It has been a while since our last game of Hott in Africa; our adaptation of Hordes of the Things to Central Africa. This 36 point game was set in Nyasaland in the early 1890s (some more background here).
An Imperial British force under the command of Harry Johnston, Her Majesty's Commissioner for British Central Africa, is attacking a force commanded by the notorious arab/swahili slaver Mlozi. Why? To keep Africa ruled by an English Queen, (if you think that is odd, I live in Australia).
To the north runs a small river heading for Lake Nyasa. However, the battle will be shaped by a patch of long elephant grass, some boulders and the small hill in the centre.
The picture below shows the forces approaching each other with the British occupying the hill to the East.
To the south of the battlefield a force of Bemba mercenaries move beyond the ruins of the Church of Scotland Mission station. Someone was responsible for that.
Here are the dastardly Bemba, lead by a Swahili blackguard:- Said bin Stephens.
To the north, near the river a force of native Senga warriors advance towards the reeds.
Mlozi can be seen in the centre, lurking behind a gang of wangwana swahili.
Bearers in British service carry the Fortnham and Mason hampers so necessary to any safari.
The British North flank is held by armed bearers; can they be relied on?
The centre is held by Atonga askari of the Nyasaland constabulary, poorly trained, but armed with the trusty snider rifle.
The South flank is held by trust Sikh infantry, who can be depended on to do their duty.
An Atonga scout keeps and eye on the advancing Bemba from the safety of some boulders.
While to the north the Senga warriors disappear into the elephant grass
The imperial forces watch from top of their hill
The arabs in the centre start to advance over open ground, but their formation is quickly broken up by the askari's steady fire.
The Sikhs also open up from long range.
When suddenly the Senga warriors burst out of the long grass.
The Senga live to burst out long grass! Love it! Here they are waved on by their war chief.
However, out in the open they are also dispersed by long range rifle fire. This could be a long battle.
An overview of the northern flak show how seriously Johnston takes the Senga. He has moved out to face them taking a section of the Nyasaland Constabulary with him.
Way over on the southern flank, the Bemba warriors wither under the sustained long range fire of the Sikhs.
...very long range fire, there are the Sikhs in the distance.
Shamed, the Senga break out into battle formation. They see an easy victory in charging the armed bearers in front of them.
The armed bearers share this view, and don't look too happy.
With a howl, the Senga get stuck in.
Who knew, the bearers stand up to the charge and the warriors fall back.
The British line holds for now.
The Bemba continue to retreat from the Sikhs fire. Mlozi must be wondering why he brought these nincompoops.
The Senga are made of sterner stuff, after all how hard can rolling over a few armed bearers be.
Obviously, they have not heard of Captain Johnstone, hero of the empire. With a few Askari, he forces the Senga to retire.
Learning their lesson in modern firepower, the Arabs in the centre take cover in the long grass.
Living his "boy's own" adventure, captain Johnstone advances on the lone Senga chief (who has been abandoned by his tribesmen)
Whoooooaaah, one less apostle of empire, one more head for the fireplace! The bearers and Askai recoil in horror at the loss of their hero.
On the southern flank, the Arab commander manoeuvres onto the Sikh flank, obviously with mischief in mind, the Sikhs turn to face.
The Sikhs fight off the first change, they are safe for now.
Meanwhile, on the north flank the Senga war chief is surrounded and killed
Leaving Johnston's head on a stake. That bit will need to be deleted for the "Boy's Own" version.
While the British deal with the threat to their flanks, the centre is weakened and the arabs start to advance.
Watch those flanks.
... and look behind you
Only this small gun can slow the Arab advance.
One more attack on the British south flank is more than the now leaderless British can take.
A close run thing, but the British must no retreat to Blantyre.