BY JINGO - Colonial History & Wargames Page

The Trouble With Ben Benial

(Editor's Note: I wish to apologize to the author, 1. for taking so long in getting this posted, and 2. for losing your name. If you will e-mail me your name I will gladly attach it to the article. Thank You)

Jean Phillipe Vergier was born in Paris. The second son of the owner of a canned meat factory, he took up a military career as a a way to escape. After attending a Preparatory School he passed the Military Academy without fanfare.

He was serving as a Captain in a Line Regiment when the Prussians invaded France and mauled the Imperial Army. He performed fairly well. At the end of "La Comune" he was a a Major in charge of a battalion (mainly due to casualties among his fellow officers). When the restored Republic looked for someone military to be rewarded, Vergier was promoted to Colonel thanks to his father political connections. It was a very promising career, from Captain to Colonel in less than three years.

Then the luck went away, far away. The husband of Madam D'Lesseur defied him. He accused the Colonel of an affair that, supposedly, he was maintaining with his wife. D'Lesseur insisted in clearing the insult with blood, and a duel was arranged.

The poor man had no chance, the sword of Vergier trespassed the cautious guard of D'Lesseur. He was stabbed all the way through the ribs and the point of the sword surged out the back of his coat. Monsieur D'Lesseur dead although a doctor was present.

The duel had been developed by the rules. Colonel Vergier didn't wait any consequences. In the same afternoon he realized what was wrong. D'Lesseur was a grandson of the War Minister, and the Colonel was brought before an "Honor Committee". Since it had been a clean duel, Vergier was presented with the options of a Public Trial or to volunteer for the Legion Etrangere as an officer. He took the second option and was registered at Sidi Bel Abbas as the Captain Beautemps.

Bayonets in the night. (Scenario 1)

In May of 1875 Beautemps was commissioned to lead a "March Company" to Taurirt. The unit was formed with a bunch of barely trained recruits and some few battered veterans. The Lieutenant Kleber was second in command. He was a tall and blonde Alsatian, bold but not much more clever than the dogs of the same region. The Sergeant Marchioni (a Corse from Marseille, and no more explanation should be needed).

When closing on Uxda, Beautemps was ordered to put his force under the command of the District Military Governor. Guided by a patrol of Spahis the company, walking at the double, arrived at the Governor's location about noon. A notable number of Tiralleurs and Legers were skirmishing at the slopes of a steep hill overlooked by a fortified hamlet.

Beautemps was briefed while lunching:

"A flying column of Tiralleurs had surprised a caravan of weapon smugglers from the Sultanate of Morocco. The Captain in command of the column had pursued the Algerians until they took refuge in the hamlet of the Ben Benial clan. Then he asked for reinforcements and blocked the hill. This was four days ago. Yesterday morning the Governor ordered a general assault with half a battalion of Tiralleurs, a Leger company and several Spahi and gendarmes. They were repulsed with heavy casualties. The Arabs had made ramparts and were armed with modern breech loading weapons. Another assault was tried in the afternoon only to being repulsed again. Now the troops were in low morale and without the will to attempt another attack"

The Governor orders that Beautemps' company is to assault the hill tonight. The Governor's battleplan indicated where to deploy the forces and the point to start the assault:

"You must start the assault just before the dusk, so your forces could reach the top of the hill unchecked and mop up the artillery redoubt and a fortified house. If needed, at dawn you will be supported by the battery of Lieutenant Blanchard"
Beautemps March Company
Beautemps's Platoon
Name/Rank Class Weapons
Captain Beautemps Veteran on Horse Sword and revolver
2 NCO Seasoned Breechloader rifle and bayonet
27 Legionaires Regular Breechloader rifle and bayonet
Kleber's Platoon
Name/Rank Class Weapons
Lieutenant Kleber Regular Sword and revolver
2 NCO Veteran Breechloader rifle and bayonet
20 Legionaires Seasoned Breechloader rifle and bayonet
Marchioni's Platoon
Name/Rank Class Weapons
Sergeant Marchioni Veteran Breechloader rifle and bayonet
2 NCO Seasoned Breechloader rifle and bayonet
31 Legionaires Regular Breechloader rifle and bayonet
Blanchard's Battery
Name/Rank Class Weapons
Blanchard (2nd Lt) Regular Sword and revolver
2 NCO Regular Breechloader rifle and bayonet
17 gunners Raw Breechloader rifle and bayonet
2 x 65 mm guns Material 10+1d10 shells per gun
2 Limbers Material
1 Wagon Material

Alemhi Ben Benial Briefing.

You had served in the Tiralleures Algerienes about eight years. You were a sergeant before you decided to return home. Once at home you realized that your knowledge of French tactics gave you a neat advantage to guide the caravans. Now you are the Chief of the Ben Benial clan.

In any case, three days ago, your caravan was surprised by a French column (from your former battalion, you noted with a strange pride). You were chased as far as your town, in which you sought refuge.

Innch Allah!!!

You know that you can't win. You have been surrounded and you know that the French will gather troops enough to kill all of you. Till now you have repulsed two attacks and you are waiting for another one tomorrow. At least you have plenty of weapons and ammunition. Ironically, the caravan contained Remington rifles and twenty-four ammo boxes aquired from an officer of the Spanish Army. You have an old field gun too, but all of your powder was expended repelling the last assault.
Ben Benial Warriors
Name/Rank Class Weapons
Alemhi Ben Benial Veteran Sword and revolver
2 Leaders Seasoned Breechloader rifle and scimitar
22 Warriors Regular Breechloader rifle and knife

You sent the rest of your people to sleep, so they could reinforce you if surprised.

Special Rules.

Sentinels: there are several sentinels in the ditch. Every time that the French troops move, the Algerian player rolls a dice if he get a 6 the nearest sentinel roll another dice and if a 5 or 6 is rolled then the legionaires have been spotted and the alarm called. If a legionaire get to be next (2cm or less) and undetected to any sentinel he can attempt to eliminate him gaining a +5 modifier to close combat.

Night march: Until the alarm is called we will use a special sequence deck composed only of the cards of the French officers (including those from Marchioni) and the "End of Turn" card.

Each time that the "End of Turn" card is drawn a turn has passed. The French only has ten turns until dusk, and then the alarm will be called automatically.

Each time that a officer card is draw you can move at half rata as in the usual rules. But before you must roll a dice if you get a 6 after aply the modifiers you must roll another 1d6 in the "Night March" table.
Night March Table
Dice roll Effect
1 Half of the group become lost.*
2 The group deviates 30 deg. to the right
3 The group deviates 30 deg. to the left
4 You stop to get march references
5 You stop to get march references
6 You stop to get march references
Modifiers:
Veteran Officer -1
Seasoned Officer 0
If Seasoned Legionaires 0
If Regular Legionaires +1
*A lost group moves always that a card of its commanding officer is draw. But always must roll in the Night March Table and apply the result..

If any of the assaulting platoons (or lost groups) left the table they can't return. If any lost group contacted with a platoon with an officer, the lost group become part of this platoon.

Reinforcements of the Ben Benial: When (If) the alarm is called each turn after the first you must roll at the Reinforcement Table to check the number of warrior that came to support their leader.
Dice roll Effect
1 None
2 1d6 warriors leaderless
3 1d10 warriors leaderless
4 1d10 warriors with a leader.
5 1d10 warriors with a leader.
6 1d10 warriors with a leader.

Note: If at least ten legionaires left the table at a reinforcement entry point no more support will be available from this point.

Victory Conditions:

Captain Beautemps: Take the gun and the fortified house.
Alemhi Ben Benial: Repulse the French troops.

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