After a brief break from remote gaming due to various non-wargaming engagements, Jon (of Palouse Wargaming Journal) and I returned with a WW1 Palestine game. In our recent sessions, Jon has achieved good success while commanding the Turkish forces. However, this time around, we decided to switch things up a bit, giving Jon the chance to command an Arab Rebellion attack on a train.
|This photograph is not from the game. I just set it up for fun after the game.|
I decided to revisit a scenario I had previously played, inspired by C.S. Grant's "Scenarios for Wargamers." The chosen scenario is number 23, titled "Railway Attack" (pages 58-59), which I have set in WW1 Palestine. In this scenario, the Arab Rebellion forces launch an assault on a Turkish train. To impede the train's progress, the Arabs have erected a barricade of rocks that the train cannot break through. The objective of the game is for the Arab Rebellion force to capture the train within 15 turns before Turkish cavalry arrives to investigate the delayed or missing train.
Some time ago, I created this map, and since I'm am now using a 6-inch gridded tabletop for my games, you will notice in the game photograph's that the tabletop is oriented in a slightly different North-East orientation. It's important to note that all rough terrain, buildings, and palm trees on the map serve as cover and hiding spots for the Arab forces during their setup.
The forces involved in the game are:
- 3 infantry units
- 1 infantry unit with machine gun
- 1 machine gun mounted on the train (which cannot disembark)
- 1 artillery unit
- 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 arrives from the north and must travel forward one square each turn until the Arabs reveal themselves, then it can stop and start, but it cannot reverse. Up to two units can be unloaded from the train each turn.
Units embarked on the train are treated as being in cover. The Turkish player can distribute any hits on the train to units still embarked. The machine gun at the front of the train is in cover and cannot disembark.
For the rules, we continued to use the WW1 Rules used throughout the WW1 Palestine campaign, which are a variation on OHW WW1 rules with activations added.
The game report…
|The train arrives and quickly comes under fire from Arab units positioned in cover on the hill. While the armoured car emerges from its hiding spot in the buildings.|
|The rocks blocking the track are spotted and the train stops to disembark two units as Arabs appear from their cover to begin their assault on the train.|
|During the last few turns, the Arab units encountered difficulties in activating and eliminating the remaining Turkish defenders. It was only on the final turn of the game that they managed to successfully capture the train.|
This game was a thrilling contest that remained undecided until the very end. That the game went down to the wire was quite surprising considering that halfway through the game, an effortless victory seemed within reach for the Arabs. What turned the tide? Although the Arab units managed to eliminate the defending Turkish forces, they sustained hits that hindered their ability to activate effectively. This, in turn, obstructed the movement of fresher units, preventing them from engaging the remaining defending Turks. Congratulations to Jon for securing the victory, and overall, it turned out to be an incredibly enjoyable remote game.
You might be wondering how this game fits into the ongoing WW1 Palestine campaign I've been running. Well, it doesn't currently align with the campaign, but I'm considering incorporating it and offering some advantages to the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. This would give them a final chance to capture Damascus within the designated timeframe of their campaign objectives. (See the featured post for details of the campaign).