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]

1 comment:

  1. I just spent a very enjoyable hour perusing your wonderful whimsical nations and their little wars. What a great idea beginning your inspiration from the Marx Brothers! I have always loved the idea of imaginary nations and unusual uses of figures - did i see ancient Greeks and Romans in use for Crimson Empire swordsmen? I also was impressed by the cardboard ships - very serviceable.