The Battle of Keren
On Thursday night, with the kids banished to the land of the Grandparents, I was at last able to return to the White Hart and have a game with James. This was a warm-up of sorts for the game that James and Scrivs are staging at Salute and that somehow I have inveigled my way into joining.
The game is based on the Battle of Keren, in which British and Indian forces fought up some spectacularly gruelling mountains to dislodge the Italians and their Ethiopian allies. James has designed some jaw-droppingly good scenery which John Grant has helped him build and James and Scrivs have been churning out Perry 8th army men like they’re going out of fashion. So all is set for a splendid looking display at Salute. All that really remains is to drill the assorted helpers and hangers on such as myself in the intricacies of playing I Ain’t Been Shot Mum - the chosen rule set.
The following pictures show really only the detail of the battle – James wants to save the “big reveal” of the terrain for the event itself - and rightly so - so do try and get along, it does look amazing. I took command of two squads of infantry with some support scaling the cliffs to assault Italians and their Askaris dug in in an old fort at the top of the hill. To my left Mark commanded a similar force whilst the fiendish axis powers were led by the two Jameses.
What ensued was a really good game, with lots of exciting incidents, dodgy Italian accents and moments of derring-do. Having not been enamoured of my previous experiences with TFL rules I have to say that I really liked how this set worked with this number of figures – the cards giving the right “fog of war” element and the results being (to my admittedly limited knowledge) pretty plausible for the events depicted.
British and Indian support troops at the foot of the cliffs
The fortunes of the cards meant I was able to lay smoke to cover my advance, and so, although my progress was slower I was able to mount a more determined assault on the defending Italians. Mark’s squads made more rapid progress but were exposed and hurled back by the defenders.
The British columns advance on the cliffs
Before commencing the gruelling climb
At the top Askaris and their Italian masters await them
Mortar fire keeps the Askaris pinned down
Fixing bayonets "Binky" orders his men to charge!
Cinema moments saw Sergeant Reg Cunk (a County cricketer in civilian life) attempt to hurl a grenade at a lurking Italian sniper who was holding up the attack, only to cop a bullet straight between the eyes, leaving the rest of his men to charge up the hill with cries of “Revenge for Reg!” on their lips. Meanwhile Lieutenant “Binky” Fortescue, abandoning his customary position at the rear, led the men in a final assault and fell to his doom down the mountain locked in a deadly embrace with the Italian commander Bruschetta.
Silhouetted against the smoke Luigi "Dead-eye" Rigatoni takes aim at the advancing British
The final moments of Sgt Cunk's unsuccessful bid for a VC
"Revenge for Reg!"
A great game with splendid chaps, good rules and stunning models and scenery – that’s the way to spend an evening!