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This blog presents my different wargames armies, after action reports, campaigns which I have run, some scenarios and a presentation of some of the different rules I play. The pages at the top of the blog contain historical information on the periods that interest me. They are an aid to my poor memory, and not in any way exhaustive nor necessarily correct. As I am an Englishman living in France, some pages are in English and others in French...sorry, I am too lazy to translate...

I hope this blog offers you much enjoyment and some inspiration !

vendredi 24 août 2012

An-Ting (June 13th 1900)

This is the first of a set of three historical / semi-historical scenarios for fighting the key battles of the Boxer Rebellion, using the POW ruleset.

Damage inflicted to the railway lines has obliged Admiral Seymour and his relief column to bivouac near to the village of An-Ting, some 40km south of Peking.
At dawn, Seymour decides to mount a punitive expedition to cleanse the village of Boxers. His secondary objective is An-Ting railway station, and its precious water tower, water being a vital (and underestimated) resource for his steam trains.
Seymour disposes of seven infantry battalions, as well as an armoured train whose mobility is unfortunately hindered by the breaks in the rail. The village of An-Ting is in effusion and it is obvious that rebels are there in strength. The woods to the east are also teeming with them !

This is a semi-historical scenario, representing on a far larger scale the skirmish that took place at An-Ting station. The battle is meant to condense in one fight the different problems and challenges met by the Seymour column, which had to fray a ill-prepared passage through hostile and unscouted country, against enormous numerical odds.

Victory conditions :
To obtain a marginal victory, Seymour must hold An-Ting station at the end of the battle. To obtain a decisive victory, he must also have had two unshaken units inside the village during a turn. The Chinese win a marginal victory by holding village and station, and a decisive victory by destroying the armoured train.

The battlefield
The original scenario being in French, note that "Point de rassemblement" refers to the assembly point of the An-Ting militia, "cassure des rails" shows a break in the rails, and "vergers and champs" means "fields and orchards". "Gare" is station.

An-Ting is a substantial village. Dice for its difficulty, but discard any results giving a cover of 0. The railway station is a motley collection of individual buildings. The scrape trenches hastily dug before it will give a cover of 1. The woods should be diced for, but are considered Home Terrain for the Chinese (in POW, this means Chinese troops and movement bases can move through them at normal speed, whatever their actual difficulty).
Other than that, the terrain is voluntarily flat, bleak plains being common in the Petchili region.

Chinese set-up first, then Allies, then both sides write orders.
No limit is placed on the number of turns : play on until you have finished the battle or time is up. Both sides are pretty desperate - the Chinese are full of fanaticism in their first major combat against the foriegn devils, and Seymour wishes to reach Peking at all costs and can only do so by one means, the railway.

The following two sections include, respectively, information for the Chinese and the Allied player respectively. If you want to preserve the surprise element of the scenario, only read the relevant section.


The perfidious Westerners expect to meet only token resistance : imagine their surprise when they realise they are also up against elements of the Imperial Chinese Army !
The Dowager Empress is not yet openly hostile to the foriegners, but you have been led to understand that a blind eye will be turned if the Chinese forces loyal to you stop reinforcements from reaching Peking.
You have been following Seymour's progress, and have gathered not only your regulars, but thousands of militia troops, at An-Ting. Unfortunately, your junior officers are overburdened due to the troop concentrations, and the militia forces are still mobilising when Seymour appears just to the south.
Set up using movement bases as indicated on the scenario map.

Based on the Imperial Chinese list, you have the following :
The first brigade includes 3 FF,nbl and a battery deployed behind shallow scrape trenches and 2 RC, mw placed within 20cm of the railway station. Do not use movement bases for this brigade.
The second brigade (4 FF,nbl; 2 FF,iml; 1 Jingals SF,jin and 1 battery) is on a movement base somewhere in An-Ting. The third consists of 6 FF, iml and represents the militia. Their movement base is placed in An-Ting only once the Allied commander has rolled an average of 4+ on his initiative dice in a turn.
The movement base in the woods to the east is a dummy.
You have another movement base in An-Ting. It can be a dummy, or contain the C-in-C and units placed under his direct command at the start of the battle (but obviously not militia).


You have a total of seven infantry battalions, all RF, rr at strength 12 (this lowered strength represents the fact that they are double-companies rather than battalions in strength). They may be attributed as you desire to three officers (yourself - Seymour - Average, and two brigadiers, both Average).
You also have your armoured train. It has a strength of 8, has 2 armour (ie. treat as if cover of 2 when fired on) and fires as an LMG. You have a 360° firing arc and range is measured from the centre of the train. Obviously, you cannot advance beyond the break-point in the rail.

Last but not least, you have a regiment of cavalry (French Sipahis or others : in any case, RC, rc, mi at strength 8). It has its own brigadier (Low quality), but no other unit can be allocated to this brigade.

You may place your brigades and your cavalry as indicated on the map, but if your opponent is OK, I suggest setting up as you want within 20cm of the south table edge, but not within 20cm of a Chinese movement base. Do not yourself use movement bases as you have been spotted long ago.

Above and beyond the victory conditions, remember that the route to Peking is slowly closing, and that it is vital that the 2,000 men with you reach the city. If they do not, who knows what the Chinese will try ? The Dowager Empress is more and more hostile, and may be tempted to throw the Imperial Army into the fray if she sees that the Peking Legations are defended by only a couple of hundred sailors. You must secure the railway ! Even a marginal Chinese victory is a disaster for Enlightened Civilisation of which you are a distinguished representant.

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