Friday, 2 September 2011

The Battle of Kempshott Drift

In a rare outbreak of cooperation, the Freedonian and Silvania Armies had set up a joint logistics effort for a campaign against the troublesome hill tribes of Clewgistan.  This base was a small village near the strategic river crossing of Kempshott Drift.

The ammunition depot, and wagons were getting ready to move when scouts reported a shocking development, a strong force of the Bosrovian Army was approaching the drift.  The Bosrovians, whilst not formally at war with either Freedonia or Silvania, claims that it has a legitimate national interest in Clewgistan, and claims good diplomatic relations with the Maharaja of Clewgistan.   Freedonia also claims good relations with the  Maharaja, but,as is common in Clewgistan, political loyalties and the internal balance of power are

The enigmatic Maharaja of Clewgistan

The Bosrovians were clearly looking to conduct some unashamed looting at the expense of Silvania, and had therefore launched this surprise attack.
The depot at Kempshott Drift.

The forces defending the depot were commanded by Brigadier-General Tankerville
1 Regiment of Silvania Shock Guards
1 Regiment of Silvanian Assault Infantry
2 Silvanian guns
1 Regiment of Freedonian Presidential Guard
1 Regiment of Freedonian Militia
1 Freedonian Naval Landing Party
3 Freedonian guns
The Freedonian Presidential band and transport corps
With the depot were four transport wagons and a medical wagon belonging to the Mobile Army Medical Yeomanry

The Bosrovian raiding force consisted of
3 regiments of steely-eyed Bosrvian infantry
1 regiment of Bosrovian cavalry
2 field guns
The Bosrovian National Military Band
The Bosrovian Raiding Force prepared for action.
...And, much to everyone's surprise, a Bosrovian secret weapon was unveiled - namely Big Bessie the Bosrovian Bombard!
Big Bessie the Bosrovian Bombard
Not content with their own forces, the Bosrovians had engaged the services of a private military contractor from the Grand Duchy of Glevum.
The Grand Duchy forces, led by Colonel Asnac, comprised of:
3 regiments of surly mercenary infantry
2 regiments of murderous mercenary cavalry
1 gun.
Private military contractors from the Grand Duchy of Glevum
The Freedonians and Silvanians quickly deployed to cover the depot from the coming onslaught, with the Navy in reserve.
Spurred on by the prospect of loot, the Glevum mercenaries were quick to start threatening the left flank of the Freedonian position
The gallant Freedonian militia quickly turn to face the enemy cavalry, with the Naval party moving up from reserve.
The Glevum cavalry are unconcerned and continue their assault on the flank.
..and supporting their attack is a withering fire from the Bosrovia artillery
While the huge Bessie the Big Bosrovian Bombard kept up fire on innocent civilian wagon drivers with great big heavy shells...
The militia keep up a hot fire of their own on the incoming cavalry, and ready themselves for impact.
...backed up by the resolute naval types...
 Within a very short time, the enemy cavalry reached the Freedonian line and crashed in on their positions..
The Glevem mercenaries hit the Freedonian militia, leaving the path o their advance strewn with their dead...
The militia were overwhelmed by the fierce attack from the massed Glevum Cavalry, and withdrew rapidly, covered by the stout sailors of the Freedonian Navy.

In the centre, from the roof of his command car, Brigadier General Tankerville looks on with concern at the crisis on the left flank.

 While the massive cavalry attack on the left was takin gplace, the Bosrovian cavary started their assault on the right flank - faced by the brave, but overmatched Silvanian infantry.
Hard fightin a melee between the Bosrovian Cavalry and th Silvanian Infantry

Back at the left flank, the saliers fail to stop the tidal wave of enemy cavalry, and commandeering a wagon, and the remnants of the militia regiment formed a last ditch redoubt.

The view of the oncoming Glevum cavalry from the final Freedonian defence position.
 Brigadier-General Tankerville quickly turned the Guard to protect the threatened flank, and their artillery helped to save the day

Guard artillery doing their bit for the defence.

Relentless bombardments from the Bosrovian and Glevem positions were increasingly taking their toll.
Meanwhile the Gleveum mercenary infantry advance relentlessly on the tiny band of gallant survivors.
...and on the centre and  right, the Bosrovian infantry make their steady advance, constantly supported by their guns
 The losses from the cavalry attacks, together with the heavy bombardment , and the approaching waves of infantry led General Tankerville to take the courageous decision to order the evacuation of the survivong wagons, protected by the surviving infantry.

General retreat

Gleveum infantry press the rearguard as the wagons retreat int he distance.

The outcome was the loss of large stocks of ammunition to the Grand Duchy (who will no doubt sell it back to Freedonia on the black market).
The battle of Kempshott Drift was not a good day for either Silvania or Freedonia.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Freedonian Logistics the Most Modern

Following some comments in the gutter press about the state of Freedonian logistics, the military have been busy planning their next big enhancement to the capability for the Freedonian Army.
After prolonged fact-finding tours of major transport manufacturing companies in the French Riviera, Greek Islands and the Costa Del Sol, Mr Ravelli, minister for army procurment has returned with not one, not two, but FIVE tranport wagons.
Mr Ravelli said "...these are number one topa notcha wagons.  My pal Pinky got them as a bargain."
Mr Ravelli and Pinky 'negotiatiing' for some new wagons.

In the capital city today, the band was playing as the new logistics wagons arrived.
As part of this new procurement, the Freedonian Military Medical Services have been given one of the wagons to create the new  Mobile Army Medical Yeomanry.  The MAMY is urgently recruiting doctors, and most importantly, nurses for this new Corps. 
The Mobile Army Medical Yeomanry, providing essential medical services to our brave boya.
Other News
Reports have been coming in from remote rural Freedonain farming districts of 'Mystery Airships'. 
One W. H. Hopkins encountered a grounded airship about 20 feet in length and 8 feet in diameter near the outskirts of Hickville, Outer Freedonia. 
The vehicle was apparently propelled by 3 large propellers and crewed by a beautiful nude woman and a bearded man, also nudeHopkins attempted with some difficulty to communicate with the crew in order to ascertain their origins.  Eventually they understood what Hopkins was asking of them and they both pointed to the sky and "uttered some thing that sounded like the word 'Mars.'.  This is clearly the ramblings of a madman, or the effect over over-imbibing the fearsomely potent Silvanian Brandy, as there are no known airships of this type anywhere in the world. 

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Old Wars

Even though we are now, nominally, at peace with the Silvanians, historians and students of military strategy still review and dicusss (endlessly) past campaigns.  One well-known battle in the recent border war is the Battle of Kempshott Hill.
This was interesting in that the Freedonian forces acted with uncharacteristic elan - rushing the enemy positions regardless of casualties.
The Militia regiments were particularly hard hit in the assault, taking oer 80% casualties - but, by their sacrifice, paving the way for the ultimate victory of Freedonian arms.

The Freedonian Film Corporation has made a movie of this battle, which has received much cirtical acclaim..
"...this was a film..." - Imperial Cinema Magazine
"I've never seen anything like it" - Freedonian Times
"...unbelievable...." - Bosrovian Daily Record
"...I'm on a horse..." - Glevum Gleaner

You can see the movie here:

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Campaign to Relieve the Legation

The Pugilists rose up in rebellion in the Capital of the Crimson Empire, Kao-ti-hau , and  apparently even challenging the authority of the Red Emperor Ken-ishi.  At least he seemed powerless to prevent the widespread murder and molestation of foreigners in the city. The Freedonian, Bosrovian and Silvanian Embassies came under virtual siege, and became a safe-ish haven for foreigners in the city – having fortified themselves in their legations.
The Freedonian Legation in Kau-ti-Hau, the Ambassador's car can clearly be seen.  This was defended by a small detachment of Freedonian Militia, and a number of armed (if scruffy) civilians.  It was also a refuge for the Bosrovian legation staff.

A multi-national relief force was dispatched by river on brand new Freedonian river gunboats. Their mission was to travel up the Red River to the Capital, fight their way into the city and rescue the garrisons of the Legations and the civilians.
A terrible fate, almost certainly worse than death awaited the occupants of the Legations if they could not be relieved. Therefore the utmost urgency was necessary.

A number of Powers promised forces, and these forces arrived and assembled at the coastal city of Shangrila to plan the relief.
The first stage of the Relief was a planning meeting of the main luminaries in Shangrila.  
Lt Commander Flashbang, General Von Cluck and Bosrovian General Cameron preparing the expedition in the Bratuvian Embassy in Shanrila.  They are cleary concerned with urgent matters.
 Present at this meeting were
General Cameron of Bosrovia, GOC Borovian Expeditionary Force
General von Cluck of Silvania, GOC Silvanian Expeditionary Force
General Cooper of Freedonia, GOC Freedonian Expeditionary Force
Lady Constance Cholmondeley-Pilkington – representative of the Imperial Womens' Defence League
Lt Commander Flashbang, Freedonian Navy
Brigadier Ripsikorstetov, Bratuvian Military Attaché in the Crimson Empire
The FRS Firefly and FRS Cornetto, laden with the first wave of  troops and guns make their way up the Red River.
The Freedonian Flotilla under full steam (Thanks to Nick L for the photo)

After some considerable discussion they decided that overall command would be a flexible concept, arrived as when absolutely necessary - and decided to launch the first wave of troops up the Red River, with the Bosrovian Mechanised Corps travelling by land (and therefore arriving later, potentially, in the nick of time).
The Pugilists' arrayed astride the road to Kau-ti-hau.  Once can clearly see the Imperial Urns of Ammunition.  In the centre are Grand Duchy mercenaries.
The main gate of the city of Kau-ti-hau - this would be the scene of some heavy fighting later.
The Bosrovian Balloon Corps conducted a reconnaissance of the area that had to be traversed from the river landing quays to the gates of Kau-Ti-Hau, and reported the Pugilist Army, supported by mercenaries form the Grand Duchy, were blocking the road to Kau-Ti-Hau.  These would have to be dealt with first, and their position threatened unloading activities from the boats.  
Lady Constance Cholmondeley-Pilkington aboard the FRS Cornetto on her way to provide relief to the soldiers.

It was therefore decided that the forst wave of river boats would unload on the far side of the river, safe from any frenzied rushing by the Pugilists.  Unfortunately, it still left them with the prospect of an opposed river crossing.

While these operations were taking place, some of the more aggressive bands of Pugilists moved up to the river bank in anticipation of action, while their Dragon Guns kept up long range harassing fire - which even caused one or two casualties!
However the pugilists soon came under withering fire from Freedonian and Bosrovian infantry and artillery, and their casualties were very great.
Lt Commander Flashbang and General Cameron decided that sweeping the enemy form the far ban k by fire would take too long, so took the brave step of landing infantry on the riverbank short of the quay - this attracted Pugilist attention and several bands of fierce native fighters rushed the landings causing heave casualties among the Silvanian troops being landed.  A swift counter-attack by Bosrovia infantry, supported by close fire form the Gunboat quickly dispatched the foreign horde.
Opposed landing - the pugilists have killed many soldiers, but the counter-attack and gunboat fire is about to finish them off.
Meanwhile, the Pugilist army facing the landings was dwindling.  The Duchy cavalry attempted a cavalry 'charge' but were mown down by the Allies' guns in short order.  
The Freedonian Legation Defence.  Out of the picture to the left are thousands of Pugilists - no, really.
 Meanwhile, in the city, the Pugilists were becoming more threatening, and a number of bands had been assaulting the Legations.  Casualties in the Silvanian Embassy were heavy and they were forced to flee to to the larger Freedonian Legation for safety, leaving their artillery in the hands of the Pugilists (who, fortunately, were very poor shots).

The Silvanian Legation  after its capture by the Pugilists of the Red Monkey School.
Freedonian militia providing covering fire for the escapees from the Silvanian Legation.
The assaults on the Legations, in the foreground the Red Monkey School are about to rush the gate of the Silvanian Legation.   Meanwhile the Blue Heron School are trying to rush the guns of the Freedonian Legation.
By now, the main Pugilist blocking force had been dealt with by advancing troops form the landing - aided by an ad-hocBosrovian Engineers  The Grand Duchy element of this force decided to make a tactical fighting withdrawal to the safety of the city walls.
Pugilists watch from the walls as the Grand Duchy mercenaries withdraw towards them.  They kindly did not shut the gate on them.  In the distance are the relief columns.
The Bosrovian Mechanised Corps
In the nick of time, word came in of the arrival outside the City of the Bosrovian mechanised corps, who had found a regiment of wandering Bratuvian Cossacks on their travels via the long overland route.  This changed everything, as it would now be possible for a mobile cavalry force to rush the gates, hopefully before they were shut.
The Bosrovian mechanised corps harassing the retreat of the Glevum mercenary infantry.
Grand Duchy infantry facing the onslaught of Bosrovian military technology.  If you look closely you can see them marvel at it.
The fight at the Gate, one regiment of Grand Dutch infantry are 'securing the gate' having been beaten up by Bosrovian cavalry,on regiment is gallantly covering their retreat.
The last stand of the Grand Dutchy original mercenaries.
Meanwhile, inside the city, faced by repeated attacks by Pugilists, the Freedonian Ambassador, without thought for his own safety, took the car and headed off towards the city gate to 'seek reinforcements'.  Only to run straight into the mercenary troops of the Grand Duchy, who had successfully managed to get through the gate and shut it behind (we will draw a veil over what happened to the other Grand Duchy regiment that was overrun by Bosrovian and Bratuvian cavalry).
"Get out of the way D*mn YOU!"
The Grand Duchy troops kindly offered to 'look after' the car to keep it safe.  President Firefly was not amused at having to pay an 'administration charge' to get it back!
The Freedonian ambassador's car being 'looked after' by Glevum mercenaries.
The Relief forces now had a problem of getting through the gate.  Much discussion ensued of options, but is was decided to rely on massed artillery fire to do the job.
"Ahoy Me Hearty Matey".  Lt Commander Flashbang (Freedonian Navy), with his naval landing party, some Silvanians and two, yes two, captured Pugilist Dragon Guns - about to unleash massive firepower on the Gates of Kau-ti-hau.  Note the ceremonial leopard-skin cushion, reputedly a gift from the Maharani of Clewgistan
And they did the job - within minutes the ancient gates of the city came crashing down, and the Bosrovian Cavalry (with some cossacks) stormed into  he City.

They were met by Emperor Ken-Ishi himself, with a delegation of imperial staff "Welcome and thank you for saving my Empire!" said he.  Apparently the Pugilists had been holding him prisoner and only now had he been able to free himself and welcome his rescuers.
"How can we ever repay you?"  asked Emperor Ken-ishi.  "My staff are preparing a list", quipped the doughty General Cameron, leader of the Relief Expedition.
 And so it seemed.  Overwhelmed by the might of the Expeditionary Force, the Pugilists had indeed fled to the countryside, and the Legations were SAVED!  Hip Hip Hooray!
The victorious Armies marching into Kau-ti-hau for the inevitable Victory celebrations.
And the Freedonian flag flies, gloriously over the gates of Kau-ti-hau.
The Cost.  The FRS Firefly sailing back down the river, evacuating casualties to Shangrila Hospital

The Map of the Campaign from the Official History
[Finally : Thanks to JR for the use of his lovely garden for the game, long live Holy Bratuvia]