Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The Second Anglo-Boer War in 54mm: The Guerrilla Raid

"Do they know it's Christmas-time at all"

It's winter 1899. The Boer forces just ended the fighting at Colenso with a victory over the Commonwealth troops. But at tremendous costs. Orange-Freestate is drained for supplies. The coming up Christmas celebrations will be poor amongst the commandos in the field and the hard pressured Boer homesteads.

Commandant Christiaan de Wet's field forces scout out the entire region. Their intelligence pin point a recently erected British supply depot at the rail crossroads at Springfontein. They make camp in the vicinity of Spitskop, Northwest of the target, with quick advance route possibilities through Waterkloof. The plan is a hit and run attack. Grab as many supplies, arms and ammunition as possible in the shortest possible time and burn the waste. Commonwealth mounted infantry is patrolling the whole area constantly and armored trains, crowded with fresh khaki troops, ride to and fro, unscheduled.    

 How this came to grips 

Postings on this blog can travel all over the world. That's how Nick (Stern) read one of my previous publications on the Boer War subject. He advised me a scenario from a wargaming magazine (was it wargaming illustrated?) and on my request, did send it to me, by email. It took me some time to get enough 'men'power to play the piece in it's full extend. 
Every (school)holiday Stan and I try to plan one gaming day with each other. This game was played on such an occasion.

Fog of War

In between playing below game and publishing it here are plenty of months. Lost my initial pictures of it due to a computer failure. But some were retrieved from other media (facebook: the Batavian painted toysoldiers) by me on the subject. And now here it is.   

The table setup as in a the drawing below.

Early in the morning...

With only a few khaki’s on the guard and the rest vast asleep in their bunks, the approach of the first Boer unit is an easy cake. The British sentinel up the watertower, is most of the time gazing in the distant haze for possibly relief forces. Christmas time in this posting was not his cup of tea. The fodder was badly cooked and he has a nasty cough due the chill nights in this god forbidden place. 

The watertower is a Playmobil item.

Entering the gametable from zone 16 (see numbers in Fig.2), the first group of Boer soldiers find easy cover behind rocky outcrop number 1. It’s a mixed bag, consisting of men from the Timpo Actionpack region, genuine Replicants, Germans from Jean Hoefler. Some are converted in various manners, others only painted in suitable colourschemes and based.

Various brand figures beefed-up with greenstuff bandoleers and beards. The loose equipments from Expeditionairy Force    come in handy on figs. as the brown shirted Bitterender center-front.

It takes serious time for the khaki guardsmen to notice and identify the troubles up ahead. Against all common army regulations , no picket-duty was put out before the lines. Resulting in an immediate hazzardous situation, very nearby the targetted defensive structure. An improvised barrage is build with furniture and all kinds of farm utensils. The men scatter behind it, trying to pick off Boer characters. But their fire is inaccurate and slow. Soon they are themselves targetted by spot-on Mauser visors with sturdy Boer gunmen behind it. It’s first blood! The redcoats are thrown back and the Boers drive them from the storehouse, making way to the supply-train in the back of the building. 

Commonwealth troopers  from ACTA, Deetail Britains and Airfix conversions.

Crates, boxed and barrels offer the finest sniping positions for keen eyes.

Meanwhile the whole British garrison is involved in the turmoil. Three battle hardened Boer units are busy encircling the supply dump and it’s defenders, who suffer severely. One Boer unit is in the procedure of limbering the loaden wagons and about to ride them off. Then, chance (the dice) offers the Brits their narrow escape. Two units of mounted infantry arrive from sectors 7 and 8, immediately threatening the guerrilla action, in the abduction of the supplies. With one Bitterender unit tending to the transports, only two can now oppose the fresh troops. 

British mounted infantry unit trying to tame three units of unleashed Boers
But these fresh Khaki’s can not turn the tide again. The Boer numbers and accuracy count up. And soon this attempt to safeguard the valued accoutrements and food supplies is evaporated. Three wagons depart in Northern direction, followed by the remaining Boers who cover the rear of the column...... as a distant steam whistle sounds sharp and intense...reinforcements! 

An armoured train arrived. A naval brigade heavy machinegun in the front, Welsh and Scottish infantry, a unit each. But they’re too late. The men are only to witness the wastes set to fire by a brave Boer volunteer.

I appreciate every feedback on the posting!


  1. Hi Marcel,

    Happy to see you active again. Hope you can retrieve the pics. Sorry for the late reply. I was "out" for some time with health issues.


  2. Great conversions, I really like the Deetail highlanders.

    1. Thanks Brian. It is what I like best. Producing your own unique figures.

  3. Wonderful AAR! Great terrain, figures and photos! I have played this scenario twice before and each time it was a real nail biter.

    1. I've only played it once now. But in general the odds for the Boers in my conflicts are the better ones.