This was their first outing and also the first time to try out my game "accident at Baro gorge".
The game is based on Colonel Marquis Christian de Bonchamps failed march to Fashoda in 1898. Its well know that after many ambushes and the hostility of the local Ethiopians Bonchamps was forced to put back after an event known as the Accident in Baro Gorge on the border of Ethiopia and the Sudan (had Bonchamps succeeded in his march on Fashoda it is doubtful weather Kitchener would have sailed down the Nile to oppose him).
The Scenario featured a French force (composed of three platoons of Tirailleurs, one of Spahi and a Machine gun under Colonel Bonchamps, Lieutenant Louis Ney and Lieutenant Balliard) making a fighting retreat from the much larger Ethiopian force (composed of six platoon sized units of warriors under the guidance of Warleader Paulinus, Timothy Sahle and Tewodros) attacking it.
The French force's objective was to hold off Paulinus and Tewodros from their rear whilst breaking through Timothy Sahle's men across the gorge before making an escape down the gorge with at least three units. Alternatively the French could make a stand and attempt to annihilated the Ethiopian force.
With that we deployed the models and set about fighting the battle.
With War leader Paulinus and Tewodros failing to pursuade their men to advance and the French forces falling back towards the gap, now held by a small band of warriors, things look desperate for the Ethiopian forces who are even further away from completing their objectives then they were at the start.
And true enough the cavalry's inactivity cost them dear. With Balliard and his men still locked in combat Timothy took command of the other band of warriors and pressed them hard, charging into the Spahi's rear causing a good deal of casualties.
Meanwhile Lieutenant Ney took the cover provided by the Tirailleurs line to reform the Spahi and send them marching for the gorge.
For a first run it went very well. The overall result was a crushing Frenc victory, with the Ethiopian force wiped out and not a single unit lost themselves. However this does not show that the odds were stacked in France's favour. The Ethiopians had blundered twice and sent two of their units from the board without seeing action, they had also failed so many command rolls that all I had to do was sit there and shoot at them saf in the knowledge they wouldn't move. Timothy Sahle put up a heroic defence and the other Ethiopian units also put up strong fights and the result was still a close one.
If the Ethiopians had been moving from turn one (rather than four) it is quiet plain that Balliard would have been overrun very early on as would the MG team and Bonchamps would have had a much harder fight to put up on the rear.
Both our command rolls for this game were terrible and had the Ethiopians been in the right place to take advantage of this then they would have most definatly won.
Still that is the luck of the dice and the fault of the warleader but ultimatly it was still a close, hard fought and fun game.