Force on Force- Rhodesian Bush War

Spyros has built himself a tidy little force of ZANLA guerrillas and their Rhodesian opponents and we decided that a Force on Force game in the African bush would make a nice change of the usual struggles in Afghanistan.
The game was simple and to be played in two parts.
OVERVIEW:  A ZANLA force had established a small ammunition and fuel dump to supply operations in the local province and a small force of Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI) was sent out to smash it up.

The Table- The Ammo dump is far top right. Fuel dump amongst the buildings on the left.

The first part of the game was the initial attack of the RLI.
The second part could only be played if the RLI were successful in the initial attack. The Rhodesian player was given a set force that was tasked with the initial attack. The survivors then had to hold the base for 1D6 turns to represent the time taken to lay explosive charges to the ammunition and fuel dumps. The ZANLA guerillas were to firstly hold the base- and if it fell, rapid reinforcements were being sent to retake it after it fell, stopping the RLI from exiting the area of engagement.
Connor, Spyros and I were the guerrillas...why do I always have to play insurgents????
Nick and Evan were the well trained and motivated RLI with two squads mounted in Range Rovers and two MOUNTED sticks of Grey's Scouts.....yes horseback!!
Cavalry with SLRs!
As Spyros, whose whole collection is made up of lead figures representing armies from 1939- 2014 proudly announced : " Those six are the only figures that I have on horseback".....I made no comment as I glanced at my cabinet full of  Parthians, Persians, Turks, Normans and Marlburian Cuirassiers and Dragoons (thinking I wouldn't mind some of them to supplement the three squads of guerrillas, one ZU23 AA MG and two armoured cars).

The intiative lay with the RLI and they quickly deployed into fire positions to the north and north east but the mounted Grey's Scouts were quickly spotted by the rooftop observers and the barking of the autocannon hit one and forced the other two of the first stick to the ground. The RLI duly opened fire and they must have been all crack shots as the crew all were hit- Spyros' counter roll was outstanding - see the picture below- but to no avail the RLI were just too good by rolling with D10 against our D6 and they survived.

 By this time the other guerrillas began to deploy in their allocated firing positions. Stick 2 of the RLI joined the fire fight and the ZANLA boys failed their initiative tests rolling several '1s'. Now in Force on Force a failed reaction test roll of 1 means drawing a 'Fog of War' card. These are a lot of fun and provide some of the most amusing, unexpected and entertaining situations. In the case of the guerrillas we failed 3 reaction tests in a row, rolling 1s and three successive cards called for unmarked mines to detonate. The squad that was hit was determined randomly. In all three cases the squads that triggered the mines were all on the edge of the fuel and ammunition dumps.

Now we can only surmise that the enthusiastic guerrillas had been ordered to 'lay mines' and did so in a very haphazard and lazy manner. But then they didn't bother to remember where they had put them. Three Fog of War cards. Three Mines. Five Casualties. OUCH!
The only insurgents untouched at this point was Connor's squad and his armoured car who were in reserve near the ammo dump.

The ammo dump
By this stage it wasn't looking good for the insurgents and the RLI boys were closing in. We managed to down two more Greys Scouts as Connor's armoured car moved in to cover the fuel dump.and then failed another reaction test against the Stick 2 of the RLI- their GPMG shot up the crew in the armoured car and it crashed into the fuel dump- luckily there was no resulting explosion.. This time the Card declared that a random unit was called away to assist another  group of guerillas who were in trouble. In trouble? What then was happening to us?  Would you believe it, the only uncommitted unit- Connor's squad- was the one dice came up for! So they raced off to help someone else while our defence went to shit.
The Guerillas heavy weapon- 23mm twin barrelled autocannon. The ZANLA boys placed a lot of faith in this weapon- sadly for us it failed to live up to expectations...until the RLI captured it and turned it on us!! Then we found out how much damaged it could do.
What was left of the ZANLA defenders was not worth putting into a matchbox and the RLI with the survivors of Grey's Scouts moved in to set demolition charges.
The stage was set for the second part of the game. One stick took over the ammo dump and one took over the fuel dump. The now dismounted Grey's manned the ZU23.

The ZANLA insurgents moved quickly through the scrub and but found themselves drawing fire. Our armoured cars moved in for support....and very quickly drew fire from the ZU23 now manned by the government forces. Those boys knew how to shoot! In fact the autocannon tore apart two armoured cars and a squad- being on overwatch- before we could get a decent shot in reply. It was then time for the government forces to clear out and they did so with moments to spare as the ammunition and fuel dumps went up in flames with a bang.
As the RLI scrambled through the scrub to escape the remaining guerrillas who were in hot pursuit. Some got too close to the fire ball from the fuel dump and vanished in a wall of flame and no matter what the rest did ( we did get two hits) the RLI and the Scouts managed to get away......damn! 
A clear cut victory for the boys from Mr Smith's army - even without choppers!
Sypros, get some more ZANLA figures from Eureka- we're playing this one again!
The Area to the north of the fuel dump

The first squad of guerillas guarding the ammo dumo.

ZANLA mobile fire platform.

The ZU23 looking for targets.

ZANLA squad two.

The first mounted squad arrived....and gets targetted by the far sighted observers on the ZU23.

First 'Stick' of the RLI dismount.

The RLI are here!!

Spyros' role - with this sort of luck (firepower) I thought we would win!

RLI move cautiously through the undergrowth.

 'Stick' 1  pinned down!

Bring up the GPMG and shoot that f**king ZU23!!

No longer 'Pinned' the RLI advance continues.

Moving through the scrub

Protecting the fuel...this vehicle got shot up by 'Stick' 2 lost control and ploughed into the pile of 44 gallon drums containing the fuel...luckily there was no mass explosion.

The RLI show the guerrillas how to use the ZU23 in the second phase of  the game.

The last of the guerrillas make their stand.

The dump moments before it went up with a bang taking the last of the guerrillas with it.


  1. Great looking terrain and figures. A nice take on Modern warfare.

  2. A great AAR, perfect timing as I look to add to my own 'African' project.
    Thanks for posting.

    1. Thanks Stu. Spyros began the collecting...I think I'll have to catch up!- after I rewatch 'The Wild Geese'.

  3. This would have to of been one of my favourite games.
    More ZANLA on the way my friend.
    Thanks for the pics.

    1. Yea Spyros it was also one of my favourites! But why are we always on the losing side???!!! Must be our generalship! I think I might get some figures for mercenaries next!

  4. Brilliant AAR. Totally inspiring me to get Bush Wars and sort out some forces to play it.

    1. Thanks Mike. Well worth a game. Spyros' collection is growing fast!

  5. Very nice looking game. Great system too.

    1. Thanks John. The Force on Force rules work really well for this style of game and the 'Fog of War' cards make it a lot of fun.