Round 4 :Action at U’booti
Round 4 games started with the French launching an attack column into a tribal area following the ‘Take the High Road’ scenario. We changed things a little in that the French had to establish a bridge head across the river to succeed, the tribal forces didn’t have soft cover around the bridge but could hold any number of units in reserve for a flank attack.
Following Commandant Rene Renault’s recent alcohol driven questionable performances a new commander was appointed, the freshly arrived in the colonies Duq D’arling. Renault was the 2iC but under the watchful eye of D’arling. Renault rolled for 7+ leadership but managed to avoid the ‘Drunkard’ trait this time around instead being ‘Cad’. For his part D’arling was a 6+ leader with ‘ Jolly Sporty’ allowing his unit to move at +2” at the double.
The French had two units of irregular infantry (Tirallieurs), a unit of irregular Spahi colonial cavalry, some unenthusiastic tribal levy and a unit of Elite French Foreign Legion.
The tribals were led by the aging Unkl Rumpo and aesthetically challenged Desmond Tetsi . Their leadership was 7+ all round with ‘Bald as a Coot’ and ‘Ugly’ Clearly inspiring leadership was going to be in short supply for the tribals. They had two veteran, fierce units, two standard units and two unenthusiastic units.
The objective was the small bridge crossing the U’booti river.
The idyllic looking U’booti river valley, don’t be fooled by that small looking river, being impassable except by bridge its clearly wider and deeper than it looks on the photos, it would probably be crocodile infested as well if the hippos hadn’t killed them all.
The French started off with initiative as the attackers and in a hitherto unseen display of co-ordination managed to move all their infantry units except the tribal levy up to the river bank all doubling up at around the same move distance. Clearly D’arling was having a sobering influence on Renaults previously haphazard approach to command.
French units moving across the battlefield in a co-ordinated manner – almost as if they were listening to their orders.
For their part the Tribals kept two units for a flank attack and four units on the far side of the river, two in cover and two ready to contest the bridge.
The tribals first order to the units near the bridge was ‘Go to Ground’ . One of the units was clearly not listening to Rumpo’s indistinct croakings as it failed repeatedly and took several casualties failing pinning and rallying tests and falling back from the river in disorder. The second unit although gone to ground was targeted by close range shooting and again pinned.
Neither commands nor bullets convinced this unenthusiastic tribal unit to go to ground
Tribal attempts to bring on the flank attackers failed dismally ( they needed 6 on turn 2, 5,6 on turn 3 etc) until the 5th and 6th rounds by which time their comrades at the bridge had taken several casualties each.
A late arrival of veteran tribals, clearly they got distracted on their flank march.
The French tribal levy, by now moving in support of their column screened their comrades for a round manfully taking shooting casualties from one of the flank attackers and eager to impress passed their pinning test.
That gave D’arling the time he needed to get his Spahis into action and leading them with elan he dealt the tribal unit a severe beating in two rounds of combat.
The dazzling display of gaudily clad French cavalry was clearly too much for the tribal forces who fell back overawed .
With one flank secured D’arling raced his cavalry across the field of battle to prevent the second flanking tribal unit from launching a charge at the bridge. He may have had some help from the tribal levy but I’m sure that won’t be mentioned in dispatches.
Dash, elan and 19th century bling what more could you want from a commander
Meanwhile at the bridge the natives launched two attacks at the Tirallieurs both should have won but both ended up in draws with the tribal units severely depleted after shooting and now melee casualties,
Two attacks with advantage to the Tribals, both repulsed (drawn) by the stout defence of the Tirallieurs
The sorry state of things for the tribals as the game draws to a close
In the final turn the Tirallieurs, unopposed by any enemy units planted the tricolore on the far bank of the U’booti gaining a full victory for the forces of La Republique.
As dusk falls on the victorious days actions D’arling explains to Renault the awe inspiring qualities that a bright, shiny uniform has on the natives.