Sunday, 3 July 2011

55 Days at Peking - Gauntlet 2011

A turn by turn After Action Report of the 55 Days at Peking game at Gauntlet 2011
By Pete Jones

Losing One Legation Is Unfortunate, Losing Two Is Just Careless


The Legation players were as follows:
United States : Meic (day 1), Jamie (day 2)
Russian : Peter (Day 1), Rich C (day 2)
British : Alan Fleming
German : Garry Hinchcliffe
Japanese : Ian Shaw
French : Richard Baber
Italian : Jamie Crawley
Austro-Hungarian : Richard Crawley (day1), Rich B (day 2)
Umpires: Pete Jones and Will McNally




A report from Peking City by your reporter Pete Jones

1: Following the assassination of the German Minister 2 groups of Boxers appeared in Peking. 1 South of the Fu and 1 South of the Austro-Hungarian Legation. The Coolies refuse to work today for fear of reprisals. Therefore all Legation troops remained within their Legations as they could not build barricades.

2: On the Chinese wall the Germans and Americans received harassing fire to no effect. In the Hanlin 6 Boxers shot at the British Legation and killed 2 Marines, they returned fire and killed ½ the Boxers. The Hospital lost medical supplies so could not discharge any patients. The German Legation was short of food and lost 3 of its men to the Hospital.

3: Things are rapidly going down hill within the City. A new well had to be dug which once again restricted Coolie labour elsewhere in the Legation Quarter. Information was received of an ammunition store west of the French Legation and orders were sent to recover the much needed ammunition. The shooting on the wall continued and armed groups of Boxers now appeared North of the canal and South of the City. 2 Italians ended up in Hospital due to food shortages.

4: Extra water was received in the British Legation this morning but we have no problems here unlike the South of the City. A Boxer mob charged the French Legation but as they came into contact sustained firing wiped the group out. A Boxer group came into contact with the Italian Legation killing 1 Marine and wounding another, but they managed to fight the mob off. The American Legation manhandled their Colt Machine Gun into the street facing north and built a barricade to protect it. Boxer mobs were fought off with combined gunfire from the Russians and Americans.


5: The Japanese sent troops out towards the Fu to help Thornhills Roughs protect the it as the Boxers were now targeting the camp for Women and Children. Shellfire from the Chinese artillery started a fire in the German Legation. The Austro-Hungarian Legation came under Boxer attack and 1 soldier was killed and 1 wounded. A German patrol recovered the ammunition store west of the French Legation as the Boxer mobs approached. The British fire on the Hanlin could not get rid of the Boxer shooters. Fortunately, the Boxers are not very good with the rifles. The Italians send out a couple of troops escorting the Gun Carriage to see if it is any help in the North of the City.

6: A horde of food was found North of the Austro-Hungarian Legation however too many Boxer mobs prevented its retrieval. The Japanese shot many Boxers as the Fu is besieged. Meanwhile in the Austro-Hungarian Legation another melee was fought off at the loss of 2 injured marines. The Russians also had 2 men hospitalised whilst in hand hand to hand with the Boxers. The Hospital was now filling up with wounded which meant a lot less troops are available to fight. The Hospital now catches fire which endangers all within it. This is quickly put out with all Legations supplying water to help.

7: Shellfire starts a fire in the French Legation. Under sustained pressure the Austro-Hungarians partly abandon the South of their compound. The Japanese manage to retake the Fu and combine attacks with the Roughs. Russian troops are dispatched to the American Legation as the fighting becomes fierce. The French attempt to douse the fire but despite all the water the fire spreads. These are desperate times. Looting in Legation Street forces the Germans to send out patrols to protect the civilians.

8: Things are now critical at the American, Italian, French and Austro-Hungarian Legations and at this point the Ministers recall all officers to the British Legation for a conference. Morale drops across the City and this halves the effect of all shooting as the troops who no officers for direction. Whilst the conference is taking place the west wall of the British Legation is mined narrowly missing the Hospital. The Italian Gun carriage reaches the Japanese Legation. The French bring their fire under control preventing the loss of their Legation.

9: Food in the German Legation becomes contaminated and they lose troops to the Hospital. The British lose 1 dead to shooting from the Hanlin which is still occupied. The Italians abandon their Legation under weight of numbers of the Boxers. The Russians and British link up their Legations through the mined wall and build barricades to the North to protect themselves.

10: The Boxers climb over the wall of the Italian Legation and raise the Chinese Imperial Flag. They begin looting and setting the building on fire. The second Legation has fallen. The Italian forward party now occupy the vacated Japanese Legation making this their new base. The Coolies in the US Legation leave in the night fearing the Boxers will breach the wall. The Russians and Americans combine fire and stop the Boxer hordes. The Austro Hungarians recover the much needed food North of their Legation.


11. Reports are received of armed gangs killing civilians in the Mongol Market so the Russians sent a patrol out to help. They lose 2 men killed further down the line as the Boxers are fought off.

Our casualties killed so far are: 3 British, 1 Italian, 2 Russians, 1 Austo-Hungarian and 8 Roughs. In the hospital are 2 Germans, 3 Russians, 1 Japanese, 2 British, 5 Americans. The Hospital has patched up many soldiers already and returned them to the Fight.

12: A new start today perhaps? There is no let up from the Boxers with Shellfire starting a fire in the Japanese Legation which is quickly brought under control. The central stone bridge is damaged by Boxers and Coolie workers are dispatched to repair it. 3 groups of Boxers appear to the East of the Fu. Hand to hand at the US Legation kills 1 and wounds 2 others.

13: Doctors work hard in the Hospital helping to patch up soldiers and sending them to the besieged American Legation who are intense pressure. At both ends of the Chinese wall Boxers mobs appear. The colonial troops are now sandwiched between them. Another American is killed in hand to hand fighting.

14: The West French wall is mined and 1 man is killed in the blast. A gun barrel is found and we name it the International Gun. We gave a gun carriage from the Italians, the Russians provide the ammunition and the Americans have 2 men who are prepared to fire it. Firing at the US end of the wall is ineffective. The British are short of ammo and as 2 groups approach they are helpless. Boxers are at the French barricades and the Japanese barricade by the Fu. They have 1 man killed and 3 wounded as 2 Boxer groups approach.

15: Now the Boxers mine the West wall of the US Legation, fortunately no one is injured. The British receive ammunition just in time. The infiltrators are everywhere. At the German end of the wall sustained firing prevents Boxers reaching their barricade. Hand to hand fighting takes place at the US barricade and 1 American is a casualty. A Boxer mob heads towards the front of the British Legation by the Nordenfeldt gun. The British have 1 killed and 2 wounded but hold the front of their compound. The French lose 4 men outside their barricades but holding their barricade just it is very close.

16: The wooden footbridge which is an escape route for the Japanese from the Fu is damaged and is impassable. Coolies desperately repair it. The Austro-Hungarian officer is hospitalised with heat exhaustion. In the South of the City 4 Boxer mobs approach the Colonial troops. The French lose 2 killed and 1 wounded at the barricades. The Russians take further casualties losing 2 dead and 1 wounded but they hold the North part of the City still.

17: Now the infiltrators mine the Russian West wall, the French fall back to their Legation as the Boxer mobs advance and they have run out of ammunition. Another boxer mob contacts the west wall and a further mob are North of the French Legation they are surrounded on 3 sides with no ammo. The Germans hold the wall whilst a second mob tries to rush their barricade. The Russians drive back all the boxer with 2 well aimed volleys.


18: Disaster for the French they cannot find any ammunition. They fall back from their walls making a second line within their Legation. In addition in the confusion they lose their medical supplies to treat their wounded, disaster is imminent. Another Boxer mob contacts the Russians who have another 1 dead and 1 wounded. The German ramp to the wall is damaged preventing them from sending any reinforcements and more importantly retreating.


19: Ammunition is discovered in the Customs house in Boxer country and the Italians dispatch 2 men 2 recover it. The Japanese in the Fu lose 2 dead and 4 injured as 2 mobs attack them and break into the Fu. In the French embassy as the Boxer climb over the walls the French find ammunition opening fire in volleys killing all the Boxers that enter the Legation a heroic last stand. They survive at the point of defeat.

20: The German ramp is repaired and the soldiers on the wall or no longer cut off. With all the Boxer activity no water can be got from the well in the British Legation. The Hanlin which is still occupied by the Boxers has an ammunition cache but no one can get to it. Its just too dangerous out in the streets. There is hand to hand all over the Legation Quarter and our losses mount 1 dead and 1 wounded French, 1 dead and 2 wounded Germans, 3 dead Americans, 2 wounded British and 1 dead and 1 wounded Russians. The Japanese Legation being held by the Italians falls as the Boxer breach the walls. The Italian officer has now lost 2 Legations resulting in the Response by the Russian Minister of “ Losing One Legation Is Unfortunate, Losing Two Is Just Careless”.


21: Much needed food is found in a Chinese store north of the Russian Legation however due to Boxer activity no patrols can retrieve it. 3 Boxer mobs are attacking the Fu and I don't think it can hold. 2 Italians recover the food west of the Austro-Hungarian Legation but are ambushed by 3 Boxers and wounded. In the Fu there are 9 Roughs left and 4 Japanese and its time to abandon it. They head for the British Legation, strength in numbers. The Americans lose another 4, 1 killed and 3 wounded, we don't know how much longer they can hold. The British throw fire pots over the walls causing a fire outside the camp and it keeps the Boxers away.

22: A Chinese cannon appears at the German end of the wall. The Germans leave their Legation pushing South and taking the fight to the Boxers. The French are short of water but now strong in their embassy. The fire outside the British embassy now prevents the British form firing at the Boxers because of the smoke, this might be an own goal. Fortunately the men firing the cannon on the wall are not very competent and cause no casualties.

23: The Americans site the International gun on the middle bridge across the canal. It has a nice line of sight down Legation Street when suddenly there is a loud explosion. The bridge disappears in a cloud of smoke and the gun falls into the canal, it is lost. Boxers appear North and South of the City in 1 big final push.


24: The British Legation catches fire from Chinese shellfire and whilst fighting the fire the troops on the wall finally kill off the remaining Boxers in the Hanlin who have been there since the start of the siege. Desperate hand to hand are taking place everywhere as the Boxers attempt their final assaults. 1 Russian is killed and 4 wounded, but all the lines hold.

25: The Germans report the Relief Column has entered the City, we are saved.

The total killed after 50 days fighting was : 8 Americans, 7 Russians, 4 French, 1 Austro-Hungarian, 3 Japanese, 1 Italian, 2 Germans and 5 British. Total = 31

Conclusion
In the real Siege 52 soldiers were killed, in our refight it was 62. The location of the Colonial Perimeter was almost identical to the historical ending of the siege. Our siege last 50 days, 5 days shorter than the actual siege.

A big thank you to all players.

2 comments:

Stephen Gilbert said...

For Your Siege of Peking game, can you please tell me the rules you were using.

Thank you very much in advance.


Steve :)

Pete Jones said...

Stephen,
The rules I used were home written rules which were later published in issue 76 of The Journal, the magazine of the Society of the Twentieth Century Wargamers. It is available as a PDF from Wargames Vault
http://www.wargamevault.com/product/153407/SOTCW-Journal--issue-76?manufacturers_id=7538