Monday, 6 May 2013

Second Gaza (Part 1)

This was another outing to the Middle East, this time to Gaza in 1917. We've already played first Gaza, and this scenario covers the British/ANZAC attempt to try and take the town again. We used Richard Brooks OP14 for this, played on Kallistra desert hexes (2km per hex) and using my 6mm Irregular Middle Eastern WW1 figures and vehicles.

Briefings below.

Second Battle of Gaza, 17th-19th April 1917

Although First Gaza was reported by the British as a victory in terms of both losses inflicted and covering the coastal railway, all the participating formations knew it had been a staff bungle of monumental proportions. A few weeks later the British tried again, by which time the Ottomans had plenty of time to bring up reinforcements and dig in.

British briefing
The extension of the desert railway has allowed more guns and troops to be brought up, however there are still serious problems supplying troops with water in the deep desert flank. 52 and 54 Divs will break through the Turkish lines to the east of Gaza then envelop and capture the fortress while the garrison are pinned frontally by 53 Div. The mounted troops will guard the right flank and push through the Turkish lines on the right as the situation allows.
The attack will be conducted in two phases. Firstly advance from the wadi to our jumping off points. The troops will dig in while the artillery carries out a two day bombardment of the enemy defences, the main attack going in on the 19th.

Enemy forces are estimated to be two weak divisions (some 30,000 men), little match for our six divisions amply supported by 170 artillery pieces. The French navy have provided some warships for bombardment, and a company of the new 'tanks' have arrived from France along with supplies of chlorine gas shells.

Break through the Turkish lines on the 19th.
Envelop and/or capture Gaza.
Push mounted troops through the gaps to exploit.

Forces (all D8)

Desert Column (Lt Gen Chetwode)
52nd Lowland Div, 53rd Welsh Div and 54th East Anglian Div each:
HQ, 3 x Bde, 1 x Field arty (3)
Anzac Mtd Div, Imperial Mtd Div, Imperial Camel Brigade: 3 x Divs each of 4 x Cavalry + 2 armoured cars to attach.

Corps assets
Corps howitzers: 1 howitzer (3), 1 x detachment of Mark 1 tanks, French warship squadron (1)
Two x chlorine gas concentrations to deploy via artillery (non persistent).

Troops deploy in their 19th April jump off positions. Infantry 1 hex back from the Turk  line, cavalry two hexes back, all dug in.

Turkish briefing
Since the failed British attack the Gaza-Beersheba line has been heavily fortified and extra troops brought up so our forces comprise over 50,000 men and 100 guns. The line nearer to Gaza is more heavily defended than the deep desert as supply problems restrict the enemy forces which can be deployed there.

A ponderous enemy build up has been observed and it is likely they will attack again soon.

Retain control of Gaza.
Prevent the enemy breaking through.

Forces (D10)

Fourth Army (von Kressenstein)

Gaza Force:
3rd and 53rd Infantry Divisions
HQ, 5 x Infantry brigades, 2 x field artillery (2), 1 x howitzer (2) (one bde deployed in reserve)

Set up holding the sector Gaza-Beer trenches with one brigade in reserve.

Desert Force:
Group Tiller, 16th Infantry Div, 3rd Cavalry Div.
HQ, 3 x Infantry Brigades, 1 x Cavalry Div. 2 x Field artillery regt (2). (one bde in reserve)

Set up holding the Atawineh- Hareira sector with one brigade and the cavalry in reserve. The cavalry may enter anywhere from the east side of the table.

Terrain and weather
The terrain is rolling desert broken up by scrub, wadis and rocky ridges. Hills are passable obstacles for artillery and the wadis are passable obstacles for all arms. Trenches are permanent defences.

Umpires Notes
Dawn is at 0500 and nightfall at 1800. 1.5 hour turns, 8 turns per day.

British move up on the 17th and dig in to their jump off positions, at least one hex from the Turkish positions, cavalry two hexes and ANZACs in reserve.Turks deploy each force with one brigade in reserve and all artillery in the line.

17th - six turns bombardment, British FA and howitzers vs Gaza area, Turk FA and hows reply. Resolve at night - Turks in per trenches, Brits in hasty. Recover and reorg.
18th - eight turns of bombardment. Both sides in perm. Recover and reorg.
19th jump off time.

Quick bombardment resolution on the 19th.
British AvD +4 hits vs Turks (2/3rds vs Gaza)
Turk Avd+3 hits split across inf formations as the cavalry are out of range.
Half of hits can be recovered 'overnight' before the first game turn.

Gas: delivered by artillery as a bombardment, persists for two turns. Doesn't inflict significant losses but reduces combat dice one level (so D10 becomes D12) to units in the square.

French ships: range 5, (1) to hit, but do double damage vs permanent trenches (2 hits). Can only fire at coast, and visible hills unless naval spotter plane over target.

A vague attempt to model the real battlefield on my dining table. The top of the picture is the coast, the main Turkish line is along the road running top to bottom.

Map of the actual battle, Beer trenches etc referred to in the briefing marked. This is the situation later on the 19th.


  1. Hi Martin,

    I am really looking forward to seeing this unfold and the tabletop set up looks great with the Hexon! I want to get some of the desert stuff myself. I have heard mention of OP14 but have not seen a set - are the readily available?

    All the best,


  2. Hi Dave, OP14 was published in the Wargames Developments Journal a couple of years ago, so it should be available in the pdf archives. I'm afraid I can't recall which issue it was though! Tim might recall better.

  3. Martin, Great setup for your war game. Just a query, do you use GHQ miniatures to play your war games?

    Happen to stumble across your blog and I realize the route you have taken to war gaming is very similar to mine.

    I was an avid modeller and hobbyist that take much interest in Modern Era Warfare (1986-Current Day) As such, I started collecting MBTs to Modern Warships. Until I discovered GHQ that I have expanded into modern warfare war gaming miniatures.

    I was wondering if you could google connect with me! (Already connected to your website) And check out my war gaming miniatures and tell me what you think about them. And Did you get those hexes from GHQ or did you buy them from your local hobby store?

    Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers!

    1. Ops, My blog is

  4. Hi Jiaqi, I am afraid I am too cheap to use GHQ. I have some but most of my 6mm stuff is H&R or Irregular. The hexes are Kallistra hexon rather than ghq. I usually pre order them and pick them up at shows.

  5. Ahh I see. I will be sure to take note of them and use them too. I do agree that GHQ's hexes could be a lil too much on the hefty side.