Monday, March 20, 2023

12:40 "Special" Train to Vilyamgrad. A General Pettygree Russian Civil War Battle Story

Date: Summer 1918 +/- (Maybe? It Doesn't Matter)
Location: At the Imagineered Port of Vilyamgrad,
North of Vladivostok, on the Sea of Japan, Siberia

Why?: Royalist Army Arrives to Restore the Monarchy

Miniatures: We Use What We Have
Rules: A Gentleman's War (AGW) by Howard Whitehouse
See the Back Story and Rules Remarks first. Link:

And Now General Pettygree Continues His Story

Our whimsical players at game finish left to right:
Dave G., Chuck The Lucky, Aviator Kurt D. and Bill P.
In the spirit of AGW, players wore fun headgear.

Two items on our food table were Russian themed exports. Dave G. ordered the soft drink online while I found a local grocery store specializing in Russian and Ukrainian products none of which I've seen in routine USA grocery stores. 

The soft drink is labeled #1 in Russia. Among ingredients are rye flour, rye and barley malt offering a unique flavor. We were unable to match it to any USA soft drink. 

The colorful box contained a flavorful and not too sugary apple and cinnamon honey cake imported from Tula. Tula is 123 miles south-south-east of Moscow -- just so you know! 

The honey cake reminded me about a bakery experience decades ago in Paris. Pastry there was not overly sugary as is routine in the USA. Maybe that's the way things are outside my country. This is not a bad thing --- just different. I'll buy the honey cake again for a next Russian-themed game.

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The 12:40 "Special" to Vilyamgrad

"Czarina Princess Hussars! Our benefactor is aboard this train. Prepare to salute on my command."

"Da (Yes), Colonel Zakharova," shouted Trooper Pavlova but no one heard her. She was drowned out by the locomotive whistle announcing arrival of "The Special" at Vilyamgrad.

"In my backstory link above you will read that Grandmaison and I did not know the identity of the member of the Romanov Family arriving by train here. In our alternate history, that Royalist will soon commence a military operation to restore the monarchy. We now know who it is. Let's look closer, shall we." 

"Can you identify the well-dressed nobles as they converse with various people?"

"I do not observe Red Communist forces as far as the distant ridge line. It appears safe to disembark," offered Major Bulgarin.

"Very well, then."

"Did the gold bullion arrive safely Banker Volkov?" 

"Yes indeed and without trouble. Most is within the baggage coach on the siding, Sir."


"The prescribed amount was distributed two days ago to our allies for services to be rendered in the campaign. The rest is available to the paymaster for our soldiers here and for those friendly forces who flock back to the colors as you return west," said Volkov.

Then Volkov shouted, "Stand back! A ruffian is dangerously close staring at you. Major Bulgarin take him away!"

"No. He is a welcome and loyal familiar. Thank you Mr. Volkov. That is all for now, if you please, said Madame."

"Kroshechny (Tiny), there you are. You look as healthy and strong as ever in spite of recent intemperate and very troublesome events. How are you, my dear?"

"Da (Yes) Madame, I am here. I was anxious when we were accidentally separated in the surprise rescue by White Forces and rapid escape from Ekaterinburg."

"We are delighted you arrived here safely," said Madame. "What do you have there?"

"Two chests containing gold from the baggage coach to show you. The one half full paid the Japanese foreigners the other day."

"That is good Tiny. I too am delighted to see you again. Please return the gold to the coach for safekeeping," said Czar Nicholas II.

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Council of War

Potsgorski House

The only Russian-speaking Japanese officer, Lieutenant Colonel Itogora pointing at the Czar asked, "How far do you expect my men to escort your White Russian Force into the vast wilderness of Siberia?"

"No more than one hundred miles along the Trans Siberian Rail Line, was the agreement," said Major Bulgarin. "In exchange for that, we have agreed to hand over several valuable islands in The Sea of Japan to your Emperor as you are well aware."

Itogora changed to a new topic....

Pointing at Colonel Zakharova, Itogora demanded, "Do you know where the Reds are now?"

The exasperated Japanese officer continued, "They could be nearing this location in close pursuit of the escaped Romanovs this hour. Has your screen of skirts seen them?"

"Your Majesty," answered Zakharova, my Hussars, nor our mounted infantry nor the Japanese cavalry have seen any of the Red menace to the west since our arrival."

"Very well then," said the Czar. "The plan continues without alteration and...."

"Major Bulgarin, please review the order of march for us, will you?," requested the Czar.  

"Our mounted infantry are west of the village. They have seen nothing threatening," said Bulgarin.

"Continuing he said, "The Rolls Royce armoured car and Zakharova's Hussars are just outside en-route to the road that parallels the rail line. They lead the way west."

"Close behind are two platoons of White Russian infantry," said Bulgarin.

"Japanese horsemen are also upon their march west to the north of the tracks," added Bulgarin, and...."

Soon platoons of my Imperial Japanese Special Naval Landing Force will follow them," stated Itagora." Photo courtesy of Dave G.

"With supply vehicles following behind."

Aerial view of the march moving west.
DG Photo.

The Reds Arrive

DG Photo.

"My....," but no exclamation finished the sentence. "There they are rapidly materializing out of the forest on the ridge," said Captain Sidorov. "Feodore, mount up and tell headquarters the confounded Reds have arrived, we are falling back and bring me new orders fast. Off you go!"

"Troop! Ready about. By half section to the left, canter to the rear."

"Your Majesty! A rider has just come in from the picquet line. We had no idea but the Reds are arriving on the ridge to the west and our picquet line is falling back. We must stop our march and immediately deploy for battle," offered Bulgarin.

"What do you specifically propose, Major?," asked the Czar.

"There is no time for anything except to form our own infantry on the left and the Japanese on the right just outside the village."

"Major, make haste."

The procession left the road heading west to deploy on a slight rise outside the village.

As Sidorov's retreating mounted infantry arrived and faced about on the battle line.

"Comrades! Open fire on the White horsemen."

Which forced them farther back dismounting into cover.

Other infantry took cover as well.

With Zakhorova's Hussars forming a reserve to the rear.

Japanese Special Naval Landing Force infantry with a 37mm anti-tank gun anchor the north end of the battle line. DG Photo.

As Japanese and Russian cavalry screen forward with a Rolls Royce Armoured Car. 
DG Photo.

The Reds move forward preceded by their own armoured car hit several times by.... 
DG Photo.

The Japanese anti-tank gun.
DG Photo
And destroyed.
DG Photo

Emboldened by the arrival of the Czar's train gun, the Japanese advanced and stopped the Reds opposite them. DG Photo

"General, at this time White Forces were mostly defending hard cover. There was no chance to dislodge them."

"Right you are Grandmaison. And so the Reds withdrew back onto and beyond the ridge from which they came. Still the Czar has much to ponder. Will the Reds be reinforced? Will the Czar be forced to hold out in the port? Will any potential friendly Whites even be able to reach his lines?"

"I would not like to be in the Czar's circumstances, General."

"Nor would I. Time will ofcourse tell the rest of the story."

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