Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Osona Scenario Development - Armored Trains and Herero Rifles in 1904 (Part III)

Osona gameboard
Armored Trains and Herero Rifles at Osona Skirmish
Here is a work in progress: the main elements of a scenario I'm designing to wargame Leutnant Voigts' Maschinengewehr Expedition by train to relieve Okahandja on January 13, 1904 and the fight near Osona station.

For scale, the train bridge over the dry Swakop River on the base map at left is 16" on a 3' x 4' table.  There is dense bush near the river on both sides and the cliffs to the East are as steep as those at Otjosongombe described in the Jones/Alvarado Herero Wars Scenario and Rules Book (which forms the basis for the modified rules used for this scenario). The river banks are steep as well.  The stone house near the North edge of the board belongs to Herero Councillor Barnabas.

When play begins there are 3 Schutztruppen scouts in the riverbed at the bridge led by Unteroffizier Bahrs. The rest of the Germans have entered from the South with the train and are repairing the rails at the south end of the bridge.  The Germans have one pair of Zwillinge (twin) locomotive engines pushing from the rear served by two white engineers and two native train crew.  In front of the engines are a water tender and two open cars reenforced with sandbags.  The second car has a machine gun served by 3 men.   The train can be used as excellent cover for men on the far side but must stand still or move slowly.  The machine gun is vulnerable to fire from above if the train stands still. 

Lt. Gustaf Voigts was a resourceful officer and has multizug leadership abilities under the Herero Wars Scenario and Rulebook rules.  He has 28 Schutztruppen on the train in addition to the machine gun crew at the train and enough officers (Lt. Maul, Lt. Boysen and Deckoffizier  Uhlmann) to field 4 Schutztruppe Zuge.   Some of these, however, are needed as laborers assisting noncombatants Eisenbahn-Direktor Henning, Senior Mail Clerk Bartoschad and Postman Wolter with repairing the track and telegraph lines.

The German objective is to repair any breaks in the line or wires and advance off the Board at the north end with the train.  The yoke rails have been repaired at the south end of the bridge when play begins.  They can earn points by repairing track and telegraph wire, clearing any derailed cars, and killing Hereros and Herero leaders.

The Hereros have 8 horsemen who are scouting downriver of the Bridge when play begins, four 8-man Zuge concealed in the dense thorns north of the bridge, and four more Zuge concealed on the cliffs to the East.   There are two more Herero Zug that enter from the NW in turn 3 with Samuel Maherero himself.   Accounts vary as to their actual numbers and for game balance I've kept them lower than the Germans estimated.  We do not know who lead them, but candidates include Ouandja, who was at Okahandja, and both Assa Riarua and Samuel Maharero who were both at their hilltop refuge at Osona (not the station where the action took place but 20K sw of Okahandja.  At the actual fight, the rails had all been disabled when the Germans reached each section (derailing the lead car the final time).  In this scenario, the Germans can discover that the rails north of the bridge are disabled if they scout north of the bridge before the train crosses.  Otherwise the lead car risks derailing and the Germans will have to try to push it over off the embankment and clear the tracks before they can proceed with repairs and advance.  The yoke rails have been removed on the north side of the bridge and the Hereros can disable two more sections of track if they are not interrupted (in the dense thorns north of the bridge and opposite the stone house).  It takes 2 Herero Zuge to remove a section of track each turn and two German Zuge to repair it or overturn a train car.  The Hereros will start to remove rails under cover of the dense thorns closer to the bridge in Turn 1 and will only break off if attacked.

The Herero objective is to drive off the Germans and prevent the train from passing on to Okahandja.   They can earn points by disabling track, killing the train crew and killing Germans.  German wounded rules apply. 
I'm working on rules for train speed, spotting broken track and derailments.  Ideas welcome.

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