The Battle of Al Bunrab
Ouargistan's Landship Trafalgar


Al Bunrab was the first, and the best, of the landship battles. David had handed Steve, Max, and Charles boxes of assorted parts, junk and makeshift tools, and asked everyone to build at least one land ironclad; when the day came, there were eight landships plus lesser vehicles. It was a festive event, captured for posterity in the video images below.

Charles and David came up with the scenario. Rules were a simplified version of The Sword and the Flame, plus David's Landships of Ouargistan rules, which (it is to be hoped) will be available on the Landships page soon.


 

The table measures 4 x 6.5 feet
(1.2 x 2 meters).

The Tabletop
The table is mostly clear terrain, with scattered hills and palm groves. There are a few buildings in the foreground, and the avenue of bunny sphinxes out of the picture at lower right marks the entrance to the sacred burial grounds at Al Bunrab. The American landfleet is on the left.

The Scenario
The addled but wily Rajah Rabiid of Bunrabia has two great aims -- to spread the true religion of Mabu-raab, the God-in-Rabbit-Guise, and to foment a general uprising of all the tribes and kingdoms against the European interlopers. He sees his chance when the Americans claim Spanish Ouargistan as spoils of the Spanish American War (mostly because they liked the name of its capital, Puerto Teodoro del Ptui, which they rename, of course, Port Theodore).

Some years later, the devious prince secretly convinces the Americans that all Ouargistan would be honored by the placing of a giant granite statue of Theodore Roosevelt at the head of the avenue of bunny sphinxes in the sacred burial precinct of Al Bunrab. Of course, this seems quite plausible to the Americans, who are too naive to realize that such an act of desecration will outrage all the local peoples, for whom Al Bunrab is a holy city, forbidden to outsiders.

The European powers are shocked when the Great White Fleet docks at Port Theodore and disgorges an immense statue plus two huge landships to accompany it across the desert to Al Bunrab. Momentarily forgetting their squabbles, the British and Germans desperately ally to stop the blundering Americans from igniting the tinderbox which is the Ouargi frontier. All available land ironclads are ordered to Al Bunrab to intercept the Americans. The two landfleets meet at the entrance to the avenue of sphinxes.

Fighting for the European Alliance are the land ironclads SMGS Wilhelmina von Holstein, HMLS Ogress, HMLS Sinuous, and the formidable land-dreadnaught HMLS Behemoth. The Europeans attempt to locate HMCLS Quebec, a Canadian landship in the subcontinent for warm-climate testing, but are mortified to learn that Quebec has been rented for the occasion by the Americans and is already steaming with the American landfleet toward Al Bunrab.

In the American fleet are the USLS Lexington, the powerful turreted dreadnaught USLD Miskatonic, a gun-carrying motor truck, the mercenary Quebec, and of course the cargo truck with the statue. Meeting them at the sacred city will be Rajah Rabiid's own German-engined landship, El Ahrairah, native-built to resemble a giant bronze rabbit and known locally as the Blinking Bunny of Suri-patan because of its eyelid gunport-covers.

The Europeans win if they can prevent the truck with the statue from entering the avenue of sphinxes.



The Battle
The Americans enter behind the imposing bulk of the Miskatonic. Quebec enters on the American right. On the European right are the two medium British landships and the German cavalry. On the left is the fearsome Behemoth, behind which lurks a unit of Highland infantry. Little Wilhelmina is securely flanked by the larger craft, but her Captain is not satisfied with this ignominious arrangement and resents taking orders from der dummkopf Englanders.

The landfleets engage each other at long range. The troops hang back behind the landships, not certain what to expect of the iron monsters. They soon find out. In the first exchange, the Lexington's port gun scores a hit on Sinuous, causing a steam-line rupture which stops the articulated landship dead in its tracks.

 

The European line is in disarray as Sinuous, enveloped in a cloud of steam, cannot advance, and impetuous Wilhelmina streaks forward in a bid for glory.

On the American side, Miskatonic hangs back, protecting the cargo truck with the statue, while Lexington slowly advances. With Behemoth's attention focused on Quebec (out of the picture to the left), the American motor truck ranges far forward, its gatling gun spraying the Highlanders. Meanwhile El Ahrairah enters the table from the European left and fires her first shot at Behemoth's massive side. Incredibly, she misses.

 

Behemoth's heavy port gun swivels and sends a single shell slicing through Al Ahrairah's bronze armor, finding the little landship's boiler. Rajah Rabiid's dreams of Ouargi hegemony (and the Rajah himself) come to a premature end in a huge explosion of superheated steam.

Meanwhile Miskatonic finds Ogress's range, hitting her with both guns, and loosening her fittings, which slows her movement temporarily. Behemoth's next shot jams the steering of the American motor truck.

 

Lexington fires a torpedo at the oncoming Wilhelmina, its erratic path missing her nose by bare inches.

Her steam line repaired, Sinuous now lurches into action, making directly for Miskatonic with increasing speed. The cargo truck with the statue and its infantry escort, breaks cover from behind the big turretship and makes for the protection of the unthreatened Quebec. Ogress with her cavalry in reserve in the center, turns to port, paralleling the truck's course, staying between the statue and the avenue of sphinxes.

As Ogress crosses behind her, Wilhelmina lowers a spar torpedo and clatters straight at the lowering front armor of Lexington, running on overpressure to maximize the effect of the ramming attack. Lexington's stokers throw butter on the fires to get speed up for the nose-on ram.

The two ironclads engage in a close range artillery duel, the spar torpedoes go off, and then there is the awesome clang and screech of metal against metal as the armored leviathans meet. Suddenly Wilhelmina erupts in a cloud of steam and fragments as the boiler splits under the impact, ripping the armored hull open. Lexington, larger and heavier, is damaged but fully functional, and takes only a single casualty.



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