Thursday, January 5, 2017

Rough Riders On Mars! - Chapter 27 – The Relief Of Goliad



Chapter 27 – The Relief Of Goliad

(Editor's Note: This was a playtest game using a variation of "The Sword And The Flame")

As dawn broke, we advanced toward our fort. As the fort came into view, I noticed two flags flying. I examined these banners with my binoculars, then turned to Sargent William Mitchell and asked, “The top flag I recognize as the American flag, but the bottom one I am not sure about. Isn’t that the flag of the Republic of Texas?”

Mitchell, a proud Texan, looked through my binoculars and replied, “Yep, it sure is.”

I replied, “Those Texas boys certainly have a sense of humor.”

“That’s for sure.” Mitchell said, grinning.

As we moved forward, the enemy came into view. I could also see the Iska Mahayi moving into position. Then I noticed that the Martians were advancing on our fort. I had not expected them to be moving so early. We immediately stepped up our pace in order to engage the enemy as soon as possible.

As the Martians advanced on the fort, some moved in formation while others moved as a mass. Those armed with ranged weapons moved forward in an open, linear formation. The spearmen started in a close linear formation, but soon dissolved into a mass to move at a greater speed.

My two platoons (one of the U.S. 1st V.I.C. and the U.S. Martian Scouts) advanced rapidly in skirmish order. We were nearly into rifle range before we were spotted. Two groups of Martians saw us coming and turned to attack. They were not typical Martians, however. These fellows were short and round, with yellow skin and spindly limbs.

They came on like madmen, one group charging the 1st V.I.C. and the other going at the scouts. The cavalry’s first volley dropped about a third of the group. My men closed ranks, then gave them a second volley. This round cut down half of the remaining foe. The Martians that survived had had enough and retreated from the field.

The attack on the Scouts was more severe. The Martians attacking them were more determined. They advanced rapidly as the Scouts gave fire then closed ranks. A second volley from the Scouts reduced the attackers to about half of their original number. Depleted though they were, some of the plucky devils still came on. They hit the line of Scouts and a brief but bloody melee ensued from which neither side retreated. In the end, the five charging Martians killed three of our scouts and wounded another three before they succumbed.

Behind the two groups of yellow Martians came several bands of the more familiar Martian. However, these fellows did not have the same moxie as their yellow friends and they were sent to flight with a few volleys (and some assistance from our Gatling gun in the Iska Mahayi).

Once the hostiles in our area were quelled, I was able to look around. I saw that the attack on the fort had also been broken up. We gathered up our wounded men and quick marched across the battlefield. As we got closer, I could see our comrades still at their posts, pock marks on the walls from the enemies’ rifles and cannon, and dead or dying Martians littering the ground.



As I approached the fort, I saw painted on the wall “Fort Goliad”. I could also see that the door to the right tower had been forced open. The bodies of the attackers laid thick upon the ground. I called up to the men at the wall, “Is everything secure here?”

Lieutenant Coleman replied, “We are all secure here, Colonel.”
“I believe the field has been cleared of the enemy,” I said “would you please come down and give me a report.”

Presently, the Lieutenant arrived and recited the following, ‘A few days before your return, these bands of desert tribesmen began showing up. Once there was enough of them, they encircled the fort. From that time until now we’d been holed up inside. Our telegraph line to the station in town was left intact, so we could keep in touch. They are in about the same shape as we are, by the way.

Anyway, we got your message last night so we prepared for the battle today. Maybe it was coincidence or maybe they knew something was up, either way, the tribesmen began their attack right at dawn, the same time that your skyship arrived.

These Martians had only a few guns and such, so we were confident that if we could defeat their riflemen and archers, we’d be able to hold out. We weren’t expecting the artillery though, that made things a little hotter.

When the battle commenced, the Gatling focused of the riflemen to our right, as you ordered, and the rest of the men fired on targets of opportunity, of those there were plenty. Between our Gatling and your airborne artillery, we pretty much wiped out their rifles, though at a cost of two of our gun crew.

The other Martian warriors charged the fort and attacked the doors. For the most part, our fire from above defeated them before any damage was done. However, on the left tower things got tough. Their cannon kept us ducking for cover and even with that we lost two men killed and one wounded. So, because we were pinned by their artillery, some of their swordsmen got a free approach to the door. They were able to quickly batter it down. We had one man killed and two more wounded before we expelled those Martians. We were helped by your attack as you drew off a good number of troops they had on this side. If they would have done an all-out press on the fort, they might have beat us before you could have arrived.”

“Bully,” I said “So, we lost five men killed and 3 wounded. With the three scouts killed and three more wounded, we lost eight men total. Well, it could have been much worse, I suppose.”

“Have you contacted the station since the battle?” I asked.

“We have tried, Sir, but we’ve gotten no response.” Lieutenant Coleman replied.

“Then we must assume that they are under attack as well.” I said. “Detail one platoon to remain here with the wounded and to protect the fort. Form up the rest to march into town with us and relieve the station!”

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