The Back of Beyond, Contemptible Little Armies / Back of Beyond, 28mm
This little affair came about because we couldn’t agree on anything else to do this week. It pitted two Red forces (owned by Dougie Trail and Colin Jack) pitted against Dougie’s French Interventionists, supported by a contingent of Jack’s Whites. Dougie, Chris Henry and Bill Gilchrist took the Reds, while Colin, Nikolas, Hugh and I took the Whites. Some of the more exotic troops included Trotsky’s Guard, clad in red leather, a unit of Soviet Partisans, Soviet sailors, the French of course, and a Pravda van, ready to report their version of the battle before the opposition. There were also Cossacks aplenty, artillery, machine guns and – for once – no tanks, armoured cars or aircraft. So, a pretty straightforward Back of Beyond game then! It was a straightforward encounter affair – no subtleties – just straight in an’ at ’em. The village in the centre was occupied by Red Partisans supported by Sailors, who were eventually winkled out of their strongpoint by a spirited French attack.They were supported by the White cavalry, which charged in support of the French, and who hacked their way through a good number of the defenders.However, the Whites on the right flank spent the game doing little or nothing, and at the close of play the Reds had managed to move reinforcements – a cavalry unit and Trotsky’s Guards – who were threatening to launch a counter-attack against the French-held villages. Another Bolshevik cavalry unit was also threatening the French left flank, which could have caused even more problems.Although the honours were awarded to the French and the Whites, it was most definitely a close-run thing. We used Contemptible Little Armies, which may not be the most accurate, mind-stretching or best rules out there, but which at least allow us to field fairly large armies, and finish a game in an evening.