Saturday, 7 March 2020

The Magutsabad Incidents - Chain of Command on the North West Frontier

We return to the North West Frontier of India and to the Village of Magutsabad. The hill tribes have been rather excitebale of late and have been raiding villages and outposts outside of tribal territory.  An Imperial force consisting of Highlanders and Sikhs with support from Armoured cars, has been tasked with securing the village in order to use it as a forward operating base for pushing on into tribal territory. Little does the commanding officer know that a large force of tribesmen are at that very moment heading to that very village to plunder it.

We actually got to play this scenario twice with very differnt outcomes and very different games. We used Chain of Commmand from the TooFatLardies along with rules adaptations from the Abyssinia war rules that were published a few years back (an unofficial supplement but with some interesting rules and army lists).

Game 1

After the Patrol phase, the Tribesmen are allowed to move one of their deployment points up to  twelve inches. This put one of the British (I know they aren't British but it's easier than typing Imperialist!) deployment points under immediate threat from a Warband, forcing some of the Sikh's to deploy in the open in attempt to defend it alongside a second section who deployed into cover in the rocks. This didn't go well for the brave Sikh's who were massacred by shooting from other Tribesmen in the rocks and lost not only a whole section but officer deployed with them. Things were already looking shaky.

One of the Lewis Gun Sections form the Highlanders platoon deployed onto the roofs of the buildings in the village and started to lay down some supporting fire into the Tribesman harassing the remaining Sikhs.

Meanwhile life continued in the town while the two sides traded large amounts of firepower at each other. The British deployed a mountain gun to try and thin down the numbers of fighters hiding in the rocks but it seemed to have little effect on the rampaging tribesmen.

Suddenly with a huge roar, the Tribesmen rushed across the open ground towards the road and didn't stop until they had charged the crew of the mountain gun and chopped them to little bits. (The Tribesmen players had had a run of phases and an end of turn meaning that they were able to advance almost unopposed. The commanding officer of the Sikh's was killed dropping their morale to zero and meaning that two of the Sikh sections weren't even deployed!)

Emboldened by the success on the other side of the town, Tribesmen ran towards the other end of the road to seal the British escape route.

Panic ensued in the Village as the Highlanders, with their Flank turned, tried to form some kind of defence.

And also tried to deal with the possible incursion into the village of Tribesmen from the West as well as the North.

In the meantime a Maxim gun was playing merry hell with the Highlanders on the building roofs and cavalry could be seen moving in the valley, getting ready to pounce.

And all the time, tribesmen were appearing in the hills, firing at the increasingly desperate Highlanders.

Finally, after having been pinned by firing from the roofs, the Warband that had defeated the Sikh's and the Mountain gun crew charged down the already wounded British officer who fought form the back of the Crossley Truck with such ferocity that the Tribesmen fled in despair. There was little to be done however and with a final look at the Tribesmen crawling through the hills, the Highlanders called it a day.

Game 2

In a slight reversal of fortunes, the British managed to deploy in a way that put one of the Tribesmens deployment points in immediate danger.

Seeing an opportunity, the Sikh's deployed rapidly and sent a section up the hill to ensure that it was as empty as it seemed to be.

On a neighbouring hill a section of Highlanders deployed to give the Sikhs some support.

Suddenly the hill was full of angry Tribesmen who had been hiding deep in a cave and behind rocks. The Sikh's opened up with everything they had but there seemed to be more Tribesmen that bullets.

The entire Sikh platoon deployed in front of the hill and used disciplined fire to try and thin the numbers of tribesmen crawling over the rocks towards them.

To try and support the beleaguered Sikhs, the armoured cars deployed on the road only to realise that Tribesmen were already in the village and that an ancient brass gun was aiming down the street straight towards them. The gun spouted smoke and flame and the projectile smacked into the front of the lead armoured car, killing the driver and leaving it disabled.

Meanwhile the Sikh's were struggling to hold on with more and more tribesmen attacking them from all angles. They had lost on section already and the other three were suffering from large amounts of shock.

The Highlanders on the neighbouring hill were under pressure from Tribesmen charging up the hill towards them.

Suddenly the Sikh's were charged by Tribal Cavalry.....

but despite being heavily outnumbered and completely doomed, the Sikh's gave an incredibly good account of themselves, killing nearly all the Horsemen and

Although the Sikh's had been knocked out of the game, their stalwart action had caused a serious dent in the enemy's morale and removed many of the Tribesmen form His Majesty's land.

This left the Tribesman in a precarious position as far as their morale was concerned and still needing to remove the Highlanders from the hills outside the town. A last determined charge left them defeated on the bayonets of the brave Scotsmen and with that they melted back into the hills.

Additional pictures from the games

Two very different games using the same scenario. The shear number of tribesmen makes it a real struggle for the British forces but firepower and sensible deployment makes a massive difference. Thanks to everyone that played in the first game David, Nathan, Vince, Peter and Neil, and in the second game I actually got to push some toys around myself! Cheers Chaps!


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post, interesting use of Chain of Command rules. The figures and terrain are superb 👍

  2. This ran very much like our Rif war games - quick and bloody affairs :) Nice photos and AAR :)

  3. lovely terrain, minis and game
    cheers John

  4. Hi. Very interesting! Why play TAW with CoC? I love the rules but hadn't considered that I could use CoC for TAW. Which bits from the array of CoC Abyssinia free downloads did you use please? Terrain and figures look marvellous. See you couldn't resist using the Crossley armoured car. I have 2 for TAW even though they're a later design. They just look the part.

  5. Great game. Thanks for putting it on and to all those who played.