Three Days at Qurnah

7 - 9/12/14

V1.1.1 - OB link fixed

By capturing Basra, the British had taken an important communications and industrial centre. The Ottomans retreated up the Tigris River. The British needed to secure their position in Basra and the oil fields at Abadan.

After the defeat at Basra, the Ottomans decided to take up a defensive position at the small town of Qurna to the north. Since both the Tigris and Euphrates join together at Qurna, it made for an ideal position to make a stand since the British would have to cross the two rivers The Ottomans had about 1,000 men under the command of Colonel Subhi Bey, the Wali or Governor of Basra. The British had about 2,100 under Major General C.I. Fry.

(from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Qurna )

Version 1.1 of this scenario is based on: http://www.greatwarspearhead.com/scenarios/qurna-9-december-1914.html However this scenario has numerous points of departure from the official British history of the campaign. Historically the Turks surrendered on the 9th but this scenario assumes the battles continues. I have taken the liberty of assuming the Turkish forces further up the Tigris launch a counter attack. The Turkish forces are too large as depicted in the spearhead scenario. Due to limited time for research I have gone with the spearhead force size. To compensate the Turks have been made tactically incompetent which gives a left shift when firing and a right shift when being fired at.

Map and Order of Battle

Turkish Deployment

The Divisional HQ is deployed touching Qurnah.

The 112th Regiment and one artillery battalion, are deployed on the west bank of the Tigris, from the Euphrates in the couth to stream CE in the north. Note the 112th Regiment may not move on Day 1 unless the Empire forces cross the Tigris.

The 113th Regiment and one artillery battalion, are deployed on the East bank of the Tigris within the area delineated by the thin brown dashed line. The 113th is dug in in hasty trenches (1 left shift)

The 114th Regiment is a reinforcement available on turn 2 day 3. It arrives within 12" of point A

The Turks have a pontoon bridge over the Tigris between points C and D (see special rules). This is not placed on the tabletop until spotted by the Empire troops. The Turkish player should make a written secret note of its deployment

Empire Deployment

The Empire moves first

The 16th Brigade, with one artillery battery attacks on turn 1 day 1. It enters between point B and a point 24" north of point B. It is possible the 16th may have to pull back off table during the night interval (historically it did) in which case its day 2 entry is the same as day 1.

The 18th Brigade with one artillery battery, the mountain battery and the engineers, attacks on turn 1 day 2. It enters between 36" and 48" north of point B

The 2nd Norfolks are a reinforcement on Day 2. They may be attached to the 16th or 18th Brigade as the Empire player wishes.

The RN Gunboat Flotilla attacks turn 1 day 1 and enters along river B.

Terrain

The table is 6ft x 4ft if playing 6" = 1000m

The majority of the open terrain is sandy, dotted with low scrub

The cyan areas are marshy. The are difficult terrain to most troops but impassable to artillery

The green areas are palm groves They are difficult terrain and provide one left shift cover

The brown square is a village which gives one left shift cover

The grey squares are a town which gives two left shifts cover

The brown dotted lines are level 1 rises. They break LOS across.

The thick blue lines are major rivers. They have extensive tall reed beds on either side which means that each bank breaks LOS. The rivers are impassable except to the RN flotilla (but see below) only river BD is navigable for the flotilla. Note that point D does not have LOS down the Tigris

The thin blue lines are minor rivers. The are obstacles to cross

Special Rules

The game is 3 days long separated by 2 night intervals, day 1 is 5 turns, day 2 is 4 turns and day 3 is 6 turns

The Turkish pontoon can only carry one battalion or battery across in one turn. Only one battalion may attempt to cross it in any turn. Use is unlimited in a night interval. Command stands cross for "free". If it's destroyed any units of the 113th (or any units sent to reinforce them) will not be able to recover low on ammo status. Similarly for the Empire forces if they have taken the bridge and crossed to the west bank. One turn's direct fire by an artillery unit will destroy the bridge. Observed indirect fires destroys the bridge on a 5 or 6 d6. If the bridge is destroyed while a unit its crossing it takes a casualty, becomes disrupted and retreats to a friendly bank.

Any Empire engineer unit touching a river for a full turn may then attempt to construct a "flying" bridge. It may not be constructed within small arms range of an enemy unit. It requires a successful full move roll to do so. If an engineer unit spends a night interval next to a river it can construct a bridge. Any friendly one battalion within 6" can cross and be placed on the far bank touching the bridge. Construction takes place after retreat moves. The bridge allows infantry to cross but not artillery, except the mountain battery. If the mountain battery crosses a full move is 6" and a half move is 3" (mules can't cross so the guns are being manhandled). The bridge is basically immune to artillery fire but will be destroyed if a Turkish stand touches it. Once an Empire units has crossed the bridge if it goes low on ammo it can not recover its in ammo status until it re-crosses the bridge.

The RN Flotilla may carry four infantry stands. These must be allocated from the 16th Brigade at the start of the day. They may be offloaded at any point and then carried by launches. Being carried in launches automatically disrupts the unit and the unit cannot be re-ordered until it is landed. Otherwise movement rolls are made as normal. The "spare" two stands can be allocated to bolster the strength of another battalion in the  16th Brigade. Units in the launches are treated as tactically incompetent (i.e. one shift left for firing and one shift right when being shot at)

The RN Flotilla has its own captain so is +1 to activate. It carries the equivalent of a field artillery battery. There is an OP in the mast which is equivalent to level 1. 4 hits will destroy the boat. It is rated as Veteran. The boat will retreat off table each night interval. If its low on ammo it must retreat of table to replenish.

Victory Conditions

There are four victory locations: Qurnah, Muzairan, the British Flying Bridge and Point A

To win the Empire must hold 3 out of 4 objectives, they draw if they hold 2 and lose if they hold 1 or less

For the Empire units to "hold" Qurnah there must either be no Turkish units touching it, or the Turkish units within must not have a viable supply line back to point B. To be viable the line must not pass within 3" of an Empire unit and not pass through a marsh

For the Empire to hold Muzairan there must be no Turkish units touching it

For the Empire to "hold" the flying bridge it just needs to be intact at the end of the game

For the Empire to "hold" Point B there must be no Turkish units within 9"

References

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