B Company, 5th Battalion Units and Counters

The armies were similar in some respects — having the battalion as the basic manouevre element, but differed in the details. The British used four-battalion brigades, the Ottomans used three-battalion regiments, and the French had both regiments and brigades! English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Indians, French metropolitan, French colonial, Sengalese, Morrocan, Algerian, Zionist, Turkish, Arab, Ceylonese Tea Planters - quite a colourful collection. The counters shown here are early playtest counters, GMT is working on the final designs.

Example Playtest Counters

The major unit type is the infantry battalion, which can be deployed as two half-battalions. For the initial landings some Divisions are broken down into companies and platoons. The half-battalion is not just a device to ease the designer's life, both nations regularly trained in half-battalion tactics. In fact the ANZAC plan had one battalion operating as two half-battalions (not companies) several kilometers apart.

The Unit scale needs to be flexible. On the day of the landing, the Ottoman 9th Division was mostly deployed as individual platoons, sometimes even as sections. These pickets had a huge effect on the landing, and so they must be shown. However, at this stage of the war, all nations manouvred as battalions or half-battalions. Independent platoon tactics did not appear until 1917. Therefore the Ottoman 9th Division needs to be broken down into platoons, but the platoons must not be able to operate as a swarm of independently-controlled, radio-equipped entities. In the game they can only defend in place, or retreat to a pre-arranged rally point.

A rifle step is 200 men. Therefore a half-battalion (and they were all full strength at the landing) is 2 steps, and a company is 1 steps. Step losses are shown by flipping the 2-tep units, and removing a unit when it has lost its last step. An MG has the firepower equal to 100 riflemen. An artillery step is 2 guns.

Some example playtest units are shown below.

The first two rows contain all the counters for the 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. This battalion is broken down into companies, as well as the usual Left and Right half-battalions. From top to bottom and left to right there are:

  1. Left half-battalion
  2. Right half-battalion
  3. MG Section of two guns
  4. Four companies - A, B, C, D

The second row show three units from the ANZAC corps The ANZAC units are the Headquarters of the 1st Australian Division, the Zion Mule Corps (Zionists from Palestine raised in Alexandria), and the 26th Battery (Kohat's Battery) from the 7th Indian Divsion (but attached to ANZAC). Next to the Kohat Battery is my favourite unit, the utterly useless Ceylon Planters' Rifle Corps. Raised from the sons of the colonial British tea planters in Ceylon, these fine chaps never saw action at Anzac despite being landed on the second day. They spent the whole nine months of the campaign guarding Divisional and Corps headquarters near the beach, as part of the "Inner Defences." I have found very little of their history, although I do have an image of their rather natty Mess Jacket (and regrettably the counter is too small to include an image). The British Empire at its finest indeed. There really were some very odd units in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.

The next line begins with part of the Drake Batallion from the Royal Navy Division. The RND was specially raised by Churchill form Royal Marines and "excess" sailors found at various RN depots. The remaining three untis are French, from the 1st Division of the Corps Expeditionaire d'Orient. The first is the French Foreign Legion (Legion Etrange), the second is "Sengalese" form Algeria (the French Army labelled any "native" troops as "Senegalese", even if they were not from Senegal!), and a battery of 75's (32nd Battery, 8th Field Regiment).

The last row are Ottoman units. The first is the 1st platoon of the sixth company of the 2nd Battalion, 26th Regiment. The second is a unusual unit - a section of two fixed Nordenfeldt 25mm machine guns. These pre-dated the Maxim and Vickers guns. They had four barrels and were operated by a forward-and-backward manual crank. Originally used on Torpedo Boat Destoyers, this particular pair were mounted on a pedestal set in concrete as a form of Coastal Defence Artillery. Officially these (and the other coastal defence guns at Gaba Tepe) were part of the 27th Regiment. This is followed by part of the 2nd Battalion of the 25th Regiiement, and the 3rd Battry of the 1st Battalion of the 8th Heavy Regiment. This was equipped with 15cm Howitzers, and proved deadly to the British minesweepers.

© Geoffrey Phipps 2013-2016  Email me