WORKERS! PEASANTS! COMRADES!
The recent cowardly and unprovoked attack by imperialist counter revolutionary forces on the Third Workers and Peasants Shock Brigade must not sway us from our duty to spread the message of proletarian revolution to the downtrodden masses of Mongolia!
It is a mere inconsequential set back that we face in our inevitable and irrepressible onward progress to Urga. There we will be able to provide fraternal support to our Mongolian brothers and sisters, as they struggle to overcome the decadent repressive bourgeois counter revolutionary forces of imperialist aggression that have so recently sabotaged our efforts.
It is clear that these saboteurs must have infiltrated our ranks and caused our tanks to blow up and our aircraft to crash in flames! Only such an underhand and cowardly wrecking can explain the outcome of our battle with the British Museum and it’s so called archaeological expedition, a shabby camouflage for an imperialist counter revolutionary intervention no less!
Fear not Comrades, for I have telegrammed a full report of this dastardly attack to our central party apparatus, in which I have requested armoured train reinforcements to replace our losses and to bring the full might of proletarian justice to bear on these capitalist agents of reactionary repression.
Onward to Victory!
Comrade Colonel Igor Tubugerov
(big words by People’s Commissar Nasti Tchestikov)
As previously reported by Wei Phat Mac himself no less, this was a decisive victory for the Chinese Warlord and his fanatically loyal rag tag army. It started well for the eponymous generalissimo, with a Special Character, the shady arms dealer Herbert Maximoff, providing a captured Red Army Austin armoured car as a temporary reinforcement for the Chinese.
This enabled the Chinese Warlord to deploy his army in a pincer formation, using the armoured cars to protect his flanks whilst advancing in the centre with his cavalry and infantry, holding the elite Dare to Die and Assault troops in reserve. The Japanese responded by deploying their infantry and cavalry in extended line using a combined arms approach, covered by an armoured car, supporting artillery and heavy machine guns.
In the initial turns, the centre ground became the scene of a hard fought fire fight, with the Japanese infantry and cavalry advancing to meet the Chinese forces. Both sides suffered crippling casualties in the exchange of rifle and machine gun fire, although the Japanese seemed to take the brunt of the damage. Before long the action descended in to a series of hand to hand melees, with the cavalry and infantry of both sides engaged in a slogging match to decide the day.
In the end, the hand to hand close combat took a massive toll on both the Chinese and the Japanese forces but the weight of fire from the Chinese armoured cars, the stubbornness of the Chinese foot troops in the melee and the cumulative losses on the Japanese side led to the Chinese sweeping the field. The Imperial Japanese commander, General Sushi Miyagi, ordered a fighting retreat and the disciplined remnants of his once proud army disengaged to fight another day.
A humdinger indeed and a great start to the campaign!
Governor Wei Phat Mac and his loyal troops today showed what a poorly armed but well led and motivated body of soldiers could achieve.
The chinese went forward on all fronts and attacked the Japanese at every opportunity, indeed they showed aggressiveness almost to the point of foolhardiness, using the japanese tactics against themselves and continuing to attack in waves of troops against supposedly professional soldiers.
With calvary and armoured cars on both flanks they crushed the enemy who continually moved his heavy ordnance to try and counter the pincer but ultimately got destroyed having inflicted minimal losses on the chinese.
Of special note was calvaryman Cho who single handedly swept around the enemy rear and only due to his tired horses stumble at the final moment of close quarter fighting with the japanese general did he lose his life as he fell on to the enemies blade, thus failing to deliver his own killing stroke.
These attacks were cheered on by Wei Phat Mac and his sword waving friend Eric Wong whose colleage knelt at his feet in awe of the troops bravery.
Tonite Wei and his closest aides and colleagues enjoy the fruit of their victory drinking good scotch whisky and enjoying the company of some Japanese concubines found in the enemy camp,
The first game in the Back of Beyond club campaign turned out to be a complete debacle for the Third Workers and Peasants Shock Brigade and its commander, Comrade Colonel Igor Tubugerov. Although accompanied by Vladimir Proletarski, the ace Soviet secret agent and rabble rouser, the Bolsheviks got off to a bad start by failing to win over the enemy’s Mongol cavalry contingent to the revolutionary cause.
The British Museum Archaeological Expedition then proceeded to run rings around the Reds and shot them to pieces, using a combination of machine gun armed improvised vehicles, a heavy armoured car, an HMG and a mountain gun, whilst the Bolsheviks ran for the nearest cover in the woods. The Red’s Schneider tank and fighter aircraft were knocked out early in the game leaving the infantry scrambling into the treeline under a hail of machine gun bullets.
Meanwhile, the British Museum expedition party enjoyed a lovely picnic in their own neck of the woods, with Brigadier Cholmondely-Warner providing a very decent lapsang souchong to accompany the scones. The picnic was disturbed at one point by a low flying Bolshevik aircraft but this was dealt with by Ms Muggins of the Asian Antiquities Department, using her Lewis gun. This was the only taste of action for the British expedition team itself, so they settled down to their refreshments and politely ignored the awful din.
In the end the Reds were cut off and surrounded by Mongol cavalry, Chinese coolies and the advancing British improvised armoured vehicles, which seemed to be virtually invulnerable to the machine gun fire and artillery shells of the Bolshevik defenders. At the end of Turn Four, Comrade Colonel Igor Tubugerov decided to do exactly that, with a full retreat from the field of battle before the whole army was bagged by Cholmondely-Warner’s tea party.
I’m sure that a slightly different and ideologically correct version of events will be presented by the Third Workers and Peasants Shock Brigade mobile propaganda concert party at some point very soon?
It’s the first turn of the Back of Beyond multiplayer club campaign and tomorrow will see two of the three battles that are taking place this turn, fought out at Badger Farm Community Centre between the rival opposing forces.
The first game will involve the Third Peasants and Workers Shock Brigade under Comrade Colonel Igor Tubugerov, taking on the stiff upper lipped English gentlemen and ladies of the British Museum Archaeological Expedition, under the unflappable leadership of Brigadier (Retd.) H.W.A. Cholmondely Warner. Who knows what will happen?
The second game is a more conventional clash between the Imperial Japanese Army flying column of General Sushi Miyagi and the rag tag but fanatical army of Chinese Warlord, His Excellency Wei Phat Mac. This promises to be a bit of a hum dinger, especially as both sides will be bringing some ‘interesting’ and effective units to battle and quite a lot of supporting ironmongery.
A full after action report for both of these momentous military matters will no doubt follow, once the dust has well and truly settled.
The orders are in and the battles for Turn One are now arranged ready for the campaign to swing into action. There are three meeting engagements this turn:
The British Museum ATTACKS The Bolsheviks
The Chinese Warlord ATTACKS The Japanese
The French Expedition ATTACKS The Whites
The Mad Baron is FORCE MARCHING.
The games will be played out at the club over the next few weeks, with after action battle reports and propaganda broadcasts soon to follow. Those who win the battles in Turn One will march ahead in the race to cross the Gobi, whilst those defeated will remain trailing behind. Onwards to victory!
The Back of Beyond campaign is beginning next month, so orders have been requested from the seven players taking part. The umpire will match up the players with their chosen opponents and battle will commence, with games being played at the club between now and the end of November. Each player is competing to reach the city of Urga in Outer Mongolia, whoever gets there first winning the Back of Beyond campaign. The first turn of games will be crucial, as one or more players may get an early head start, although the losers won’t have to fall back if when they are defeated or make an unsuccessful forced march. Onwards to Victory!
The Back of Beyond Campaign uses a simple but effective order system for each turn. To keep things easy to understand, I’ve provided a brief explanation here, so that everyone will know how it works. It does rely on some email communications and some organisation by the umpire to sort things out and to match up the players for their games, but otherwise it is pretty straightforward.
The objective is to reach the ancient town of Urga by crossing the Gobi desert. Each commander has a particular reason to reach the city as set out in their individual campaign briefing. All armies begin SIX ‘steps’ away from the town. Each of these ‘steps’ represents a turn in the campaign. Each turn the players have one of three options:
- Do nothing and stay put.
- Conduct a forced march across the desert
- Attack an enemy of choice from the list of players
As there is no consideration of the relative position of the different armies there is no restriction on choice of opponent. Each turn one player will be given the initiative and will select his/her options first. This will be determined on a rota basis, using an alphabetical list of the players. The other players will then select their options in descending order of initiative.
The options chosen for each turn of the campaign will be e-mailed to the umpire by a date set and the outcome determined i.e. meeting engagements allocated, results of forced marches determined etc. These instructions will then be posted on the club website to allow players to set up their games. The time available for these games to be resolved will be flexible to account for holidays, but will typically be between four and six weeks, with an obvious end date for completion.
If one player is attacked by another player with the initiative, then the orders issued for their army will be cancelled and there will automatically be a meeting engagement between the two forces. If two players attack each other in their orders, this will also result in a Meeting Engagement game.
If two or more players attack the same army, the armies will be paired off according to initiative. Any players whose choice of opposing army has already been allocated to another player with a higher initiative, will have the chose of attacking another player further down the initiative hierarchy or may elect one of the other options i.e. forced marched or remain stationary.
The results of a Forced March order will be determined by the umpire according to a modified version of the official supplement rules i.e. the umpire will roll a D6 with the following outcomes: 1-2 advance one step, 3-4 remain stationary, 5-6 retire one step away from Urga.The consequences of a successful forced march will also be applied in any subsequent battle that occurs in the following turn. This means some of the players units may fail to turn up for the battle.
If any player does not wish to take part in a game in a particular month for any reason e.g. work commitments, holidays etc. they must inform the umpire in plenty of time so that other players don’t attack the absent players army. Their army is assumed to have remained stationary for that turn and will be omitted from the initiative rota.
You are an American oil prospecting expedition under the leadership of Texan wildcat oil tycoon U.R.Barking. You are exploring the wastes of the Gobi Desert in search of a big strike.
As a result you have assembled a convoy of vehicles and a motley team of engineers, surveyors and roustabouts to survey potential oil fields along the trail to Urga. You will be travelling through hostile territory infested with bandits and renegades, so you have come armed to the teeth and ready to shoot first and ask questions later.
You have hired a small band of White Russian mercenaries to escort you across the desert and provide some additional firepower. You have improvised some armoured trucks using boiler plate and a couple of spare machine guns that you acquired ‘no questions asked’ from a disreputable arms dealer. You are also equipped with an army surplus aircraft, which will be used to scout ahead of the convoy and as aerial support in case of attack.
You are able to hire the services of an ex-WW1 fighter ace, Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Eagelberger who has been touring the region with his barnstorming flying circus having fallen on hard times. He is an outstanding pilot and a specialist in aerial dogfighting, having shot down twenty three opponents single handed over the Western Front.
(This ‘Dinosaur Hunter’ based force is a veteran of two previous campaigns but will not be taking part in the current Back of Beyond shenanigans. It may make an occasional appearance along the way, however, when it will stand in for other players who can’t make it that turn.)