Sunday 28 February 2021

Operation Big Stick - table set-up

 Operation Big Stick - table set-up

Now for my next game I`ve gone back many yrs to some brief notes I scribbled about the Marine landing at Tangier in 1902 part of the Pedicaris Crisis. You may remember the action was features in the film Wind and the Lion.

Now combining this with a newspaper article I dug up about piracy in the Mediterranean in the late C19th, this gave a good starting point for a landing/rescue mission game!

The scenario is still in the editing phase, but I thought I`d post the table set-up

Looking across the table from the Atlantic side

The lighthouse & northern fort

The main dock

Second dock and southern fort

Northern part of Amoraldi

Main town & market square

Southern end of the table & mosque

market place

El Rougi`s palace



Friday 26 February 2021

Federal spoiler attack - the game

 Federal spoiler attack - the game

First off in between me setting up, I realised I`d miss-judged distances and the time it actually takes for the boats to land their troops! Pretty basic stuff, but quite critical in a game.

Therefore the game now starts after the boats have arrived and unloaded their troops, the alarm has already been raised and the rest of the garrison rolls to see how long it takes then to organise.

Another change to the scenario as written, the Constitutionalists start rolling for reinforcements from turn 10 and then every 5 turns, but I changed the table as infantry would just never get anywhere close to the action, so all results where infantry are mentioned (except the train) are changed to cavalry.

First off I set up the troops landing and placed the chits on all the buildings/tents - I marked 8 discs (one for each 5 man squad), mixed them face down and randomly placed them so i had no idea where each unit was. I also rolled for the alert "6" which meant of course those troops off duty would react until turn 7!

The Federals land

I than randomly (by rough grid) placed the two active defender patrols

The game begins turn 1

The 1st naval platoon reaches the first shack at the end of this turn, the chit is marked (occupied), I rule the sailors spend 2 turns butchering the occupants!

Turn 2 the 2nd naval platoon comes under fire from the defenders roving patrol!

Turn 3 sees the 2nd naval platoon with some excellent marksmanship and 4 x 6s on 5D6 virtually wiping out their opponents!

At the other end of the beach (the Federal left) a unit of infantry finds their shack occupied and again I rule the defenders lost!!

During these turns Col. Gomez pushes on toward the rail yard with the bulk of his command.

Turns 4-6 see a general advance, the second roving patrol appears and causes some casualties

Col. Gomez continues onward towards his objective

Turn 7 I turn over all the remaining chits to reveal where the defenders are - weirdly as these things go the random deployment was pretty good - the station building, one of the warehouses, two of the buildings by the station and the last 2 units in the cantina (life imitating art)

Turns 8-9 the defenders deploy and begin a protracted resistance

Turn 10 sees Col Gomez taking personal command of the machine gun and directing its fire against the station and warehouse

also this turn the first reinforcements arrive - a troop of cavalry.

Turn 11-12

Saw bitter fighting in the pueblo, the Federals employed good envelopment tactics and used grenades to clear one building!


Turns 13-14

Saw the machine gun driving off the defenders of the rail station, the sappers started setting their charges on turn 14.

Troops crossed the rail line and engaged the last few occupied buildings, sailors moved down the federal right and checked the last few buildings (unoccupied anyway) they then set up to repel the incoming cavalry.

Turn 15

More cavalry turn up

The last buildings are cleared of defenders, the first cavalry unit is engaged with the sailors on the Federal right.

Turn 16

The warehouses explode

Turn 17

Sees both cavalry troops shot to pieces! The sappers start work on the rail line itself

Turn 18

The cavalry (both units) break and run

Turn 19

The Federal move to form a defensive pocket around the sappers

Turn 20

The rail line explodes!

Yet more cavalry arrives

Turn 22-23

The cavalry advances, the federals await their arrival, the sappers move and start setting up the water tower and smaller coal bunkers (turn 23)

Turn 24-25

Some long rang fire between the new cavalry and the sailors, the water tower is knocked down and the bunkers are burnt (end of turn 25). A train arrives at the far Federal right!

Turn 26

With the arrival of the train the Federals begin to organise their withdrawal

Seeing the train and the sailors withdrawal the cavalry rush forward on foot

The sappers start work on the last coal bunkers

Turn 27

The drives right up to the rail yard its armoured front car firing on the Federals

The cavalry on the Federal right hotly engage the Federal infantry who are covering the sailors withdrawal

On the federal left the withdrawal moves on a pace

Turn 28-29

The train company dismounts and advances on the rail yard and its Federals, Capt. Castro of the 32nd Regiment distinguishes himself organising his mens withdrawal protecting the sappers.

Capt Castro

Now the train should have backed off, but it didn`t and El Tiburon began firing her 14pdr at it on turn 26, on turn 29 she hit!

Also on turn 29 the last coal bunkers were fired

On the federal left Capt. Juan Antonio of the 32nd regiment holds his rearguard with a Rexor LMG team and a few men.

In the centre Col. Gomez himself organises a fallback position to cover his withdrawing command

Turn 30 the withdrawal continues sailors begin to reach the boats, more cavalry arrive!

Turn 31 - 34 the withdrawal is now is full swing rearguards commands by Captains Castro and Juan Antonio keep the Constitutionalists at bay, a near break-though on the Federal right is halted by a well placed shell from El Tiburon!

Turn 35

More cavalry but this time accompanied by a gun!

The withdrawal continues, Col Gomez collapses his defensive pocket, falling back on the boats

On the Federal right the enemy cavalry (dismounted) are right on Captain Juan Antonio but a timely shell from El Tiburon once again stops that and relieves the pressure.

The Juanita is fully loaded and moves out into the river.

Turn 36-37

El Tiburon`s gun keeps the enemy at bay, the withdrawal is in full swing, nothing is going to stop the Federals getting away.

The Enemy `75 arrives at the pueblo

Turn 38

The last troops re-board El Tiburon, Col. Gomez is the last man ashore

The enemy gun un-limbers and in one last attempt to salvage something, it deploys to fire on El Tiburon as she casts off!      

Turn 39

The `75 misses! But El Tiburon`s gun crew is on fire and nails the gun with a magnificent 11 on 2D6!


Turn 40

El Tiburon sets sail back to Tampico with a tale of glorious victory over the enemy!

The game proved complicated to run, with many turns taken up by just movement and little action. The defenders had a near impossible task, but of course me rolling for the arrival of single cavalry troops on each of the first three reinforcement phases didn`t help matters, if the train, the plane or a larger unit with an attached gun had shown up earlier things may have ended differently.