A Kut Above the Rest.

A Matrix Game based on the Mesopotamian Campaign 1915-1916.

General Briefing (umpires notes, to be read to players).

Mesopotamia was a province of the ottoman Empire, the local Arab population having been integrated into the administration and local Turkish Army units. In mid 1915 a British expeditionary force was despatched from India to secure the port of Basra and the Anglo-Persian oil pipeline. Basra was taken without difficulty and the British looked for further opportunities.

 

 

Communications in the area are very poor, being based on the major rivers (Tigris and Euphrates), although a rail line runs from central Turkey to Baghdad, with plans to extend it to the sea. The climate is extreme, and the low lying swampy areas and heat make the area very prone to disease. The Ottoman Empire is already waging a war on three fronts (Egypt, Caucasus and the Dardanelles) with the Mesopotamian front being the fourth.

Indian Army units were a mixture of Sikh, Ghurka and British battalions, all of comparable fighting ability. Artillery support tended to be much weaker than their Western Front counterparts, however the open desert flanks allowed the successful employment of cavalry and armoured cars. Flotillas of shallow draft gunboats were able to operate on the major rivers, and small numbers of aircraft were employed as well.

The Turkish Army was very large on paper, but units were usually only at 25-50% of authorised strength. The troops were brave and determined, but a poor administrative framework and lack of heavy weapons reduced their performance. An influx of German 'advisors' did much to improve the situation, especially with units raised in Anatolia. The local Mesopotamian Turkish troops were supplemented by a number of local Arab irregular forces.

Each turn is approximately six weeks, and the game lasts eight turns. Units may move a maximum of one area per turn under normal circumstances, but once a unit or group of units is successfully given an action it will continue to do it over successive turns. To remain in supply units must be able to trace a line of supply vehicles back to their main depot (Baghdad or India via Basra), being out of supply may have adverse effects. Battles will be resolved using SCRUD with various modifiers, and defenders have the option of fighting an open battle or retiring into any town in the area (which gives fortification benefits), they may however then be besieged. Destroyed units may be rebuilt in their home base. Teams may confer.

Characters and order of play.

Lord Horatio Kitchener, Minister of War.

Enver Pasha, Minister of War.

Sir Beauchamp Duff, Viceroy of India.

Nur Ur Uddin, representative of the Mesopotamian Arabs.

Colmar Von der Goltz, Commander Turkish Sixth Army.

General Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend. Commander 6th Indian Division.

 

Forces:

British.

India: six infantry brigades, one cavalry brigade, two artillery brigades

Basra: four infantry brigades, one artillery brigade, one gunboat, four supply trucks

Turkish.

Baghdad: one infantry brigade

Ctesiphon: one infantry brigade, one wagon

Kut: one infantry brigade, one wagon

Amara: one infantry brigade, two wagons

Qurna: one infantry brigade

Syria: four Turkish brigades

Anatolia: four Anatolian brigades, one artillery brigade, one steam train

Arab.

Sahila: two Arabs

Persia desert: one Arab

Central Erg: one Arab

Timeline.

(to be read to the players at the start of each turn)

April - May 1915 Gallipoli landings, Gorlice-Tarnow offensive, Second Battle of Ypres

May - July 1915 Vimy Ridge and the Argonne. Przemyl and Lemburg recaptured. Helles landings.

July - August 1915 Ivangorod and Warsaw fall. Suvla Bay.

August - October 1915 Battle of Champagne & Loos. Vilna falls.

October - November 1915 Battle of Champagne ends. Serbia captured.

November - January 1916 Gallipoli evacuated.

January - February 1916 Battle of Verdun starts.

February - April 1916 Verdun continues, Fort Douamont captured.

Player Briefings

 

General Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend. Commander 6th Indian Division.

You are the hero of Chitral (1895) and believe you are the new Alexander, writing copious memoirs and bad poetry. You wish to advance as far as possible, and have little time for the timorous Viceroy of India.

Objectives.

Matrix Games

In a Matrix Game, players undertake actions by presenting arguments. An argument consists of an action a result and three reasons. The argument is rated by the umpire as weak, average or strong, and its success or otherwise determined by a dice roll. Arguments in direct contradiction are resolved by opposing dice rolls. Arguments in direct agreement will almost certainly succeed.

e.g.

Action. My troops march west.

Result. They occupy the province.

Reasons.They are well trained.

They have good supply lines.

They have good leaders.

For a simple movement action, this is sufficient to rate a strong argument. Alternatively:

Because of recent corruption scandals (reason), her length of time in office (reason) and because she is French (reason); Edith Cresson is forced to resign (action) and the Italians take over the EU Commision (result).

This is fair enough, but no real reason for the Italians as opposed to any other country has been presented, so this is at best an average argument (or if it fails, it may be that another country gets the Commision).

 

 

Sir Beauchamp Duff, Viceroy of India.

You are aware of the need to protect Basra and the Persian oil from the Turks, however you have wider responsibilities: the security of India itself, and providing as many troops as possible for the Western Front. You view the Mesopotamian campaign as a sideshow, and wish to commit the least possible force to it, whilst avoiding any major defeats.

Objectives.

Matrix Games

In a Matrix Game, players undertake actions by presenting arguments. An argument consists of an action a result and three reasons. The argument is rated by the umpire as weak, average or strong, and its success or otherwise determined by a dice roll. Arguments in direct contradiction are resolved by opposing dice rolls. Arguments in direct agreement will almost certainly succeed.

e.g.

Action. My troops march west.

Result. They occupy the province.

Reasons.They are well trained.

They have good supply lines.

They have good leaders.

For a simple movement action, this is sufficient to rate a strong argument. Alternatively:

Because of recent corruption scandals (reason), her length of time in office (reason) and because she is French (reason); Edith Cresson is forced to resign (action) and the Italians take over the EU Commision (result).

This is fair enough, but no real reason for the Italians as opposed to any other country has been presented, so this is at best an average argument (or if it fails, it may be that another country gets the Commision).

 

 

Lord Horatio Kitchener, Minister of War.

The planned offensives on the Western Front and the landings at Gallipoli will undoubtedly knock the Central Powers out of the war, however it is useful to give the Turks a good thrashing in Mesopotamia too, and you are aware that your political position is dependant on military success. The failure in February of the naval attack on the Dardanelles has increased your resolve to obtain a military success against the Turks. The Admiralty are very concerned for the security of their oil supplies.

Objectives.

Matrix Games

In a Matrix Game, players undertake actions by presenting arguments. An argument consists of an action a result and three reasons. The argument is rated by the umpire as weak, average or strong, and its success or otherwise determined by a dice roll. Arguments in direct contradiction are resolved by opposing dice rolls. Arguments in direct agreement will almost certainly succeed.

e.g.

Action. My troops march west.

Result. They occupy the province.

Reasons.They are well trained.

They have good supply lines.

They have good leaders.

For a simple movement action, this is sufficient to rate a strong argument. Alternatively:

Because of recent corruption scandals (reason), her length of time in office (reason) and because she is French (reason); Edith Cresson is forced to resign (action) and the Italians take over the EU Commision (result).

This is fair enough, but no real reason for the Italians as opposed to any other country has been presented, so this is at best an average argument (or if it fails, it may be that another country gets the Commision).

 

 

Enver Pasha, Minister of War.

You are the most significant figure amongst the 'Young Turks' who have siezed power in Turkey. Your main interest is in expanding Turkish influence in the Caucasus, but recognise the need to maintain forces to threaten the British in Egypt and what appears to be a planned attack on the Dardanelles. You deeply distrust and dislike the old reactionary Von der Goltz, who is in command of the Turkish Sixth Army, but you cannot afford to remove him until the security of Mesopotamia is assured.

Objectives.

Matrix Games

In a Matrix Game, players undertake actions by presenting arguments. An argument consists of an action a result and three reasons. The argument is rated by the umpire as weak, average or strong, and its success or otherwise determined by a dice roll. Arguments in direct contradiction are resolved by opposing dice rolls. Arguments in direct agreement will almost certainly succeed.

e.g.

Action. My troops march west.

Result. They occupy the province.

Reasons.They are well trained.

They have good supply lines.

They have good leaders.

For a simple movement action, this is sufficient to rate a strong argument. Alternatively:

Because of recent corruption scandals (reason), her length of time in office (reason) and because she is French (reason); Edith Cresson is forced to resign (action) and the Italians take over the EU Commision (result).

This is fair enough, but no real reason for the Italians as opposed to any other country has been presented, so this is at best an average argument (or if it fails, it may be that another country gets the Commision).

 

 

Colmar Von der Goltz, Commander Turkish Sixth Army.

You are a General Staff officer sent with a number of colleagues to improve the efficiency of the Turkish Army. You are a personal friend of the Sultan, and dislike the radical politics of the so-called 'Young Turks', of whom Enver Pasha is a leading member. You are determined to do your duty in a professional manner however, and are disappointed that the British have forestalled your attack on Basra.

Objectives.

Matrix Games

In a Matrix Game, players undertake actions by presenting arguments. An argument consists of an action a result and three reasons. The argument is rated by the umpire as weak, average or strong, and its success or otherwise determined by a dice roll. Arguments in direct contradiction are resolved by opposing dice rolls. Arguments in direct agreement will almost certainly succeed.

e.g.

Action. My troops march west.

Result. They occupy the province.

Reasons.They are well trained.

They have good supply lines.

They have good leaders.

For a simple movement action, this is sufficient to rate a strong argument. Alternatively:

Because of recent corruption scandals (reason), her length of time in office (reason) and because she is French (reason); Edith Cresson is forced to resign (action) and the Italians take over the EU Commision (result).

This is fair enough, but no real reason for the Italians as opposed to any other country has been presented, so this is at best an average argument (or if it fails, it may be that another country gets the Commision).

 

 

Nur Ur Uddin, representative of the Mesopotamian Arabs.

The local Arab population have been given considerable latitude by their notional Ottoman masters, and as such you are quite content to remain part of the Ottoman Empire. You need to at least give some impression of active support, but are mainly interested in profiting from the situation.

Objectives.

Note: using an argument, one Arab unit may 'melt into the desert' per turn, and reappear anywhere in Mesopotamia. This may prove useful for raids and suchlike...

Matrix Games

In a Matrix Game, players undertake actions by presenting arguments. An argument consists of an action a result and three reasons. The argument is rated by the umpire as weak, average or strong, and its success or otherwise determined by a dice roll. Arguments in direct contradiction are resolved by opposing dice rolls. Arguments in direct agreement will almost certainly succeed.

e.g.

Action. My troops march west.

Result. They occupy the province.

Reasons.They are well trained.

They have good supply lines.

They have good leaders.

For a simple movement action, this is sufficient to rate a strong argument. Alternatively:

Because of recent corruption scandals (reason), her length of time in office (reason) and because she is French (reason); Edith Cresson is forced to resign (action) and the Italians take over the EU Commision (result).

This is fair enough, but no real reason for the Italians as opposed to any other country has been presented, so this is at best an average argument (or if it fails, it may be that another country gets the Commision).