Kaskowiski 1873 inspired scenario

The Kaskowiski invasion hoax of 1873 set me thinking about future games scenarios that could be based around the supposed or suggested incident. After all, that is what the author or newspaper editor of the Daily Southern Cross David Luckie intended in his May 1873 article,  published in February 1873, to stir up concern over New Zealand’s naval and land defences. Eventually continued concern led to the building of fortified batteries.

Where would I get a suitable coastal fort or battery as a focus for a game?

I  have explored Victorian and later adapted wartime forts and gun batteries  in the West Country ranging from Pendennis Castle

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/pendennis-castle/

in Falmouth and its sister fort of St Mawes (both English Heritage) along with the St. Antony Battery and Lighthouse nearby (National Trust) and similar adapted fortifications in the Scilly Isles. I was familiar with the underground passageways and ammunition stores, mess rooms, ventilation grilles and concrete gun emplacements that might be found in such coastal  forts.

There are some interesting photographs of Victorian coastal forts and artillery on the internet, ranging from Britain to New Zealand.

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Fort Jervois (New Zealand) https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/fort-jervois

Closed by recent earthquake damage, Fort Jervois has been photographed by Urbex photographers https://urbexcentral.com/2016/01/27/earthquake-island/fort-jervois-ripapa-island-95/

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A little picture research brought up this massive gun (or tiny people)

Seeing these last few pictures of grassy concrete batteries and giant coastal guns convinced me that I had a  suitable fort or two packed away from childhood – the Airfix Gun Emplacement.

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With a little repainting, these would serve from Victorian times onwards. At a pinch they should suit my 15mm Peter Laing figures as well as  the larger OO/HO 20 to 25mm plastic Airfix sort of figures.

 

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Repainted and flocked, this old Airfix fort with gun shield off makes a reasonably old-looking  coastal gun position.

My 15mm and 20mm figure bases are a little large for the narrowest passageways, so I may have to trim any bases slightly before painting up a suitable garrison or attackers. I remember it being a tight fit anyway with the later larger Airfix OO/HO second version figures (the first version 1960s  ones had smaller but more topply bases).

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I also have a passable Airfix coastal defence fort from childhood that could be added, much like the one featured on the front of John Curry’s recent reprint of Donald Featherstone’s unpublished Wargaming Commando Operations.

The 1873 Kaskowiski Russian Invasion of New Zealand Hoax focuses on an amphibious raid or landing by Russian Marines, Naval Infantry  or Sailor, supported by a Russian Ironclad like the PavelPavlosk.

The closest ‘Russian marines’ I currently have are some 15mm Peter Laing Russians (painted as Bulgarians)

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Russian Ironclad of the 1870s the Petropavlovsk https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_ironclad_Petropavlovsk

I do have about four Russian Marines from a brief flirtation in the 1980s with new Platoon 20 figures  (metal, 20mm, which wiped my pocket money). These Platoon 20 figures are still available.

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The officer with pistol and rifleman with bayonet might be suitable for such Kaskowiski scenarios, rather than the LMG and SMG figures.

I shall have to look through and see what Peter Laing figures I have that are suitable. Here are my 15mm Russians, disembarking near a lonely customs post.

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The customs officer and volunteer rifle Militia man confront the Russian Marines.
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The good old Airfix Pontoon Bridge boat makes a handy pinnace or Invasion barge. Heroscape Hex landscape.

It will be interesting to research suitable Victorian uniforms for 19th century Colonial figures.

The Volunteer Rifle movement had reached New Zealand by the time of the Kaskowiski invasion hoax of 1873, as this account shows in the Daily Southern Cross  newspaper around the hoax date of 17 February 1873.

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O should the Cask of Whisky / Kaskowiski come? The Volunteers will sort it out, as this ditty poem suggests.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, November 2018.

Mountie Ambush Game 15mm

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Opening positions – Mounties entering left on patrol, rebels hidden right. 

I wanted to try out my newly painted 15mm Peter Laing Mounties, so set up a quick backwoods scenario on one of my small portable game boards using a crowded mountain terrain mostly of old  Heroscape hexes and some pine trees.

I have been reading up about some of the Canadian rebellions and the role of the Mounted Police.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Rebellion

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Mounted_Police

Scenario

Four dismounted Mounties and two on horseback were on patrol down a narrow creek or wooded canyon where rebel activity had been reported.

The two on horseback rode off to scout the valley whilst the dismounted four stayed back to watch down the valley and give covering fire as needed.

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First contact as the Mounted  patrol stumbles into the waiting rebel ambush. 

In the original Close Wars rules, which was an  appendix to Donald Featherstone’s 1962 book War Games, there are no horses or mounted infantry mentioned.

I had no rules to hand  for melee from infantry to cavalry or mounted infantry, so when the  Mounties rode into contact with the waiting hidden rebels, we skipped the melee stage and went straight to firing.

Playing solo, most of the awkward decisions as the game progressed were solved by creating a dice roll rule for the situation.  For example, I quickly wrote a d6 dice rule – firing at cavalry or mounted infantry, if a six or hit is rolled, 1-3 horse is killed, 4 both horse and rider killed and 5-6 rider killed.

In the situation of having a horse killed or cavalry dismounting to fight, a replacement infantry figure is obviously needed. I have enough spare Peter Laing figures to manage this in future. Obviously one figure has to remain back as a horse holder and some spare horses will also be needed.

Another quick d6 rule was required to decide for rebels being able to pass through the narrow creek over the fallen horses (and riders) at half rate of movement (4-6) or the narrow canyon being made impassable (1-3).

Once the Mounties on horseback had ridden into the canyon or creek, their escape was cut off by the small group of rebels lurking lower right.

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Close up of the Mountie Patrol and the rebel ambush. 

Once the Mounties on horseback had ridden into the canyon or creek, their escape was cut off by the small group of rebels lurking lower right.

Very quickly both mounted figures were down and out, then the Mounties on foot were quickly pursued by much larger numbers of rebels.

Another quick d6 rule for the Mounties on foot was to retreat on a dice roll of 1-3 or stay and fight 4-6. They retreated.

Omce they had reached where they entered the gameboard, they were deemed to have picked up their horses and be able to escapement on horseback.

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The two surviving Mounties exit left to pick up their horses and head for help. 

The Mounties are 15mm Peter Laing Boers and AWI Settlers, recently painted.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/25/peter-laing-15mm-mounties-on-the-painting-table-rcmp/

The rebels were Peter Laing 15mm Boers at the trail and Confederate Butternut Infantry.

It has been a while since I got such a short game in and whilst the rules were a bit rusty in my head, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I had better start painting more Mounties for the return column!

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 30 November 2018.