Friday, August 14, 2009

Crossfire Game (Solo)

The Affair at Balad Chanaq, near the left bank of the Euphrates, Mesopotamia
Late September 1916
Gamed: August 13, 2009
Rules: Crossfire
Scale: 1 stand=1 section
Table: 3x5

Yes, the photos are terrible. I borrowed a camera and it looks worse than I thought.

The Board: South is Bottom photo (including Wadi Gharbiye at top), North (including Balad Chanaq) is Top photo
Shown at set-up

Ottoman Forces (defender)
3 under strength Platoons (3 rifle stands each, Regular morale) each with a +1 PC [39 points]
2 Maxim Sections (unattached) (Regular) [12 points]
1 Arab Band (4 rifle stands, Green) with a +1 Arab leader [12]
1 detail of Bombers (2 stands, Veteran) & +1 PC [10]
1 Company Command stand +1 [4]
1 German FO with 6 SOS Barrages (4 dice each)[3]
1 Turkish Platoon (4 stands, Regular) & +1 PC [14]
Total Points: 80 initial / 94 reinforced

British Forces (attacker)
1 Company Sikh Infantry (reduced)
3 Platoons (4 stands rifles each; fourth stand is Lewis Guns in First Platoon) & a +1 PC each [62 points]
1 Company Command Stand +2 & 1 Stand Rifles (Escort, Veteran) [9]
1 Rolls Royce Armoured Car [12?]
Total Points: 83

This game was a variation on the Bridgehead Scenario in the Crossfire rulebook. The British must take 4 pieces of Ottoman terrain and hold them for 5 consecutive initiatives. The Ottomans receive their reinforcements when the British take the fourth terrain piece.

In real-world terms the Sikh company was seeking to clear Turkish pickets away from the left flank of a British advance and also “show the flag” to local Arabs.

The Ottoman set-up was as follows:
The Arab band in occupied two of the buildings in the village of Balad Chanaq. A Turkish MG and the FO were in the third (and Southernmost) building that overlooked the Sikh Company’s approach. The Eastern Wadi (Wadi Sharqiya) was defended by a Platoon of Turks, another Platoon set-up in the fields just to the North of the West Wadi (Wadi Gharbiye). The remainder of the Turkish company (an MG and the remaining Platoon) defended the wall on the Southern edge of an orchard, just East of Balad.
British Set-up:
The Sikhs deployed in a loose line with the Company A on the Right Flank (East, facing Wadi Sharqiya), Coy. B the Left flank (facing Wadi Gharbiye), and Coy. C in reserve, in some brush near the center. The Armoured Car started at the center as well.

The British had the initiative and moved forward with Coys A & B into the scrub north of both of them. This brought some reaction fire, resulting merely in a pinned section in either company. The AC charged forward and began “hosing” Wadi Sharqiya but did not suppress any Turkish stands; the initiative then shifted as a result. Some desultory return fire occurred, to no result. The initiative returned to the Sikhs.

Action shifted to the Ottoman Right Flank for several initiatives. Sikh Company B fired at the Turks in front of them, suppressing one stand. They then launched a forward assault on the Wadi Gharbiye. One Sikh stand was pinned by reaction fire from the Turks but this was not enough to halt the charge. They struggled to take the position (there were two tied rolls) but the Turkish defenders were doomed since the Sikhs had bonuses for being Veteran and for their opponents having a suppressed stand.

Company B kept up the momentum by moving into the fields to the West of Balad Chanaq. There they came under 6 initiatives worth of SOS Barrages and HMG fire, all being coordinated from the southern-most building in Balad. The Sikhs eventually suffered one eliminated stand and several suppressions (all of which were handily rallied by their PC) they were also effectively held in place.

Unfortunately for the Turks, the British CC mobilized Sikh company C to continue the push on the Western flank. They pushed forward through the fire that was being brought to bear on coy. B. Then when moving into a more Northerly field Company C was hit by a coordinated crossfire from both Turkish HMGs. Two Sections were suppressed but the other half of the Platoon eventually occupied a palm grove just north of the Northern building of Balad Chanaq.

The Turks kept up desultory fire against their opponents in the West, losing the initiative many times due to a failure to Suppress (despite inflicting many Pins, which the Sikhs quickly rallied from) or failure to rally. The unpinned remains of Sikh Company C launch an assault against the Arabs in the northernmost building in Balad. There is a brief struggle but the Arabs are defeated and the building occupied.

As the SOS barrage lifts an assault is made by Sikh coy B against the HMG that has been tormenting it. Victory is quick. One section of Sikhs go to ground outside the building, the others move in to occupy thus occupying the fourth Turkish terrain piece. At the same time the AC has rushed forward and suppressed the Turkish HMG and a rifle section in the orchard. The Turkish platoon has turned to face the north but are now effectively held in place by the threat of fire from the Sikhs in Balad or the AC.

A full strength Turkish rifle section comes on board and assaults the Sikhs in the northern part of the village but they are handily defeated. This is followed by a Sikh assault on Wadi Sharqiya which wipes away the Turkish defenders. At this point the victory conditions have been met and also the situation is clearly hopeless for the Ottoman. Later Ottoman prisoners are escorted back into British lines. The local Sheikhs promise to be docile, though many British sentries still die in the night and rifles disappear by the dozen. The war moves by Balad Chanaq…


Anonymous said...

Thanks Scott for an excellent report and photos.

Nice to see some of my old painted minis incorpoated in with the scenario Germans an Austrians working together :-)

Some lovely work from yourself and congrats on the solo game.


Scott Pasha said...

Whoops! Oh well... Austrians? Germans? Whose to know... (except me, darn it...)
Mostly I've just been dying to game Mesopotamia, but with other games I haven't had enough Turks to do it...
Expect to hear more about Balad when I do my 1920 insurrection game someday!

Anonymous said...

Oh well, not to worry I'm sure they worked togther.

Hey Scott, I meant to say nice work on the latest Painted Arabs. I see you used my converted Arab with sword. Did the other two Arabs I converted with 303s survived the journey?


Scott Pasha said...

The funny thing is, until you pointed it out I didn't realize this was a conversion! Good job! I'll have to check for the .303 lads, one package of Arabs is still wrapped. Look for more and more Arabs as they are supposed to be my top priority right now.Thanks again for the reinforcements as you added about 25% to my Bedouin lead mountain.

Monty said...

Great stuff - tell me, Scott, how does the solo variation of this great game work in practice? Any enlightenment you can provide would be welcome mate!

Nice one,

Scott Pasha said...

I hate to tell you, but I just try and play both sides fairly. No actual variant. With one side clearly on the defensive it makes it a bit easier.

Thanks for the interest.
Scott Pasha