The Wind And The Lion

The Wind And The Lion
German gunners range in on the U.S. Marines as they cross the vill. Figures are Old Glory German Sea Battalion conversions. Archway by Miniature Building Authority.

Monday, August 29, 2022

The Яussians Are Coming! The Яussians Are Coming!

15 September 1890 - On the road to Tirakh Mir

The Russian Skobelev Brigade has moved south through the pass and taken control of Tirakh Mir. General Mikhail Skobelev and his 2IC Colonel Igor Blaramberg command the Skobelev Brigade consisting of the elite Semenovski Life Guards, the veteran Kazanski Rifles, the Susdal Line Regiment, and the Borodinski Line Regiment, which are supported by an artillery battery, the 1st Ural Cossacks, and accompanied by Tajik allied tribesman, both foot and cavalry.



This game was played with my favorite rules set The Sword And The Flame - TSATF. We used this new awesome playing card deck (on right) for TSATF moving and firing sequences that my friend Bob who flew in from Kansas for this campaign game gifted to me on game day. We also used several event deck cards (on left) that we hand picked the previous night for each side from the cool NWF TSATF Event Deck, produced and distributed by TVAG. However, as the game progressed and the event deck cards pulled we both agreed we should have picked them sober and not while drinking a bottle of tasty Tullamore D.E.W., LOL...

Russian Skobelev Brigade - OOB - as per TSATF Rules

General Mikhail Skobelev - Mounted - Rated as British, gives a +1 to troops for morale.
2IC Colonel Igor Blaramberg - Mounted - Rated as British 
gives a +1 to troops for morale.
1 Battalion - Elite Semenovski Life Guards (20 Men) Rated as British
1 Battalion - Veteran Kazanski Rifles (20 Men) Rated as British
1 Battalion - Susdal Line Regiment (20 Men) Rated as Egyptians
1 Battalion - Borodinski Line Regiment (20 Men) Rated as Egyptians
1 Artillery Battery (4 Men & 1 Gun) Rated as British
1 Squadron - 1st Ural Cossacks (12 Men) Rated as British
1 Squadron - Tajik Black Lances (12 Men) Rated as Egyptians

Tajik allies:
Chieftan Kianoosh - Mounted, gives a +1 to tribesmen morale 
(2) Clans on foot (20 Men Each Including sub Khan leader) Rated as Pathans


Ballah Khan, younger brother of Ali Razah Khan surveys his village and valley that has been defiled by northern infidels. See the hand drawn map above which he created to show his brother, Captain Mustafa Nadir of the Afghan local force garrison, in order to plan the attack to liberate his village!

All is quiet in the village and the outposts. A dense fog settles over the valley. Visibility is severely limited allowing the Pashtuns to close in on the village undetected. The Russians have outposts in front of each battalion in hard cover. (In this campaign each 20 man TSATF infantry unit is being considered a battalion in the scaled down OOB's) 

      Russian outposts and pickets manning the perimeter, Susdal Line Regiment
                              The elite Semenovski Life Guards picket

                                       Outpost of the veteran Kanzanski Rifles

Russian Brigade command and a battalion of the elite Semenovski Life Guards occupy the village.
Artillery supports the Semenovski Life Guards garrisoned in the vill.     

                         View from the occupied village looking southwards.

Borodinski Line Regiment in the fruit grove. 

                                    View of the village from the west.

An early morning patrol of the Tajik Black Lances heads south towards Chitral.

A cavalry squadron of the Tajik Black Lances heads south leaving the village to recon the road ahead while at the same time a squadron of Cossack cavalry reinforced with Tajik allies enters the opposite side of the valley heading towards Tirakh Mir. The dense fog blanketing the valley prohibits the sentries from seeing any movement while the hooves of the departing cavalry patrol conceals the sounds of the oncoming Pathans movements.   

Turn 1: 
The game starts with the Russians in their night laager positions, the Tajik Black Lances heading out on patrol, and only the Pathans getting to move. Dice are thrown to determine the entry point of the first arriving Pathan or Chitrali Tribe. The dice dictate entry from the SW corner through the foothills with cover. As the fog is dense and visibility limited to 12” they are unable to see the approaching cavalry of the Tajik Black Lances and
can only hear the hoof beats of the invaders mounts.  The Russians have not yet activated and cannot see any movement due to the dense fog. 

                                                             Turn 2: 

With the role of a die the fog begins to lift increasing visibility 6” each turn. Ballah Khan’s tribe moves swiftly but stealthily through the rough ground to take up firing positions on the flank of the Tajik Black Lances, though they still can't fire on the cavalry due to the fog nor can the cavalry see the Pathans.

The next arriving native force is a unit of local Afghan Regular Infantry, they move onto the table directly across from the village fields, still unseen due to fog and the failed Russian Critical Morale roll to muster this early in the morning. They take full advantage of the fog and head towards the vill.

               Afghan Regulars by Wargames Foundry

                                                    Turn 3:

The dice are once again favoring the Pashtuns, more lucky dice are rolled and the next tribe also enters from the SW corner through the same foothills with cover along with more Afghan Regular forces. This will allow the tribesmen to concentrate a large force for a concerted attack! With the fog lifting and the Russians finally able to muster and "stand to" the battle commences.


 Movement is completed and the fire phase begins, a card is pulled .....

...... and the first fire goes to the Pathans. They unleash a deadly volley into the flank of the Tajik Black Lances which sends them falling back towards the vill. 

Afghan regular forces advancing on the village come under accurate artillery fire from the highly trained, and well painted Russian gunners! (From Askari Miniatures)

                  Artillery markers courtesy of Mr. Hyde & Dr Jones custom Terrain.

The Afghan Regular forces continue to enter the fray with another infantry unit entering the battle as tribes of Pathans and Chitralis already on the table surge forwards.


     Pashtuns advance, miniatures by: Castaway Arts, Australia, I love these figs.

                                                            Turn: 4
Afghan Regulars advance towards the walled field defended by Russian infantry of the Susdal Line Regiment. The Russian rifle fire is mostly ineffective but the artillery does cause a few casualties. 

As the Tajik Black Lances continue to retreat they take long rage fire from their rear as Afghan Jezzails open up sending them all the way back to Tajikistan.

                                                       Turn: 5

                     A local villager innocently fetches water from the well…..

Every other turn an Event Card is pulled, this time it’s an Imperial Event, Defective Cannon Ammunition, reduce the amount of available artillery rounds. As the Russians are the imperial forces in this conflict the event card affects them. We deduced the innocent looking civilian fetching water returned to the vill and doused the power bags of the Russian artillery. I altered the card parameters, a die was thrown leaving them with (3) remaining rounds for the game. Since this is a campaign and the resupply will not make it in time for this days action it was a critical moment in the battle. 

The Chitrali and Afridi tribesmen surge forwards in a concerted attack, lucky die rolls brining in the bulk of their forces together.

                                                           Turn: 6

Pathan tribesmen and Afghan Regular Infantry surge forwards.

                             Tajik Black Lances heading back to Tajikistan.

Russian allies enter the pass and advance towards the village, Cossacks and native Tajiks "recruited" from conquered territories. 

                                        Pathans advance towards the vill.  

                Kianoosh, the Tajik chieftain urges his tribesmen forward. 

Afghan Regulars assault the village and a defended field as a Regular Afghan cavalry unit enters the fray behind them to flank the village.

Cossacks move behind the village to counter the threat of the Afghan Regular Cavalry on their left flank. 

Tajik Chieftain Kianoosh takes personal command of a Tajik tribe to get them moving due to weak morale.

                                                                    Cossacks advance. 

 Another Event Deck card is pulled, this one affects the Pathans, however in a positive way. A native gun enters on the Pathan board edge. I weave this into the campaign narrative: Word has gotten to Khan Abbis of the northern ferenghi incursions into his ancestral lands, he decides to throw in his lot with  Ballah Khan. His son Abdullah arrives to the battle with his family's pride, an old brass 7LB cannon. 

In addition to the Pathan cannon Ghazi Warriors enter the battle from the east in front of the positions of the  Borodinski Line Regiment. The Tajik Black Lances continue to be shot up as they route back to Tajikistan. 

The vill is being hard pressed by the attacking Afghan Regulars. 

Afghan Regulars push the defending Russians of the Susdal Line Regiment off the wall leaving them with only the rough ground Class-II cover of the field! 

The Russian Royal Guardsmen fire on the advancing Afghan Regulars while taking minor casualties themselves despite being in the Class-IV cover of the buildings.  

Holy warriors from the Chitral Territory led by Ahmad Khan surge towards the Borodinski Line Regiment. Their officer feeling the pressure of the advancing holy warriors leaves his walled position in the grove to move towards the support of the adjacent Kazanski Rifles.

Afridi tribesmen armed with captured Martini Henry Rifles advances to support the Ghazi warriors. Umra Khan's present of these captured English rifles to Ballah Khan's uncle will turn the tide for the Pashtuns.

Capt. Stolichnaya orders his Borodinski Regt. to form a close order double line which will give him a bonus to defend against the impending charge of the fanatic Ghazi tribesmen.

The Russian artillery pounds the Afghan Regulars and the Afghan Regulars in turn open up a deadly fire on the Susdal Line who were pushed back from the protection of the wall.

The Susdal Line take a pounding, go below 50% effectives, fail morale, and are forced back to the relative safety of the village. 


Another Event Deck card is pulled, once again it affects the Russian forces. We assign each imperial unit a number, roll the appropriate sided die to determine which is the affected unit, and it is the Kazanski Rifles.

The Kazanski Rifles are siting safe behind a stone wall, Class IV cover, a Melee bonus in TSATF rules, and they have the supporting Borodinski Line Regt on their flank. They are facing a full tribe of (3) Ghazi warrior units which strictly have melee weapons so must close assault their enemies. 

Captain Petr of the veteran Kazanski Rifles surveys the enemy to his front. They are mere tribesmen, no match for the veteran troops under his command. Glory and honor to the Mother Land. Captain Petr looks down the line of troops to his right manning the wall, smiles, then looks to the remainder at his left. He nods his head to no one but himself, his confidence is unwavering, he calls over his Lieutenant, "Denis, prepare the men, we are going to attack the enemy." LT Shvidki replies, "Yes sir, the men have loaded their rifles and are awaiting your order to fire." "Lieutenant, we are not wasting ammunition on these tribesmen. We are going to charge them now." Capt. Petr states in a calm monotone voice. "Understood sir, I will tell the Sergeants" replies LT Shvidki. Captain Petr mounts the wall, draws his sword, takes in a deep breath and with a wild look in his eyes he shouts, "For Mother Russia, at them with the bayonet, follow me!!!!" 

And with those words, almost as one, they rise up and follow Captain Petr over the wall and towards the Ghazis at great haste.


                      Pashtuns continue to advance towards the village. 

          The routed remnants of the Susdal Line take cover in the vill. 

Afghan Regulars take the field and advance. 

The Kanzanski Rifles Regt charges while the Borodinski Regt withdraws to put some space between them and the approaching Ghazis to fire on them and to avoid being charged.

                                             Pathans advance!

The Kanzanski Rifles win the first melee and wipe out one band of Ghazis, but the casualties sustained from the melee take them below 50% effective strength. However they pass morale and face the onslaught of approaching Pathans. 


          The Tajik Black Lances continue their route back to Tajikistan. 

Another turn and another Event Deck card is pulled. This one affects the “native” side. 


As the senior Pathan Mullah I surmised it would be best to heed the call of Allah to rid the valley of these northern infidels by the Tulwar! So it is written, so it shall be done.  

With that said all the tribesmen must charge headlong into battle for the remainder of the game. Luckily the Afghan Regulars were not affected by this event card. 

With our strategy out the window we let the dice fly and all the Pathan units would charge on their upcoming movement cards and every turn following for the remainder of the game. 

Successive black cards are pulled, a unit of Ghazis and then the Afridi’s both charge the Kanzanski Rifles before they can evade. 

        The third clan of Ghazis charges the withdrawing Borodinski Regt….

… the Afghan Regulars continue to follow the retreating Russians towards the vill. 
The Kanzanski Rifles loose the melee and route back towards the village with less than 25% effectives. They are hotly pursued by the remaining Ghazi tribe. 

The Tajik tribesmen advance as the Tajik Black Lanes continue to route. 

     Cossacks continue to move behind the vill to counter the Afghan cavalry. 

All the Pashtun tribesmen begin to surge forwards in the uncontrollable mass charge as the Afghan gun crew unlimber and take up position on the Afghan left. 

          The Borodinski Regt keep falling back in good order to the vill. 

               Afghan Regular cavalry, “To the Front!”

Another turn and more charges, the Ghazis attack the Susdal Regt and the Afridis charge the Tajiks. 

A unit of Pathans make it to the village walls as the remnants of the Tajik Black Lances finally rally and turn to face the enemy!

Afghan Regulars take up a strong position behind cover close to the vill. 

Semenovski Life Guards fire into the approaching Afghans. 

The tribal artillery finally move into range and fire on the invaders meanwhile the Russian artillery has been silent due to the wet powder situation. 

The Cossacks and Afghan Cavalry meet head to head with the Cossacks getting the better of the encounter and forcing the Afghan cavalry to retreat. 

The Tajiks fail to stand up to the Afridi charge in melee, fall back like beaten dofs, and are “Shaken”.

The Tribesmen throw themselves at the defenses of the vill despite taking horrendous casualties. 

The Cossacks emboldened by their routing of the Afghan cavalry charge the Afghan regular artillery that has been pounding the village defenders. 

The Afghan artillery commander, Captain Mustafa Nadir, cannot believe his eyes, the 
Cossacks are charging head long in the open. He bellows, load grape, range 200 meters, wait for it, wait for it, FIRE!

As the dust cleared from the discharge of the grape and the supporting infantry fire the Cossacks continued their charge but at half strength. 

Despite the bravery the Cossacks fail to route the Afghan regular artillery and infantry leaving the flank open for an Afghan advance. 

The Russians fire their last artillery round that they were saving for an opportune moment and make the most of it by taking out the Afghan artillery piece and crew!

                            Artillery marker courtesy of Bud's Blast Markers.

As the Cossacks leave the field decimated, General Skobekev takes stock of the situation. He has lost one cavalry regiment and the Tajik Black Lances are at 30% effectives leaving his flanks open and no mobile formations. The Kanzanski Riles have been eliminated as a fighting force with only the command group left, the Susdal Line Regiment are well below 50%, the Borodinski Regt and the Semenovski Life Guards both sustaining casualties, his Tajik allies refusing to fight, and having just fired their last artillery round until resupply, General Skobelev orders all remaining troops to fall back to the village to form a last ditch defense!

With the loss of their artillery the local chieftains took stock of their loses and decide to withdraw from the field collecting much booty and confident in giving the invaders more than a bloody nose by destroying one cavalry regiment, putting a second out of action, wiping out the impetuous Kanzanski Rifles, and putting many more to the Tulwar. Under cover of the battlefield smoke and the approaching dusk the various tribes slip away with sporadic sniping as the Afghan Regulars confidently cover the Pashtun tribes retreat. 

The battle itself is a minor Russian victory as the village is still in Russian hands. However its a tactical Pashtun campaign victory due to the enormous loses inflicted on the enemy, the lack of cavalry for their scouting and mobility, and the need for the Russians to either stay in place and await resupply, retreat and join up with the main column,  or even possibly pack up and back to Tajikistan. 

A special thanks goes to my buddy Bob, aka Rhingyll from the web who flew in for this game from Kansas, for supplying all the Russians and most of the cavalry for this game, the Tajik standards and Afghan Regulars as well as providing the motivation and excitement needed to get this idea to the table. Thank you to my friends and LAF buddies (Umra Khan, Giorgio, Mad Guru, & Capt. Shanks) involved in this truly epic NWF campaign you created and sucked me into. Your daily messages keep this thing going, with out you guys it wouldn't of happened and continue to happen. Thank you to my SMG clubmates and friends who continue to put up with me and my shenanigans!
The next episode in this NWF campaign, Never Trust Anyone on the Frontier from the Lead Adventure Forum will be fought at the end of September of this year hosted by the SMG and HMGS-South Wargames clubs. 

Upcoming Scenario:

5 February 1891 - Afghanistan, Chitral Territory

Colonel Davenport, a report is coming in from the Heliograph Team at point 225 from the crossroads ahead. "Large enemy force approaching, formed infantry, formed cavalry, baggage train, and artillery." They are Europeans sir, Russians in fact!.. our Afridi scouts have confirmed it, a reinforced Brigade is on the march. The Great Game is afoot.....

5 February 1891, a reinforced Russian Brigade has moved SW around Chitral to block an Anglo-Indian force headed to relieve the beleaguered garrison of Chitral Fort

I have had many inquiries about our dice boxes we use for movement, shooting, and melee. They are custom dice boxes from Bud's Blast Markers. He can put custom designs and your logos on them. 
These are a great value for the money coming with 5 lighted blast markers, a handful of D6 dice, and a really cool box to roll in. With both the top and bottom being felted they are perfect for head to head melee combat rolls!