Friday, 22 October 2021

Setting the East Ablaze Dunsterforce game

Will, Ian, Andrew and I played out a game of Setting the East Ablaze at the club last night.  We opted for scenario 1 from the Adventures of Dunsterforce Supplement, with the British sending an Indian Army force northwards through Persia in an attempt to head off an Ottoman army heading for Baku and its' oilfields.  A large game, 8 units of Cossack infantry, 2 of Cossack cavalry and a unit of British Hussars, supported by HMGs and mountain guns and a Martinsyde ground attack aircraft, taking on 12 large units of Jungali irregulars, supported by HMGs.  Dunsterforce entered on the road to the left of the photo below and had to skirt or go over the ridge in the foreground, to reach the bridge and cut off the Jungali retreat/reserves.  Troops and terrain are all from Will's collection.

Detail of the river and crossing (totally unlike the real bridge) with chopped up matting representing scrub along the river banks and at the foot of the stone scattered ridge.

The Jungalis or Junglies as British troops referred to them, dug into shallow trenches and rifle pits on the banks of the river and took to ground in the scrubby areas and amongst the rocks on the ridge (hidden from British airpower).

Said British air power, here a Spowith Camel, representing a flight of 2 Martinsyde aircraft.

View from the Martinsyde at the end of turn 1.  The combined Cossacks and tiny British contingent are advancing either side of the road, mounted Cossacks and British armoured cars advancing around the Tea House near the curve in the road.  Cossack infantry form a densely bunched mass attempting to push up onto the ridge.  The Jungalis have triggered their ambushes, with one spectacularly successful ambush routing a Cossack infantry unit (dead are piled on the hilltop lower left).  Jungali reserves pile over the bridge (lower right) to form a conveyor belt feeding fresh natives onto the ridge to hold off the Cossacks.

Jungalis facing the stiff upper lip of dismounted Hussars, bolstered by a Lewis LMG.

The Cossacks still bunched up.  The two chaps in front of their main body are routing.

After a second round of play, another Cossack infantry unit has broken on the run up the hill.  However, Jungali ranks on the hill top have been spread thin, but help is on the way as reserves are fed forwards.

A big Jungali highpoint was almost wiping out the British Hussars, although they managed to pass all but one morale test, leaving them pinned.  The British armoured cars were determined to wipe out the Jungali HMG team at the end of the ridge.

Cossack mountain artillery pounded the Jungalis on the ridge nearest the camera, thinning them out considerably, but they were holding on for now.

This was a very large scenario and we were very ambitious trying it out in an evening.  However, it did let us practice using a variety of troop types, as well as artillery, airplanes and armoured cars.  The scenario looks to be a tough nut to crack for the British/Cossack forces and the Jungalis were holding their own at the end having done for 2 units of Cossack infantry and the British Hussars.  Still some questions to iron out in the rules and need to get more familiar with the rules, but lots of potential and a fun and attractive looking game.

Thanks for looking.


  1. Excellent Chaps!! A rule set I have always liked the look of. I've got all the supplements but never got around to playing it.

    1. It plays well, although took us a while to pick up, but it was a huge scenario and used almost all the rules. Bit I liked was that the rules can be applied to earlier Victorian era colonial battles right through to early WW2 (including the Iraq campaign).

      Cheers, Andy

  2. I did wonder afterwards if the units in the rocks should have been around the base of the mountain not along the length of the ridge, as more as a flanking threat to moves across the ridge rather than threatening the road directly.

    1. The deployment as written gave the Jungali 3 units plus an HMG hidden in the scrub at the base of the ridge and 2 units plus an HMG hidden in the rocks on top of the ridge. With 2 units plus an HMG off table in reserve, it only left 5 units on table to man the double line of trenches. I'm not sure how appropriate Mr Shawski's Cossacks frontal assault on the ridge was without a left hook from the cavalry and armoured cars moving around the ridge. The Jungali were just going to keep feeding units up onto the ridge to keep the Cossacks busy, unless the chaps in trenches were put under pressure.

      Cheers, Andy