Thursday, February 25, 2016

Kamerun Gunboat Battle: Germans vs. French

My gaming group had hoped to put together a large jungle game last month, but unfortunately it fell apart due to scheduling conflicts. However, Steve lives close to my work, so we decided to try out a small game at his house using my new jungle terrain and his recently acquired river mat. 

In this fictional confrontation from the Kamerun (Cameroon) WWI campaign, a German gunboat needed to make its way past a French controlled river outpost, hopefully destroying the outpost in the process.

Unfortunately, the French had gotten word that the Germans were on their way. In additional to a few obvious defenses, the French and their Pygmy allies had lots of hidden surprises along the shore waiting for the gunboat.

As such, the German commander landed ground forces on either shore to flush out any waiting ambushes.  The left bank was patrolled by a squad of askari with Azande musket men in support. Meanwhile on the right bank, a scout lead askari up the shore, while German sailors, Azande warriors and a witch doctor moved up the jungle track.

On the left bank, one askari was killed by a booby trap. Pygmy bowmen then opened fire on the askari, but were unable to hit their targets.  The askari wildly returned fire, but could not get a bead on their attackers.

On the opposite bank the German forces advanced unopposed. The German gunboat tried to soften up the French barricade awaiting the troops, but was unable to dislodge the French soldiers.

As the gunboat moved down river, swordsmen hiding on a small islet appeared and managed to grapple their way onto the boat.  German sailors quickly moved to counter attack the boarding party. At the same time, a French gun hidden on the right shore started pounding the gunboat, while French soldiers on the left shore began shooting at the German sailors.  German morale began to falter under the attack.

On the right bank, the German sailors were quickly cut down by the French troops. The askari began rushing the French entrenchment, but were hampered by a group of Pygmy warriors that appeared out of the underbrush. The Pygmies were quickly killed off, and the surviving askari returned to their assault on the French position.

Back on the left bank, the German askari managed to kill off the Pygmy bowmen, but panicked and fled as more Pygmies appeared.

Between the boarding party and the French soldiers on shore, the sailors on the boat were quickly cut down.  The gunboat got a final shot off at the French artillery, destroying it, but it was too late. The gunboat had suffered enough damage to it's hull that it began sinking and ran aground on the muddy riverbank. 

On the right bank, the askari and Azande warriors were able to overrun the French position, but at a heavy cost. The few survivors quickly lost their lives to newly arriving swordsmen. 

Back at the left bank, the Azande musket men made short work of the remaining Pygmies, but were soon faced with superior French troops.

 The surviving German command killed off the the last of the boarding party, but with only a single unit of Azande left, they knew their mission was a failure and they were forced to retreat.

Overall it was a good practice game and gave up some ideas for improvement before we try a more in depth battle. 


  1. Splendid looking game, what rules did you use?

  2. Brilliant report. I enjoyed reading it and the photos/models are excellent. Thanks for sharing.

  3. What a fantastic table....the mat and terrain are superb! I'm also rather envious of that perfect wargaming coffee table surrounded by great big comfy sofas!

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed that, what a great report.

  5. Thanks Everyone! We really had a good time trying out the gunboat. For the rules we used "In The Heart of Africa" by Chris Peers. We find them to be an enjoyable set of beer and pretzels rules that can easily be tweeked for whatever we come up with.

  6. Combined operations, Colonial style! Splendid stuff, sir. It makes a nice change from British vs. Native games.

  7. Great looking game with good figures and terrain. Love ya 'boat'!