Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Siege of Tifaruin

SOTCW game at Gauntlet 2010

Played over the weekend of July 3rd/4th

The history
Riffian forces had been besieging Tifaruin since August 17th and things were getting desperate for the defenders. After stopping and driving back several relief attempts the Riffians were ready to make their final push and over run the town. Lieutenant Colonel Franco flew from Melilla to Ceuta to assume personal command of 1st and 2nd Banderas of La Legion. A plan was formulated for a massive combined army, naval and air force operation to break the siege.

The plan called for units from The Regulares de Melilla and Alhucemas to force their way through the Riffian positions to the village of Sidi Messaud, air strikes and artillery would support these attacks. Whilst this attack was going on the two Legion bandera were to strike straight for Tifaruin. Franco looked at the plan and advised that a direct assault against the Rif trenches would be costly and came up with a new plan. Whilst the two units of regulares would maintain pressure upon the Riffians, a battalion of Infanteria de Marina (naval marines) would come ashore at Afrau and the legion banderas would swing around to the south and envelope the Riffians.

The Riffian battle plan. For the last four days your forces have besieged the Spanish in the town of Tifaruin. The enemy is at the end of their supplies and their last cannon was destroyed yesterday, within a couple of days you will storm their defenses and put the infidels to the knife.

Two days ago your forces stopped a relief column, your
men are well dug in and prepared to resist further attempts. Your scouts have reported the Spanish gathering for another major push, their troops include those traitors who call themselves Regulares and the cursed Legion. You have informed your commanders to be ready for an attack; your guns are carefully sited and concealed from Spanish aircraft.

Spanish battle plan
The rebel tribesmen have isolated the garrison of Tifaruin and have managed to beat back two relief attempts. Things are getting desperate within the town and the defenders have announced that they would rather die than surrender to the rebels. You all have heard of the butchery done to both the living and the dead that fall into rebel hands so understand their feelings. The plan is a good one whilst two tabors of Regulares pressure the rebel defenses La legion will swing south and come upon the enemy flank, at the same time Naval marines will land at Afrau and attack the northern flank too. The enemy will be crushed and Tifaruin saved, forward for the honor of his most Catholic Majesty King Alfonso 13th.

For the game we used 20mm figures and stuff from mine and Will`s collections and fought over Will’s excellent terrain.

We split the Spanish into three commands –
Rob Connolly – Infanteria de Marina supported by the gunboat El Tiburon
Will Macnally – Army of Africa column (Regiment de Infanteria No68 & Regiment de Caballeria Alcantara)
Pete Jones – Regulares de Melilla No2

All supported by artillery and some aircraft.

There was also 1st Bandera of Spanish Foreign Legion who due to the direction of their advance came onto the table later.

We used my modified version of Charles Grant’s “Battle” rules, I was umpire and ran the Riffi/Arab forces would were mostly randomly generated via event cards and encounter charts.

The Team L-R Pete, Will, Rob & me (sorry I have no photo of Dean Potter who came on Sunday)
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The table looking towards the Spanish start line from above Tifaruin
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A couple of views of Tifaruin and Will’s excellent buildings
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General Fernadez Perez watches his armies advance, please note the highly advanced communications equipment.
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A battery of Spanish 75`s cover the advance
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Army of Africa column advances along the seafront road
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Infanteria de Marina land near Afrau meeting heavy resistance but were supported by the gunboat
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Cavalry melee
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Street fighting in Afrau
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The Regulares storm Sidi Mesaud
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The Alcantara Cavalry Regiment launches a charge at the Riffi lines
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Early evening on the first day La Legion finally arrive
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Day 2: due to casualties it was decided to stop the attempt at relieving Tifaruin, but for the garrison to withdraw to Afrau covered by offensive action of the other elements.
Spanish aircraft bomb Riffi positions in front of Tifaruin
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The Tifaruin Garrison form up to withdraw
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La Legion move to the attack to cover the withdrawal
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Column under attack
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Mustard gas smothers the Riffi gunners
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Tragedy – an event card calls up Juramentados (men sworn to die in battle) these appear in overwhelming numbers and swamp the column, slaughtering them to a man!!
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After this disaster, orders are changed and the army must now take Tifaruin to save face and avenge their fallen comrades.

La Legion captures the high ground
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A combined Army and Naval column advances from Afrau
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Regulares with local volunteers join the attack (commanded by Dean Potter)
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Riffi flags over Tifaruin
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End game, La Legion and Army of Africa troops storm the town.
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I had a great weekend, the game was fun and not as difficult to run I was expecting. We had an amazing 35 turns on the Saturday and about 20 on the Sunday. Will put in a huge amount of effort with his terrain, Rob Connolly provided cakes and everyone pitched in to make the whole experiance very enjoyable. Lots of people took and interest and we handed out loads of flyers and SOTCW cards/membership forms. The Deeside Defenders were as always welcoming and hospitable - thanks lads.

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