Friday, 29 January 2021

Pushna Punitive Detail the Second...

 If At First You Cock It Up....

Or Pushna revisited..

In the finest traditions of British Imperialism (Stage One; Fail to take preventive precautions/use penny packets or go in at half cock and mess it up.... Stage Two: Go in mob-handed and with overkill to do the ruddy job you should have done/shouldn't have been necessary first time around..) "we" went in again, with back-up; i.e. accompanied by a Royal Artillery gun crew, elements of the Mortar Platoon (5 mortars) and a Sikh mountain gun (with mules - to get a gun on those razorback ridges). 


I upped the number of "possible enemy cards", rejigged the Events table (made punctures and breakdowns less likely) and used a 12D for possible mines/vehicle issues rather than a 6D.

I also decided that "broken" enemy forces 14" or more away from my nearest unit and out of line of sight would not flee off table, but instead halt and attempt to rally (i.e. they were not "enemy running away", but sensible locals pulling out of the wrong kind of fight so as to regroup and rejoin the battle on THEIR terms).

The game started off OK... My plan was to secure the heights Omar and Barga, throw my whole force (still in lorries this time) to the head of the Barga Valley, and set up a position there to bombard the main Plateau before sending in the infantry and Sappers. So far so good. 

Until move two....Mines (two number) encountered in the vicinity of the first culvert breaking up the columns and slowing us down - then, suddenly, rifle fire...


Then more rifle fire. My guys try to drive out of harm's way or respond. More rifle fire... IT'S A TRAP !!!! (OK.. Random "Hidden Enemy" chance throw and card draw; but this smacks of conspiracy..). Aaaand a petrol bomb...

Next thing I know some of my Mountain Gun crew and their mules are on the ground kicking. I throw a Platoon forward and start to debus (well before my intended stopping point).   

The Sikh gunners get their mountain gun put together - despite heavy and close fire from the enemy sangar - and start firing themselves; the bullets falling around them. Only when all are dead or wounded does the crew pull back; with the breech block of their gun. 






The mortars and debussed infantry start laying down suppressing fire, and we set up the R.A. gun. We begin hammering the enemy, but we are still taking casualties. Another truck is nearly got by a petrol bomb.There is a sharp exchange until first one then another enemy force pulls back - and is decimated while doing so.




However, by the time we get going again we have lost the Mule Gun and the Ambulance (the former crew killed or wounded, the latter; crew shot having moved "to a place of safety") plus a scatter of wounded. My men are a little shaken all round.

We press on. In the distance the drone of low flying aircraft; the Events table produces a set of fly-boys; who provoke shooting from the plateau - and one of the planes goes down in flames...  Oh great.... The planes leaved the area; suitable chastened..






The leading Platoon (No. 2) makes their way forward and up Djebel Barga (deja vu anyone) and we take the summit; with its occupants scuttling off. THAT height is now secured. 


The next couple of moves consist of dealing with random groups of locals shooting from the way we've come, shepherd boys lobbing petrol bombs (a nuisance, rather than decisive) and moving to the end of the valley, where we pull over and set up our gun position and mortar pits. The Platoons dig in.  Despite the initial ambush the overall plan to set up a base, bombard the plateau then attack to destroy the targets is all going well.... 



And so it continues: the mortars prove really useful at making the enemy keep their heads down when they appear* and peppering the occupants of the fort we begin a systematic bombardment of the (occupied) enemy fort with the field gun. Few casualties are caused to the occupiers, but eventually some kind of magazine is hit or fires started, and the locals evacuate. Target One destroyed. 





(*Technical Note: I still like using the "Estimate The Range" system when we're dealing with anything other than flat-trajectory fire - I have to be able to hit the target through skill, as well as a dice throw.)

While all this is going on the Sappers wander up to the Shrine and set charges (cultural vandalism is nothing new..). Secondary Target destroyed.

Soon it is time to send in the infantry and Sappers to finish the on on the Plateau.  A few enemy groups pop up on the Plateau and elsewhere - but again; the gun and mortars prove invaluable and they soon scatter.


All seems well. Then tank no. 2 is destroyed by a petrol bomb (Event card), then we run into a problem; the main village is occupied. Not a HUGE headache, but this might slow matters.

I am aware that time is ticking away, but am still happy with progress. A largish enemy unit appears on the south end of the Plateau, but soon pulls away southwards - not contesting the Plateau itself; they seem chary of the mortars.  

I push the armoured car, infantry (Platoons 2 and 3) and the remaining tank at the village and it is cleared - with the bayonet. We have some wounded; these are placed by the road to await transport. The village is set afire while the Sappers make their way up to the Plateau.

Meanwhile, I become aware that the large enemy unit seen on the Plateau earlier is making its way along the south edge of the field. Other bands appear in the vicinity and the picket (No. 1 Platoon) on the heights of Djebel Omar come under fire from the palm grove at the base of the Plateau. We take minor casualties (one wounded, one dead) but suppress enemy fire with the machine gun.  I feel happy this will be contained, but.......


Meanwhile, I also become aware of groups of enemy digging in at the east end of the Barga Valley - our way home. Other sneak forward and begin shooting at the rear of the base - we lose members of the artillery crew and some infantry of 4 Platoon - mainly wounded; but again the mortars are invaluable in seeing the blighters off.



(Note: while this has been going on the wounded members of the Sikh gun crew have driven the ambulance to where their gun had been abandoned. Under fire for much of the time they bury the breech block of the gun, hammer a rock down the barrel, and take the fanbelt from the ambulance, before hiking up Djebel Barga, then down to the main position - still under fire. Only one of them, Gunner. R. Singh makes it - with the Ambulance fanbelt. He and his colleagues will get a mention in the report).  

Up on the Plateau things continue to go well. The tank and armoured car push on, followed by the infantry of 3 Platoon and Sappers. There is no opposition. 

Suddenly disaster: someone, possibly another shepherd boy, lobs a petrol bomb at the vehicles (Event Table). The Artillery Truck goes up in flames - then explodes; wounding members of the Mortar Platoon and killing the Officer Commanding Pushna Field Force - i.e. ME..... Suddenly we have a Command and Control issue. Next in Line of Command is Lt. Potter of 2nd Platoon; but he is up on the Plateau.    


To make matters worse the base comes under fire again from the rear THEN from Djebel Barga, which the enemy have seemingly reoccupied... Also, the large force of enemy to the south starts pushing up the slopes of Djebel Omar, and is joined by others.

Platoon No. 1's southernmost machine gun opens fire - but then disaster: an Event Card launches a hitherto unseen enemy force in a charge at Platoon 1.  The Platoon members in the dip between the two ridges of Djebel Omar are caught in their sangars and cut down. The machine guns on the crests tear into the enemy in the dip; their crossfire causing serious damage; but the remaining enemy groups, inspired by the Local Big man, who was with the force that has made its way from the Plateau, then overwhelm the machine gun nests. Suddenly 1st Platoon has been wiped out.  



With some of my men away on high ground, and my base surrounded on three sides by enemy who outnumber me this is suddenly starting to have an unpleasant "Greasy Grass" vibe... 



Platoon 2 return to their truck, pick up any wounded and make their way back to the main base.  Officer commanding No. 4 Platoon at the base contact the leading tank on the Wireless and updates him. 

Up on the Plateau the Sappers lay charges at the mosque; detonating these before getting back in their truck and heading back to the base via the north entrance to the Plateau, picking up no. 1 Platoon's truck on the way. Meanwhile the tank and armoured car come down off the plateau and also head for the base; as does Platoon 3.

Another force of enemy open fire on the armoured car, but cause no problems. Then, suddenly, Cpt. Marden commanding Tank No. 1 is wounded by a sniper...  


At the base there is incoming from Djebel Barga, but the enemy on Omar content themselves with a desultory fire down into the vehicle pool. The artillery crew are now all casualties (two wounded gunners Willis and Miles, continuing to fire their gun) and the mortar crews also start to suffer. 

Darkness is now approaching (where HAS the time gone?) and things are looking dicey. There are still uncommitted enemy about (a couple of cards in their pile) and every move could bring about an unpleasant Event. At this moment we have vehicles for all the troops, the wounded, the mortars and the field gun. This situation may not last - and with the enemy commanding the heights both side of the valley road AND having a presence on our route home we need to make tracks sharpish....   

On the arrival of 2 Platoon a fire is opened upon the enemy on Barga by all at the base. Platoon 2 storm up the slopes with the bayonet and the enemy - already discomforted by accurate mortar fire, scatter. 



Taking advantage of this it is decided all will climb aboard the vehicles and the force make off; Platoon 2 will proceed along Djebel Barga and rendezvous at the first culvert. As as sniper shoots the commander of Tank 1 there is an organised rush for the vehicles, the gun is lashed to one of the trucks, the mortars packed away and the force moves off; the armoured car machine-gunning the enemy commanding the way back. 



No. 1 tank catches up with the column just as darkness falls.As the force moves away another sniper opens fire, and kills the driver of No. 2 Platoon truck - luckily the last of the soft-skinned vehicles, so no road blockage, but it crashes. We press on...



With the enemy seemingly not pursuing, and No. 2 Platoon (luckily - lucky Command Tokens and dice) racing across and down Barga, we gather the group beyond the first culvert. The fan belt for the Ambulance is refitted, and with the members of Platoon 2 in that and distributed among the other vehicles the force moves off into the night, to safety....


**************************************************************

Conclusion: 

Another exciting, nail-biting operation....  The Targets were all achieved - but at what a cost !!!!  

With one tank and tank commander lost, a Mountain Gun destroyed, an aircraft downed, two trucks lost, serious casualties among the artillerymen and mortar crews, a whole platoon wiped out (with their weapons - including two machine guns falling into the hands of the enemy), plus seven other dead and seven wounded infantry, this was a decisive loss on points to my side... Had my commanding officer not been eliminated he would be having to face some hard questions.. To be frank; I was probably saved from worse by the coming of nightfall and, in the last two moves, a couple of lucky token draws and the enemy having some rubbish dice...  

Lessons learned: More machine guns needed. More mortars or artillery would be useful, as would an additional platoon (or two). More radios (if only.....). 

It has made me ponder as to use of Tactical cards for the locals, to better coordinate their attacks.... 

The tweaks to the Events Table made the game swing along, but still with that "edge" of uncertainty.  

What was interesting was that although I KNOW enemy appearances were random, at times there was a feeling that I had somehow been suckered into a trap. The game kept me on my toes throughout, and was great fun.  

 Next: to think about working from "The Other Side of the Hill", and taking the role of the heroic defenders, rather than the imperials.. 

As always: comments and thoughts welcome.  


Friday, 22 January 2021

The Pushna Valley Fight

 Part One.

Well that's the first fight-through done. A lot of fun but some work needed on the various draft ideas previously mooted.....

Quick run down of what happened (fill in the blanks....)..

Action Report: Operation to Pushna Valley 

06:00: B. Coy. arrive at head of Pushna valley. Establish Assembly Area and First Aid Post with defensive perimeter. Pickets and A.Car 3 put out to prevent surprise.



07:45: No. 1 MG (Ist. Platoon) and 4th Platoon dig-in at Assembly Point. Main force moves W. along Barga Valley.

 

07:50: Mine or IED noted on culvert just W. of Assembly Area. Vehicles go off road to avoid, then rejoin road. 


07:55: Mine or IED destroys lead tank (Lt. Pike commanding) with loss of crew. Column continues to base of Djebel Barga.


08:15: Balance of 1 Pl and 2 Pl. with 3 Pl in support, debus and move up Djebel Barga, in rushes, under covering fire of MG 2. (Ist Pl.).





08:30  On our units approaching the military crest a number of local tribesmen (approx. 30) show themselves. They then make off W. towards the Shrine without returning fire. Troops of 1 & 2 Pls harass with fire. 




08:50 East end of Dhebel Barga is cleared of enemy, who fall back towards the W. end of same. Pl 1 pushes along Djebel Barga. Royal Engineers move to the culvert with the known mine. Trucks of Pls 1 to 3 prepare to move along valley floor.



09:15: A force of enemy appear on the slopes of Djebel Shatar opening fire on  AC 3, shooting out a tyre. There are exchanges between AC 3 and this force for some time, with no damage to either side.





09:30: 1 & 2 Pls continue to advance along Djebel Barga, shadowing enemy, which continues to withdraw. 



10:00: 1 Pl dig in at shrine on Djebel Barga. Exchange shots with enemy force previously encountered, which digs in at base of W. slope of Barga.  Fire fight for some time until enemy finally pull back, having seemingly taken casualties (Note; throughout this operation the enemy carried off their wounded and, it is believed, some of their dead. An accurate tally of enemy casualties is therefore difficult).



10:15: 2 & 3 Pls cross Barga Valley to Djebel Omar. Enemy forces (approx. 30) appear on SE. slopes on Djebel Omar, opening fire on Truck 2, killing driver and assistant and causing vehicle to crash.



10:30: 2 PL continue to engage enemy force on Djebel Omar.

11:00: 2 PL continue to engage enemy force on Djebel Omar. These are reinforced, roughly doubling their number. 




11:20: 3 Pl scales Djebel Omar while enemy engaged with 2 Pl.  Tank 2 moves to W. end of Barga Valley. Platoon 2 take casualties but pin enemy.



12:00: Lt. C. Square, Off. Co. 3 Pl, having taken his men to the N. crest of Djebel Omar, leads the platoon eastwards, flanking the enemy force commanding the Barga road, opening fire and causing them to retire at speed. The enemy make off South, while 3 Pl opens a heavy fire upon them, causing a considerable number of casualties and breaking their resolve to continue. They flee towards Djebel Kourine.




The force of enemy on Djebel Kourine, seemingly alarmed at the damage to their fellows, also withdraw from the immediate area.  

12:30: 3 & 2 Pl.  move W. along the crest and lower N. slopes (respectively) of  Djebel Omar.

13:00: Enemy forces open fire on Tank 2 from the valley between Omar and the main plateau. Another force on the West end of D. Omar appears and opens fire on 2 Pl , which returns fire.


13:50: 3 Pl. advances along the N. crest of Omar. Trucks move along Barga valley. Units pause. Wounded are pulled back. Runner dispatched. 

14:00: A force of enemy cavalry arrive in the valley. 

14:15: Enemy cavalry 
charge and surround the remaining tank but are unable to cause significant damage while both machine guns of the tank engage. 



14:30: Lt. Square is hit by a sniper. Despite his wound he stays with his command. The enemy cavalry are further engaged by MG. fire from the tank and rifle fire from 1 and 2 Pls and break.





14:45: A force of enemy open fire on Pl 1 from the main village. They are engaged by MG 1.  


15:00: The enemy cavalry flee down the Barga valley, and are further discomforted by fire from the Pl 2. They approach the two trucks in the barga valley, the drivers of which smash their way through the fleeing cavalry. The enemy horse continue running eastwards and are engaged by the armoured car before scattering. This force causes no more problems during the course of the operation.



15:30 Pl 2 exchanges fire with the enemy forces in the main valley west of Djebel Omar while Pl 3 
outflanks the enemy force at the west end of the djebel; opening a heavy fire from higher ground and breaking it. The force in the valley is then dispersed by fire from the tank, supporting fire of No. 1 Pl and 3 Pl.


This now leaves the main North-South valley clear. Pls 2 and 3 begin to move towards the village.




16:00: The enemy in the village go to ground after receiving heavy fire from all units in the vicinity, then pull back. The Engineers make their way to Djebel Barga. Meanwhile PL 4, summoned by runner, arrive in their truck at the west end of Barga valley. 

 

16:30 Pls 2 & 3 by a series of rushes cross the main north-south valley. Part of Pl 3, still led by Lt. Square, moves up the slopes to the south of the main village and eventually establishes itself on the plateau, while the remainder of the platoon and Pl 2 give covering fire. The enemy at the village flee, helped on their way by machine gun fire from MG2 at the Shrine and the remaining tank under Sgt. Sponge.

17:00: With the visible enemy in the village begin pulling back. Sgt. Sponge in the tank pushes up the track to the fort.


17:45: The enemy in the village having made off, and with 3 PL already on the plateau, 4 Pl, accompanied by MG 1 of 1 PL, in their vehicle make their way up towards the fort, followed by the Sappers. 



18:00: A force of enemy concealed in the fort opens fire on Pl 4's vehicle, killing the driver and assistant. The truck, out of control, crashes from the narrow track onto rocks, killing several members of Pl 4, including OC Lt. Hodges, and wounding a number of others.  




18:15: The occupants of the fort come under sustained machine gun fire from the machine guns of 1 Pl and the tank, as well as rifle fire from the survivors of 4 Pl and long range fire from 1Pl at the shrine. 

18:30: With the enemy in the fort pinned by the concentrated fire from the platoons and machine guns Sgt. Sponge takes his tank round the side of the fort and drives straight through the main gate, machine gunning the ramparts from the inside. Shot at from both front and rear the occupants of the fort promptly surrender.



18:45: The Engineers drive up to the fort. A force of enemy camelry appear in the main valley.



19:00: The Engineers set charges in the fort. Enemy prisoners are ushered out of the village; the tank escorting, along with the wounded and remainder of Pl 4.


19:30: The enemy camel force moves northwards along the valley and comes under fire from Pl. 2 and 3. The camelry  swiftly pull back, encountering the enemy force which had moved from Djebel Kourine to the west end of Djebel Shatar.



19:45: The charges at the fort are detonated. The engineers move on to set charges in the village with Pl 3 to support. It is now getting dark, with a possibility the demolition of the village may need to be abandoned. What trucks remain are brought up for the wounded.  Pl 2 is pulled back to secure the N.W. slopes of Djebel Omar. 

    

20:15: No further enemy appear. The engineers board their truck and leave the village, followed by Pl 3. The charges set on the important buildings in the village are detonated.


20:30: The heights of Djebels Barga and Omar being secured by Pls 1 and 2 the force pulls back along the Barga Valley without further incident.



Summary:

The two main targets were successfully destroyed and the defenders are believed to have suffered around sixty eight casualties, along with the loss of six prisoners. 

During the operation one officer (Lt. Hodges, 4 Pl) and fourteen other ranks from the company were lost, as were the crews of Tank A (Lt. Pike and Cpl. Walker) and two trucks. One officer (Lt. Square, 3 PL) and eight men were wounded.

Note that included in the above are Lt. Hodges and eight other ranks of Pl 4 who lost their lives, four other ranks being injured, when their truck went off the road after the driver was shot while at the wheel. 


Commendations:

All ranks performed their duties to the high standards expected of the Regiment. However, it would be remiss not to mention t
he prompt and bold actions carried out by Lt. C. Square OC 3 Pl throughout the mission.

In leading his men to decisively disperse a considerable number of the enemy on Djebel Omar (who, had they simply been discomforted and gone to ground in the vicinity of Djebel Shatar, would have posed a threat to both the Assembly Area and our Line of Communication, and thus severely impeded the Operation) showed initiative and leadership 
concomitant with the traditions of the Regiment.

In continuing to lead his platoon, despite
 being wounded by enemy fire, Lt. Square showed determination and commitment to the work in hand; continuing to lead his command to help clear the main valley of enemy, leading his platoon across said valley and taking and securing the south side of the enemy village. He and his men then held position, covering the work of the Engineers until dusk, before Lt Square lead his command back to the main column, covering the withdrawal; making 3 PL the last unit to quit the target area. 

It might be noted that, despite the key part played by 3 Pl. during the mission, only one serviceman was lost killed and only two members of the platoon (including Lt. Square) wounded.

I should also like to commend Sgt. Sponge and Trooper Jones of 3rd Lt Coy Royal Tank Regiment for their initiative and boldness throughout the action.

Maj. G. Wilson
Officer Commanding B Company
1st. Bn. Loamshire Reg. 

*****************************************************************


Conclusion: 

Well, hardly a stunning victory.... Points-wise it was a skin of the teeth win, but the Butcher's Bill was higher than it ought to have been (despite my cautious approach) and neither of the Secondary Targets were affected (it was too late in the evening to take a swipe at the shrine on the way back, and I didn't want to risk an ambush of the column as we pulled back by hanging about). No commendation for me. I expect a rocket from the Colonel, and there will be a certain amount of tutting behind my back in the Mess. However, young Lt. Square's actions (and the need for something positive to overshadow the muck-up I made) may mean that what folk remember is the the gong he's been put up for....



Technical and Other Lessons:

Well, THAT was stressful. Fun, but stressful......

First I got freaked out by the early loss of the lead tank (with it's radio) and was too cautious early on as a result (my men did a LOT of walking..).

I was also perhaps too worried about a sudden enemy swoop on the First Aid Post, and so effectively lost a platoon, a machine gun and the armoured car for most of the mission. Every time that particular dice throw rattled I was nervous; especially once Platoon Four left for the Front.. 

Rule-wise things were OK, but with some work being needed for the next play-through..

I had set a limit to the number of moves I could make before darkness forced me to withdraw. This was fine in itself, but I found that the "Tiffin" token (SP) method slowed things too much - for both sides, so that after about eight or so moves I decided the token mix needed tweaking. I took out the "Tiffin" token, added a Blank counter, and played a variant on the NMTB method, pulling tokens from the tub until only TWO tokens were left. THAT was now the signal for the end of the move. This was a vast improvement.

NO petrol bombs appeared. I - as the Player - was happy with that, but this didn't help the defenders. This was down to the Events Pack draw (I had an "Events" token in the token mix. This kinda worked, but made me nervous; which, while good in terms of solo-tension, felt "wrong"). I need to redraft the Events Table. I MAY think more about how Events are prompted and need to up the chances of petrol bombs (Dagnabbit..).


The IED/Mines issue was a constant worry for me right up until we got to the Plateau and the (one) track we were using had been driven over enough to "clear" it. The Zone principle for the mines was fine; I was nervous every time a vehicle or tank moved along a track. I suppose that was right, from a "realism" point of view,  but boy did it make the "game" more stressful. I was painfully aware the whole time that just one explosion of a loaded vehicle could badly cut my (small) force and throw all plans out the window (the loss of Platoon 4's truck to enemy fire just when victory seemed in my grasp felt like a total disaster).

Also, the "off-road puncture" process was too punishing - it's not in the report but we had four punctures in all, and several near misses (including the only serviceable tank nearly throwing a track) only one due to enemy action. I was wondering at one stage if I was going to have to make a "strip any salvageable tyres from the wrecks" rule... This needs more work BUT did force me to keep to the dreaded ("OMG; are they mine-ridden?") roads, so, again, felt "real"....

SO: more work on Chance Events needed - but not so much that I stop biting my nails..

Operationally the rules were fine (Home-bashed & updated TMWWBK; with added shooting). 

"Enemy Generation" was the old Hidden Enemy Card Trick (six on a dice on unit movement or at move end prompt a card; in this case, with a finite enemy and at 6mm, I simply used all the cards from a single suit with a stand of three figures per card "pip"), with Blinds" for the cavalry/camelry (moved by Token draw until within LoS or prompted by Events table). 


The locals behaved in character - making off if unable to regain their Mojo, or if freaked by flanking or by folks being above them. HAD I camped on the field (due to darkness) all "routed" enemy would come back into play. I perhaps need to think about rallying. The MHWBK morale rules assume a small field, so routing meaning gone for ever makes sense. On my table the guys could have fled to another "valley" half a kilometre or more from the action easily. Should they have had a chance to regroup and get their bottle up..? I think perhaps so; it looked a log way to run, at times, on the table.... More thought needed..   

Evacuating the wounded was a real concern (as it should be), but the process worked.

I was a bit worried, after the event, about my chaps' bodies (strange I know). The question was "Should I have factored in time for burial details at Mission End?" (and hence risk of more losses).

I perhaps need to do some research about period practice. I know of tales of burial in the field earlier on NW Frontier to prevent mutilation, but I'm not sure what happened 1930s. I suspect any decision on the spot would be based on practicalities/pragmatism, with no hard and fast doctrine or policy. Or is this a step too far ? Were I gaming a modern U.S. forces action that WOULD, presumably, be a significant factor, so.. Needs more thought perhaps.... (?)

In gaming what was essentially a near 1:1 20thC skirmish over a large field the message that came home was very much "every man is important" and even moving about and commanding is irksome.... That was, I felt, a healthy counter to the "moving tokens on  board" direction many games take.  


  Operationally the biggest headache overall was Command and Control...How do you C&C a scattered Company, in broken country, with no platoon-level radios, no cohort and century standards, no trumpets and drums, no squadron of mounted Aides de Camp happy to fly handwritten missives across the field in the teeth of the enemy - and who know where you are for replies - but, instead are relying on only one Runner - your Batman - who has already gone off with a message.....??

The answer: either pull a guy out of the firing line (NO... Not with the Platoon down to fourteen shooters or less) or run about like the proverbial Azure Anussed Insect yourself... "MY" figure was running hither and thither; shouting at truck drivers, updating or instructing subalterns - and standing, red-faced and puffing, under the gaze of sardonic-eyed Sappers - for a good third of the game....

A reflection of reality perhaps ? But something needs to be done, so I can sit back in the coolth of a tent and direct the battle at the end of a Wireless..... ( : ) )

More research needed. Meanwhile, re. period communication issues, I stumbled across this: 

https://royalsignalsoperationalawards.com/2018/01/04/the-shahur-tangi-ambush-north-west-frontier-1937/

(Family connection alert: father was in the Signals - pic below. Not THIS conflict, obviously.. But seriously.. Would ANYONE want to be O.C. of THIS guy... ;) )
 

Biggest lesson of the operation: we should have bought artillery, or at least mortars and 2 pounders on the tanks (as advised before the mission by fellow solo gamer Steven).  "I told you so," say the Gunners, "Ubique, remember...?"

Overall this was an interesting, thought-provoking, if stress-filled, exercise, well worth repeating... Onwards and upwards.

As always; snipes, queries, suggestions and comments welcome...
  

Oh dear....

 No Real excuses... Only.... 1) It's been too hot to think about playing, up in the attic.... 2) I was reading  Pratchett's   "...