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"Herero Rifles vs German Armored Train" Topic

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rjones6930 Oct 2022 6:24 a.m. PST

At FALL IN 2022 I'll be running two Herero games and giving an HMGS War College talk on the historical battle of Osona, which included a German armored train with soldiers and a machine gun, sabotaged tracks, derailed cars, and Herero rifle fire peppering the Germans as they tried to repair the damage – plus mounted Hereros!

The games are from an excellent Herero War scenario by Tim Abbott. The scenario was derived from "The Herero War" scenario & rules book that I co-wrote with Eric Alvarado. Tim based his scenario on an early skirmish that took place at Osona on January 13, 1904 – just one day after the Herero War began. Tim did an enormous amount of research for this exciting scenario.

The War College talk is based on my research on Herero strategy and tactics in their fight to paralyze German rail communications. This talk first focuses on the Herero strategy to cut the rail line and then gives a detailed tactical look at Herero and German actions at the Battle of Osona.

Here's the link to the description of the talk and the games:

You'll also find photos and an AAR from when I ran this game in March 2016 at COLD WARS 2016.


IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2022 7:56 a.m. PST

A most impressive site of knowledge and research!

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2022 10:23 a.m. PST

Great article! I was reading about the high officer casualties, wondering why you didn't address the issue of why officer casualties were high when, surprise! you did.

I had to look up "Sanitätsoffizieren," which are medical officers.

I understand the Feldcompanies were permanent organizations, more of an independent nature than regular army companies.
You may have covered this elsewhere, but were platoons permanent formations in the German forces at this time?


rjones6931 Oct 2022 8:52 p.m. PST

A most impressive site of knowledge and research!

Thank you so much, IronDuke596.

rjones6931 Oct 2022 8:55 p.m. PST

Thank you so much, Grelber.

Regarding the permanency of the platoon organization of German Feldkompagnien, it depended on the company.

At the start of the Herero War on January 12 1904, a Schutztruppe Feldkompagnie was organized into four platoons (or four Züge). At full strength a Feldkompagnie consisted of ~90 men (i.e., more than 20 men in each platoon).

The 2nd Feldkompagnie (Kompagnie Franke), despite suffering high casualties at Omaruru on February 4 (43% of the officers KIA and wounded, 11% of the men), was still organized into four platoons at the battle of Otjihinamaparero on February 25.

On the order hand the 4th Feldkompagnie, which also fought at Otjihinamaparero, entered that battle reorganized into three platoons instead of four. Because of troops left behind garrisoning settlements, the depleted 4th Feldkompagnie had only 12-15 men in each of its original four platoons. The Kompagnie was therefore forced to consolidate from four platoons into three, despite being reinforced by mounted Seesoldaten ("Sea Soldiers", i.e., Imperial German Marines).

epturner Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2022 4:20 p.m. PST

It would be great if you could drag Tim out to a Convention.

Been years since I've seen him (we both used to re-enact the AWI with the 1st New Jersey Regiment)

Sadly, I'm playing 1800mm Moderns for this Fall-In. But maybe for Cold Wars…


RWindle01 Nov 2022 5:56 p.m. PST

War College talk added to my Fall In! "to-do"list!

rjones6903 Nov 2022 8:48 p.m. PST


I just emailed Tim to pass on your shout-out to him and to let him know I'll be running his Osona scenario. I also sent him the link to this thread.


rjones6903 Nov 2022 8:49 p.m. PST


I look forward to seeing you at my talk.


rjones6903 Nov 2022 9:32 p.m. PST

I've arrived at Fall In tonight – Thursday – and I wanted to let people know that there's a mistake in the printed program regarding my 7 PM Saturday game.

Instead of the actual game I'm running – " S19:246: Osona: Armored Train vs Herero Rifles (German South West Africa, 1904)", which is linked to my 3 PM Saturday War College Talk – the printed program repeats my 7 PM Saturday game from Historicon 2022 ("S19:129 Ambush at Gross-Barmen (German South West Africa, 1904)".

The online PEL lists the correct game, as does my website – "Osona: Armored Train vs Herero Rifles". The mistake is only in the printed program, which is why I only became aware of it Thursday night when I arrived at the Con.


rjones6903 Nov 2022 9:59 p.m. PST

I took a deeper look. It's not just my game. The entire 7 PM Saturday Fall In! slot in the printed program is a repeat of the 7 PM Saturday slot from Historicon 2022.


rjones6904 Nov 2022 1:40 p.m. PST

Problem corrected. The Fall In staff have inserted a separate errata sheet into the program book with the correct 7 PM Saturday games.

GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP04 Nov 2022 2:54 p.m. PST

Played in that train scenario back in 2016, it was super!

TSD10105 Nov 2022 8:32 a.m. PST

Saw the game running Friday night and it looked packed with everyone having a good time

SgtGuinness Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2022 1:14 p.m. PST

Roy, looks and sounds like another awesome game and scenario. I'd of loved to have participated in both the game and lecture. Keep on posting sir. I'm looking forward to the Nama War scenario book. If it's half as good as your Herero War Scenario book we will be very lucky indeed.

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