Monday, 11 February 2019

Rules for wargaming the Ten Years War in Cuba

Rules for wargaming the Ten Years War in Cuba


I originally began using a set of rules called "Sharp Practice" for this project. However, they were devised for the Napoleonic era which is sixty to seventy years prior to my timescale and they suffered a number of defects which required me to make quite a few "tweaks," which became increasingly major alterations. This was the case to such an extent that I began devising my own rules for the rather niche wargame. When my articles on this subject were published in Miniature Wargames issue 431 and Wargames Illustrated issue 372 I said that I would make my ideas available for anyone who was interested and so...here are my set of rules as they stand at the moment. As I continue to explore this conflict I may add to the rules or change them and I will make any changes available on here when time permits. The current date of these notes is February 2019, I'll flag up any major changes.





Machete!


Wargames Rules for the

Ten Years War in Cuba 1868-1878

(Also for any jungle based skirmish actions in the late 19th century)


devised by


Glenn M. Clarke



December 2017




Contents

Introduction                                                                                                        3

General Principles                                                                                            4

Movement:                                    General                                                       5

                                                            Infantry                                                      5

                                                            Cavalry                                                        6

                                                            Artillery                                                     6

Wagons and Pack Animals                  7

Weapons and Firing:               General Information                              8

                                                            Modifiers and Casualties                   9

Ambush                                                      10

Melee                                                                                                                     11

Artillery                                                                                                                12

Morale                                                                                                                   14

Buildings and Plantations                                                                            15

Ships                                                                                                                       17

Design Notes                                                                                                        18

Play Sheet                                                                                                              20





Introduction

The Ten Years War raged between 1868 and 1878; it was a savage and extended conflict causing immense disruption to the country. The rebel Cuban forces were confined to the Eastern end of the island and could not make inroads to the prosperous West. One major problem they faced was the chronic shortage of arms, munitions and supplies of all sorts; some expeditions reached them from the United States and there was some small scale smuggling from Latin America and throughout the Caribbean. Spain controlled all of the seaports, all of the cities and most of the major towns; the Cubans held the mountains, forests and jungles from where they sallied forth to burn sugar cane fields, destroy plantations and free slaves who usually joined them even though they were armed with little more than machetes. Spanish forces continually tried to lure the Cubans out into open battle where they knew that they would prevail because of their superiority in weapons. For their part the Cubans developed guerrilla tactics and continued with their deliberate policy of economic warfare with the aim of making the war financially unsustainable for the Spanish treasury. The Cubans needed to invade the Western end of the island but were simply unable to muster the necessary forces and munitions. There was a very desultory incursion in 1874 but they were compelled to retreat back to the East; a further attempt in 1875 saw them crossing “La Trocha” with a thousand men. “La Trocha” was a heavily fortified line 95 kilometres long; it was built between 1869 and 1872 with the aim of dividing the Island and isolating the rebels in the Eastern provinces. Although they breached it on this occasion they were again forced to retire and the line more or less served its purpose.





General Principles

1 Disputes not covered by these rules are resolved by throwing one D6. The decision lasts for the rest of the game - high being good and low being poor.

2 Each unit has an action card bearing its name. Cards are drawn individually; the named unit then acts according to the wishes of its commander. When all of the cards have been drawn they are shuffled for the next phase.

3 In scenarios where one unit is executing an ambush the attacker has its card removed from the deck and executes its move first. The defending unit then reacts to the attack when its card is drawn.

4 When a card is drawn the named unit completes all of its actions; if the unit has moved into a melee this is resolved at the end of the phase.

5 Casualties are marked and removed from both forces simultaneously at the end of the phase.

6 There are no particular base or frontage sizes and one figure equals one man. Command or officer figures are on slightly larger bases to differentiate them for casualty purposes.

7 There is no off table artillery.

8 If a scenario includes the arrival of reserve units then one or two D6 are thrown and the resulting number gives the phase during which reserves arrive on the table. They may enter at an agreed location or at a random entry point decided by throwing a D6. Designate one end of the table as 1 and then proceed clockwise with the next edge being 2 or 3, the opposite end being 4 and the last long edge being 5 or 6.

9 The game is played with some areas representing jungle on dense stands of vegetation. Units may not move through these stands, they may cross the stand at clear points but not through the actual jungle growth.  Fabric tape measures are therefore used to exactly gauge meandering movement in jungle terrain.







Movement

Movement: General

1 Spanish troops always move at half rate in jungle terrain.

2 No unit may move through the vegetation of a jungle stand unless there is a clearly marked path though it. They must measure round the stand or across clear areas of the stand using a fabric tape measure.

3 Units may cross through swamps and bog only by following the areas of dry land never through the water.

4 Fields of crops are passable along any obvious gaps which have been left to allow the plants to be tended. Stands of sugar cane are the exception to this rule, they are always impassable.

5 Rivers may be crossed only by bridges or at recognised fords.

6 Units may turn to the flank or about face without incurring a penalty.

7 Infantry and cavalry may declare a charge at the rates shown; where a charge brings them into contact with an enemy unit the resulting melee is dealt with following the details given in the melee section of these rules.

Movement: Infantry

1 Infantry basic move by road                                                30 Cms

2 Infantry cross country                                                           20 Cms

3 Cuban infantry in jungle                                                       20 Cms

4 Spanish infantry moving through jungle                        10 Cms

5 Infantry fording a river                                                        10 Cms

6 Infantry may declare a charge at a rate of                     40 Cms

7 Charges uphill, across rivers and in jungle are not permitted

Movement: Cavalry

1 Cavalry basic move on road                                      40 Cms

2 Cuban cavalry cross country                                    30 Cms

3 Spanish cavalry cross country                                20 Cms

4 Cavalry fording a river                                               10 Cms

5 Cuban cavalry in jungle                                             20 Cms

6 Spanish cavalry in jungle                                          10 Cms

7 Cavalry may declare a charge at a rate of             50 Cms

8 Charges uphill, across rivers and in jungle are not permitted


Movement: Artillery

1 Horse drawn artillery on road                    40 Cms

2 Horse drawn artillery cross country        20 Cms

3 Horse drawn artillery fording a river      10 Cms

4 Manhandled artillery on road                     20 Cms

5 Manhandled artillery cross country         10 Cms

6 Artillery on pack horse/mule by road     40 Cms

7 Artillery on pack horse/mule cross country or in jungle     20 Cms

8 Artillery on pack horse/mule fording a river                           10 Cms

9 Artillery takes one move to unlimber, unpack and assemble.

10 Turning guns to bear on target is automatic through a frontage of 180 degrees. Turning more than 180 degrees takes one whole move.

11 Manhandled artillery may not ford rivers.

12Horse drawn and manhandled artillery may not move through jungle.

Movement: Wagons and Pack Animals

1 Trains of pack animals on road                                                      40 Cms

2 Trains of pack animals cross country or though jungle          20 Cms

3 Trains of pack animals fording rivers                                           10 Cms

4 Supply carts on road                                                                          40 Cms

5 Supply carts cross country                                                               20 Cms

6 Supply carts fording rivers                                                              10 Cms

7 Supply carts may not move though jungle

8 Supply carts and pack animals may not execute charges





Weapons and Firing

Weapons and Firing:   General Information

A large variety of firearms were available to the opposing armies as follows:

Pistol                                     Cuban and Spanish

Shotgun                               Cuban

Black Powder Musket    Cuban

Black Powder Rifle          Cuban and Spanish

Breech Loading Rifle      Cuban and Spanish

For ease of play all firearms are dealt with together, they are not differentiated when the unit fires.

Other hand held weapons were also available to the opposing troops and included:

Swords and daggers       Cuban and Spanish

Machete                              Cuban infantry and cavalry

Lance                                   Spanish cavalry


All of these edged weapons and lances were used only in hand to hand combat or as the result of a charge.





Weapons and Firing: Modifiers and Casualties

Each regiment or unit of infantry, which should not exceed 12 figures, should fire in turn. For each unit firing throw one D6 and apply the following modifiers before consulting the table to determine the number of casualties:

Target is at long range                (40-60 Cms)          -2

Target is at medium range        (20-40 Cms)          -1

Target is at short range              (0-20 Cms)             0

Target is assaulted in rear                                            +1

Target is massed (in column)                                      +1

Infantry firing on charging cavalry                           -1

Target is in skirmish order                                           -3

Target is behind hard cover (wall or fence)          -2

Target is in hard cover (in a building)                     -3

Target is in soft cover (woods, hedges, jungle)    -1

Target is fording a river                                                 +2

Target is in first exchange of an ambush                 +1

Target fires in first exchange of an ambush           50% of D6 rounded down

Models Firing
Modified Dice Score
1-2
3-4
5-6
7
8
9
10
11
12
1-2
1
1
1
2
2
3-4
1
1
2
2
3
3
5-6
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
7-8
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
9-10
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
11-12
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5


In any phase where casualties are inflicted each affected unit must throw one D6 for their officers. A score of 1 indicates that the officer is a casualty and the unit will then undergo whatever morale checks are necessary.

Weapons and Firing: Ambush

If the scenario being played includes one force setting and executing an ambush for the opposing force then the ambushed force is not fully effective for the move in which the ambush commences.

Therefore, when the ambushed force returns fire in the move during which the ambush commences its score is reduced by 50%. Casualties resulting from the initiation of the ambush are removed immediately and are not included in the troops who later respond to the attack.

Artillery which is ambushed may not begin to respond until the following move. This means that guns cannot fire during the ambushed move. If a gun is being prepared for action then the crew may not be included in any calculations made for melee purposes and guns may not be fired once the melee has started.





Melee

1 For the purposes of melee each side is awarded a number of points based upon the strength of their force; one point is awarded for each infantryman and two points for each cavalryman.

2 Artillery pieces involved in melee may not be brought into action; however, their crews may be included in melee calculations with each crew member counting as one infantryman.

3 One D6 is thrown for every 5 points with any odd numbers being ignored.

4 An impetus bonus is awarded to the attacking force for the first round of melee only; the attackers therefore add one to each dice score.

5 No impetus bonus is awarded where the attacking troops are attacking across a river ford, attacking uphill or attacking defences such as houses, walls, fences, hedges or earthworks.

6 The total score is halved to give the number of damage points inflicted. The casualty figures are chosen and removed at the discretion of their commander.

7 When casualties are inflicted throw one D6 for each officer involved in the melee; a score of 1 indicates an officer casualty and an officer figure must be removed when the casualties are taken off the board.

8 Casualties are marked until the other force has responded; figures are removed simultaneously at the end of the melee.

9 Both forces must undergo a morale test at the end of each round of melee.

Example: An attacker has 20 infantrymen, they therefore have four dice; the dice scores are 1,2,3 and 6; these add up to 12; this figure is halved to give 6 points. A score of 6 Points will represent either 6 infantry casualties or 3 cavalry casualties - at the discretion of the attacked forces commander. As the attacked force has sustained casualties their commander checks to see if he has any officers present; there is one officer and a D6 is thrown to determine his fate; the score is 3 and the officer therefore survives. Six infantry figures or three cavalry figures are then removed leaving the command figures/officers on the table.

Artillery

1 Unlimbering a gun or setting up a mountain gun takes a full move during which the gun may not fire

2 A gun may be manhandled through 180 degrees and still fire; a complete about face or move through more than 180 degrees takes a full move during which the gun cannot fire.

3 Cuban forces may have declared that they have placed in position a tree trunk and rawhide cannon. This weapon may not be moved and is useful for a single shot at short range only.

4 Ranges:
                                                            Long              Medium                   Short
Tree trunk and rawhide gun   n/a                 n/a                             50 Cms

Mountain Gun                               100Cms       75 Cms                     50 Cms

All other Guns                               150 Cms      100 Cms                  50 Cms

5 Firing procedure for artillery: Throw one D6 for each gun: 5 or6 registers a hit at long range, 3,4,5,6 registers a hit at medium range, 2,3,4,5,6 registers a hit at short range, 1 is a miss. When a hit is registered throw one D6 for each hit; the score represents the number of casualties. If the target contained a command figure/officer then throw one D6; a score of 1 indicates that one figure is a casualty.

6 Guns must be crewed by a minimum of four; when crewed by three the gun fires on alternate moves; when crewed by two it fires every third move; if there is only one crewman the gun is out of action.

7 Guns may be re-crewed by allocating infantry to them but they may not fire during the move in which they are re-crewed.

8 Guns may fire against other guns:

Throw one D6 to see if a hit is registered: 5 or6 registers a hit at long range, 3,4,5,6 registers a hit at medium range, 2,3,4,5,6 registers a hit at short range, 1 is a miss.

If a hit is scored throw one D6:

6 Gun and crew destroyed

5 Gun and crew destroyed; gun under cover, three crewmen lost

4 Three crewmen lost; gun under cover two crewmen lost

3 Two crewmen lost; gun under cover one crewman lost

2 One crewman lost; gun under cover no effect

1 Miss

9 Guns may fire over the heads of friendly troops if the guns are at least 20 Cms behind the troops in question and their target is a further 10 Cms or more away from the friendly troops.

10 Guns may destroy houses, bridges, walls etc. Throw one D6 to register a hit: 5 or6 registers a hit at long range, 3,4,5,6 registers a hit at medium range, 2,3,4,5,6 registers a hit at short range, 1 is a miss.

If a hit is registered throw: one D6 at long range, two D6 at medium range and three D6 at short range. A combined score of 5 or 6 is needed to destroy the designated target.

11 In a melee gun crews fight as normal infantrymen and the gun may not fire during the melee.

12 If a gun is overrun throw one D6: 4,5,6 and retreating troops take the gun with them; 2 or 3 and the gun is captured; 1 and the gun is spiked by the retreating troops and is useless for the rest of the game.

13 Troops capturing a gun must wait one move before they can re-crew the piece; the gun can then be brought back into action.

14 Note that when a gun fires its target must be the first enemy unit that the shell would logically hit.

15 Palm and rawhide gun fires once only and directly ahead into the enemy. One D6 is thrown to determine a hit as usual; a second D6 gives the number of casualties.





Morale

1 Morale tests are taken by affected units at the end of each phase.

2 Morale tests must be taken when a unit suffers 25% casualties, when all of a unit’s command figures/officers are lost, when a unit is ambushed or attacked in the flank or rear, a second test is taken when 50% casualties have been inflicted.

3 Throw one D6: score 1 or 2 and the unit is shaken; 3,4,5 or 6 and the unit is steady. Shaken units take no further action/firing during that move they must remain in situ and take a second morale test on the next move.

4 Second test is taken by throwing one D6:

            5 or 6 = Rallied and able to continue as normal

            3 or 4 = The unit runs back one move

            1or 2 = The unit runs back two moves

5 “Back” means directly away from the enemy unless this would take the unit into an unmoveable obstacle. In this case throw one D6: 1,2 or 3 move to the right 4,5 or 6 move to the left; if there are unmoveable obstacles to the left or right then no move is possible, the unit must surrender and is out of action for the rest of the game.

6 Units which have become shaken and have been forced to move back from the enemy remain shaken until they are rallied. Units are rallied at the start of each phase by throwing one D6: 1 or 2 remain shaken, 3,4,5 or 6 rallied. Units which remain shaken as a result of this dice throw repeat the throw on each subsequent move until such time as they are rallied. If they are overrun by the enemy as a result of remaining static they are deemed to have surrendered and take no further part in the game.

7 Surrendered Units are escorted to the rear at usual move rates. One attacker has to be allocated to escort every six captives. These escorts may be attacked by the enemy and if they become casualties the captives are freed and may return to the game





Buildings and Plantations

1 At the start of the game buildings are declared to be either large or small. A large building will accommodate 12 troops and a small one will accommodate 6 troops.

2 Troops in either category of building are counted as being under cover when they are attacked.

3 Troops in buildings may not be fired upon unless they have fired first thus giving away their location. This rule does not apply if the scenario being played demands that one force is assaulting the building in question e.g. attacking a blockhouse.

4 When a building is subjected to artillery fire use the rules already given to determine if the building is hit.

Throw one D6 for each gun firing on the building:

5 or6 registers a hit at long range

3,4,5,6 registers a hit at medium range

2,3,4,5,6 registers a hit at short range.

1 registers a miss

When a hit is registered throw:

            one D6 at long range

            two D6 at medium range

            three D6 at short range

A combined score of 5 or 6 is needed to destroy the designated target. If a building which contains troops has been hit the troops will sustain casualties regardless of whether or not the building has been destroyed. Throw one D6 for each person in the building; a score of 1 or 2 indicates a casualty.

5 Buildings involved in melee: fighting is assumed to take place in the doorway with one man fighting one opponent as described below until an overall result is reached. One D6 is thrown for each man with the defender adding one to his score as he is under cover; the highest score wins. If the defender is killed the attacker enters the building and another attacker takes his place in the doorway. Fighting at the doorway continues as already described and there is a further fight inside the building where an attacker has entered. Inside the building the attacker is also assumed to be under cover so a straight throw of one D6 for each man determines the outcome. Consequently there may be several attackers inside an assaulted building but the above procedure is followed through to a final conclusion; this may be the loss of all defenders and capture of the building, or the loss of all attackers. The usual rule relating to morale is ignored for assaults on buildings, the fight is one to the bitter end!

6 Setting fire to a building or plantation: Three figures are needed to set a fire. They must be unmolested for a whole move – not receive fire etc. In the next move they throw one D6 any score except 1 and the fire is set; if 1 is scored they may try again in the following move. One a fire is set it should be indicated with a smoke marker. Buildings and crop fields which have been ignited are then impassable and may not be entered. Figures trapped inside a burning building throw one D6 each, any score except one and the figure escapes; scores of 1 indicate a casualty.





Ships

1 As there is very little open sea on the table, ships should commence the game at anchorage. When they are unloaded and wish to leave their intention should be announced, they use a whole move to raise anchor and make ready. They may then sail at a rate of 50 Cms per move until they have left the table.

2 Decide at the start of the game the number of loads being carried; each load is transferred to a rowing boat and rowed ashore at the rate of 20 Cms per move.

3 One move is required to load the rowboat and one move is used to unload it onto the beach.

4 The ship’s crew may be attacked using normal firing rules. If 50% are lost the ship takes an extra move to get under way. Ships may be re-crewed by infantry.





Design Notes

1 These rules are intended primarily for my own game based upon the Ten Years War in Cuba. The war raged between 1868 and 1878 in the thick jungles and remote locations of the island as revolutionaries fought for their independence from Spain. I prepared these rules because of the lack of any suitable rules which took account of the following factors:

Thick jungle and remote locations
Irregular and guerrilla forces as well as a regular Colonial army
Skirmish action as opposed to pitched battle
A mixture of black powder and more modern weapons

2 These rules were designed to be used for 28mm models but they can easily be used for figures in other scales by reducing moves and ranges of weapons. For 20mm models I would suggest reducing distances by 30% and for 15mm models by 50%.

3 The rules are intended to work in areas of dense jungle and rugged terrain. Jungle should be constructed on circular, rectangular or irregularly shaped “stands” of whatever size takes your fancy. I would recommend a mix of stands 3 inches in diameter or 3 inches square along with a few other miscellaneous ones – I have found that these work equally well with figures of different scales. The purpose of these stands is to present areas which are impassable and thus force movement to be calculated and executed by using flexible cloth measures which can be curved round the stands along the desired path. I have found that forcing units to follow irregular paths in this manner is far more realistic than using straight metal measures.

4 Given the fanaticism of the rebels and the Spanish lack of familiarity with the terrain the Spanish forces have always been put at some sort of disadvantage.

5 Whilst there are no particular base or frontage sizes required I have based the rules upon Spanish regiments of twelve infantrymen or six cavalrymen. Infantry regiments include two figures (an officer and a standard bearer) which are designated as command figures and are referred to throughout the above rules. Cavalry regiments include just one officer/command figure. Organisation of the Cuban forces is more flexible but I have tried to keep to infantry units of twelve and cavalry units of six.





Machete! Play Sheet


Troop Type
Road
Cross Country
Jungle
Ford
Charge
Cuban Infantry
30
20
20
10
40
Spanish Infantry
30
20
10
10
40
Cuban Cavalry
40
30
20
10
50
Spanish Cavalry
40
20
10
10
50
Horse Drawn Artillery
40
20
-
10
-
Pack Horse/Mule Artillery
40
20
20
10
-
Manhandled Artillery
20
10
-
-
-
Supply Cart
40
20
-
10
-

Unlimbering/assembling a gun, one move                         Traversing more than 180 degrees, one move                Movement in Cms


Dice Modifiers for Infantry Firing:                                                                                                            Morale                              

(Apply the single highest value only)                                                                                                            Test at 25% casualties

Target is at long range                     (40-60 Cms)                   -2                                                                   Test at 50% casualties

Target is at medium range            (20-40 Cms)                   -1                                                                   Test if all officers lost

Target is at short range                  (0-20 Cms)                      0                                                                     Test if attacked in flank or rear

Target is assaulted in rear                                                            +1                                                                  D6 score:  1,2 shaken                        3,4,5,6 steady

Target is massed (in column)                                                     +1                                                                 

Infantry firing on charging cavalry                                         -1                                                                   Shaken: no offensive action, retest at the end

Target is in skirmish order                                                          -3                                                                   of the following move:      5 or 6 rallied

Target is behind hard cover (wall or fence)                      -2                                                                   3 or 4 back one move       1 or 2 back two moves

Target is in hard cover (in a building)                                   -3                                                                   Units forced back by morale check remain

Target is in soft cover (woods, hedges, jungle)               -1                                                                   static: D6 at start of each phase 1,2 remain

Target is fording a river                                                                 +2                                                                  shaken 3,4,5,6 rallied and return to command

Target is hit in first exchange of an ambush                      +1                                                                  Repeat each phase with no offensive action

Target fires in first exchange of an ambush                       50% of D6                                                                        until rallied

Casualties

Models Firing
Modified Dice Score
1-2
3-4
5-6
7
8
9
10
11
12+
1-2
1
1
1
2
2
3-4
1
1
2
2
3
3
5-6
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
7-8
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
9-10
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
11-12
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5

 Firing units may not be more than 12 figures; subdivide larger units

Throw for officer each time casualties are inflicted; score of 1, officer lost

Ambushed force only 50% effective in first move of ambush


Melee

1 point per infantryman 2 points per cavalryman

One D6 for each 5 points, ignore odd numbers

Attacker adds 1 to each D6 on first round of melee only

Halve the total score to give casualties and throw for officers as usual


Artillery

                                                                        Long range                       Medium range               Short range

Mountain gun                                        75 – 100 Cms                 50  - 75 Cms                    0 – 50 Cms

Other guns                                               100 – 150 Cms              50 – 100 Cms                 0 – 50 Cms

D6 score to register hits                5,6                                         3,4,5,6,                                2,3,4,5,6,                            1  = Miss


Gun firing on a gun, throw one D6 to register a hit as above; a further D6 to determine casualties:


D6 score                                                    Target in open                                                               Target under cover

6                                                                     Gun and crew destroyed                                       Gun and crew destroyed

5                                                                     Gun and crew destroyed                                       Three crew lost

4                                                                     Three crew lost                                                           Two crew lost

3                                                                     Two crew lost                                                              One crew lost

2                                                                     One crew lost                                                                no effect

1                                                                     no effect                                                                             no effect


2 comments:

  1. Hola Glenn!

    Two days ago I returned from a two week holiday in Cuba and so am full of ideas for the 10 years war! I visited a small museum in Holguin city in the former home of Calixto Garcia. The content was quite modest but there was a very nice French 42mm Hotchkiss mountain gun from the 1895 war as well as an 1871 Remington rifle. I would be keen to find out what reference material you have for the war so would welcome an email to roguejedi@btinternet.com if that is OK.

    Many thanks in advance,

    David Crook

    ReplyDelete