Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Assault On Passe Ombre

Over a period of two (simulated) days, in late September in the early 20th century, a battle was waged over a mountain pass on a disputed island. Beyond the pass lay a town of strategic importance, and the invaders would stop at nothing to capture it.
A force of American and Irish mercenaries had been hired to defend the town, and they had taken an oath to do so to the death. To enforce this, the defenders had two British 4.7" Field Mounted Naval Guns.
The invaders, a rogue band of French Foreign Legionnaires and former German Army regulars, came ashore on the beaches nearby and had managed to pull up a modest force consisting of forty soldiers supported by two 12cm howitzers. 
In order to reach Village de l'Ombre Montagne, the invaders would have to push through the narrow Passe Ombre, Shadow's Pass. To further complicate this, the end of the pass has a fortified gate. The defenders placed the two on either side of Mesa de la Table en Bois, a small volcanic outcrop which separates the pass from larger valley. It would be daunting. 
As the sun rose, the invaders began with a volley from the howitzers, only to inflict minor casualties. When the defenders returned fire, the effect was devastating, with the invaders losing many men as well as part of the artillery team in the pass itself. 
That would set the tempo for the rest of the battle. The invaders never had a chance to be driven back, as they were slaughtered to a man...

Breanna and I had our first real Little Wars today, and both times, yours truly was handed his hat. Initially, she defended the pass, then we swapped places, with me defending... and both times, the result was the same; she won, and by a wide margin.
If I had to guess, it was the wonderful Britain's 4.7" cannons that tilted the field of battle in her direction. Both of these guns are better than sixty years of age apiece and are equipped with elevation gear and hammer firing mechanisms. 

They are very sophisticated compared to the simple "point-pull-hope" spring equipped Barclays. They can truly be aimed with a degree of accuracy, and their breach loading ability keeps them fixed on target. 
But it was great fun. 
The snap of the hammer.
The click of the spring powered plungers.
The soft thud of rounds impacting soft plastic.
"My argument is that War makes rattling good history; but Peace is poor reading." - Thomas Hardy

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