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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.


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