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Sunday 24 January 2016

The battle of Morke's Drift!

Today, we tried a possible replacement to my Colonial rules, doing a skirmish to sort of celebrate yesterday's anniversary of the battle of Rorke's Drift.

Randomly, we allocated command to our British force, and once again it fell to our least experienced player, Rob.
Phil drew the 2 sections guarding the drift, Lawrence and Rod were coming up in support, and I had a patrol of horse out in front of the drift.

The river, with the drift in the background.
Phil put his men in between the buildings to one side of the drift. 
My cavalry arrived! 
We approached the shallow crossing. 
..and thundered across! 
The alerted British main force, having heard my men's fire in the distance, now arrived behind the drift. Rod came up the road in column of two's, and he ordered Lawrence to skirmish on his left... 
...  which Lawrence did.
Down the road,on Phil's flank, and unseen, a group of spearmen approached the drift. 
In the undefended sandbagged redoubt a muleteer and a Commissary officer...
...were surprised by a group of musketeers attacking from the flank. 
 They missed, but the muleteer fired back, shooting a native dead!
 Before he got another shot in, he was killed by a musket ball. The Commissary officer was still struggling to draw his pistol!
Abandoning his dead companion and his supplies, he ran off towards the buildings, and relative safety!
The native musketeers did not pursue, and waited for another opportunity to strike.

My cavalry, meanwhile, were wheeling in to warn Phil of the approaching storm!
The constable with my horse gave Phil the bad news. We also spotted the spear unit trying to turn Phil's left flank!
 Lawrence and Rod, still largely unaware of all this action, continued up the road.
 My horse formed a skirmish line opposite the flanking spear unit and opened up with our carbines...
Phil sent a section to help, and we downed several of the natives....
...who rapidly retreated to some long grass.
Another group of spearmen now breasted the large hill opposite Phil's position.
More were coming down the road...
...Now supported by musketeers.
My horse were slowly pursuing the flanking spearmen.
My horsemen managed to wound 3 more spearmen.
Phil fired a volley.

Many shots hit the cover, but several natives were hit.
Lawrence and Rod now arrived at the drift.
My horse were closing to the natives, who refused to run!
Phil was having trouble stopping the natives attacking him, though as they entered the river they began to get hit more seriously.
Phil's men reloaded....
The natives halted, stopped by the fire.

Back on the road, more natives arrived to support the attack there.
Rod advanced a single line to fire on them as they crossed the drift.
Their fire was...rather ineffective!
Phil stood ready as the natives facing him began to advance again.
His volley stopped them mid-stream.
Back on the road, the spearmen had nearly reached Rod's line, seeing their chance, the musketeers in the redoubt advanced on their flank. 
The mules chose this moment to dash between the converging lines!
Phil was slowly wiping out the men in the river...
...My horsemen were blasting the spearmen in the long grass.
Rod's fire at point blank range drove off the spearmen...

...leaving room for the second wave to advance.
Rod now had a couple of casualties from the musketeers in the redoubt.
Just in time, the last of Phil's enemies died...
My cavalry routed the last few spearmen left in the grass.
My horse then wheeled off to support Lawrence.
Phil turned also, to fire in the rear of the spearmen attacking Rod.
Rod fell back, firing.
The spearmen, caught between 2 fires, halted in confusion.
A third wave of experienced warriors now walked into the trap.
They fell like 9-pins!
All the natives now broke and ran. Once our lines had been formed, I think we could have stopped any number of natives! - so long as our ammunition lasted!

As a playtest, I thought the native spearmen were too tenacious and not working as well as in previous games. I have therefore written a new version of the solo rules, which I will publish when they have been playtested.

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