Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Princes of Kasongo

Princes of Kasongo

Lately, I been a bit obsessed by the confluence of my Holtz Hex mat, Richard Borg's rules and my collection of figures. This post continues in this theme by using the ACW set "Battle Cry" with my evil Force Publique versus my evil Arab slavers in the Eastern Congo setup.
The essential reading for this scenario is "The Fall of the Congo Arabs" by Sidney Langford Hinde (published in 1897). This is the story of the war between the "forces represented on the one hand by the Arabs from Zanzibar, and on the other hand by the Europeans from the mouth of the Congo".
It is a "curious little war" in which "a dozen white officers and 400 regular black troops on one side, and a couple of hundred Arab chiefs, supported by a few hundred half-bred Arabs and commanding large number of irregular soldiery, on the other" fought to decide wether an area of Africa the size of France would be exploited by Christian Belgians, or Mohammedan Arabs. The Belgians and their Nigerian and Liberian Force Publique soldiers were the victors, the Arabs were wiped out but the native Congolese tribes the undoubted losers.

The scenario

This scenario takes place outside the city of Kasongo, where Baron Dhanis' forces have run the Arab princes to ground. The Arabs don't stand a chance, but the charm of the Battle Cry system is that two games can be easily played in one evening, the resulting medals from each game added together to decide the victor. I made a few tweaks to the Battle Cry rules to allow for the different troop types  encountered in Africa, but not seen in America during the civil war.

Below is the set-up for the Scenario. The Arabs occupy the bottom half of the battlefield containing some outlying buildings of Kasongo south of the river, and a native boma on the north. The Force Publique can be seen emerging from their overnight camp at the top of the battlefield.

Here are the outermost buildings of Kasongo strongly occupied by Arab forces.

A strong force of Manyema tribesmen are hurrying onto the battlefield from the north

The Native boma is protected by local villagers (probably slaves) and the Arabs can't expect them to put up much of a fight.

The battlefield has a number of objectives, capturing and retaining these is worth a medal. Here is the evidence of Arab atrocities, and maybe Manyema cannibalism. The Force Publique are ordered to recover these.

The Village

Some more Arab forces

Prepared to defend Kansongo to the last.
A watchtower is used to get early warning of Force Publique movements.

But the rooftops also give an good view.

Manyema marching to Kasongo

On the other side of the battlefield is Lietenant Doorme's company advancing out of camp.

Flanked by Lieutenant Scherlink's company

The Force Publique's left flank is covered by some native tribesmen, although how long these would stand against an Arab assault is anyone's guess..

De Wouters company forms a reserve I the centre. De Wouters was 6 feet 5 inches tall and always wore while. The Arabs called this the "the Heron" and gave orders to  take him "alive or dead, and to use their knives, since bullets were useless were useless against his fetish's witchcraft."
The Force Publique's left flank is protected by the warlord, Gongo Lutete's irregular forces

Who are tasked with covering the Force Publique's supplies (which are an Arab objective).

This is Michaux's company

And the little Krupp gun.

Here is the Commandant in overall command of the force.

I have played this scenario out twice now. it isn't balanced and it isn't meant to be. But it has given a  great game each time.


  1. Replies
    1. Well Barks, it ill your fault. You gave me the inspiration. If you come to Sydney lets get a game in.

  2. Fascinating stuff!

  3. Mac;
    I am interested in what tweeks did you make to the standard C&C rules? I want to do the same with my coonials. Drop me a response at Thank, Bill