The attack on Atmara

Scenario
As a result of the massacre of Bimbashi Bumble’s Punitive Expeditionary Force there was a general upsurge of discontent and violence in Southern Zubia, particularly along the border with Sadun. The Khedive seemed unable to respond, and as a result the commander of the Zubian Army sent one of his best young officers – Miralai Ahmed Kurti – to the nearest provincial capital – Atmara – to ensure that it was properly fortified and able to resist an attack. The commander also sent a consignment of new magazine rifles to arm the town’s garrison.The garrison comprised:

  • Four Infantry Battalions
  • An Artillery Battery
  • A Machine Gun Battery

This proved to be a very sensible course of action and when Miralai Kurti arrived in Atmara he found it to be almost devoid of proper fortifications. Within days he had ensured that the town’s defences were repaired and improved, and that the garrison were trained how to use their new rifles and were ready to resist an attack.

The attack was not long in coming.

Turn 1

Atmara’s defences.

A large Native army advanced out of the desert to attack Atmara. Thanks to the successful destruction of Bimbashi Bumble’s Punitive Expeditionary Force, the numbers of insurgents had greatly increased, and besides Infantry (two bands of rifle-armed Native Infantry and six bands of spear-armed Native Infantry) and Cavalry (two bands each of Native Cavalry and Camelry), it now had a battery of ancient smooth-bore field guns.

The Native army on the march.

Turn 2
The Native army’s advance brought them within range of the Zubian Field Artillery …

… who selected as their target a leading band of spear-armed Native Infantry …

… who suffered 25% casualties from the effects of the artillery shells that were fired at them.

The Zubian Machine Gun battery then joined in, and fired at another band of spear-armed Native Infantry …

… whom they almost wiped out!

Turn 3
Before the Native Army could move, the Zubian Field Artillery was able to fire at them for a second time at its previous target …

… and inflicted a further 50% casualties upon it!

As the Natives had the initiative, they surged forward undaunted by the casualties they had already suffered.

The Cavalry and Camelry advanced unhindered towards the flanks of Atmara’s defences whilst the much-depleted band of spear-armed Native Infantry assaulted the position held by the Zubian Machine Gun Battery. Their attack was unsuccessful …

… as was a second that was conducted by another band of spear-armed Native Infantry …

… but a third assault did manage to inflict a casualty on the Zubian Machine Gun Battery.

An assault by the other much-depleted band of spear-armed Native Infantry of the Zubian trenches also proved futile …

… and the rifle fire from one of the two bands of rifle-armed Native Infantry cause no casualties on the entrenched Zubian Field Artillery Battery.

The Native Army closes upon the Zubian defences.

The Zubian Machine Gun Battery opened fire on the large band of spear-armed Native Infantry to its right …

… which it almost destroyed, the survivors falling back to avoid further casualties.

The Zubian Infantry Battalion in the trenches to the left of the Zubian Artillery Battery fired at one of the on-coming bands of Native Camelry …

… inflicting 66% casualties on them.

The Zubian Infantry Battalion in the trenches just behind the Zubian Machine Gun Battery fired at remains of the band of spear-armed Native Infantry in front of them …

… whom they wiped out.

On the right-hand side of Atmara’s defences, the Zubian Infantry Battalion stationed in the trenches fired at one of the advancing bands of Native Cavalry …

… whom the forced to retreat after suffering 33% losses.

Turn 4
As the Zubian Artillery battery was the only Artillery Unit on the battlefield able to fire, it engaged the closest Native Unit, a band of rifle-armed Infantry …

… which it forced back out of single-shot rifle range after causing it 25% casualties.

At this point the battle could have gone either way, and whichever side had the initiative during this move might have been able to assure themselves of victory.

At this point the Zubians gained the initiative!

They began to exploit their advantage by firing their Machine Gun Battery at the nearest full-strength band of Native Infantry …

… which it forced to withdraw after it had suffered 50% casualties.

The Zubian Infantry Regiment in the trenches to the left of the Zubian Field Artillery Battery engaged the sole remaining members of a nearby band of Native Camelry …

… which they destroyed with the rifle fire.

The Zubian Infantry Regiment in the trenches immediately behind the Zubian Machine Gun Battery then fired on the nearest band of spear-armed Native Infantry …

… who were forced to withdraw after almost being wiped out!

On the right-hand side of Atmara’s defences the Zubian Infantry Regiment positioned there chose as its target the nearby band of Native Cavalry …

… which fell back after suffering 33% casualties.

The Native army was now exhausted, and were forced onto the defensive.

The situation on the battlefield at the point when the Native army reached its Exhaustion Point.

The Native army began to withdraw, suffering further casualties as they did so as a result of Artillery and Machine Gun fire. The uprising was suppressed – for the moment – and the Khedive could sit more easily on his throne … although the commander of the Zubian Army had shown that he might be a potent rival in the months and years to come.

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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.