Friday 24 January 2020

Battle of Chongzhou: - a mostly Jacklex 20mm game

When I first got my diagnosis of cancer and was given ‘months’ I thought it was time to have a sort out of the figures and down size.  Jack had made me a number of ships over the years which were really great but difficult to sell on line because of their fragility and subsequent packaging.

I contacted gamers who I had been in touch with over time to see if they were interested in the models and more importantly could they physically collect them from my home.  Payment was a voluntary contribution to Cancer Research UK of what they thought the models and figures were worth.

One gamer Richard Wells came up from Kent to collect some ships and other bits and I have stayed in touch with him and his progress towards getting his table sorted out.  I am delighted to say that the models have finally hit the table and Richard has kindly sent me some pictures and a description of his game which he has agreed that I can post on my blog.

So I give you the Battle of Chongzhou:

A British force under the command of General Wells were instructed to relief a German and French force, running out of supplies and tied up in a fort next to the River Sonlung very close to the Chinese held town of Chongzhou.

First the much larger Chinese navy had to be defeated, before a dangerous landing could be attempted. The British navy consisted of HMS Daring and HMS Endeavour and a machine gun armed launch. Against them were arrayed 6 Chinese junks and 3 smaller dhows. Alas the Chinese navy proved no match for the much better armed British boats and after some extraordinary dice throwing the entire Chinese fleet was sunk in 3 moves, with very little damage to the British ships.


Landing boats with the Marines were then launched to make a bridgehead.

The Chinese commander  General XunTsu realising it was imperative to stop the landing sent all his cavalry and a unit of boxers to drive the Marines back into the sea before they could establish the bridgehead.

Richard's son Sebastian looks on as the Marines land.

The Marines and their Gardner gun only had time to clamber out of their landing craft and fire one volley before they were hit by the charging Chinese cavalry. That one volley managed to sweep away nearly half of the Chinese cavalry at close range but the charge was carried through and the Marines were beaten back into the sea, although they caused much damage to the cavalry, which was also forced to retire and re-group.

Two Highland regiments were fast approaching the shore, while the Boxers were closing in on the beach. The Marines in a dis-organised state were driven back a second time into the Scots whose firepower made some holes in the Chinese attackers. The Scots managed to land and the Boxers after one round of fighting fled.

Meanwhile the Germans and the French, despite being low on rations decided to launch their own  attack on Chongzhou - a risky operation at best. Chinese fire from the perimeter houses was highly inaccurate, as it was prove to be throughout the battle. The French and Germans fought their way through the houses forcing the Boxers into the open, but they had not realised that a unit of the crack Tigermen were waiting on the other side. These charged forward and despite loses forced the French and Germans back with their own heavy loses.

The patrol boat that General Wells had sent up the muddy river was now approaching the fort and relief was at hand. The British infantry started their advance on Chongzhou with a regiment of cavalry in support. The Navy’s ships poured fire into Chongzhou taking a particularly heavy toll of the Chinese gunners and guns on the battlements.

The regrouped Chinese cavalry decided to give it one more go and moved forward to meet the British cavalry. In a battle that seesawed backwards and forwards the British Cavalry eventually got the upper hand although both Cavalry forces were forced to regroup after 2 rounds of combat.

A small force of German snipers who had been ashore on the right side of the battlefield had now advanced within range of the town’s fortifications and started to lay down a withering fire.

While the Germans and French were fighting in Chongzhou, a small group of Chinese attacked the fort and one of them managed to force his way in killing the last French soldier.

Unfortunately for him the naval launch had by now arrived at the fort and it’s commander plus one rating confronted the Chinese and killed him after 2 rounds of combat.

Things were looking grim for the Chinese commander, so he decided to launch an attack against the German snipers

 His artillery were hopelessly inaccurate and were starting to take hits from both the naval launch’s machine gun and the approaching British infantry as well as a well placed German artillery piece which was firing from the fort. The Chinese stormed out and managed to finish off the remaining Germans before turning their attention to the Navy’s Gardner gun, which had started raking the city’s battlements. Despite taking what they thought was good cover they were mown down by the Gardner gun in two rounds of deadly fire, failing to score a single hit themselves.


General Wells now decided to go for the kill and sent his remaining Cavalry and himself up to the City’s main gate, armed surprisingly with previously unknown explosives. They received casualties from the Chinese defenders, but were able to lay the charges and then detonated them successfully. The Chinese commander realised the situation was now utterly hopeless and was forced to surrender.

I think we will be having a review of the rules next time to ensure the allied force do not have too many machine guns and artillery as these were an overwhelming factor in their victory. Although this was combined with some exceptional rifle fire by the British and a worse than expected performance by the Chinese infantry. In hand to hand battle they generally did quite well, but in a gun battle they were beaten every time.

However, it was a very enjoyable game and the buildings looked magnificent.

Most of the British figures are Jacklex 20mm available from Jacklex Miniatures .  The Boxers are mainly plastic figures from Orion, there are also some 20mm metal figures, including the Tiger Men but the make is unknown. 


  1. Beautiful looking ships and a great battle .

    1. Hi I won't tell you how old Jack was when he made those ships as it makes me feel inadequate and I don't want to share the misery!!!

  2. I don't know about penalising the Europeans it looked pretty close to me. It really looks like a fun game with lots of different decisions to make and room to manoeuvre - a million miles away from eth massed line 'em up and slog it out games that seem so common.

    1. Hi Rob, glad you liked the report. I agree it all looked pretty close on land. The Tigermen seem to have put up a stirling effort. I agree with you nice to see lots of smaller individual actions culminating in a final outcome.

  3. Nice report, thank you and ling live as well! Like your conversions: those French a literally british colonials from Esci-Italery, but where you've got 20 mm Chinese? Are them from Orion or RedBox packages?

    1. Hi, glad you liked Richard's report. the Boxers, the ones in Red and the Blue coated Imperials in the fort are all from the Orion range. The Red Box figures came out after I finished the Chinese so I never bought any.

  4. Excellent.

    The metal Chinese figures are from the ex-Kennington range who stopped producing them many, many years ago.

    1. Thanks Matt, I thought it was someone like that I spent a while trying to find them before I posted the blog. Shame they are no longer available. There were some very nice figures in the range and well sculptured.

  5. Lovely, a table brim full of charm

  6. Thanks Norm, I loved how Richard had laid out the forts and buildings I made.