Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WWI Palestine

The "What should I work on next?" poll result has kick started my WWI in Africa/Middle East wargaming.  I do not have what I need painted up and know very little about WWI in Africa or Middle East.  This all started with the purchase of 10mm Pendraken miniatures at a garage sale that a friend put on a year or two ago.

I had read about the war in East Africa in WWI and there are only limited set piece large battles and it was basically a German withdrawal to fight another day campaign.  The Battle of Tanga may still be doable.  I then looked at Egypt with the Suez canal.  I did some testing of the Battle of Romani, but discovered the Turks did not attack with enough troops and were easily stopped and pushed back.  This battle would not be an interesting scenario.  I am now exploring the First Battle of Gaza (1917).  I think it is doable.

As part of putting together a scenario is deciding on what rules to use.  My current favorite rules just don't fit with these battles or are not designed for WWI.  Here are the WWI rulesets I have been looking into potentially using:
  • If the Lord Spares Us
  • Great War Spearhead
  • Field of Battle WWI
  • Blitzkrieg Command WWI
  • Command Decision
  • No Mans Land
  • Megablitz WWI (Kaiserblitz)
  • Big Table Little Men
I discovered that to really encompass a good variety of units in a battle with some interesting terrain, the rules have to cover a larger map area, otherwise there would just be a few dunes on the table and all the figures on the board would look the same.  For me, a pretty boring scenario.  This knocked out most of the rulesets listed above.  I believe I have narrowed it down to Big Table Little Men (a free ruleset) with some help from Megablitz.  The scale is basically 4cm to 1km and each turn being about 2 hours.  The First Battle of Gaza took place over two days and Megablitz takes this into account.  Using this scale, the British for example have four divisions and about two brigades on the table.  I will say that someone could focus just on the town of Gaza and maybe do a skirmish game, but I'm more interested in something bigger.

I used to wargame 20mm North Africa WWII, and figured I would not go back to desert wargaming, but here I am.  Researching the maps of the Sinai and Palestine, it does look pretty bleak.  Gaza does sound interesting with cactus hedges, but outside Gaza there doesn't seem to be very much.  I'll have to see what I can do to spruce it up somewhat.  I have some ideas for palm trees.  Maybe with all the figures it will look better.

I'll be using 10mm Pendraken miniatures.  I have been painting up some Australian lighthorsemen.  I look forward to painting up the interesting variety of Turkish, Austrian, British, Australian, and New Zealander miniatures.  There were aircraft over the battlefield, but I'm not certain how to incorporate them.

After I paint up everything, I can do future battles in Palestine and maybe Mesopotamia.  The Second Battle of Gaza has British tanks.

I am not ruling out picking a different ruleset for a different battle in the future.  The First Battle of Gaza will probably work best for me with the Big Table Little Men and Megablitz combo.

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