Would be Kings by Osprey at this stage.

Figure wise how is the preparation going?

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2020 4:04 a.m. PST

Many, many thanks Mad. Especially in these times it was nice to just get lost in all you provided for awhile. Envy you the gaming/hobby/library room.

And you can blame Sgt Guinness for interesting me in the period in the first place! Along with the rest of The Flame and the Sword group at Recon, Hurricon and Rapier (to include, but not limited to Dr Jones and Nick Zizo) have enjoyed my trips back in time to the period. Though as the good Sgt will attest my style probably resembles Flashman.

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2020 1:26 a.m. PST

Thanks very much Mr J1970 & Marc33594!

@Mr J: I'll be using my go-to Colonial rules set, THE SWORD AND THE FLAME; though it will be a "home-brew" variation using the movement and morale/command-&-control systems from the official "Big Battle"TSATF variant, called "800 FIGHTING ENGLISHMEN". This is the same system I used a few years ago for a big game refighting the Oct. 6th 1879 battle of Charasiab, for which I think it worked well. If you'd like to know a little more about the movement & morale/C&C systems and how they were combined with the TSATF, you can click on this LINK to an old blog-post on the subject:


@Marc: I will give Sgt. Guinness equal parts blame and credit! Yes, I am familiar with the illustrious cast of Colonial gamers you mention, and by the sound of it, you make a fitting addition to the ranks!

Mr J197002 Apr 2020 3:31 a.m. PST

Many thanks, as I say I will be following this with keen interest as I develop my own force, not on the same scale though. Funny how compared to the Sudan and The Anglo Zulu War, the First and Second Afghan conflicts barely get a mention. At the scale of MWWBK's I would say the period is ideal for large scale skirmish.

If you are able to go ahead in August would you please consider filming and posting to YouTube for us lesser mortals on the other side of the pond.

From the news it looks as though it's just about to turn for the worse for the states right now, so take care and stay safe one and all. Best wishes from your friends in the UK.

Mr J197002 Apr 2020 3:33 a.m. PST

This looks like an epic in the making.

SgtGuinness Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2020 7:38 a.m. PST

Marc33594, it is always a pleasure to have you in one of my games my friend! Your endeavors have been somewhat legendary in several games, that is true, much like Sir Harry Flashman's. Dare I say you may have earned a new moniker for the upcoming game at Hurricon?!?!

Mad Guru, I'm following your progress with great interest brother! It looks amazing thus far and your attention to detail and thorough research is remarkable.

Sgt G

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