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Author Topic: New German Colonial Railway Skirmish Scenario: Incident at Osona  (Read 28606 times)

Offline Estorff

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    • Cornflower Blue & Corduroy: Wargaming the German - Herero & Nama Wars of 1904-1908
Dear list;  A couple of months ago I posted that I was researching an incident involving an "armoured" train at the outset of the German-Herero War in 1904, from which I anticipated developing a skirmish scenario suitable for the tabletop.  The "playtest ready" version is now posted at my blog, Cornflower Blue and Corduroy: Wargaming the German-Herero and Nama Wars of 1904-1908, and ready for you to download in .pdf format

http://omaheke.blogspot.com/2015/06/new-skirmish-scenario-incident-at-osona.html

It is called "Incident at Osona": Armored Trains & Herero Rifles" and based on Herero War rules developed by Roy Jones and Eric Alvarado, which in turn are a variant of The Sword and The Flame (TSATF).  It pits the Machinengewehr-expedition lead by Leutnant der Reserve Gustaf Voigts against numerous Herero foot units and mounted scouts posted with excellent cover along a section of railway line that crosses a dry riverbed and passes through dense bush below steep cliffs. 

The train consists of two Zwillinge or paired 0-6-0 narrow gauge feldbahn locomotives pushing a small water tender and two open cars in which the German force has been traveling.  The Germans have a machine gun and have raised the sides of their rail cars with sandbags.  They have orders to repair any sabotaged sections of track and push on to relieve the besieged garrison at Okahandja just a few kilometers further down the line.  The Hereros have already broken the track at the approach to the bridge over the dry Swakop River near Osona, and hope to damage more rails up ahead - if the Germans don't spot them and drive them away first.  Failure to spot broken track and halt the train in time will cause the first car to derail, leaving the Germans with no recourse but to try to uncouple and overturn it to clear the line and attempt repairs - all the while under enemy fire.

If you decide to run this scenario, you will need a train in suitable scale.  I'm going to scratch build mine in O/On3/ON30 scale but it will take me a while to get to it.  You also need a low, long section of elevated track over the dry river (160' long at full scale). There is a stone building near the north end of the board and some very steep terrain on the East side. The riverbed is sandy and open, but there is dense bush on either side.

The Germans under Voigts have a 2-man machine gun team, 3 scouts and 4 eight-man foot units with an officer, NCO and six men each, along with several railway officials to supervise repairs, 2 locomotive operators and 2 native train personnel.  The Hereros have 2 Kapteins (Samuel kaMaharero and Ouandja), 8 eight-man foot units with an officer and 7 riflemen men each and 1 eight-man unit of mounted scouts (no dismounts required) with one leader and seven riflemen each.

Things did not go well for Leutnant Voigts in 1904.  Perhaps they will go better for you.  If you decide to give this scenario a try, I would be grateful for any feedback about how the rules worked and what modifications you would suggest.  The board should probably be 4' x 6' but was drawn as if 6' x 8'. There are new rules for train operation (affected by operator casualties) damaging track, spotting sabotaged track and making repairs, failure to spot damaged track and the consequences of derailing, and using the train and bridge as cover. 

Have fun!
\"crushing the people like this was in equal measure cruel and insane.  One could have saved many of them and their herds, if one had spared them and given them refuge; they had been punished enough.  I suggested this to General von Trotha, but he wanted their complete destruction.\" - L. v.Estorff

Online Marine0846

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Re: New German Colonial Railway Skirmish Scenario: Incident at Osona
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2015, 04:11:07 AM »
I was just checking out some of the different posts here on the Forum and ran across yours.
What a treat to look over your blog.
I have been always interested in the Germans in Africa.
But due to not having the time to spend in all the periods I would like to read about I have stayed away from this one.
Now I can enjoy the work you have done, Thank you for your time and research.
I hope when I retire (in about nine months) I can spend more time in gaming, research, and other fun things.
Thanks again for sharing.
Semper Fi, Mac

Offline Estorff

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    • Cornflower Blue & Corduroy: Wargaming the German - Herero & Nama Wars of 1904-1908
Re: New German Colonial Railway Skirmish Scenario: Incident at Osona
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2015, 02:53:23 PM »
Thank you very much for your kind words!  I have perhaps one more post to write in the series on the "armoured trains" used in the very first week of the German-Herero war, and then will need to see to my painting backlog, but the research is, at this time, even more engaging for me than the rare opportunities I have to put it into practice on the table.  So glad you found it helpful and informative.

Offline juergen c. olk

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Re: New German Colonial Railway Skirmish Scenario: Incident at Osona
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2015, 03:41:43 AM »
I need to convince my group to play this game,I got the troops.Thanx for the scenario,I love Roy'sand Eric 's book ,great book.

Offline Estorff

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  • Eine große Schnurrbart & Pickelhaube sind alle
    • Cornflower Blue & Corduroy: Wargaming the German - Herero & Nama Wars of 1904-1908
Re: New German Colonial Railway Skirmish Scenario: Incident at Osona
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2015, 09:03:54 PM »
For any who may be planning to attend, Roy Jones is doing me the honor of running this scenario in 25mm scale for six players at Cold Wars in Lancaster PA in March, 2016.

Offline Happy Wanderer

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Re: New German Colonial Railway Skirmish Scenario: Incident at Osona
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2015, 07:17:58 PM »
Hi Estorff,

Excellent work and a wonderful blog you have - thanks for posting. Lots of interesting details in that scenarios.

Question - your scenario depicts the action using the rules for the Herero war based on TSATF as far as I can tell. You say that there are 4 Schutztruppe Zug elements...

Was this action more like a 1:1 action i.e. 28 ST and their leaders rather than the 4 platoon elements you depict the scenario scale at? in your intro you said that "Voigts has 32 men and a machine gun to protect the expedition". The numbers in the brief would would seem to indicate these were the actual numbers in involved. Again, on the blog you statute that "In addition two 32 Schutztruppen (4 foot elements in game terms)" - this would seem that you are using 1:1 again.

I've got the Jones Herero book in the post (not in hand yet) and am curious as to how much the game can use the '8 figure platoons' as really 8 figures section in their place for the scenarios within  the book. In essence I'm asking is the OB really close to a 1:1 OB for this action and will the same principal hold true for the Herero War book by Jones?

Also, what was the reference?...I'd be interested to see where this level of detail comes from.

Finally, you mentioned on your blog you were going to scratch build a train for your railroad based scenarios - did that ever come off? It'd make a very useful blog post if it did...there seem few 'easy' or relatively cost effective options when it comes to trains and 28mm..any ideas?

Cheers

Happy W
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 07:23:49 PM by Happy Wanderer »

Offline Michi

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Re: New German Colonial Railway Skirmish Scenario: Incident at Osona
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2015, 12:29:00 PM »
...there seem few 'easy' or relatively cost effective options when it comes to trains and 28mm..any ideas?

I found it rather easy to shorten wheelbases of toy train wagons and apply some wash and drybrush weathering. Cost effectiveness is a matter of perspective though. I found the purchase of the Fleischmann magic train models reasonable, because the offer an easy approach to prototype models of that period and origin without scratch building and actual model train prices:

 http://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=16724.0

Online Marine0846

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Re: New German Colonial Railway Skirmish Scenario: Incident at Osona
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2016, 03:03:03 AM »
Hi Estorff,

I was rereading all the comments in this post.
A post dated Dec. 16th, you stated that a scenario of this battle was going
to be run at Cold War, in March.
May I ask, did it go off?
If so are there any photos you could share on LAF?
Thanks.

Offline rjones69

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Re: New German Colonial Railway Skirmish Scenario: Incident at Osona
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2016, 10:41:05 AM »
This is Roy Jones. In March at "COLD WARS 2016" I ran Estorff's exciting, well-researched Hereros vs. German Armored Train scenario. It was very well received. 

On my website I've posted photos and an AAR from the game:

www.hererowars.com

I used an On30 electric train and track for the scenario, including a circa 1904 German locomotive. I'll be running Estorff's Osona armored train scenario again at HISTORICON 2016 in July. At HISTORICON I'll have access to an electrical outlet – to which I did not have access at COLD WARS. This means that the On30 German train will move along the tracks – including across the railway bridge – under its own power! No pushing will be required.

Roy

 

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