I’ve been working hard on my WW1 East Africa project over the past year, and have had a couple of games already. I haven’t had time to upload anything and chat about it, until now.
As I’ve recently just ported from blogspot, and set-up my own self-hosted blog in order to future proof it, and get some more control, I thought it was a good idea to open it by talking about one of my favourite gaming periods, and one of my favourite gaming units.
German Schutztruppe Company
Below is a photo of my first completed German Schutztruppe company.
The figures are all 10mm Pendraken, which despite the fact their range is small, it is perfectly formed, and the new sculpts that they are producing are simply fantastic. Well up there with the a lot of 15mm figures.
In the photo above you can see a complete company. The Schutztruppe were form to operate in small-scale colonial expeditions during the latter part of the 19th century.
Because of this, they were used to operating independently, and a full company was an all-arms force.
In the photo above, you can see the three Askari infantry platoons, each very strong, often up to 80 men, so in effect a double company for the period.
At the front you can see the native Scout platoon, usually formed from local tribal volunteers who knew the area that the company was operating in, but also sometimes a permanent unit with white officers, pay and training.
Attached to the company was a machine-gun section, consisting of two maxims. These were usually crewed by natives, but with a white officer actually firing the gun, although as war progressed, this was not always the case.
There is also attached a section of two light mountain artillery pieces. Usually out of date, these were still substantial attachment for such a small force.
So as you can see, on the tabletop, it’s a powerful little force to command as a single manoeuvre element.
Two or more of these companies would be formed into ad hoc Abteilungs (battalions), sometimes with attachments such as more artillery, explosives teams, and often more maxims, under a battalion HQ.
So I’m really pleased with this as a unit, and I’m actually pretty close to completing a second company. When added to a white colonist Schutzen (sharpshooter) company, it will make quite a powerful force.
Ammo & Explosives Teams
I’ve made a mod for the rule set Black Powder by Warlord Games, to allow them to be used for World War I. I’ll explain a bit more about that in a minute.
Part of those mods include the ability for units to run low on ammo, and to run out of ammo. Ammunition was a problem in Africa generally, but especially for the Germans, who suffered from an almost complete lack of supply. Building this into games really adds a “race against the clock” to achieve objectives before ammo, and resupply mules, run out.
In the photo above you can also see a demolition team. This operates as a single unit, with its own command rating, allowing it to move independently to achieve game objectives, namely, blowing stuff up.
WW1 East Africa Mod For Black Powder
Now, I couldn’t be bothered to look for a set of rules that would fit in with this type of warfare.
Plus, a concept people often miss is that Black Powder works any scale. A unit is a unit. That unit could be an individual figure, or it could be a spaceship, it really doesn’t matter. The key point is that a group of units is under the control of the leader who gives them orders.
So I scaled Black Powder down, so that a basic command was no longer the brigade, but instead the company.
Which means that what you seen the photos above is basically a Black Powder brigade in the original rules, with attachments. But for the purpose of the modded version I’m using, it’s a company.
Artillery and machine gun stands don’t represent batteries, they represent sections of two pieces. So a battery would be three stands plus a leader and possibly spotter stands, operating as a separate command.
There are also rules indirect fire, including machine guns. I’ve replaced the skirmish rules with the ability to go prone, which makes it more difficult to stand up and move again under fire, rules for aircraft, laying telegraph wires, armoured vehicles, and plenty of other period features.
The reason I did all this was that it still Black Powder, fast, and easy to pick up, but bolting those bits on really gives it period feel. It’s also perfect for the guys down my club, who all play Black Powder, so it means they can pick games up without having to learn a new set of rules.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the post, my first on this new independent wargaming blog, no longer subject to the whims of Google-owned blogspot.
They’ll be more to come on this collection soon, as well as updates on my seemingly out of control 10mm Pendraken Great Northern War collection, the Blue Moon Italian Wars collection that’s away in Sri Lanka being painted, plus the madness of a huge 10mm Marlburian project…