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15mm Boxer Rebellion

December 22, 2012 in AAR, Club Nights, Colonials

The run up to Christmas so what better way to spread harmony than to pit multiple players against one another in a race to save face and claim
their stake in the Chinese Market.
Sunday night saw the Wyvern Wargamers put on a 5 man participation game set at the height of the Boxer Rebellion.

Seymour was on his way back from his attempt to relieve Peking, with the rail line destroyed he is forced to turn back to the coast, the Boxers had
never really threatened his command but the amount of wounded and lack of provisions was making the march very arduous.

“During the night in a thunder storm Seymour lost contact with the Boxer forces. His column approaching a swollen river his scouts indicate that there are three possible crossing points. It’s unclear which route the bulk of the Boxer forces took perhaps even crossing at all three
points. If he is to protect is wounded, flanks and rear he must ensure he maintains in contact with the withdrawing Boxer elements ”

The game is played out using Mud & Blood from the Too Fat Lardies, the Big man and Support desk is divided into 3 piles, players decide which pile to allocate to which cross point, the Chinese Imperial Army and Boxers allocate to defend and the Allies to attack.
Whilst the devious umpire rolls to see which crossing will be played out on table….
Crossing two is picked, the Boxers are allowed to deploy as blinds and hidden within the terrain, they await the crossing of the allies, we added in an additional rally card for the Boxers and made them aggressive, due to their lack of firepower and the need to close.
The Chinese Army moved in from the edge of the table also on blinds.
Fortunately Crossing two for both sides contained several strong units which moved the encounter on at pace.
 
Both sides had chosen well, the Boxers had selected several armed bands and their only Artillery section, whilst the Allies had selected the cream of the Allies forces with US Marines and British Regulars, together with a detachment of mounted lancers….

Boxer Artillery deploy for action, these have not been out of the box for a few years and that gloss finish really needs dulling down.

A number of turns pass the Allies edge closer to the hinterland, having cleared the river, with limited casualties from the Chinese fire, but they had yet to encounter the Boxer masses, as time wore on they new reinforcements would be arriving from the other crossings.

The Imperial Army show their hand and Artillery and Kansu Braves reveal themselves from the millet.

  
Boxer pour from the village and the surrounding terrain, bolstered by reinforcements from the 3rd River Crossing, things look bad for Charlton and his boys…
The Boxers close and force the Marines back.

Meanwhile reinforcements from the 1st Crossing point enter into the outskirts of the near by town, catching the Imperial Army cold, brisk firefight takes place and the Imperial Army is ejected from the town, thanks to a valiant charge by the Royal Marines supported by French Sailors.

  
The Imperial Army turn their guns and pour fire into the Allied defenders as more Chinese regulars enter the table to bolster the Chinese defence.

Mean while south the Column is bolstered by Russian and Austrian Sailors who try again to force the river crossing, inflicting heavy casualties on the Boxer defenders, but they have too much ground to make up if they are to link up with the French in the town.

As the evening draws to a close the Allies have a foot hold in Northern bank of the river, but Chinese Regulars and Boxers are thinning the Allies with several big men wounded or carried from the field.

As is the case with many encounters if only we had another couple of moves…..

The following forces were initially available split between three crossing points.
The first crossing point was 1D6 turns away, whilst the second 2D6 turns away to give both sides the chance of bolstering their forces.  

Boxers.
7 Big men
10 Units of Infantry (10-16 men) Aggressive
2 Jingels
1 Section of Artillery.

Chinese Army
Hesitiant Command and poor shots.

4 Big men
4 Infantry Units
2 Sections of Artillery

Allies.
1 Big Man per Unit
All Allied units are 1 experience level above the Chinese forces.
Detachments included.
French Sailors.
Austrian Sailors
Russian Sailors
Italian Sailors
French Marines
US Marines
Royal Marines
British Infantry
1 Artillery Section
1 MG Section
1 Lancer Detachment

Crossing the Buffalo

July 4, 2011 in Colonials, Sharp Practice

In preparation for our Big Game in September we played out the first proper game in the Chronicles of Ferguson of the 99th.
The plan is to carry over the big men from each scenario for the British which will allow us to add a little flavour to each encounter. So here goes Chapter One. Crossing the Buffalo.
Ferguson had been in Natal for less than a week when orders came from up the line.

He was to take his platoon and with a detachment of NNC and cross the Buffalo River to provide a covering screen for a company of Engineers who were testing the drift for a suitable crossing place for the wagons of Chelmsford’s invasion force.

It was not known how long the mission would last the Engineers would fire a yellow flare once they had completed their scouting mission.

Ferguson being a pragmatic man decided to take his full platoon as he had no knowledge of what lay over the river. Sergeant Taylor his no.2 was his usual self, he had been in country for several weeks and was keen to get a closer look at the mighty Zulu.

The British forces advanced on table masked by Blinds, with the NNC securing the left flank and sections 1-3 across the centre of the able.

Sergeant Williams of second squad was unwell, as usual he had put his belly before his head and was under the weather after eating some of the local muck. This caused him to miss a couple of turns as he would nip away for a constitutional on more than one occasion – That was to be the least of his worries.

On the Right Flank Lt Henshaw was his usual snooty self, strutting about the table barking orders.

The morning started well for Ferguson as they march on table Zulu’s were spotted to the right and left of the advancing British however the first concentration of Zulu’s on the bluff turned out to be merely a scouting party. A small group of rifle armed Zulu’s appeared on the left but their occasional rifle fire an no effect on the advancing British.

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On the left flank a concentration of Zulu’s rushed down the bluff head start for Sergeant Williams Section and Ferguson who had attached himself to the section. A number of Volley’s crashed into the Zulu but they were simply to numerous and they drove into the British Section, first to fall was Williams who was otherwise engaged when the Zulu hit home.

The section fought back killing a number of Zulu’s. Ferguson threw himself into the melee in attempt to turn the tide but was over come by Zulu’s with a blow to the head, his efforts were not in vain as the remaining Zulu’s withdrew.

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Whilst the 99th were engaged to their front a number of Zulu’s burst from the grass land and charged head log into the NNC, they hoped that a full volley would be enough to slow the Zulu their poor fire only served to slow the Zulu advance for a few moments.

Faced with odds of 3:1 they at first waiver’d then broke head back across the Buffalo carrying Sergeant Taylor the platoons’ senior NCO with them.

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Taylor recovered his wits and broke away from the fleeing NNC with intention of saving the remaining men of 1 section who were now leaderless, reinforced by dutch courage borrowed from the quartermaster he ran back towards the now isolated section only to trip and fall knocking himself out for a round…..

The survivors of 1 Section were over ran by the main Zulu body.

On the right flank Lt Henshaw began to engage the Zulu skirmish line whilst at the same time turned 2 section to fire on the now advancing Zulu’s victors of the melee with the NNC, a number of long range volley’s were enough to force them backwards with the accumulated shock from a number of turns of melee and long range rifle fire.

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As a yellow flare was seen in the early morning sky, the Zulu’s began to fall back have leaving the field to the British who began task of seeing to their wounded and checking to see if their were any survivors of 1 section.

The flanking mission had been a success but at what cost?

Medical report to follow shortly.

 

Sharp Practice – Adventures in Zululand

June 25, 2011 in Colonials, Sharp Practice

The latest club saw the first outing of our Zulu’s using the ToofatLardies – Sharp Practice rules (TSS). We have tried a couple of different rule sets over the pas 18 months but nothing quite hits the mark for me, we have an all dayer planned for September with multiple commands for the British. We wanted the Brits to have a bit of character, fighting off the Zulu against significant odds but also with a little room for scenario’s rather than just standing behind a barricade and blazing away.

The Scenario
Using a scenario generated from the Platoon Forward supplement.
A detachment of NNC and Cavalry have crossed into Zululand and have secured a Zulu cattle herd, however the local Zulu chieftain has sent his warriors to retrieve them, your platoon has been sent forward to support the NNC and Drive back the Zulu.

The Colonial command was split into two groups, the cavalry mustered on the hill top whilst the NNC held the valley with the cattle to their rear.
The colonial troops had to hold on until the British regulars appeared on table to save the day.

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At this stage the first learn of the evening (we are going to need a bigger table…) Dane the Zulu commander had massed his warriors in a classic Zulu formation with Blinds on the left, right and centre of the Colonial command.

The Zulu to the front were spotted and rifle fire from the dismounted cavalry was able to slow the approaching Zulu so they could not close from their initial charge.

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The NNC however were not so lucky, lacking suitable firepower and marksmanship they were swamped by the Aggressive Zulu’s with their big choppers… (I am thinking here about limiting the number of men fighting to say 3:1 in loose formation and 2:1 in line as 60 vs 10 seemed far to unfair…)

In the next bound the Cavalry fared little better, a number of Tiffin cards were drawn which allowed them to inflict some additional casualties on the Zulu but the cavalry number was to few and the Zulu to great. The next Zulu activation saw them wiped out to a man.

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The melee had cost the Zulu a significant amount of shock which slowed their effectiveness and with the British Player finally arriving and firing a number of long range volley’s. The Zulu’s sort cover from behind the hills and rises to recover from the earlier engagement.

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Another outing next week but the learns so far.
Moving Zulu at the Cavalry trot pace of +3 pips per dice might be a little to much?
Increasing the Zulu section to 15 allowed them to keep moving forward.
The new colonial cards seemed to work well, but we may need to provide the Zulu player with a handful at the beginning of the game.
Allowing the Zulu player to return to blind and splitting into two blinds seemed to create the right atmosphere of not knowing the Zulu’s true strength. We will need to increase the No. of leaders for the Zulu, the kill ration was rather high meaning a leader tended to be shot every time the Brits fired.
Using the TSS variant we need to load up the Brits with Experience and Belief to give them a fairer chance in hand to hand, at the same time limiting the number of men fighting should allow the Brits a chance to stay in play for more than one bound.

Looking forward to next week and the introduction of character traits to spice up the adventures in Zululand.

Chocks away!

June 21, 2011 in Aerial, Colonials, Flames of War, WW2

Another summer club night, this week we had two prospective new members, so welcome Kev and Dean and don’t forget to organise yourselves a game for next club.

Later in the year, we are having another all day game, with the Zulus getting another outing. We are planning a 12′ x 6′ game with lots of models and lots of players. Rules will again be Toofatlardies Sharp Practice amended to suit the period, another game to test the new card deck tonight.

On another table, World War Two continues to be refought with the popular Flames of War rules.

Finally we took the opportunity to bring out the hex mat and the Check Your 6! rules, a great set of rules and some great models from Raiden Miniatures.

Playing ‘The Swede’ scenario from the rulebook pits a lone pilot ace against three fatigued Zeroes, a great scenario to learn the rules. In the first near miss off the game the US Ace just managed to side step the zero but then fluffed his attack with his rear MGs.

The Dauntless takes out a Zero but takes damage from another, reducing it’s speed. Losing altitude the more robust Navy plane maneuvered it’s way out of trouble. Another Zero takes more damage and explodes, finally as the final Zero overtakes and turn round to fire on the Dauntless it flies off the board to bring about the end of the game and a draw.

Anting Station June 13th 1900 – Boxer Rebellion

November 28, 2010 in AAR, Colonials

OK whilst not strictly a club game, I wanted to try a run out of my Boxers using the Too Fat Lardies – Sharpe Practice Rules, prior to taking them to the club, it must be 2 years since the 15mm Boxers last saw the light of day.

The collection has grown over the years and the current rules have not been able to keep pace with the growing collection of units and the bigger games – That’s where SP has been such a winner.

Skirmish at Anting Station
An advance party of sailors from Admiral Seymours column are sent ahead of the main force to protect the railway line and station at Anting.
Their orders are to protect the railway line and defend the station.

The Boxer orders are simple to destroy the railway line and/or capture the station.
They are hindered by the fact that reinforcements enter the table at random points around the station.

Using The Sharpe Practice rules with a number adaptions from TSS, the Allied payers had 5 Naval units from France, Britain, Russia, US and Italy together with 3 Big Men. The Boxers 10 units and 6 Big Men mostly status 1.

Turn one
The Allies deploy around the station with a large detachment under Lt Gordon Smith sent up the embankment to spot the approaching Boxers and defend the rail line.

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Turn Two
The Boxers enter the North whilst the Americans and French rush to meet their attackers.

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Turn Three
Boxers begin to mass to the South and West of the Station out of sight of the Allied defenders.

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Turn Four

In a bold move the Boxers sweep from behind the wood and along the road leaving the Russian sailors to defend a barricade with no attackers to their front.

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Elsewhere Boxers burst from the tree line only to be stopped by accurate Rifle fire by the British contingent the charge falls short and more shock is applied to the units forcing them to retire.

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Turn Five
The battle for the Buildings continues, the Russian Big Man Card comes up first and they are able to defend the buildings, but faced with several groups they are wiped out in the first building and take a excessive shock to make them in effective in the second building, it’s only the thought of being chopped to bits by the Boxers that stops them from surrendering.

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Turn Six
On the Western Flank the boxers mass and charge up the embankment, the French are faced with Boxers to their front and Left Flank, they turn and deliver a Volley which drives one Boxer Unit from the field, only to be forced from their position by the Boxers scampering up the embankment.

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Turn Seven
The Italians having spent all game marching from one flank to the next, rush to support the Russians only to be caught in the open Street and whilst inflicting a number of shock points the kills inflicted from the Boxer attack including their CO forced them to retire.

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Another disaster for Seymour to contend with, the station in Boxer hands and the rail line likely destroyed.

The British (as usual) acquitted themselves well, but the weight of the Boxer attack and the lack of concentration of fire from the Allies proved to be their undoing.

The rules flowed really well and plans for an all dayer continue to take shape.

Next All Dayer January – Western…..

Zulu War – Battle of Inyezane Refight

February 1, 2010 in AAR, Colonials

Well the big day has come and gone.
But how did we stack up against events on the day?

On Saturday the Evesham Wargames Club Re-fought the Battle of Inyezane, not a bad effort for a club that 3 months ago had no figures for the Zulu War. Over 100 Brits and 500 Zulu’s in three months.
I am pleased to report a British Victory albeit like many a Zulu encounter a close run thing.

The British were ordered to cross the drift and push over the ridge line to capture or destroy the Zulu Kraal in order to limit the Zulu reinforcements in the area and whilst they were unable to push over the ridge by the end of the day, their steady fire was enough to inflict sufficient casualties on the Zulu army to shatter it as an effective fighting force.

The Zulu command was forced to attack the British line piece meal and whilst closed on several occasions the supporting fire from other British Companies was enough to drive them off.
Next stop Gingindlovu.

The View from the British River Crossing with the ridge rising in the centre and the Kraal seen to the top right right of the table.

Initial British Deployments with the 99th Foot and Native Horse crossing the Drift.
Natal Carbineers shield the Left Flank and escort the wagons.



The British on the Move.


The Zulu Right Horn emerges from the Ridge Line.


View from the British Lines.The Zulu Left Horn bursts from cover.
Whilst the Giraffe keeps right on chewing.
The British stand Fast with Naval Brigade and Artillery in Support.


View from the British lines as the attack develops.
The range markers were to prove invaluable in giving the British the extra bonuses to break the attacking Zulu’s.


The right horn closes with the British Flank.
Close ranges volley’s are able to inflict sufficent casualties to drive them off.


The chest charges for the British Centre only to be stopped by a combination of rifle fire, artillery and Machine Gun fire.


The final push by the Zulu Impi’s, Frontier Horse hold up the attacking Zulu’s before breaking them with a well timed charge.

The Action At Inyezane 22nd Jan 1879 – This Day in History.

January 6, 2010 in Colonials

In preparation for the our Annual All Dayer next Saturday, I thought it would be useful to see Colonel Pearson’s official report.

With a week to go commands have been assigned, figures painted and rules read, let’s hope the Zulu’s can go one better…….

THE ACTION AT INYEZANE. COLONEL PEARSON’S OFFICIAL REPORT.
From Colonel Pearson, Commanding No. 1 Column to the Military Secretary to His Excellency the High Commissioner.

Etshowe Zululand, January 23, 1879.
SIR,
I HAVE the honour to report my arrival here at 10 A.M. this day, with the column under my command, and, I am happy to state, without a casualty of any kind—except, of course, those which occurred in the engagement of yesterday, of which I have already duly informed you by telegram, dispatched yesterday evening.

Yesterday morning, the mounted troops which preceded the column under Major Barrow, had crossed the Inyezane River—which is about four miles from our camping ground on the previous night—when I received a note from him to say that he had selected a fairly open space for a halting place, which he had carefully vedetted. I at once rode forward, to reconnoiter, and found the ground covered with more bush than seemed desirable for an outspan ; but as there was no water between the Inyezane and the places where we bivouacked last night—four miles further on, and with several steep hills to climb—I decided upon outspanning for a couple of hours, to feed and rest the oxen, and to enable the men to breakfast.

It was then just eight o’clock, and I was in the act of giving directions about the pickets and scouts required for our protection, and the wagons had already begun to park, when the leading company of the Native Contingent, who were scouting in front—personally directed by Captain Hart, Staff Officer to the Officer commanding that Regiment — discovered the enemy advancing rapidly over the ridges in our front, and making for the clumps of bush around us.

The Zulus at once opened a heavy fire upon the men of the company who had shown themselves in the open, and they lost one officer, four non-commissioned officers, and three men killed, almost immediately after the firing began. Unfortunately, owing to scarcely any of the officers or non-commissioned officers of the Native Contingent being able to speak Kafir, and some not even English (there are several foreigners among them), it has been found most difficult to communicate orders, and it is to be feared that these men who lost their lives by gallantly holding their ground did so under the impression that it was the duty of the contingent to fight in the first line, instead of scouting only, and, after an engagement, to pursue.

I must add, however, that every exertion has been made by Major Graves, Commandant Nettleton, and Captain Hart, to explain to both the officers and men the duties expected of them. These officers, indeed, have been indefatigable in their exertions.
As soon as the firing commenced, I directed the Naval Brigade, under Commander Campbell, Lieutenant Lloyd’s division of guns, and Captain Jackson’s and Lieutenant Martin’s companies of the Buffs, to take up a position on a knoll close by the road (and under which they were halted), and from whence the whole of the Zulu advances could be seen and dealt with.

Meanwhile, the wagons continued to park, and as soon as the length of the column had thereby sufficiently decreased, I directed the two companies of the Buffs, which were guarding the wagons about half way down the column, to clear the enemy out of the bush, which had been already shelled, and fired into with rockets and musketry, by the troops on the knoll above-mentioned. These companies, led by Captains Harrison and Wyld, and guided by Captain Macgregor, D.A.Q.M.G., whom I sent back for this purpose, moved out in excellent order, and quickly getting into skirmishing order, brought their right shoulders gradually forward, and drove the Zulus before them back into the open, which again exposed them to the rockets, shells, and musketry from the knoll.

This movement released the main body of the Mounted Infantry and Volunteers, who, with the Company of Royal Engineers, had remained near the Inyezane, to protect that portion of the convoy of wagons. -The Royal Engineers happened to be working at the drift when the engagement began.
When thus released, both the Engineers and Mounted Troops, under Captain Wynne and Major Barrow, respectively moved forward with the infantry. Skirmishers on the left of the latter, the whole being supported by a half-company of the Buffs and a half-company of the 99th Regiment, sent out by Lieutenant-Colonel Welman, 99th Regiment, who with the rear of the column, was now coming up.

About this time the enemy was observed by Commander Campbell lo be trying to outflank our left, and he offered to go with a portion of the Naval Brigade to drive away a body of Zulus who had got possession of a kraal about 400 yards from the knoll, and which was helping their turning movement. The Naval Brigade was supported by a party of the officers and non-commissioned officers of the Native Contingent, under Captain Hart, who were posted on high ground on the left of the Etshowe Road, and who checked the Zulus from making any further attempt on our left.

Shortly afterwards, when the kraal was evacuated, Commander Campbell suggested that the enemy should be driven off still further, to which I at once assented, and I desired Colonel Parnell to take Captain Forster’s company, the Buffs, which up to this time had remained at the foot of the knoll, and assist the Naval Brigade to attack some heights beyond the kraal, upon which a considerable body of Zulus were still posted.

The action was completely successful, and the Zulus now fled in all directions, both from our front and left, and before the skirmishers on the right.
I now ordered the column to be reformed, and at noon we resumed our march

Darkest Africa – Colonial Playtest.

January 4, 2010 in Colonials

After finishing early one Sunday in November it was decided that we should go for a swift half at the local, well it just goes to show that Wargaming and Beer do not mix as 6 weeks later we have almost 400 Zulu’s to show for our efforts.
The plan is to refight the Battle of Nyezane on our all dayer on the 30th January. We have been asked to play test a new set of rules due to hit the shelves some time in 2010.Without wishing to ruin the big day we opted to replace the Brits with Germans.
Last night gave us an opportunity to play out the rules with a quarter of the Zulu Forces to ensure they gave a good feel for the period and and a result could be achieved on the day.


We opted for a German Naval force with supporting Askari with the objective of destroying the Kraal before the Natives (aka Zulu’s) could stop them.

The German’s and their Native Askari Troops were deployed in the Village and the nearby Mission, they found the village to be empty and they set about destroying the Kraal when a Sole Zulu Warrior was seen on the horizon.


The Germans stood to unsure where the Warriors would attack from.Small bands of warriors burst from the hinterland their small arms fire proved to be ineffectual but they were able to close with one section of German Sailors inflicting a couple of casualties before being driven off.


The Main Tribesman force shielded by the hills drove straight for the mission, upon seeing this the Askari shouldered arms and headed for the kraal to seek support from their comrades.


The Tribesmen swept over the crest of the hill charging into the left flank of the village, the Askari were able to halt the first warrior impi but the second impi closed with the Askari defenders.


As dust approached it looked like the Askari would be left to hold the line as the German Naval units retired from the field.

A great game to test out the full rule set and some important lessons for both sides.
The Colonial forces need to combine their fire to stop the advancing hordes and the Zulu players need to ensure they can combine their weight of numbers so that they can make their numbers count.

25 Days before the Big game….

Science Vs Pluck or “Too much for the Mahdi”

December 7, 2009 in Colonials

The Sudan Campaigns of the late Nineteenth Century have had an appeal since watching Khartoum or the many versions of the Four Feathers in my youth, as with any colonial games you tend to need a lot of miniatures, which I had never managed yet.

Mark let it split that not only did he know the SvP rules but he had a extensive collection of painted 15mm armies for the period, well it didn’t take too much arm twisting and before long we had the stuff on the table at the club.

The Imperial CinC, Major General Greaves commanded 3 columns, Captain Surridge had the No 1 column on the right flank, Captain Baldwin of the Camel Corps No 3 column on the left whilst No 2 column in the centre was commanded by the venerable Greaves with assistance from Dane Pasha.

The orders where to advance and take the oasis, where the force would rest and take on water, then on to Khartoum and that meddler Gordon.


Moving on, we see an ominous sight, a small group of Mahdists atop a small hill in the distance.
Columns 2 and 3 advance towards the objective.


Columns 2 and 3 advancing towards the objective.

Suddenly Mahdists on camels crest hills, these faced No 1 column.

And these faced No 3 Column.

The Camel Corp acting on carefully rehearsed drills began to dismount and prepare a firing line.

As did the Bengal Lancers and Mounted Rifles of Captain Surridge’s No 1 Column.

A large group of Mahdists erupts as if from nowhere to face the centre column, did the General’s mustache waver?

The long range fire of the Martini-Henrys begins.

Now both battalions and the mountain gun are ready to fire.

Initial firing proves desultory as the British struggled to find the range

As they ridge closer, surely the British can’t miss!

That standard bearer feels a little isolated as the rest of the front rank fall!

The troops of No 1 column are beginning to become disordered.

At the last minute some furious firing drives of the Mahdists, leaving only their dead and wounded.

The Gatling and Gardner Guns do sterling work firing on the Fuzzy Wuzzy. But in the confusion of runners and changing orders, the General gives an order for the Mounted troops of No 1 column to change the dervish foot despite most of them being mounted infantry.

They draw themselves up for the charge but in a stroke of luck the dervish charge too, taking them in to the Bengal Lancers who manage to drive them off.

No one but Dane Pasha notice another body of dervish foot appearing behind them, he calmly orders the Sudanese units to turn and the cannon to unlimber and fire. The fire was withering and the dervish melt back in to the desert.

The columns are now free to move on to the oasis and then on to Khartoum.

Paul

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