Thursday 6 September 2018

The Men Who Would Be Kings: Walk Wide o’ the Widow at Windsor

Our correspondent is sad to report that the deserts of the Sudan have once again been
"salted with the bones" of our brave soldiers and the Dervish leader, the (so-called) Poor Benighted 'Eathen George continues to rule in those distant sandy lands.

After a couple of games with 24 point field forces, we decided to up the game size to 36 points allowing us both a couple more units (and for my Bengal Lancers to actually have lances!). With three units of Regular infantry, a Machine-gun, a unit of Bengal Lancers and a unit of allied Bazinger Irregular Infantry I was confident the time had come to put the Dervish in their place. Ha!

We rolled up the 'A Sigh of Relief' scenario which immediately split my force with 16 points in the centre of the table defending an immovable objective (Lady Faversham-Somethingorother, suffering from sunstroke), and my remaining 20 points hopefully turning up before the natives overrun our fair English maiden and her escort from turn three at the earliest.

The defenders had to set up first so I put the machine gun and one unit of Regular Infantry either side of the objective and the Irregular Infantry Bazingers behind to operate as some kind of mobile reserve...

The Attackers move first in the scenario and the Mahdists bounded across the desert, three units moving At The Double. Without taking a shot I could see this wasn't going to end well, I just didn't have enough units or firepower to stop the enemy reaching my troops and sticking them with their pointy sticks...

...and it didn't!

The Machine-gun did kill seven Beja in the first turn pinning one unit and the Bazingers caused a couple of casualties in the centre. The Regular Infantry fired at the Beja bounding in, but only managed to kill a paltry three and that unit passed its pinning test.

Next turn a unit of Mahdist Irregular Infantry rifles shot at the British Regulars, killing four and pinning them. The Beja then charged in...

With their sharp stabby sticks, the Fierce Veteran Beja killed another seven Regulars whilst losing five themselves, leaving the Infantry Officer standing forlornly alone and pinned!

Elsewhere another unit of Beja charged and wiped out the Machine-gun and my attempt to roll up some reinforcements failed (not that they would have been any use really).

Turn three saw the Beja attack the Bazingers and overrun the objective, winning the game for George in just three turns!

Despite some below average dice rolling by the British Regular Infantry, we both agreed it was hard to see how the Defender could hold off the Attacker, allowing time for reinforcements to arrive and get into a position to defeat the Attacker, given the Attacker starts just 24 inches from the objective.

As the game had last such a short period of time, we decided to run it again, but with the Mahdists attacking down the length of the table and reinforcements being rolled for from turn one not two.

The Mahdists swarmed down the table and the Machine-gun opened up, almost jamming in the first turn!

In turn one I managed to roll 6 so one unit of Regular Infantry would enter the fray next turn. The Bazingers shot up a Beja unit, causing several casualties but critically failed to pin it. Unfortunately the Machine-gun refused orders to Fire at the Beja and next turn they crashed into the Bazinger killing seven and forcing them to retreat and pinning them.

With a unit of Regular Infantry advancing up the table to relieve them and the Bengal Lancers now activated to enter on turn three the Regulars escorting Lady Faversham-Somethingorother formed Close Order so they could unleash volleys against the advancing native horde!

Unfortunately the Bazingers were wiped out and disastrously the Machine-gun failed the Pinning test caused by a unit being destroyed within 12 inches! The Regular Infantry shrugged off the destruction of the Bazingers and fired a volley at the nearest Beja unit, killing seven and pinning it!

Things however went from bad to worse, a unit of Irregular Mahdist Infantry firing at long range with their obsolete rifles, rolled two 6's and killed one of the Regular Infantry who then amazingly failed their Pinning test! :-(

This (along with the Machine-gun being pinned) was critical as it meant the Infantry were no longer in Close Order and when a unit of Beja charged in were fighting five against sixteen and 5+ to kill against 4+, rather than it being eleven versus eleven, both on 4+ to kill.

It was a bloodbath and eight brave khaki clad soldiers fell to the sharp pointy sticks. Elsewhere the pinned Machine-gun was overrun and destroyed!

However all was not quite lost, the final unit of Regular Infantry reinforcements had activated and the other unit was now in range of the Bejas who had destroyed the Bazingers. Would bold action yet save the day and Lady Faversham-Somethingorother's honour?!

The Regulars opened fire killing five of the Beja who failed their Pinning test. I then tried to save the day with the Bengal Lancers...

Looking at the deployment of the Dervish I decided to try and destroy the weakened and pinned Beja unit forcing the two nearby Beja to take Pinning tests. If they failed them, the Lancers could attack one the next turn and the Infantry shoot up the other. It was all or nothing!

The Lancers smashed into the Beja and destroyed the enemy unit! Hurrah!!

All that was needed now was for George to fail his Pinning tests and maybe, just maybe, victory could be snatched from the jaws of defeat!

He passed both! :-(

Next turn he launched his vicious Beja into the Lancers, killing three, forcing them back five inches and Pinning them. Elsewhere the rest of the Mahdist army overran the objective and captured Lady Faversham-Somethingorother...

Poor Benighted 'Eathen George was the victor again!

So, another disastrous adventure in the desert but things might have gone differently with a bit more luck in the dice rolling department... To have the Machine-gun refuse to fire one turn was bad enough, but to then get pinned meant two rounds of 12 dice gunning down the advancing hordes was lost. Also to see a unit of Regular Infantry in Close Order get Pinned after suffering just one casualty to Irregulars armed with Obsolete Rifles was galling. The resulting melee would no doubt have been bloody but would have been on equal terms and may have seen the Beja forced back.

Oh well, there is always next week, perhaps I need some Highlanders? The Mahdists surely won't be able to stand up against 'The Devils in Skirts'...


  1. Good games, artillery and especially machine guns are ‘brittle’ in TMWWBK’s.
    I would have used three regular infantry units to try and hold the position.

    1. I only had 16 points so could have only done two and the Bazingers. I was hoping the 4,5,6 for firing would help, but hadn't reckoned on the need to order them to Fire unlike the Regular Infantry...

  2. Two great games. Unlucky for you of course but... That second battle looked a little more even handed. Great Batreps and great pictures!