Winter War 2019 – Professor Johnstone and the Abyssinian Evacuation: 25mm Italo-Ethiopian game


March 8, 2019 by wargamerchris

Winter War 2019 was another nice chance to head close to home and meet up with many old friends while running a couple of games.

First up this year was a new game using old soldiers – my 25mm Italo-Ethiopian collection.  The armies have been coming together for a number of years, but two years ago, in an effort to get ready for Cincycon, I painted another 150 Bicorne Miniatures Abyssinian tribesmen.  They have about a dozen poses, and the overall painting/ effect ratio is very favorable.  I haven’t painted a new 25/28mm colonial army in a very long time because I usually resort to my vast 15mm collection for large battles.  Sadly, I’ve even done this Italian army in 15mm – see my Agordat blog for Italians vs Dervish forces at the city of the same name.

This game owes its origins to Last Stand Dan and his blog – with an excellent scenario – Get to the Boats…  The idea is a force of regular troops and askari have put in at al local city on the river to collect up the governor and get him aboard.  At the same time, the warlords are sending their bands into the streets to stop the Italians.



A shot from the dock by the city gate.

A =


Askari and Bersaglieri prepare to enter the cauldron


Here too, another command – this time the Italians are regular infantrymen


Once the Italians could get back to the gate, the cover fire from the gunboat would assure survival



The governor’s force, the professor, and the flag are just to the left of the sandbags


The game again featured Professor Johnstone, here on-loan to the Italian government on a secret survey.  His survival was one of three VP’s for the Italians – they had to get at least two out of the city.



This excellent market arrived only the week before the game – from Smallworldgames on Ebay – brilliant service/ quality/ value.



More than 2/3 of the Italian rescuers would spend more than half the game mired here in the gate area before extending a bit toward the governor’s force coming down past the market.



This shows turn 5 near the gate – the tribesmen in the building continue to delay the Italian units



The governor’s force  moving efficiently if not precariously toward a rendezvous with the resuers



Here at the end the small unit of askari by the gate would be the last men standing as the governor and professor dashed through the gate and toward the rescuing ship.

I tried The Men who would be King rules by Daniel Mersey.  They were mechanically feasible and gave a good game.  Tweaks were applied for city fighting.

I only had a few players, which was sad, as I think this plays best with many players.

Nonetheless it was the first time these Italians have seen the elephant in many years..


Happy Gaming.

2 thoughts on “Winter War 2019 – Professor Johnstone and the Abyssinian Evacuation: 25mm Italo-Ethiopian game

  1. Pete S/ SP says:

    Great game report- love the table set up.




  2. Greg S says:

    Are your Italian infantry from Old Glory 25s, or some other manufacturer?
    Great looking game!


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Small Soldiers

I’m a father, soldier, wargamer and traveler. This site is for my kids and to share my work over half a lifetime musing on the history of warriors and the portrayal of their efforts in miniature.  I’ve never really known why I do this

Wargame Rules

Rules I’m gaming with now:

Lions Rampant/ Dragons Rampant
Black Powder
Age of Eagles/ Age of Valor/ Fire and Fury
Force on Force/ Ambush Alley/ Ambush Z!
Hail Caesar
Command Decision: Test of Battle
Battles for Empire 2
Pride of Lions
The Sword and the Flame

Rules I’m Considering:

Sword and Spear/ Sword and Spear Fantasy
Regimental Fire and Fury
Open Combat
Chain of Command
Sharpe Practice 2
Wilderness Wars
Test of Honour
Field of Battle
Pike and Shotte (Warlord)
General de Armee (TFL)
Flames of War – Vietnamese/ WW2

Rules I still need to find to make my life better:

15mm Napoleonic mass battles rules (holy grail)
15mm War of the Spanish Succession mass battle rules
15mm Zombie mass battle rules


Command Decision Test of Battle Forum:

Din of Battle:

Henry Hyde’s Site:

Dan Mersey – author of a couple of rules sets we like:


Miniature Addiction:

Wasatch Front HMGS (Journals):


Big Force on Force (Great modern gaming)

Last Stand Dan:


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