The Game, as played anno 2001

Shambattle, since it was published in 1929, assumes that traditional toy soldiers are used (54 mm). I decided to use my collection of wooden wargaming figures figures from the excellent Woodens range, produced by Windcatcher Graphics. Since these are somewhat smaller than traditional 54 mm soldiers, I decided to reduce all measurements by a factor of 2/3.

The initial map was drawn on brown packing paper with colored crayons. The result was rather unattractive ...
The original ShamBattle map from the book.

For the map, I used a sheet of brown packing paper, and used colored crayons to reproduce the map as given in the book. The map looked rather flat and unattractive this way, so I decided to add some visual elements. I made some wooden contours to serve as hills, and used a wooden block toy set for buildings in the two main cities. For trees I used the palm trees as produced by Windcatcher Graphics as part of their Woodens range. The impassable marches were filled up with lichen. The gaming surface looks more attractive, without losing the quintessential look-and-feel of a collection of toys used for playing a wargame.

The final "3-dimensional" playing field, using wooden hills, a wooden block set, and lichen.

The artillery and machine guns templates were cut from a sheet of balsa wood, and I colered them in to give them a bit more of a lively appearance. Woodens has some cannon in their ACW range, but I didn't have models for them. I looked for a drawn picture of a cannon on the web, and printed and mounted it on a scale suitable for the figures.
Armies and Forces

We decided to field two armies, based on the French Foreign Legion and Arabs range. Although ShamBattle says we should use armies which are equal in numbers for cavalry and infantry, we didn't really follow this rule, mostly because of a lack of mounted troops for the FFL. We decided on the following troop composition:

French Foreign Legion
  • 3 machine guns
  • 1 cannon
  • 5 Spahis (mounted)
  • 45 legionnaires
  • 3 hospitals with 2 medics each
  • 1 commanding officer
  • 1 cannon
  • 18 horsemen
  • 30 camelmen
  • 20 infantry
  • 1 commanding officer

The Arabs have the majority, but no hospitals. So they cannot recover their wounded from the field. This also meant that their partial casualties would be full casualties. The FFL has machine guns, so they should be able to put up a good defense.

Also, I decided to make the river between the marsh at Redville and Red City/Blueburg fordable. Otherwise, the 3 bridges would form narrow chole points, and the battle would not be very interesting. Troops move up to the river, the next turn they move to the opposite bank, and after that they again can move as normal.

The initial set-up was given by the rules: at least half of the force must be in the cities, and of that half, a third must be in each city. Both forces chose one of the artillery crew figures as the spy, but both armies also tried to counter that by placing more than 2 crew figures next to the artillery pieces.

The French Foreign Legion setup

The plan of the FFL was to storm the right-most bridge, through the marches, into Redville. Meanwhile, they would defend the other bridges and the river. Their permanent hospital was located in the capital, and they had 4 cannon crewmembers, just in case a spy might turn up.

The initial FFL positions

The Arab set-up

The Arabs had numerical superiority, so they wanted to attack! A strong force of camelriders would attack through the marshes, and a force of horsemen and infantry would cross the river. The Arabs also put some decent reserves in the capital.

The initial Arab positions

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 This page was written by Phil Dutre and is maintained by Bart Vetters
Schild en Vriend Miniature Wargaming Club Leuven