Saturday 25 June 2022

The last few WW1 Palestine Campaign units and terrain

The WW1 Palestine Campaign is wrapping up from a painting and scratch-building point of view. This week I finished off a few remaining terrain items and a couple of Turkish units. Next will be to run a campaign and test out the rules with a number of games. 

This first terrain items I want on the tabletop is some cactus. Cactus groves and hedges were a feature of the terrain in Palestine. To make them I used the leave from a plastic plant picked up at a craft store. The  leaves were cut up and stuck on MDF board using a hot-glue gun. 

Cactus groves

Plastic plant found at a craft store.

The plastic leaves are cut up.

The leaves are stuck on bases with a hot-glue gun.

The bases are covered in sand.

When I completed the last group of Turkish cavalry I thought I would also make up a light armoured car for them.

Some Turkish cavalry and armoured car

A closer view of teh light armoured car.

Quite a few of the One-Hour Wargame scenarios have rivers. I plan to use a wadi instead which will be treated as being impassible. To make the wadis I used brown felt which I stippled with a sand colour and toned the sand down with a brown wash.

The Wadis are brown felt stopped with sand coloured paint and a brown wash to tons down the sand colour.

A few rocks are added

A top down wargamer's view of the wadi

Monday 20 June 2022

WW1 Palestine Campaign draft rules

The rules I am using for my WW1 Palestine Campaign games are a variation of One-Hour Wargames Machine Age rules by Neil Thomas which were the starting point. They have been modified in include a unit activation rule and to have cavalry charges. These are a draft variation and I have added a few notes on the variation choices after the rules.

An attack on a train in progress

Unit Types

The game features the following units which need to be consistently based:

  • Infantry
  • Infantry with attached machine guns
  • Cavalry
  • Camel Corps
  • Camel Corps with attached machine guns
  • Artillery
  • Tanks
  • Armoured Cars
  • Aircraft

Sequence of Play

Players take turns alternatively. During a player’s turn they follow a sequence of phases and attempt to activate their units:

  1. Movement
  2. Shooting
  3. Hand-to-Hand Combat
  4. Eliminating Units

Activation of Units

For units to move, shoot, charge, or continue hand-to-hand combat. They must successfully pass an activation check.

The procedure is: roll a D6 and multiply the score by 4. If the total is more than a unit’s hits, it can carry out the activity. Otherwise, the unit cannot carry out an action this turn.

Aircraft strafe infantry


Successfully activated units may move up to the distances listed below during their movement turn:

  • Infantry, Artillery, and Tanks - 6”
  • Cavalry, Camelry, and Armoured Cars - 12”

Dismounting/Mounting - Cavalry and Camelry halve their move when dismounting or mounting. They cannot shoot unless dismounted.

Turning - Units turn by pivoting on their central point. They may turn at the start and/or the end of their move.

Interpenetration - Units may pass through other friendly units. However, units which are passed through must be inactive for the turn, no moving or shooting.

Terrain - Units are affected by terrain as follows:

  • Towns - All units except for vehicles may end a move in a town. Unless they are on the road. Only infantry, camel corps and cavalry benefit from cover when positioned in a town.
  • Difficult terrain - only infantry and dismounted unit may enter. All movement is 6”.
  • Trenches - provide cover to infantry.
  • Marsh/Lake - impassable.
  • Wadis - Can be only crossed via bridges or agreed crossings.
  • Hills - all units can move onto hills and artillery can shoot over other units if on the hill or firing at the hill.
  • Roads - Units moving by road increase their movement distance by 3” if their entire move is spent on the road. The bonus cannot be used when charging.

Moving and Shooting - Units may not shoot if they have moved during the same turn.

Charges - Only cavalry (not Camel Corps) may charge by moving the unit into contact with the defending unit. The following restrictions apply:

  • Turning - A charging unit may turn once, up to 45 degrees at the start of its move.
  • Towns, Hills, and Difficult Terrain - Cavalry cannot charge units in towns and on hills.
  • Fighting - Combat is resolved in the hand-to-hand combat phase.
Game in progress


For shooting the procedure is as follows:

Check the field of fire - Units may only shoot at a single unit within 45 degrees of their frontal facing, while units in town have a 360 degree facing.

Check the range - Measure the distance from the front centre of the shooting unit to any part of the target unit. Small arms have a range of 12” and artillery 48”

Artillery bombardment - Artillery units may only shoot at units that are not being attacked by small arms.

Determine casualties - To determine hits:

  • Dismounted cavalry or camelry units roll a D3
  • Infantry and artillery units roll a D6
  • Infantry or camalry with supporting machine guns roll an additional D3 to add to their hits.

Check for cover - If the target is in cover, then halve the number of hits (round up fractions).

Note - Cavalry and Camel Corps units must be dismounted to shoot.

Hand-to-Hand Combat

Only cavalry units may charge into combat. However, once a unit is engaged it must activate for hand-to-hand combat. Tanks and Armoured Cars cannot be engaged in Hand-to-Hand combat. 

The procedure is as follows:

One Sided Combat - Only the attacking unit inflicts hits.

Determine casualties - All units excluding Artillery roll a D6 for the number of hits. Halve hits if the defender is in trenches.

Movement within combat - Units remain in contact after combat until one side is eliminated. Units may turn to face an enemy unit unless already engage frontally.

Note - Machine guns and artillery may not be used in hand-to-hand combat.

Eliminating Units

Units are eliminated after taking 17 or more hits.

Train ready for trouble

Notes on Vehicles

Tanks - A few were used in the Palestine campaign with limited success. The rules for using tanks:

  • Halve all hits
  • Shooting arc is 180 degrees and range 12” with D6 hits
  • Movement is 6”
  • Any failed activation checks and the tank is eliminated.

Armoured Cars - These were used quite successfully throughout the campaign being used in raids and supporting the Arab Rebellion. The rules for armoured cars:

  • Halve all hits
  • Shooting arc is 360 degrees and range 12” with D3 hits
  • Movement is 12”
  • Any failed activation checks and the armoured car is disabled.

Aircraft - Were successfully used throughout the campaign for reconnaissance, sighting for artillery, and bombing. The rules for aircraft:

Agree how many sorties can be performed in a game or roll a D3+2.

  • During movement roll D6 and a sortie occurs with a 5+. Identify the unit being attacked by placing a counter or model aircraft next to it.
  • If the aircraft is being used for spotting, the bombarding artillery unit (only one unit) can re-roll the hit D6, but must accept the second score.
  • If the aircraft is being used for strafing and bombing. The aircraft can attack the enemy unit with D3 with no cover saves.
  • Remove the markers or aircraft at the end of a player’s turn and not one sortie has been used.

General Notes

Artillery bombardment limitation - The limitation of artillery not being able to attack units being attacked by small arms (other units) is to reflect how artillery was used to soften up enemy positions prior to attacks by other units.

Activation - The conditions for troops in the Palestine campaign were harsh and supplies of water were as important as ammunition. The activation approach tries to show this by making activations more difficult for units that have accumulated hits. 

Single Models - Artillery, tanks and armoured car units are vulnerable to early elimination after taking hits and failing an activation.

Cavalry Charges - The rules allow charges by cavalry. During the Palestine campaign there were occasions where cavalry were involved in successful charges. The Australian Light Horse at Beersheba being one of the better known charges.

Hits to Eliminate - All units were quite dispersed and in skirmish formations so rather than reduce the hits I opted to increase the hits required to eliminate a unit to 17.

Thursday 16 June 2022

Another book on WW1 Palestine campaign and an almost complete Arab Rebellion A force

Another book about the WW1 Palestine campaign, "Megiddo 1918" by Bryan Perrett which is published by Osprey. This time it is a second-hand book purchase rather than a borrowed library book. While it covers the latter part of the campaign with the Battle fo Megiddo. In its 90 or so pages it does provide a useful overview of the opposing commanders and their armies, before describing the battle. Interestingly there is a very brief chapter of a couple of pages on wargaming the battle with a few suggested approaches.

A recent second-hand book purchase

A couple more Arab Rebellion units have been painted, including a mountain gun. There is one more infantry unit and a machine gun to paint before the force will be considered complete.

A parade of the Arab Rebellion units

A closer look

The mountain gun added to support the force.

Friday 10 June 2022

WW1 railway attack game

I decided to try a WW1 Palestine scenario involving a train. Searching through "Scenarios for Wargamers" by C.S.Grant for inspiration I found a couple of railway scenarios and settled on Scenario 23 - Railway Attack (p.58-59). The scenarios are generally geared towards a 5 by 7 foot tabletop, so I simplified the terrain to fit on a 4 by 5 foot tabletop. 

The game is played using One-Hour Wargaming machine age rules with a number of modifications, for example: allowing cavalry charges and requiring units to activate.

Scenario map

The scenario suits the use of Arab Rebellion forces attacking a Turkish train. The rails have been blocked with a barricade which cannot be broken through by the train. The objective of the game is to hold the train for the Turks or capture the train for the Arabs.

Turkish forces:

  • 3 infantry units
  • 1 infantry unit with machine gun
  • 1 machine gun mounted on the train
  • 1 artillery unit

Arab forces:

  • 2 infantry units
  • 1 infantry unit with machine gun
  • 2 cavalry units
  • 1 armoured car unit
The set up requires that all Arab units are in hidden out of sight behind hills or in cover when the train arrives. The train may travel forward 6 inches each turn or can stop, it cannot reverse. Up to two units can be unloaded from the train each turn, one on each side of the train.

Game report

The train arrives and sees the barricade but no enemy troops who have their cavalry hidden behind the hill and the armoured car behind the town. All other troops are hidden in areas of cover or the town.

Arab cavalry are seen on the hilltop and an armoured car drives out from behind the town. The Turks unload two of their units.

The train continues on and two more units are unloaded including artillery. The Turks are taking fire from the hill and broken terrain.

Arab cavalry charge into the dismounted troops.

The cavalry charge is repulsed (they failed an activation and had to retire from the melee).

The final Turkish unit unloads from the train. Arab force continue to fire from their positions of cover, including the town. The train mounted machine gun has been eliminated.

The Turks finally subdue the Arab infantry in the far broken terrain. This is a relief as their units have taken quite a bit of punishment.

The second detachment of Arab cavalry charge.

The Arab cavalry charge is successful. Turkish artillery dislodged the Arab infantry from the town.

The cavalry charge continues onto the next Turkish unit. While the armoured car continues to fire upon the nearest Turkish infantry. 

The Turkish forces succumb to the cavalry charge and pressure from the armoured car.

A victory to Arab Rebellion forces who capture the train on turn 12 in a close game. I played this scenario twice. The first time the Turks had 4 units plus the train machine gun and were soundly beaten. The addition of another unit evened up the game considerably.

Tuesday 7 June 2022

WW1 Palestine Campaign Scratch Building Trucks and Staff Car

This last weekend much of my hobby time was spent adding a canopy to a couple of my trucks and making a staff car. You can see a previous post on the process of making trucks here. As my trucks are very generic I decided to add the canopy to easily identify trucks of the Egyptian Expedition Force (EEF)  on the wargaming tabletop. The canopy was made from the same wood as the body. The drivers area was cut out and the rest sanded into shape.

The scratch built truck with canopy

All details are painted on the trucks

Another view of both trucks

A few from the front

The staff cars were made in the same way as the trucks from wooden dowel. The one major difference is the addition of wire for the windscreen.

Card is used to create the wheels and balsa wood for the front wheel arches.

Both cars with drivers and passengers added.

The staff cars lack details and rely upon them to be painted on. So far only one has been painted.

Staff car painted up

A better view of the details such as doors being painted on.

A front view of the car. The headlights are just card disks punched out and stuck on.

A top view.

As the theme of this post seems to be one of scratch building, here are some photos of a flat wagon I recently made with an option of adding a machine gun. The idea came from a comment on the post about building the train (here).

Flat wagon

Machine Gun added

Saturday 4 June 2022

WW1 Palestine Campaign more figures and mountain guns

I am continuing to complete and paint units for my World War I Palestine campaign project. This week these include some dismounted bases for various cavalry and camel mounted infantry units and a mountain gun unit.

Turkish mounted infantry unit

Dismounted unit

I am planning to paint three mountain guns for each of my forces: Commonwealth, Arab Rebellion, and Turks. I am using the mountain gun from a Stretlets French Foreign Legion Artillery set for these artillery units. First off the painting table was a base representing the Hong Kong and Singapore Mountain Battery which fought in Egypt, Sinai and Palestine. The unit's gunners were from India and I have repurposed some of my WW1 Indian infantry. The mountain gun unit will be attached to some mounted infantry units to provide much needed artillery support.

A Mountain Gun unit

Another view which includes ammunition supplies being delivered

WW1 Indian Infantry figures are repurposed as the crew

A picture of the Hong Kong-Singapore Mountain Battery which got me thinking about adding some mountain guns.

A photograph of the Hong Kong-Singapore Mountain Battery

The next mountain gun unit to be completed will be for the Arab Rebellion forces. This unit will be manned by French gunners representing part of the French military mission that supported the Arab Revolt. The unit was commanded by Rosario Pisani, a French Captain of Northern African descent, who was a very successful raider during the Arab Revolt.

I was able to buy the French Foreign Legion Artillery set locally. Always a good thing being able to support local model shops and I don't have to wait weeks for the post to arrive. Conveniently the kit come with three guns and crew which suited me perfectly. I added a gun shield to Hong Kong and Singapore Mountain Battery unit.

The figures and gun

Strelets box

The WW1 Palestine campaign forces are now back on the tabletop as I play around with some rule changes.