To die under the crystal clear stars.
The opening game of my French Foreign Legion campaign. I will be using Chain of Command as the main rules.
28mm Miniatures from a whole batch of Miniatures such as Redoubt, Artisan, Perry, and Askari.
Major Pois has arrived in Morocco and has been charged with shepherding supplies and fresh troops to Fort Deschamps.
There, General Desordere, is charged with policing the region and protecting the National French Archeological Society in exploring the areas ancient ruins. Opposite the French, are ranged the berber tribes under Soulek Al Jaffik.
Campaign Map indicating the proposed route Major Pois is to undertake to Fort Deschamps. Leaving El Herri, through the pass at El Herri, on to the oasis at An Sur and ending (hopefully) to join General Desordere at the Fort.
The small village of El Herri gateway to the interior and stopping point of the nearest railway line. In the distance the foothill of Atlas Mountains and the pass to the Oasis at An Sur. Starting point for Major Pois.
Above the three French jump off points (F) and the Berber/local jump off points (B). The berber/local jump off points are either real or fake - revealed only when a French unit gets within 10 inches. Until that time the Berbers still get to roll their command dice - saving any 5's to their command dice. The French get 5 command dice , as do the Berbers for this starting game (as they know the land and have been expecting the French). The berbers are currently outgunned - and have a range of 12 for effective (while the French are effective at 16). The berbers are also classified as 'aggressive' and the French as stubborn (each unit of regulars ignores their first shock point).
At the start of the game Major Pois starts with a force morale of 9 - as do the Berber under Youssif Subar - cousin to Soulek Al Jaffik.
The French disembark from the train at the small depot at El Herri - pack animals falling into the march column as they head towards the foothills.The morning sun already high in the clear blue sky. Boots crunch and kit clangs as the French trudge out of the village not knowing what might greet them ahead.
To the north Captain Houllier (Junior Leader) leads two section of Legionnaires in escort of the camel train, while to the south a section of Tirraileur's and Zouaves head off with he mule train. Ahead a long hot trek to the An Sur Oasis.
Captain Hubart leads a section of Legionnaires to the south covered by the Zouaves. Suddenly, with a screeching war-cry the Berbers launch their first ambush from a set of craggy rocks near the dry Whadi! Led by one of the lesser tribal leaders they fire on the approaching enemy!
The Berber and Zouaves exchange fire. The Zouaves suffer a number of shock points. - as Captain Hubert presses on to the Whadi. Whoops of glee ring out from the rocks. The camels also strangely look pleased with the opening shots of the battle!
The Chieftan Soulek Al Jaffik emerges from his hidden location - leading his mounted warriors against Captain Hubert. Lucky for the Berbers some of their shots are effective and the Legionnaire section suffers a kill and a couple of shock points (but they get to ignore the first point of shock). Captain Hubert might have to think carefully on his next move.
A second band of mounted Berbers appear and charge into Captain Hubert! A fire exchange of gunfire and sabres results in the Legionnaire section being thrown back (Luckily Hubert retires unscathed) and in the French turn the Tirraileur's advance and throw back the enemy cavalry back across the Whadi.
Meanwhile to the north Captain Houllier makes a break for the Whadi - only to spring another Berber ambush. No casualties but his section suffers a number of shock points.
To make matters worse another group of Berber warriors emerge from the far north and edge towards the fields threatening the camel train. Only the Senalagese stand in their way.
Things are hotting up in the south with the somewhat lucky Captain Hubert (!!) and his section retreating to the fields for some protection (the unit is one shock point off being disordered) as the remnants of one of the Berber cavalry groups is within striking distance of the mule train!
After several fortuitous turns (and lucky rolling for the French including many 6's!) Major Pois makes an appearance to bolster the front line, bring up reinforcements and protect the mule train. The fighting is tough but the Legionnaires manage to repulse the Berbers back across the Whadi. Captain Hubert uses the Berber retreat to order his men into the relative safety of the ruined house (top left).
Meanwhile to the North Lt Janice arrives just in time with a unit of Spahi to counter the threat of the Berber cavalry engaging the Senegalese.
Lt Janice and the Spahi eventually manage to dislodge the Berber horse and both groups face off - who will be the first to charge in and try and break the other? To the top of the picture Captain Houllier having taken extensive fire by Berbers hidden in the rocks around the Whadi has fallen back to the ruins - his Legionnaire section now disordered. Hopefully the protection of some half solid walls will stiffen their resolve!
Lt Janice leads his Spahi into the berber horse amidst, war-cry, braying horses and the clash of steel. Tension mounts as both sides fail to gain any advantage and the melee swirls. Eventually the Spahi's are victorious and break the Berber warriors who disperse back across the Whadi and head for the pass. Meanwhile other groups of Berber dismount and take aim at the strung out French from their higher vantage points. The last picture shows that (incredibly) both force morales are still on 9 despite all the action. This all changes very quickly - as several units of berber broke, Captain Hubert was injured and a unit of Tirraileur's was broken.
Each phase hereafter both sides starting losing 1 force morale!
The winning moment of the game - Major Pois - achieving a double phase - not only clears the Whadi, kills one of the Berber chieftains but also captures one of the Berber jump off points!
This is all too much to bear and Youssif Subar decides to order the remaining Berber back through the pass to fight another day.
They had given the French a bloody nose!
Major Pois watched the Berber retreat and ordered his company command to give an update. Both mule and camel trains were in tact and under French control. Captain Hubert had suffered a wound to his left arm - but would be ok. All told the section officers reported 13 dead, and 11 injured (and out of action for the next game). Major Pois wrote his report and despatched it to the French command (he would learn eventually that his gallantry had improved his commands opinion of him by 1). He would also learn more quickly that his men's opinion of him had decreased by 2! Deciding to delay his march by 2 days to treat to wounded he contemplated his next move in an effort to reach the An Sur Oasis.
Youssif Subar managed to make his escape. He had left 10 dead warriors at El Herri and his force now had 8 injured. He sent word ahead of the attack and that he was falling back to the Oasis to treat the wounded and regroup. Hearing of his cousins exploits the Berber Chief Soulek Al Jaffik was neither impressed or dismayed - contented that he had slain more French than fellow warriors he had lost. He planned his next move.
Word would eventually filter back to General Desordere at Fort Deschamps who would be alarmed at the attack. Such a bold move by Berbers was a new level of activity which had prior to this been limited to isolated skirmishes. He ordered the patrols to double and his informers in Bou Arar to listen to any whispers of rumours.