Saturday, 9 April 2016

A dark day in the desert for the British relief coloum

Our last game we played saw me take a 'right old hammering' at the hands of the Mahdist army commanded by my dad. The object of the game was to reach the town and railway line at the other end of the table and hold it until the end of the allotted time for the game was reached. I had the British/Egyptian force in three separate columns with the idea of marching as quickly as possible to the town shielded by the cavalry brigade who would be scouting ahead of the columns. All Mahdists units were off table with secretly marked entry points. i miss interpreted (or hadn't listened!) what my dad had said about this deployment and i expected troops to be hidden behind the sand dunes ready to attack as soon as they became visible and not all off table. This proved to be the undoing of the Egyptian brigade who were swiftly flanked and broken as i had them in lines as they advanced over the first of the sand dunes ready to engage and suddenly appearing enemy, in hind sight i would have had the columns much closer together (well that's one of my excuses for this rather emphatic failure of a relief column) where i could have had a opportunity to turn and face the arriving mahdists on my flank.
The British cavalry brigade advances ahead of the main British column
 some rather suspect command rolling sees the British coumn quickly lose cohesion as they struggle to move through the heat of the desert
Baggra Cavalry enter the the battlefield on the Egyptians flank and quickly overrun the Egyptian cavalry scouts and infantry battalion with only minor losses
the rest of the Egyptian brigade is attacked by a flanking horde of angry mahidst war bands.Although they managed to turn face and at least get a couple of shots off they were quickly engaged in close combat
the British hussars reach the town and move to secure the left flank ready to meet any forward elements of the mahdist force
The British brigade forms up into lines facing the large sand dunes where mahdist flags have been spotted and drums can be heard. however the artillery was struggling to get into position with time running out
The Egyptians are broken as the Sudanese battalion gives up and runs at the war cries of the approaching war band and the artillery is abandoned. (the Sudanese unit suffered from newly painted debut syndrome as they preformed most shockingly!)
Fresh from destroying the Egyptians the frenzied mahdists turn there attention towards the thin line of British
As expected the British cavalry as they reach the summit of the hill/dune are faced by four dervish war bands led by a aggressive leader.
The Baggra cavalry break from the main body of the mahdist force and swing round the palm tree area to threaten the flank of the British line. the palm tree area had been occupied by the British mounted infantry but not fancying their chances these troops quickly mounted there horses and quit the battlefield in the face of the mahdists war screams when charged by them
At this point of the battle is where it now went all wrong for my British. My cavalry under preformed in melee with the dervish troops and were dangerously close to becoming a broken brigade which would end the game. Also i was attempting to move the KRR battalion into a position so the British battalions would be in a brigade square, however they failed this order so i was forced to move the highland battalion from the centre of the front line to cover their flank from the dangerously close baggra cavalry brigade.The General followed this up with another failed order for for the remaining two British infantry battalions to close the gap created by the highlanders, leaving a gaping whole into the middle of my deployment. My dad quickly capitalised on this and had no such command difficulties passing a series of orders and 'follow me' moves to really punish my mishap. This was aided with most of the Mahdist generals been of an aggressive nature gaining a +1 to charge orders (before the game we rolled to see what traits each brigade leader and CnC would have, allowing the mahdist to roll two dice and choosing there preferred roll) where i ended up with a timid Brigade leader of the British. These random traits i would like to use in our future Black powder games for this period as i felt it fitted quite nicely into the style of the game. It wasn't long once my flanks had been attacked that my brigade became broken leading to another Mahdist victory. Well the lessons have been learnt from this game and i will approach the use of the British and most definitely the rather poor excuse of a soldier that the Egyptians are in future games. At no stage did i bring to force my over realming fire power onto the the mahdist troops who ended up having a field day cutting my units to pieces although my dad did use the Mahdist army extremely well it has to be said. Still it was a good game and it was nice to see the new Desert battle mat my dad has purchased in action for the first time, it really did look the business! Unfortunately i have alot of work on the next couple of weekends so i will have to wait a little bit longer to get this game out of my system than normal.
The highlanders are forced to break line to cover the flank of KRR battalion as the commander lose his cool issuing orders
The lancers charge and although they hit home hard they are unable to rout the stuborn Dervish infantry
As a unit of Hussars retires shaken from the dervish charge the high landers turn to face the pursuing foe and unleash a point blank volley which only just disorders the warband
The British gun is over run as the mahdist troops charge home into the flanks of two British infantry units. The highlanders give up the volley fire and fix bayonets and charge the disordered warband
Disobeying orders the dervish troops retire behind the large sand dune to lick their wounds away from the remains of the British cavalry
After the KKR battalion retired disordered and shaken, the mahdist infantry turned their attention to the highlanders.N ow attacked on two fronts they proceeded to chuck away their rifles and fled leaving the Britsh army broken
The victorious Mahdist position at the end of the battle


  1. The Mahdists always using some tricks to win the battle. For the future I suggest to put your better troops (British) into the brigade squares. There is no chances that Mahdists will ever broke that formation. It moves slowly, but gives you the better support during the meeles. Good luck next time.

  2. Wonderful looking game gentlemen.

  3. Cracking Boy's Own stuff. There'll be an awful row at home about this!