DARKEST AFRICA "The Saffron returns!" or the 2nd battle of "WATAHTA Point"
January 2nd 2009
My picture taking was not very good this time as trying to run a game and photograph with a time limit makes for blurry pictures, sorry, I will later "stage" some shots and upload them. For now this is it, just wanted to get it up so you "South Bengalese" see what your missing!
We enjoyed the last Darkest Africa battle between the Germans and the Belgians so much that we decided we would do another on the 2nd of January as our first game of the New Year. This battle was to be played at Stately "Denny Manor" just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Bismarck Room and a short jaunt from the Bengal club proper.
This time the Belgian gun boat "Saffron" returns with commandant Colonel “Bris Ket Beffe” leading a polyglot force of Belgian mercenaries back to Watahta point in an attempt to retake the fort from the German forces now in command of the area and village. His forces consisted of;
5 Belgian regulars
10 Askaris led by Overseer "VanDerPooti"
Overseer "VanDerPooti"and his lovely gun bearer "Bimba" (gives him 2 shots per turn or soaks off a hit)
10 Ruga Ruga these locals do the Belgians bidding for money and "Hemp"
10 Arab Slavers (Swordsmen) Hired by "Bris Ket" to subdue Chief "Boingo" and the "Whazoo" tribe. Their pay will be the taking of many of the "Whazoo" tribe to be sold into slavery.
Our game opens with the "Saffron" steaming across the lake and landing Belgians forces just north of the fort where they cannot be seen. The jungle path leads to the fort and also branches of to the village. Belgian victory depends on retaking the Fort, village, and sinking or forcing the German river gunboat "Wasserhund" off the board. The Germans must simply deny the Belgian's there objectives and if possible sink the "Saffron" German forces are;
Oberst vonShlitz and his two adjutants
5 German Marines (soldiers) (in Fort)
1 Muzzle loader cannon (in fort)
1 Standard Bearer (in fort)
1 Gunboat "Wasserhund"
2 10 man Musket men unit (1 at fort, 1 at village)
1 unit of pygmies (diced on after an attack on village)
I changed up several things for this fight. The Germans have more troops but they are of lower quality and are spread out covering more area thus making them weaker. Also the village has a captured Belgian Sergeant "Van derFoot" whom chief "Boingo" is about to cook for dinner! The Sergeant has been given copious amount of a local beverage, "pulki" a local rice chewed by the women and then spit back into a pot covered and left to ferment into a powerful local beer. This has sedated and somewhat pickled him so that he now sits in the boiling pot thinking he is getting a bath and his clothes washed prior to being released as part of a negotiated settlement with his uncle "Bris Ket" The boiling Belgian will act as a timer for the game. On turn 12 we start rolling for his "cooked" status to be reached, after which he is eaten and the game is over. I also limited the number of rounds all the gunboats and cannons could fire, after all they had recently fought an engagement and would be low on ammo. Gunboats are very powerful in DA and need to be handled gently. To help out the weaker native forces I had lots of terrain and only a few clearings. This helped negate the Belgians distance advantage when shooting.
The Ruga Ruga in the bottom left advance towards the village while the Belgian Askaris along with the regulars and Swordsmen take the path to the fort.
The Belgian force off loaded and began their march through the jungle coming soon to the fork on the trail. Here thy were spotted by a small native boy who was in fact a native scout. The scout got away with out being killed and reported the columns approach to the Village. This allowed the activation of the Village musket men and there deployment to ambush positions. The Village also signaled (with Dumps) the fort and its Musket men also went into ambush mode.
The Belgians split there forces most veering off towards the fort while the Ruga went in the direction of the village. The Belgian Askaris lead the way to the fort and promptly ran in to a ambush by German RE trained musket men and a pitched battle ensued. The musket men must have had some intense drilling by the Germans (and unusually good die rolling by Hauptman Steve Gausche) as they fought as no other musket men ever seen. Even in "Close combat" they held their own and were only defeated after the joining in the fight by the Belgian Regulars!
On the Village side the Ruga Ruga approached the village and spread out getting ready to rush in and kill all! Native musket men however rose up from the bush and after a great die roll by john killed 5 Ruga outright! The Ruga and the Musket men tangled up into Close combat much like the other fight. It was a bloody affair that ended with the last Musket men fleeing into the jungle while the last two Ruga confronted Oberst vonShlitz (he was there for the feast and to see "Wahoo" One of the Ruga ran through the village arriving at the Giant pot containing "VanDerFoot" and tried to rescue him. It was also at this time that a Group of Pygmies appeared (they had been invited to the feast by chief Boingo) and would have fought on the Villagers side if needed. VanDerFoot very inebriated was seen to sink under the hot broth at this time and would shortly be served up to hungry natives and villagers in a great feast long remembered for the fine flavor of "Pulki" that permeated the "Brisket of Belgian" main course!
Over at the Fort the battle raged with the Belgian regulars and Baluchi Swordsmen deploying for battle. The "Saffron" had knocked out the Forts gun and was now dueling the "Wasserhund". After a expending nearly all their ammo the "Saffron" was forced to take a 3rd morale test do to damage and failing that had to make a "sink" roll (not in the rules but done be me in an attempt to have more fun with gunboats) Doug rolled a 5 and the "Saffron" sunk! At this point the game was called as it was getting late. We figured the Fort would be retaken by the Belgian forces and the village kept by the Germans. The game was nearly a draw Since the Belgians took the fort and killed quite a few German lead units. The Germans however kept the village, killed many allied Belgian units, cooked VaDerFoot, and sank the "Saffron"
The sinking of the "Saffron" edged the Germans over by 1 point in the victory column. 10 to 9, a very close game. The Belgians controlled the fort and will probably be able to re float the "Saffron" if the Germans cant get re enforcements down river soon. German prestige none the less is quite high at the moment and only the future will tell the out come of this continuing struggle on the shores of lake "Victoria"
They must be multiplying! Two Ten thousand foot generals. Mike Estery and Steve Gausche take a cool dip in lake "Victoria" and discuss the battle