Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rough Riders On Mars! Chapter 8– Martians Test Our Mettle

Chapter 8– Martians Test Our Mettle
The next morning I arose at sunup and went up to the roof of our building to watch the sunrise. As I peered out over the landscape to the south, I noticed movement through the trees. It appeared to be a large number of people. I called to the man on guard duty and asked him what he made of it.
“Well, Colonel,” he said, “It looks like them fellers out thar are totin’ some weapons and mean to do us some mischief.”

“I agree,” said I, “ let’s go down and roust up a couple of platoons and greet these fellows properly.”

“It’s about time we had a little excitement around here.”, Private Guy Babcock said.

With that we went downstairs and sounded the alarm. I called for the first and second platoons along with one of the new Colt machineguns to be readied for action. The barracks became alive with action. Lieutenants Ballard and Coleman arrived from the Officer’s quarters and asked about the situation.


I said, “It appears that a sizeable force of Martian warriors are forming up to the south, gentlemen. I plan on going out with some force to determine their intentions. Prepare your platoons with the magazine rifles. We’ll exit the barracks in ten minutes and form up outside.”
“Yes sir!”, was their reply as they went off shouting orders. With great rapidity, the men were issued rifles and ammunition. They then gathered near the exits. 


Before we exited, I addressed the men, “The results of this encounter will set the tenor for the remainder of our stay on this planet. If we fare well, we will put fear into the population and our stay will be easier. If we are bested, we can only expect constant strife until we are driven off of Mars or destroyed. I know that each of you will do your utmost to uphold the honor of the regiment, the U.S.A., and the world. Now, let’s go out and show them what we are made of!”


With a cheer, we marched out and formed our line behind our compound, facing to the south. The ground near our compound was clear, however, it was soon broken up by groves of trees, peculiar round shrubs, and patches of scrub. It was my plan to advance to the edge of this broken ground and set up our firing line. This would allow us to rapidly retreat if necessary while denying ease of movement to our foe. 

The Martians deployed into three groups. In the center were their mounted men. Two units of these rode on large flightless birds called Moa-nui. These men used spears from their tall mounts. The final mounted unit rode a four legged creature, sort of a cross between a horse and giant boar called an Ibuezi. Being closer to the ground, these riders used swords as a weapon of choice.


The groups to the left and right were made up of infantry. The group to our left were armed with spears and bows, while those on our right had swords and rifles. I believe that their plan was to pin us down with the infantry, then finish us with the mounted men while we were engaged.

The units on the right were greatly hampered by the terrain while those on the left fared better and engaged our first platoon. The first to emerge was a group of spearmen, disordered after moving through a grove of trees. Upon their emergence, Lt. Ballard ordered up a volley that smashed into the phalanx as it tried to get into battle formation. The Colt machinegun then swung around and cut the spearmen to ribbons. This group was utterly destroyed before it ever got close to our lines.


Next, the archers appeared on our left flank. Ballard blasted them with a volley which downed several. But we did not come away from this encounter unscathed. Five of our boys went down under a hail of arrows. Four were wounded and one, Private Louis Dorsey, was killed. Finally, a blast from the Colt and a second volley from the platoon sent the remaining archers away in disarray.

Seeing their men on the left handled so roughly, the mounted soldiers could wait no longer and advanced straight up the middle. I believe they were hoping to divide our line and defeat us piecemeal. However, this attack, if anything, fared worse that the fragmented assault tried on the left. As the mounted troops moved up the center, they were slowed by rough terrain. This made them easy targets for the plucky little Colt as well as our riflemen. Our combined firepower made short work of this ill-advised charge.

At this time, the infantry on the right finally began to make headway. On the far right swordsmen came crashing out of the trees and at the center right, the Martian riflemen advanced quickly. The riflemen’s advance was checked by a most peculiar event. They were crossing an area of scrub dotted with yellow mushrooms when suddenly there was a loud explosion that hurled soil and Martians into the air. Later, I was told that the Martians must have entered a field of Kuvu Letupan. This is a type of mushroom that has a large membrane containing spores and gases under high pressure. It the mushroom at the surface is disturbed, the gas bag erupts violently, dispersing the spores and anything else in the immediate area.

The riflemen recovered somewhat, then continued their advance. As our rifles had the superior range, we were able to hit them first. Our volley was telling, but the Martians managed to stagger forward and deliver a ragged volley. One man in our second platoon was injured. Our second round of fire drove the remainder of their riflemen away.

By this time the Martian attack was thoroughly broken and a few more shots were all that was required to send the Martians back from whence they came. The ground was strewn with Martian dead and wounded. I ordered our own wounded taken into the compound for medical assistance. We then collected the Martian wounded and helped them as best we could with our limited resources. I hoped that this gesture would at least improve our image with the local population. Once the wounded were attended to, I gathered Professor Edgren and a bodyguard and headed to Reytik’s office to get some answers.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Earthmen On Mars!

Since my free trial of both PhotoShop and Paintshop Pro have run out, I have to take a short break from Rough Riders On Mars! for a bit (until I can buy one of them). So I'll take this time to post some pictures of the Earthlings that will be used for my Edison's Conquest Of Mars! games. These are 15mm figures of my own design (except for British 9pdr which is Minifig and the US and French guns that were designed by Richard Huston).

Edison's Conquest Of Mars! allows for a wide variety of nationalities, however, at this time I have only French, German, British, and American units. Descriptions of the units are provided with the photos.

 Here are the French infantry. They can be either line infantry or foreign legion. These guys began life as full dress Spanish infantry for the Spanish-American war. With the addition of a backpack and tricolor, they have become French.

 Here are French Troupes Coloniales. Originally, these were Spanish service dress in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American war. The paint job was all that was done to convert them into a French unit.

This is a French 75 and crew. The man with the pistol is a regular officer from the Spanish-American war line. The others are modified versions (with shell and binoculars) of the same figure.

 Finally, for the French, is the command set. Included are an officer on foot, an officer mounted on a Moa-iti, a bugler, a drummer, and a standard bearer. The mounted officer is from the Pedicaras Alive Or Risuli Dead line. The musicians and standard bearer are converted infantry.

 Here are the German infantry. They are from and painted for the Pedicaras Alive Or Risuli Dead line. 

 These are the same German figures, painted as Bavarians and German dress uniforms.

 Here are German machinegunners. They are modified from Spaniards  in the Spanish-American war line.

This is the German artillery. The gun was modified from one of Richard Huston's WWI line. The crew on the left and center are part of the Pedicaras Alive Or Risuli Dead line. Originally they were British Zulu War gunners, but they match the uniform from the famous movie. The right figures are the same body with a head swap.

 Finally, the German command. Looking at the center picture, from left to right are, a drummer, the evil officer, an upper level officer, the evil officer mounted on an Ibuezi, a standard bearer, another upper level officer, and a bugler. The standard bearer and the two versions of the evil officer are from the Pedicaras Alive Or Risuli Dead line.The drummer and bugler are conversions of teh standard bearer. The two senior officers are conversions from naval officers in The Kris And The Flame line.

Of course, if you are going to conquer Mars, you'll need some British redcoats. These are from the Zulu War line.

These are British Marines. Made so by an all blue paint job on the Zulu War British.

 Here are the 1st Martian Volunteer Rifles. They are Stanger Mounted Rifles from the Zulu War line.

These are Her Majesty's 1st and 2nd Martian (Air) Cavalry. In fact, these are more Zulu War volunteer cavalry. The flyers are paper models of my own design.

 This is the British artillery. The crew are from the Zulu War line, the rocket launcher is scratch built, and the gun is a Minifig.

 Now for the British command. All are from the Zulu War line. The buglers are modified artillerist.

 Finally, we get to the Yanks. These are the Rough Riders from the Spanish-American War line.

 The U.S. Marines are from the Pedicaras Alive Or Risuli Dead line.

 These are U.S. sailors from the Pedicaras Alive Or Risuli Dead line.

Here's the U.S. heavy weapons group. The Colt machine gun is on the left, in the center is the 3.2" cannon with crew, and the right is the Hotchkiss Rotating Cannon, the Gatling Gun, and the 3.2" cannon. Richard made the guns and I did the crews.

Lastly, are the Colt Machine gun carriage and U.S. command. The Colt Machine gun carriage is from the Pedicaras Alive Or Risuli Dead line. In the center picture, the man in white is a scratch built reporter. There's a mounted and foot version of Teddy (shown in the right picture).