I've thought over the options for the next Sharp Practice game in and around Africa Station. I concluded that the zariba scenario I came up with earlier is better suited to a later stage of the campaign. Really, I figured I was putting the cart before the horse. What I need to do is to establish a British presence in the area first!
So, with all that figured out, what's required? Answer = A bridgehead, and what better way to use the new gunboat (when she's finished) than in supporting a landing on a hostile shore.
Below is the map of Yabhouti, a small Zanzibar port and seat of Sheik Yabhouti, nefarious slave trader and occasional pirate. His activities have long been a thorn in British attempts to suppress the slave trade, and Whitehall has now decided action must be taken.
Intelligence has revealed the Sheik suffered a reversal during a recent slave raid deep into Belgian territory. His military strength now rates somewhere between pathetic and abysmal. He does have considerable resources of silver and goodwill from his fellow rulers along the coast, and it's expected he will recover soon. In the meantime, he has a garrison in Yabhouti, and can call upon the services of the Ukrazi tribe from the hinterland.
Whitehall has directed that a force of the Barsetshire Regt. and a light artillery piece be put ashore to seize the town and any assets therein, in the name of Her Majesty the Queen (God bless 'er!). A gunboat will provide naval gunfire support. Speed is of the essence, as the town must be seized and held before the Sheik recovers his military strength.
The town possesses little in the way of defences beyond a few walls, but the tower on the hill dominates the town and surrounding area. It's suspected that one or more artillery pieces may be mounted in the tower, but this cannot be confirmed.
Detailed for the task is the armed might of Baker Platoon, Able Coy. 2nd Battalion Barsetshire Regt., Lt. Frederick Pike commanding. Newly brought up to strength, this will be their first real test under fire as a platoon. A mountain gun from the Indian Army will provide direct artillery support once ashore.
That's the set-up. More next time on Lt. Pike's plan.