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Australian Light Horse’s Finest Hour the Charge at Beersheba – 31st Oct 1917

Last Sunday the lads at the club played a magnificent World War One (WW1) game based loosely on the charge of the Australian Light Horse (ALH) at Beersheba on 31 Oct 1917.

It was one of the most outstanding charges during the war – I did not say ‘cavalry charge’ as the ALH were mounted infantry and charged with their 18 inch bayonets (not swords). During the actual charge, two ALH regiments charged the Turkish trenches across open ground, under artillery and small arms fire to successfully capture the town of Beersheba.

Our game replicated the charge, but of course, with smaller numbers and a rather condensed battlefield as the township was quite a distance from the trenches.

The game was put on by John Maguire, who was also the very lucky owner of the terrain and figures utilised for the game. Thanks also to Jeff and Harrison Smith, Dave Lowe, and Tim Jolly for commanding troops on all sides.

Our charge started with six squadrons of ALH deployed in three lines supported by three mounted MG teams and a three gun battery providing some covering fire.
The Turkish troops were well deployed in their forward trenches occupied by two platoons of infantry, four MG teams, and supported by a battery of four artillery guns.
The whole battle was observed by the Turkish High Command and their German advisor. Three other sections of infantry were also deployed in the Beersheba township.
After some final deployments, the supporting Allied artillery opened fire on the Turkish trenches and the lines of AHL moved forward
The Allied commanders and direct the charge from the safety.
The right three squadrons move forward. We used the BA2 rules for the game which proved excellent for the purpose of the game. The Australians we classed as veterans and tough fighters. The Turkish infantry was classed as untrained but the MG Teams and artillery were classed as regular troops.
The three left squadrons move forward
By the 2nd turn, the AHL had moved at a run and were now receiving heavy MG fire from the Turkish line, which emptied a few saddles from both left and right forward squadrons
A great view of the charging AHL just short of the Turkish trenches
Allied supporting artillery fire their last rounds over the top of the charging Aussies
Turn three the first squadrons assault the Turkish trenches. Though the Turks fought hard and proved hard top dislodge they were soon captured and the first line of trenches was taken.
Once the trench was captured the AHL dismounted and proceeded to mop up any resistance left.
Turn four saw the AHL charge the left line of Turkish trenches and again after some stiff fighting and heavy casualties the line was taken.
Within the next two turns the AHL dismounted their troops and mopped up any further resistance in the tenches left and right.
The Turkish commanders redeploy reserve troops into the township in hope of setting up another line of defence.
Dismounted AHL enter the town and start further close quarter fighting
I was not there for the end of the game but I was informed that the AHL eventually after further fighting captured the second line of defence and won the day.

18 thoughts on “Australian Light Horse’s Finest Hour the Charge at Beersheba – 31st Oct 1917”

  1. I love The Lighthorsemen … excellent movie! And this is something I've often wanted to do myself – to bring it to the tabletop. You've done an excellent job here. The Australian Light Horse is beautifully painted. Very well done. Congrats!

  2. Excellent looking game, nice figures and fantastic buildings. Was it played using Bolt Action rules? Looking forward to the game report and some info on the figures. Cheers Greg

  3. Another wonderful visual feast of a game…fantastic stuff….and a bunch of Aussies making Aussie troops into super elites….who would have guessed! Just kidding guys?

  4. Thanks for the great comments again everyone. rross BA2 has made all cavalry (I know they were not cavalry) tough fighters and these lads certainly were in real life also. The Turkish troops in the trenches were hard to fight from horse back and we replicated this in the game making them a +2 to hit. The BA2 though are very brutal in hand to hand combat and when your troops loose a fight the whole section/squad is removed or deem captured……there is no falling back 🙂



  5. Great looking game both in terms of figures and terrain. You maintain your usual high standard, and bring yet another collection out for your admiring public. Keep 'em coming.

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