The two day battle of Tanga has always interested me. I think it has to do with how poorly it was planned and executed. While the Indian Army IEF-B was poorly trained and led, the Germans on a number of occasions made similar mistakes.
Things going for the battle:
- British landing in a mangrove swamp
- Bees and they liked neither side
- Using your porters as assault troops
- No reconnaissance
- No communications between the fleet and forces ashore
- A German Governor that just wanted to be left alone
- Having both artillery and warships, but not wanting to use them against the town. It was just not cricket.
- IEF-B being issued machine guns not having a chance of using them until the battle.
So with this list in the back of my mind, Mark and I started off with fighting the second day.
It has been a while since we played last, but it came back pretty quick. The rules we used were ITLSU by TOOFATLardies.
The British advanced from the landing zone in two columns by brigade. The service troops on the right and the 27th (Banglore) Brigade on the left. The service troops did better than the previous day, able to set up a line by battalion and advance towards the railroad embankment. Losses were heavy, but the Indians were able to take the embankment and eventually get into the town and take the customhouse.
As the attack on the town was occurring the 27th (Banglore) Brigade was advancing against a single company. The 2nd Loyal North Lancashire Regiment seeing victory at hand fixed bayonets and conducted a close assault. This failed miserably. It was only the fact that the German troops were over extending that allowed the brigade to reform and launch another attack.
The British on the left eventually made it to the African village, putting pressure on the town itself. For now, the Indians were tired and had little interest in advancing. There only fresh troops was a single battalion of service troops that were treated badly on the first day. Without support the British could hold their gains but not advance any further.
Colonel von Lettow-Vorbeck himself was demoralized until his aid and British player pointed out that both sides were unable to do more. If I could have convinced the Royal Navy to bring the HMS Fox in to the harbor, the war would have been over that afternoon.