Monday, 7 April 2014

"A Mere Question of Pluck": Elandslaagte, 21 October 1889



For the next of the recent set of playtests featuring battles of the Second Boer War, Rich chose the ballet of Elandslaagte on 21 October 1889. This action is known for well-coordinated British attacks and skilful deployment of the British infantry under Boer fire.



In another of our strange echoes of Boer War history, the table top game played out very much like the actual battle. British deployment in the game was patient, well-thought through and made full use of natural features, such as the dead ground on the British west flank. Boer deployment, by contrast, was more passive and was hampered by the loss at an early stage of one group of Boer vedettes and some difficult card draws.

Interestingly, our play-test results seem to be shifting slightly as regards the results. Our initial games a few years back, and earlier this year, favoured the Boer, with the British struggling to achieve any sense of order in their deployment, especially in the “beaten zone” of German Mauser fire. In the Elandslaagte game however, the British were more assured in their deployment and patient with the build-up. Does this mean that we, as a club, are getting more comfortable with the challenge of playing British forces? Or is Elandslaagte an easy game for the British, with their wealth of good mounted troops. As we approach re-fights of the “Black Week” and Spion Kop, we should have a better idea of how we’re collectively doing in re-creating British forces’ deployment and fighting methods.


As before, I have added the details of the AARs into the photos below. I find written AARs sometimes a little tricky to follow, so please continue to let me know if you prefer this format (and thank you to those who have given a response on that already).





























A few other points…

First, I can strongly recommend the excellent book “From Boer War to Great War” by Dr Spencer Jones which covers the evolution of British tactics through the Boer War and on to the first battles of the First World War. Dr Jones’ book is taken from his PhD thesis, but remains a very clear, concise and well-written examination of the struggles and eventual success of the British army in the 1900 to 1914 period.  A really excellent read.


Second, I apologise for the blog posts here being rather erratic of late, and also my absence in the last couple of painting rounds for Curt’s splendid Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. My Mum has been in hospital for the past four weeks in Yorkshire and this has caused a lot of dislocation in normal family (and wargaming) life with travelling and visiting and what-not. Hope you can bear with me for a while if the posting is more erratic than normal.  And, above all,…get well soon, Mum!

Third, I should be at Salute 2014 in London this coming weekend. It’s certainly one of the highlights of my gaming year and I am greatly looking forward to seeing friends, old and new, and helping out running the TooFatLardies’ game, which will be Chain of Command. I’ll also be dropping by the Bloggers Meet-Up at 1pm, so hope to catch you all there if not before.

14 comments:

  1. Again, nice looking overall effect but not a scale I'd ever favour. Clue~age, eyes, hands.

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    1. I confess that on occasions I have needed to squint at the dismounted Imperial Light Horse to check they are not Gordon Highlanders. I feel that on occasion I may be mere seconds away from a Lord Raglan-esque disaster of sending troops down the wrong valley or over to the wrong kopje. But that, old chap, is just part of the fun!

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  2. I really like the writing on the photos, hope to see you Saturday.

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    1. Thanks Fran. Glad you like the photo-descriptions. Hopefully that's easier to follow than a long AAR. See you Saturday!

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  3. A detailed write up with some splendid photos...Very interesting indeed!

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  4. Another stunning game, they really do look good.

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    1. Thanks very much, Michael. Very kind!

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  5. Yes, hope your Mum gets well soon - really enjoying these style batreps, and thanks for the recommendation on that book, very interesting period!

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    1. Thanks Ed! The book is very good, on the Boer War, the First World War and how they fit together. The focus is on infantry tactics (as opposed to operations), which makes it perfect for wargamers!

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    1. Thanks Phil! Chuffed you like it. I'm sure there will be more to follow...

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  7. Great looking game! I'm looking forward to these rules.

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    1. Cory, thanks very much. With one thing and another, I am anticipating it would be early to mid-summer for any release. One of the things which we might consider trying is making the Boer War rules dove-tail with handling BEF actions from the summer and autumn of 1914. Stay tuned for more information on that!

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