Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Approach on Kelana Hill

To Her Majesty's officers of the 6th Division, South Africa.
21st October, year of our Lord 1899.

Having advanced from their treacherous republics to seize British territory in Natal, the dastards have retired upon rumour of our advance. A sizeable number of them have been located on Kelana Hill, only an hour or so from our camp. It is vital to fall upon them with all haste in order to destroy the enemy piecemeal: our scouts tell us that a commando under Commandant Meyer is riding swiftly to their support.

Please cc this to all officers down to battalion level:

Major General Sir Archibald Munnery, Divisional Commander (Status 3)
     Officer Commanding, 1 Battery, 9th Royal Artillery (6 guns)
     Officer Commanding, 2 Battery, 9th Royal Artillery (6 guns)
     Officer Commanding, 3 Battery, 9th Royal Artillery (6 guns)
     Officer Commanding, 4 Battery, 9th Royal Artillery (6 guns)

“Fusilier Brigade” Brigadier-General Sir Patrick O'Cleigh (Status 3)
     Officer Commanding, 1st battalion Queen's Irish Fusiliers (600 men), machine gun support
     Officer Commanding, 2nd battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers (600 men), machine gun support
     Officer Commanding, 2nd battalion Cambrian Fusiliers (600 men)

“Royal Brigade” Brigadier-General Sir Russell Wodehouse (Status 3)
     Officer Commanding, 2nd battalion King's Own Royal Borderers (600 men)
     Officer Commanding, 1st battalion Royal Sherwood Rifles (600 men), machine gun support
     Officer Commanding, 1st battalion Norfolk Light Infantry (600 men), machine gun support

“Light Brigade” Brigadier-General Sir James Mordaunt (Status 2)
     Officer Commanding, 1st battalion Ulster Light Infantry (400 men)
     Officer Commanding, Canadian Mounted Infantry (250 men)
     Officer Commanding, Queen's Northern Lancers (150 men)
     Officer Commanding, Royal Norfolk Dragoons (150 men)

Under prevailing local conditions, the troops should be at the battlefield by 0740 local time. Sunset will be at 1820 local time, but care should be exercised that the battle not run on too long. It is vital that the foe on Kelana Hill not be reinforced by Meyer's flying column.

General White, Officer Commanding, South African Theatre

Of course, that last paragraph is needlessly prescriptive for a theatre commander, but there are two things to bear in mind: in 1899 this was a small theatre, and secondly, it's just the umpire's voice reminding the British players of the vital facts of the case. 

In Kop That!, the British have two stands per company, or one per fifty men, depending on how you like it. I thought this would be a nicely atmospheric way of giving the players both their army lists and their objectives. The game proper will be tomorrow, an ersatz version of General Symons' pyrrhic victory at Talana Hill. As the resident evil a-Historian, I will be umpiring/leading the Boers.

Some of you may notice that these are the same brigade officers as in the earlier battle at Brandswaterberg - what happened in the interim for the Lvl3 Sir Munnery to be replaced by Brassick? I guess we'll have to find out together...

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