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The Assault on Melas Thirytis

by Paul Westermeyer

This is a fairly simple Soldier's Companion scenario. A small Martian villa, Melas Thirytis (on the border between the Belgian Colony of Coprates and the lands of Nectar) is suspected to be a safehold for those smuggling firearms into the Belgian colonies and selling them to the natives. Major General Foucard (Space: 1889 Rulebook, p. 41) , the infamous Belgian governor, has decided that destroying this villa would be a good object lesson to those opposing his policies both within the colony and without. With these in mind he has dispatched Major Depeu, a competent line officer, with a column to the region. The Major's orders are to take Melas Thirytis, drive its inhabitants into the desert (or slay them if they resist) and destroy the Villa.

Unknown to the Governor, the Tossian Empire has been watching events along the Nectaran border closely, and the Emperor has dispatched several units of his famed heavy cavalry to aid the Nectaran lords against Belgian aggression. Only his strained relationship with the Nectaran prince (who rightly suspects the Emperor of wanting to add Nectar to the Empire) has prevented the Tossian Emperor from going to war with the Belgians. This skirmish might spark such a conflict.

Melas Thirytis should be a fairly strong castle, with high walls and a central keep. It lies alongside a tertiary canal. A drawbridge crosses the canal (outside of the castle) and is guarded by a small brick building. All of the Martian forces begin inside the keep except the Tossian cavalry (who arrive 1d6+2 turns into the game on the opposite edge from which the Belgians entered). The Martian artillery should begin emplaced but uncrewed. The map below is a suggested layout.

Thrytis Setup Map

The Belgians enter from the side deemed closest to the Colony by both players (or the referee). If the canal bisects that side the Belgian player may choose which side of the canal he enters on. All units begin in column, and the guns are limbered. One company of infantry may carry 6 scaling ladders. It is imperative that the Belgian player act as if he were unaware of the approach of the Tossian cavalry until it arrives on board.

All units below follow standard Soldier's Companion organizations and numbers.

The Belgian Forces

Belgians In Firing Line
Belgian Troops in Firing Line

Victory: To win the Belgians must take the castle with casualties of 25% or less.

1st Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment Chausseurs a Pied
CO Major Depeu (Ldr 1) (Senior Officer present)
Troop Value X2
Breechloading Rifles Dice 1 Range 12"/24"
Company carries 2 satchel charges

2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment Chausseurs a Pied
CO Captain Leboeuf (Ldr 1)
Troop Value T2
Breechloading Rifles Dice1 Range 12"/24"
Company carries 2 satchel charges

3rd Troop, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Regiment Lancers
CO Sgt Lefonf
Troop Value T1
Breechloading Carbines Dice 1 Range 8"/16"

12th Battery, Field Artillery
CO Lt. LeBeau (Ldr 0)
Troop Value T0
Breechloading Carbines Dice 1 Range 8"/16"
3x12-pdr Field Guns Wgt Md Pen 1/1 DV 1 ROF 1 Crew 4 Rng 3'/6' w/ Rummet Breehr limbers.

The Nectaran Forces
To win the Martians simply need to hold the castle.

CO Lord Thirytis (Ldr 1)
All units irregular unless noted

Lord Thirytis' Guards
CO Bannerman Steengut
Troop Value X3
Pistol Dice 1/2 RNG 2/4 and swords

Revenge of Tao-Mee (Martian freedom fighters)
CO 1st Sword Gassuun
Troop Value V3
Rifle Muskets Dice 1/2, RNG 10/20

Artillery Crews
CO Bannerman Grenndan
Troop Value T0
2 Heavy Guns Wgt VH Pen 1/0 DV 2 ROF 1 Crew 4 RNG 2'/4'
1 Light Gun Wgt Md Pen 0/0 DV 1 ROF 1 Crew 4 RNG 1'/2'
Tossian Calvary More Tossian Calvary
Tossian Calvary To The Rescue!

3rd Tossian Knights
CO 1st Sword Ruguen
Troop Value E0H (Regulars)
Lance, Pistol Dice 1/2 RNG 2/4
(arrive 1d6+2 turns into the game on the opposite edge from which the Belgians entered)

Roleplaying Notes
This scenario also makes an interesting backdrop to a roleplaying scenario. The players could be included on either side, or Thirytis could be the home base for an all Martian campaign based around the freedom fighters and their war with the Belgians. For those wishing to run such a game, Space: 1889 NPC stats and notes are included below.
Name  Type Exp Mks Att Arms
Major Depeu Off Vet 3 Phys Hvy Revolver, Sabre
Captain Leboeuf Off Exp 3 Phys Hvy Revolver, Sabre
Lord Thirytis Noble Exp 2 Men Single shot pistol, Sword
1st Sword Gassuun Soldier Elite 4 Phys Rifle-musket, bayonet

Major Depeu is a former French officer hounded from the French army following an affair with a superior's mistress. A veteran of the Franco-Prussian war, he detests Germans almost as much as he despises Martians. He has no moral qualms concerning his mission but feels Foucard is a bumbling fool.

Captain Leboeuf is a native Belgian who transferred to Mars from a fortress assignment at Liege hoping for excitement. A basically decent man, he is very disturbed by what he has seen over the past months. If command of the column falls to him he will not massacre the civilians nor will he execute any prisoners.

Lord Thirytis is a quiet man who prefers study to warfare, but feels a moral obligation to aid the rebels against the Belgians despite the risk. He is uninvolved in Nectaran politics (he is a Nectaran noble and owes allegiance to that city's prince) but supports an alliance with Tossia against the Belgians. He is very honorable and will treat prisoners well.

1st Sword Gassuun is a young Martian warrior who watched his family die at Belgian hands in the Massacre of Tao-Mee. He now leads a guerrilla band which strikes at Belgian patrols from Thirytis. If given the chance he will massacre all Belgian prisoners, but will obey Lord Thirytis out of respect and gratitude.

I've played this scenario 5 or 6 times. In general the Martians have the edge, provided the Martian player is patient and careful with his troops. Of course, the strength and siting of the villa will be unique to each place its played, and that will heavily effect the outcome. Especially strong fortifications mandate a slight reinforcement of the Belgian forces, while weak ones indicate the Martians should be strengthened either in numbers or quality.

The scenario may be run as a single miniatures game, or it might be the start of a campaign game depicting a war between the Belgian Coprates and Tossia. In a roleplaying game this battle might be the spark that ignites revolt, or just one more piece of lumber tossed upon the fires of anti-Belgian sentiment. In either case, the scenario should enliven any adventures on Mars!

Posted Monday, 04-May-2009 19:53:35 EDT

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