On June 21st, the Seymour Column , retreating from the north, seized by surprise the Hsi-ku Arsenal just north of the sprawling city of Tien-tsin. The International Force was under serious pressure in Tien-tsin, but help was already on the way.
After the fall of the Taku forts, an 8,000-man relief column was hastily dispatched northwards. On June 23rd, it arrived in the vicinity of the city.
This scenario combines two historical events : the relief column forcing its way into Tien-tsin by the south and the east, and the rescue of Seymour by elements of this force shortly after (historically, a patrol of Russian cossacks).
The scenario is written for POW.
Victory conditions :
To obtain a marginal victory, the Allies must capture two of the three low hills which dominate the plain, the Arsenal and the city itself. A decisive victory is obtained if they also manage to exit a battalion via the road to Tien-tsin. As for the Chinese, they are victorious if they hold two hills, and win a major victory if they capture the Arsenal.
When you look at the battlefield map, don't think I've gone mad : I just happened to find a contour map that looked more or less like what I had in mind, and couldn't resist using it.
"Colline" is hill, "champs" are fields and "route" is road.
The Hsi-ku Arsenal is a solid collection of individual buildings each offering 2 cover, linked together by a low wall. The Pei-Ho, a wide but lazy river, can be crossed by any troops except artillery at speed 2. The hills are diced for as usual. The railway line is built upon a slight embankment and offers 1 cover.
The Chinese set-up first, followed by the Allies. Both sides then write their orders. The battle lasts 8 turns (4 hours).
We refought this battle at my local club, and a battle report is available in the AAR section of the blog.
The following two sections include information for the Chinese and the Allied player respectively. If you want to preserve the surprise element of the scenario, only read the relevant page.
INFORMATION FOR THE CHINESE PLAYER
Having treacherously attacked the Taku forts, without even a declaration of war, the Colonial Powers are marching on Tien-tsin, in an attempt to save their International Settlement in Tien-tsin. The Dowager Empress has declared war and, at long last, your troops can fight openly rather than supporting the Boxers only in secret.
Although your orders are to defend the low hills to the north-east of the city, you cannot leave the Hsi-ku Arsenal in enemy hands. Not only do you need the ammunition, it would also be dangerous to have enemy troops in your back, able to cut off an eventual (if unlikely) retreat back to Tien-tsin.
You army is deployed directly (without movement bases) and consists of the following :
1 brigade (Brigadier : Average) of 3 FF,nbl; 3 FF,iml and 1 SF,jin, deployed west of the Pei-Ho not closer than 30cm to the Hsi-ku Arsenal.
1 brigade (Brigadier : Average) of 4 FF,nbl; 2 FF,iml and 1 SF,jin, deployed anywhere on or between the northern and central hills.
1 cavalry brigade (Brigadier : Average) of 2 RC,mw deployed anywhere on the map between the railway line and the Pei-Ho.
C-in-C (Average) and 2 artillery batteries IA,md bro, deployed anywhere on or between the northern and central hills.
You may place extra units under the C-in-Cs command, and/or delegate the batteries to another general, at the start of the battle.
INFORMATION FOR THE ALLIED PLAYER
Seymour must deploy within the walls of the Hsi-ku Arsenal, with 3 battalions of RF,rr at strength 12.
The relief force consists of the C-in-C of the battle (Average) and two brigades. The infantry brigade (commander : Average) comprises 4 infantry battalions RF,rr all at strength 12, and one mountain battery of 80s (RA,lt ste) at strength 8. The cavalry brigade (commander : Low) is a single cavalry regiment (RC,rc,mi) strength 10.
The C-in-C can place any of the infantry not in the Hsi-ku Arsenal under his direct command at the start of the battle.
The relief force deploys east of the railway line.
Although your primary mission is to prepare the relief of Tien-tsin, you should on no account leave the troops of Admiral Seymour to be massacred. The Hsi-ku Arsenal itself is of no major strategic importance, but the death or capture of 2,000 Europeans, and the inability to protect the wounded and civilians with the column, would make for very bad press back home, with an impact on the entire colonial effort. The governments of half a dozen world powers are watching your actions on this day.