Trouble in Southern Zubia

A tax collector operating in Southern Zubia had been ambushed and killed, and his head returned to the Provincial Governor. The latter knew that the local situation was volatile, and asked that troops be sent from the north to ‘punish’ the tribes that had killed the Government Official.

The Khedive of Zubia had little option but to accede to this request as a refusal to do so would be regarded as a sign of weakness … and this might have given the Sultan of Fezia all the excuse he needed to remove the Khedive. A force was therefore assembled under the command of an ex-Captain of the Britannic Army, BimbashiHector Bumble.

Bumble’s ‘army’ comprised:

  • Four Infantry Battalions
  • A Cavalry Regiment
  • An Artillery Battery
  • A supply column

Despite being described in a local Zubian newspaper as being ‘probably the best military units in the service of the Khedive‘ (and as the ‘sweepings of the jails‘ in the foreign press) all of the units were poorly trained and under strength.

The journey south was uneventful, and despite fears that many of the soldiers would desert (something that was prevented by chaining the recruits together!), the newly-named Bumble Punitive Expeditionary Force was soon assembled in the capital of the Southern Province and ready to move against the rebellious natives who had killed the tax collector.

Turn 1
The Punitive Expedition marched unhindered across the desert towards the area where the tax collector had been killed. Locally recruited guides led the Expeditionary Force towards the village of Jebel-al-Kutallah, the supposed home of the natives responsible for the murder. The Expeditionary Force approached the village down a valley through a range of rugged hills that separated the village from the desert. Bimbashi Bumble ordered his Cavalry to scout ahead of the main body of the Punitive Expeditionary Force in order to ensure that no ambush had been set and that the advance would be unhindered.

This proved to be a wise decision.

Bimbashi Bumble’s Punitive Expeditionary Force on the march.
The Punitive Expeditionary Force advances into the valley leading towards the village of Jebel-al-Kutallah.

Turn 2
The Cavalry moved ahead of the main body of the Punitive Expeditionary Force. The latter’s advance was slowed by the restricted speed of the Artillery and the need to keep the Force together.

The Cavalry scouts ahead of the main body of Bimbashi Bumble’s Punitive Expeditionary Force.

Turn 3
The Cavalry continued to scout up the valley, and the rest of the Punitive Expeditionary Force followed behind as fast as it could.

The Cavalry begin to scout the head of the valley.

At this point, the trap was sprung! A group of previously unseen band of Native Cavalry charged the Zubian Cavalry …

… who suffered casualties and retreated …

… but not far enough! A second band of Native Cavalry charged into the fleeing Zubians …

… who suffered even more casualties.

Whilst this was taking place at the head of the valley, the main body of the Punitive Expeditionary Force was attacked. A band of spear-armed Natives charged over a small hill that formed part of the valley wall …

… and into the leading Zubian Infantry Regiment on the left-hand side of the Punitive Expeditionary Force. The impetus of the Native Infantry charge caused the poor quality Zubian Infantry Regiment to collapse and they were wiped out to a man!

On the other side of the valley a band of rifle-armed Native Infantry emerged from a side valley and opened fire on the leading right-hand Zubian Infantry Regiment …

… causing it to lose one-third of its strength.

At this point Bimbashi Bumble’s Punitive Expeditionary Force had reached its Exhaustion Point, and was unable to take any further aggressive action … not that this was an option that the Bimbashi was contemplating as he saw his troops dying around him.

Turn 4
Everything now hinged on whether or not the Zubians would have the initiative this turn. The dice was cast … and they did not!

One of the bands of Native Cavalry pursued the remnants of the retreating Zubian Cavalry Regiment …

… and cut them to pieces!

The other band of Native Cavalry charged down the valley and engaged the under-strength Zubian Artillery Battery …

… which they wiped out!

The band of spear-armed Native Infantry charged the second Zubian Infantry Regiment of the left of the Punitive Expeditionary Force …

… and totally destroyed it!

On the other side of the valley the band of rifle-armed Native Infantry fired at the rearmost Zubian Infantry Regiment on the right-hand side of the Punitive Expeditionary Force …

… and caused 33% casualties!

Two bands of Native Camelry now appeared at the head of the valley …

… and a further band of spear-armed Native Infantry joined the first band on the Punitive Expeditionary Force’s left flank.

The leading Zubian Infantry Regiment fired at the band of Native Cavalry that had destroyed the Zubian Artillery battery, and inflicted some telling casualties upon it.

The other Zubian Infantry Regiment deployed so that it could engage the nearby band of rifle-armed Native Infantry …

… upon which they inflicted 25% casualties.

Turn 5
The Zubians gained the initiative, and attempted to retreat back towards the desert.

Unfortunately they could not outrun their pursuers. The leading band of Native Cavalry attacked the Punitive Expeditionary Force’s supply column …

… and wiped it out.

The band of rifle-armed Native Infantry fired at the nearest retreating Zubian Infantry Regiment …

… and wiped it out.

The spear-armed band of Native Infantry caught up with Bimbashi Bumble and his headquarters …

… and slaughtered the Bimbashi and every single member of his staff!

The remaining Native troops advanced down the valley to engage what remained of the Punitive Expeditionary Force …

… who were wiped out before the end of the next turn.

Only a few survivors made it back to Zubian-controlled territory, and when their stories were published, there was rioting on the streets of Zubia’s capital. There were calls for the removal of the Khedive, and what was left of Zubia’s Army threatened to revolt unless their honour was restored.


Battle at the ford over the River Mob: a border clash between Maldacia and Laurania

The Maldacians (who wear uniforms that bear a striking resemblance to those worn by the Austro-Hungarians) had yet again made demands that the Lauranians (who favour uniforms in the Prussian style) should hand over ‘disputed’ territory on the border between the two countries. The Lauranians replied that the ‘disputed’ territory had always been – and would always remain – Lauranian, and that any attempts to take the land in question by force would be met by force. The Maldacians responded in a similarly bellicose fashion … and war between the two countries seemed imminent.

News then reached the Lauranian High Command that a force of Maldacians had entered Lauranian territory, and a small division of the Lauranian Army was immediately despatched to intercept the invaders. The Lauranian Division comprised:

  • Four Line Infantry Regiments (armed with single-shot rifles)
  • A Rifle Battalion (armed with single-shot rifles)
  • An Artillery Regiment (armed with rifled field artillery)

Unbeknownst to the Lauranians, this was exactly the same size force (with the same armaments) as that sent by the Maldacians into Laurania. The stage was set for a battle … and it looked like it will happen near the ford over the River Mob.

The ford over the River Mob and the surrounding area. The ford was guarded by an ancient (but ungarrisoned) fortified tower, and on the other side of the river was a small settlement. The Maldacians entered the area by the road nearest the bottom of the photograph and the Lauranians entered via the road at the top.

The Maldacians advanced towards through Lauranian territory.

The Lauranian Division on the road towards the ford over the River Mob.

Turn 1
Both the Maldacians and the Lauranians advanced down their respective roads towards the ford over the River Mob. Both sides chose to lead with their Rifle Battalions. In the case of the Lauranians, these were followed by a Line Infantry Regiment and the Artillery Regiment, the latter being accompanied by the Division’s General.

The Maldacians chose to follow their Rifle Battalion with two Line Infantry Regiments.

Turn 2
Both side hurried troops forward to try to reach the ford first. The Lauranian advance was hampered somewhat by the slow speed of the Artillery Regiment, and the leading Rifle Battalion and Line Infantry Regiment broke away from the column in order not to be delayed.

The Maldacians avoided this problem by leaving their Artillery Regiment at the rear of their column.

The two opposing forces were soon within rifle range of each other, and the actual fighting was about to start.

Turn 3
The Lauranians gained the initiative, and their Rifle Battalion occupied the built-up area on the right-hand side of the road, from where they engagde the opposing Maldacian Rifle Battalion … with some success!

This cleared the way for the leading Lauranian Line Infantry Regiment to move forward, deploy, and also engage the Maldacian Rifle Battalion … which suffered further casualties.

The remaining Lauranian troops rushed forward to support their comrades.

The brave Maldacian Rifle Battalion charged into the ford to engage the Lauranian Line Infantry Regiment with the bayonet, but they were unable to make it right across the river.

The following Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment deployed and fired at the Lauranian Rifle Battalion, but inflicted no casualties.

The remainder of the Maldacian Division began to deploy in support of their leading units.

Turn 4
The Maldacians had the initiative, and the Rifle Battalion closed with the leading Lauranian Line Infantry Regiment and engaged them with the bayonet … and caused them a number of casualties!

The Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment continued to fire at the Lauranian Rifle Battalion that was occupying the buildings on the other side of the River Mob, and they inflicted casualties on the Lauranians.

Another Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment deployed and engaged the Lauranian Rifle Battalion, but their fire was ineffective.

The remainder of the Maldacian Division now reached the River Mob, and has began to deploy.

The Lauranian response was to counter-attack the Maldacian Rifle Battalion with a bayonet charge which forced the depleted Maldacians back into the ford …

… where they were shot to pieces by the Lauranian Rifle Battalion.

The Lauranian Artillery Regiment moved off the road and deployed onto the Lauranian right flank …

… and the rest of the Lauranian Division moved forward to engaged the Maldacians.

Turn 5
As the Lauranian Artillery Regiment was now deployed, it opened fire on the closest Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment … upon which it inflicted 50% casualties!

The Lauranians build upon this success when their leading Line Infantry Regiment inflicted casualties on the Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment facing them across the River Mob …

… and when the Lauranian Rifle Battalion also joined in the exchange of fire, the Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment suffered further casualties.

The Lauranian Line Infantry Regiment that had previously occupied the building on the left flank opened fire on the Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment facing them across the River Mob …

… and caused them 50% casualties.

At this point in the battle the Maldacians had reached their Exhaustion Point (they had lost one-third of their Division’s initial strength value) and they could not engage in further aggressive action.

The battlefield at the point in the battle when the Maldacians reached their Exhaustion Point. From this point onwards they could not engage in any aggressive action, and should have withdrawen if that was possible.

Having achieved their objective, the Lauranian General asked his opposite number if he would wish for a cease-fire so that he could deal with his wounded before withdrawing from the field of battle. The Maldacian General was only too pleased to agree to this suggestion, and after collecting their wounded and burying their dead, the Maldacian Division withdrew to their own side of the border.

Modelling Notes
The figures used were out-of-production Peter Laing 15mm-scale Prussian and Austro-Hungarians. They were bought on eBay and were originally painted, owned, and used by a member of the Edinburgh Wargames Group. The terrain used was Hexon II hexed terrain tiles, streams/narrow rivers, roads, and hills. The trees were Hornby model trees that had additional flocking added to them before they were mounted on bases. The buildings were bought ready-painted in Croatia