Saturday, July 16, 2016

(Gnome Wars) Battle of Tanga #6 First Contact

November 3, 1914 - Outside the Port of Tanga, German East Africa Colony.

The Swiss forces assaulting Longido Mountain had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

It was now time for an amphibious landing outside the port city of Tanga.   Significant German forces around Longido were unable to travel by rail to reinforce the city, so it was largely up to the local garrison of German gnomes to defend the attack. 

Swiss Forces:  Oddly enough, none of the initial landing forces were Swiss.   In such a remote location compared to the rest of the fighting all over the world, the Swiss decided to transport some allied Sikhs to Africa to fight for them.  Numerous problems befell the Sikhs before they would even set foot on another continent.  First, the units offered to the Swiss could not be any greener. To make matters worse, the ocean voyage was horrendous for a group who had never sailed before.  Between that and poor water and food for those who could stomach the trip, the Sikhs were beaten and battered as they made landfall.  

Lucky for them, the Swiss had hired some Scottish mercenaries to aid with the invasion.  McNichol's Raiders were hungry for a fight (and a real meal, they suffered from the same poor rations on a much shorter trip from where they were staying in Abyssinia. 

Swiss Order of Battle
Objective:  Get 1/3 of their forces off the opposite edge of the board.
1 Unit of Sikh Infantry: Green (Can NOT form square, volley fire, and are subject to morale checks)
1 Unit of Sikh Infantry: Tan (Can NOT form square, volley fire, and are subject to morale checks)
1 Unit of Scottish Highlander Infantry
1 Scottish MG Team
1 Round of Naval Barrage, arriving on Turn 2.

On the outskirts of Tanga
German Forces
With the chaos on Longido Mountain trickling into town, Tanga was in full chaos.  Many of the troops stationed there were busy evacuating friends, family, and supplies.  Defense was the last thing on the mind of many of the officers as they received reports of the initial landing. 
While one platoon of the 17th Field Kompanie was fully staffed, and wisely made a defensive stand across the rail line, the junior officers held command of two undermanned units and made the poor decision to move up and meet the enemy.
German Order of Battle
Objective: Prevent the Swiss objective.
1 unit of German Infantry, full strength (Grey)
1 unit of German Infantry, understrength (Green)
1 unit of German Infantry, half strength (Purple)
1 unit of civilian militia, understrength
A 2-man team of civilian snipers.
Turn One:  The Swiss forces dashed to a gully for cover while the Germans continued their disorganized advance. 
Turn Two:  After an ineffective naval barrage ceased, the Highlanders climbed from the gully and began their charge.  German fire was completely ineffective.

Let the carnage begin, laddies!
Turn Three:  The Sikhs follow the Scottish lead.  The Scots' volley fire decimates the half-exposed German units. If not for the quick actions of the units' medics,  there would be no one left to defend. 

Das Fliegende Eichhörnchen watch the ensuing slaughter

Turn Four-Five:  The Swiss seize the initiative again, and the Germans are pocked with lead.   Even the medics are hit this turn, but they patched themselves up and save many lives...
Turn Six:  The Purple Germans, with help from the Green German NCO, finally make a dent in the assault.  Bier Grenadiers knock out the Highlanders' Berserker and Bagpipe Player, and a sniper takes out their officer.  Unfortunately, the Highlanders never check traditional morale, so the advance continued.  The Green German NCO jumped from around the block house and shot down two more Highlanders, but fell to a third in vicious hand to hand fighting. 
Turn Seven:  The Highlander's machine gun was finally in position to send a withering rain of lead down on not only the few remaining frontline Germans, but the well-defended Grey Germans as well.   The Sikhs began to move along the flanks, using as much cover as they could find. 

The End was near for the Germans...
Turn Eight:  A lone Scottish Swordsman dodged German fire to single-handedly assault the unit of local militia that had finally arrived, slaying it's officer and a volunteer, before succumbing to long-range fire from the Grey Germans. 

Turn Nine:  The Green Sikhs moved up to further weaken the militia, but their local Cheese Grenadiers sprang into action, chucking hunks of Limburger at them to scatter them for a turn.  

Turn Ten:  Between the distant Machine Gun and the the Tan Sikhs slinking through the jungle, the Grey Germans behind the rail line had their hands full, but they continued shooting at the exposed Green Sikhs and remaining Highlanders.  The Green Sikhs also had a very annoying issue to deal with: the Green German Bier Nurse Anselma. 
Despite taking multiple gunshot wounds, plus a bayonet, and a sword slash, this woman would not go down.  She continued to bandage her wounds and move on to save others, until the point came where she was the only member of the unit left.  Still, she continued fighting the enemy, brass knuckles in one hand, an empty bier stein in the other.  After the Sikhs were scattered from the stinky cheese, they were horrified to discover the bloody and battered visage of Anselma among their regrouping numbers.  They were able to knock her down yet again, but they soon needed to dash off to reach their objective.  
Fear the Bier Nurse!
Turns 11-13:   The Grey Germans sat behind the rail line and did their best to peg the enemies trying to exit the far western corner of the battlefield.  The one highlander Rifleman survived, as did seven Green Sikhs who were seconds away from routing if they could not find a safe spot to recover.    Unfortunately the long-range machine gun, and well-cover Tan Sikhs hiding in the thick brush were slowly whittling away at their defenses with lucky shots, so it was up to the Grey German commander to withdraw from the battlefield avoid additional casualties.  
Come back cowards!  I'm not done with you yet!
Swiss (aka Sikhs and Scottish Mercs) win:  56-29.

As the German commander, I've tried to weave my excuses into the earlier background.  Finding out at 8pm my friend Brian was available for a noon game the next day, and deciding to take advantage of the slightly bigger gaming tables at the FLGS, I went into full panic mode trying to arrange a game.  The Tanga Campaign had been in mothballs for the last four years, but with the latest Sikh unit painted up, I figured now would be as good a time as any. 

I completely failed to take advantage of the hidden deployment rules specifically detailed in the scenario itself, and paid for it with a horrible showing.     I also made a poor decision to allow the Brian's Highlanders to make an appearance, rather than the Swiss units.  Volley fire and no morale made my fleeting chances to stop them just done and gone.   (The machine gun was a random variable attachment, as was the naval barrage.  Can't argue with that).   

I also had both my girls at the store with me, hence the constant distractions from "evacuating civilians."   Still, I've handled it before and I shall handle it again.    The good news is that a rout in this scenario doesn't have much impact to bonuses to future scenarios, only to a significant point deficit. 

Whining and complaining aside, it's time to make time for the next scenario, The Battle of the Bees.

With no Highlanders... but perhaps one very scarred and pissed off medic.

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