Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Tarawera Weekend Day 3 Friday 5 September

With bellies full of bacon, eggs, toast and jam we went up to the garage for the third game of thw week - British against the Afghans on the Northwest Frontier.

I was one of three groups of Afghans fighters resisting the advance of a British punitive column on a mountain town. The terrain was set so that there were two defiles running half the length of the table through which the British had to advance. It was also obvious, because there was a third player that had not deployed on the table, that a third British column would arrive at some time. We chose to defend from the high ground and set out warbands up out of sight of the evil British.

Looking up the table at the two defiles from the mountain town.

The British advanced in two columns, as we expected, with the Indian and Gurkha troops on the left (supported by mountain guns and machine guns) and the naval troops on the right (with more mountain guns and Gatling guns supporting). 

The marines were the first troops engaged at the far end of the right hand defile and  easily drove off our brave fighters. They quickly established themselves on the spur, while their Gatling guns, mountain guns and sailors pressed up the defile.

On the left the Indians and Gurkhas formed up and advanced adainst the wood at the end of the defile. 

The Indians and Gurkhas pressed forward

Our heroes offered fierce resistance but were eventually forced to give up the wood and fall back up the defile. At this time my mounted riflement made an appearance hoping to draw the British further up the defile, but they refused to take the bait.

The Afghan cavalry show themselves

The British continued to press up both defiles, taking fire on both sides as they went. On the right the British pushed to the end of the heights above the town. Here they met fierce resistance from our troops in a redoubt. When we counterattacked, the marines were routed.

The warriors on the right blocked the road with overturned wagons and a rockfall, which they defended  fiercely.

Our heroes defending the roadblock

On the left the British advanced boldly, boosted by the arrival of the third column of British infantry, cavalry and field artillery. Our fighters resisted strongly but the British artillery and machine guns took their toll. Three bands of our fighters made a desperate last stand on the rearmost part of the centre heights, but the British guns cut them to pieces.

The last stand on the heights

My cavalry rode about by the town hoping that the British would come into the open ground where we had an advanage.

But the British refused to come forward deploying their mountain guns in the newly captured heights  instead. When the barricade in the right hand defile fell and the brave fighters were driven from their redoubt on the far right, the writing was on the wall. We Afghans ceded the fight, retreating to fight another day.

My game was to be fought the next day, so after the table was stripped of the desert cloth, we set up the table and ran the briefings before drinks, dinner and DVDs.

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