The occasional exploits of Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh and the Rhanzlistan Field Force

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Dawn Came Up Like Thunder...

Phil bought his Back of Beyond Russian force over to GHQ recently for a further episode in our ongoing Rhanzlistan Campaign, pitting Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh {of doubtful military fame} against the forces of SPIFF under the command of the Renegade Red, General 'Red' Robinski. The table laid out for the game ~

Of the RFF there is no sign. No activity of the SPIFF has been reported in the past weeks, so Bykleigh has sent out patrols to ascertain the whereabouts of the foe. Meanwhile, things are looking decidedly grim for Robinski and his men. Unable to pay his troops and beset by Bhurpa harassment he has received intelligence that the fabled Golden God of Gheekistan, a life sized solid gold effigy, has been found hidden in Shuzzanabad. If he can reach the village before the RFF he may yet be able to bribe his men to continue with their mission ~
The Golden God of Gheekistan hidden in Shuzzanabad

In order to simulate the ad hoc arrival of patrols, the individual units from the RFF dice each turn when their Action Card is drawn, with a 5% extra chance of arriving in each subsequent turn. Their point of entry is measured by a throw of 4 x D6 in a random direction from the centre of the ford across the river ~
The Ford across the river

First into action for the SPIFF were a unit of wild Bolshevik cavalry! They struck out from the table edge and gained the high ground to better observe the lay of the land ~

There is still no sign of any patrols from the RFF, while hordes of men from the SPIFF hurry down the road making for Shuzzanabad ~

To simulate the difficulty of locating the enemy in the early dawn light {the first 10 turns of the game} any successful RFF units entering the table are marked with a blue counter and always move at 4 x D6. They can be spotted by the men of SPIFF on an even throw of a D x 6, although half their move distance must be forfeited to accomplish this. The Royal Surreys are discovered encamped in the ruins of Old Shuzzanabad by a unit of SPIFF cavalry backed up by Elite Bolshevik infantry and veteran Siberian Rifles ~

The Surrey move to engage the SPIFF cavalry, unaware of the masses of enemy infantry flanking their position ~

The Surrey's fire is ineffective and despite suffering two casualties the Bolshevik cavalry rush towards the ford while their supporting infantry gather in numbers to attack the Surreys' position. In the distance the Shropshire Yeomanry can be seen heading towards the ford to cut off the SPIFF attack ~

While the Yeomanry ready themselves to confront the enemy's attempt to cross the river at the ford, they are encouraged by the arrival of a troop of the Bhyklabad Horse to the enemy's left flank ~

The Yeomanry and the Bolshevik cavalry clash in the main street running through Shuzzanabad ~

The Bhyklabad Horse surge across the ford to attempt to relieve the pressure on the Surreys who are coming under very heavy attack from SPIFF infantry and a supporting armoured car. Worryingly there is no sign yet of the RFF's own artillery ~

Things are looking very grim for the hard pressed RFF, the Yeomanry are being hard pressed, when relief seems to arrive in the form of the Loyal Tandoori Rifles  just to the east of Shuzzanabad~

And at last the No1 Baalti Battery is seen exiting a pass through the hills and hurrying to deploy in a vain attempt to bolster the dwindling force of the Yeomanry ~

But disaster seems to have overtaken the RFF and their rotund ccommander, they see their inspiration being lead away as a prisoner under escort { Overtaken by the second Bolshevik cavalry unit in difficult terrain owing to yet another awful throw of the dice while attempting to join the Tandooris} ~

Before they can recover from the shock, the No1 Baalti Battery is overrun and the gunners cut down by the victorious Bolshevik cavalry after they rout the remnants of the Yeomanry ~

The remnants of the Shropshire Yeomanry in full rout leave for the safety of the table edge ~

Its all up for the RFF as the Tandooris are forced to flee for their lives in the face of overwhelming odds ~

Robinski's men pour across the river at the ford, eager to taste the spoils of victory and make off with the Golden God of Gheekistan ~

The game ended in Turn 15 as the whole of the RFF was either in full flight, destroyed to a man or in captivity! On reflection I probably made it too hard for the disparate forces of the RFF  to come together in time to make the forces of the SPIFF face a more serious tussle to gain control of the ford and the village. Of course, a series of awful throws of the dice both for arrival of units and for their subsequent movements did n't help (See the capture of Brig Bykleigh for one). Where the RFF did get into action they acquitted themselves well. Though often out numbered, the Surreys and the Yeomanry fought valiantly in a lost cause. The late arrival of the supporting artillery and the Tandooris seriously weakened the RFF's ability to contain and then repulse the SPIFF attacks, meaning that the usual attrition of war left them in an increasingly exposed position. The rules were as ever 'Setting the East Ablaze' from Caliver Books. A little blood at times perhaps, but they do the job mostly for us. The next adventure in our ongoing Tales from Rhanzlistan will be a Pulp game featuring the daring rescue of Brig 'Tubby' Bykleigh...


  1. A jolly good and most enjoyable scenario, the SPIFF's grand plan working a treat, ably abetted by the RFF :-) I am sure True To The East will have an equally unbiased view of the events too :-)

    1. I look forward to reading your perspective, twisted though it will undoubtedly be...

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Colin! Hope you'll drop by again in due course.