Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The Boom! Yangtze River, 1925 (TSATF/Gunboat & Dhows!))

The Boom!

This was the second battle I prepared along with the Mexican Revolution for the 2023 gaming season. I had always wanted to do this battle after seeing "Sand Pebbles" for the first time many moons ago. I have seen several great boom game scenarios over the years. And there are some very good models of the San Pablo out there too. However, the 28mm scale makes some of these boats impractical for the table. Hence, my Last Stand Boatyard (LSD) tries to make them a little more manageable for easier game play. I tend to scale them down a little so that your troop bases fit a little better, and those of us with fat fingers, don't destroy the model while moving around deck crews. So this battle is much more "Hollywood" but still retains the feel of the period in my humble opinion. So let's get on with it. 

The Models

The "Pritcher" Class Gunboat used in this scenario is one of two built for the Florida club who lost, William Pritcher, a fellow gamer years ago. It's about 18" Long with a beam of 4", which makes it about 90' long with a 20' beam. I try to keep it to scale, but you can imagine a 120' gunboat would be over two feet long! You let me know, but I think this boat did the trick. By the way, in this scenario the boat was named the  USS R.W. Welch in memory of Rick Welch out there in Florida where we still see his two sons at the cons there. He will always be missed. So the basswood Gunboat and Junks were made by LSD, with the resin sampans being purchased. 

The boom itself was made of hemp rope cut into sections that aligned with the four Junks decks and connected with magnets wrapped into the ends. That made it far easier to "cut" the boom.

The Battle

Set in 1925 during the Chinese rebellion we are on the Yangtze River where the USS Welch is blocked from moving upriver to evacuate western missionaries and other civilians. The Welch has four (4) Boarding parties armed with BARs, Thompsons and Rifles. They are supported by the main gun and two Hotchkiss Mgs on the bridge roof. The forward part of the boat has been reinforced with sand bags and the Boarding parties lined up along the rails ready to advance into combat. The boat is allowed to hit the boom between the two outer Junks where outside of these makes it too shallow to navigate. The boat must slow to make contact and then fight their way onto the Junks to cut the boom and continue up the Yangtze. Easy right?

The Chinese boom lays across the large Junks anchored on the rocks at the entry to the river. Each Junk has a unit of Regulars ready to repel the Americans. Each boat also has a muzzle loader which can fire every other turn. Attached to the boom are ratlines that can be crossed to move between Junks. The modified movement allows a unit to move one section in a turn. A section being forward, center, aft on the large Junk decks, onto the boom ratline, etc. Wanted to make that easy. We used random card movement for unit commanders. There were also three sampans with units on board which in some battles harassed the incoming gunboat or waited to reinforce the melee. It was up to the players to position the sampans, one having to be behind the boom line and the other two could be placed on the opposite side at each flank. 

Overall, in all three battles there was plenty to do and a lot happening when they got in close. The Americans of course had the edge in firepower, but some lucky hits on the Gunboat actually started a few fires. I also saw some interesting Gunboat movements on the way to the boom. Some serpentine movements bringing the forward and aft guns to bear (Well done guys). A couple of Junks were actually sunk but not deep enough to allow the Gunboat to cross. The Boarding party firepower in most cases was brutal, but when it came to hand-to-hand, in some of the battles they were actually repulsed by the Chinese. Very bloody skirmishes. 


So once again, my thanks to all at having the patience and playing with polite gamesmanship which always leads to a great time. I look forward to seeing all of you again this year with a couple of new games which I will be announcing soon. Back to the boatyard, see you soon! 

Last Stand Dan

1 comment:

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