Sunday, 15 June 2014

Waltzing Matilda - the Second Dance, Beersheba, 1917....Game Number 50

This is very much a 'back to the future' kind of game in that I originally fought this action way back in December 2012. I was itching to get some figures on a table since recently acquiring the Middle Eastern WW1 collection before I started the great rebasing. I am slightly restricted at present in that the only Hexon terrain I own is the standard verdant green which is not hugely suitable for the actions set in Palestine or the Arabian Peninsula. I shall be acquiring a desert set of Hexon in a couple of weeks but for time being decided to make do with my square gridded Portable Wargame board. I had a quick flick through the actions I have fought using this board and came across my very small refight of the charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba in 1917. I originally fought this action using my block armies and Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame rules but decided instead to make use of his Memoir of Battle set with some tweaking for the square as opposed to hexed grid.

I decided to make use of the figures for this action using a single figure per strength point - when I rebase the figures it will be a base of two models per strength point - and markers for the heavy weapons. The full details of the original action can be found here:

Waltzing Matilda, Beersheba, 1917....Game Number 28

The opposing forces and the initial dispositions are the same as the original action - the only difference are the rules in use and the fact that for the first time I am using figures rather than blocks.

Beersheba, 1917

The Light Horse deployed for the attack on Beersheba with the supporting artillery on their right flank. the command are with the guns and only a single unit is deployed as a reserve.

The Turkish defences. The trenches are plentiful and well sited but crucially are relatively lightly held. A machine gun is deployed on the hill on the left flank and three of the four units of infantry are in the forward positions. The reserve, in Beersheba itself, consists of a single infantry unit and the command post.

Another view of the first line of the Turkish defences. Note the two machine gun positions.

The Australians advance into the attack. The extreme right flank unit is refused slightly in readiness to attack the Turkish position on the hill. The supporting artillery fire has thus far been ineffective.

With the thunder of hooves the Australians charge into the attack. The attack on the hill machine gun swings first one way and then the other as the Turks desperately attempt to hold off the marauding horsemen. Meanwhile the first trench lines are attacked with damaging losses on both sides. The Turks in the centre succeed in driving back the horsemen but at a heavy cost. The trench at the foot of the picture sees some vicious close range fighting with neither side making any headway.

Finally, after committing their reserve the Light Horse break through. The machine gun on  the hill is finally overrun and the central weapon beats a hasty retreat back into Beersheba itself. Aside from isolated resistance the Australians sweep into the forward positions driving the remaining Turks before them. Those that were too slow to escape were mercilessly cut down. Seeing that his defences had been destroyed the Turkish commander orders his men to surrender to avoid further bloodshed. The Light Horse had carried the day.

The surviving horsemen with their commander. It was a spectacular victory but at a far heavier cost than expected. Nearly half of the Australians had been laid low but the Turkish commander was quite unnerved by what he had seen and had no desire to be ridden down with the rest of command.

The game played out with far more decisiveness than the first time and once the Australians had breached the front line the Turks literally had nowhere to run to. Using figures made a real difference to the feel of the affair and so I am looking forward to getting my desert Hexon tiles and rebasing the collection to fit in with it. I was rather pleased with the buildings I used  and they did not seem at all out of place in the overall scheme of things despite being quite small. I am especially looking forward to using the multiple figure bases for strength points as the units look more substantial. As it stands an infantry unit will have four bases each of two figures whilst mounted will have three bases each of two figures.

The coming Autumn and Winter are promising to be really interesting from a gaming perspective!


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


I think that the figures are very impressive, and I can see why you are going to have two-figure bases. They will make the whole thing even more pleasing on the eye.

It was an interesting choice of battle, and I was pleased to see the the MOB rules produced a reasonably realistic result. I have recently been looking at them again ... and have realised that they are actually not too bad!

I look forward to seeing more battle reports featuring your new figures in due course.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

I wanted something rather small and asymmetric to game to start with and rerunning Beersheba seemed a good idea - especially as the Australian Light Horse are really nicely painted!

I am looking forward to the rebasing as using 8 figure foot and 6 figure mounted units will look impressive and when using a 20mm frontage per model means that the Hexon tiles are plenty big enough.

MOB are an old favourite of mine and the only thing I added in was the battle back rule.

It worked out very enjoyably and augers well for the future. I also managed to get some painting in as well!

All the best,


MSFoy said...

I drifted in here to have a casual look at the new figures in action, and - hey! - Joe Morschauser lives! Ideally, the photos should be grainy b&w to complete the impression, but I like it a lot.

Archduke Piccolo said...

I do like those figures - nicely painted, and the colours are well chosen. Considering the stylised battlefield, the whole affair does have the right sort of arid, Levantine look. Great!

David Crook said...

Hi MSFoy,

The figures look magnificent (and it has opened up a whole new area of study for me - photographing miniatures successfully; rather how to!) and the Morschauser comment is very high praise indeed!

I shall certainly experiment with black and white and the idea of using a larger square grid is something that I am pondering for the future.

Glad you enjoyed it.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Archduke,

Considering the board was literally thrown together in and hour so is has served me well and certainly looks effective. Ideally it should be a larger area - currently it is 8 x 12 but I would prefer 12 x 16. I have the material to make a larger area but will probably use the desert Hexon when I get it for larger actions.

As a quick and makeshift playing area Though I have very pleased with it.

All the best and many thanks for your comments.


Clint said...

Nice one mate. I like the abstract terrain. There is just something about it. Very simple and effective.

David Crook said...

Hi Clint,

Cheers old chap! The terrain for this was originally designed with the block armies in mind but suffices for use with figures - just about! I have no problems using stylised terrain but I will need to ensure that once the collection has been rebased the terrain is a little tidier.

I have a plan around buildings and also for hills etc but it is a long way from being tackled.

All the best,