Fire & Sword Battle 01: Skirmish before Metemma

Maizoub ‘John’ Pasha despatches Talahawiyeh (with her 9pdr Gun, Nordenfelt MG, & detachment of 6 armed Sailors) towing a Nuggar and transporting the 4/5th Egyptian Company (20 men), down river towards Abu Hamed – to discover the full situation and re-establish contact with the latter, and if possible, Cairo. The expedition is under the command of Captain Wahab El Zahra Agha, officer commanding the 4/5th Egyptian Rifle Company.

Naval Brigade Sailors.

Naval Brigade Sailors

Talahawiyeh & her Nuggar reach Wad Hamed without incident. She successfully negotiates the 6th Cataract, before encountering a Dervish force while approaching Metemma. The Dervishes appear to be a small force of Beja Fuzzy-Wuzzies occupying the Metemma area on the banks of the Nile, and who appear to have no artillery. El Zahra Agha on Talahawiyeh decides to put ashore and use her guns and accompanying troops to clear the village and obtain intelligence and supplies…

Talahawiyeh disgorges her Infantry & Armed Sailors outside the village and as they approach the Southern side she moves alongside the village and begins shelling and machine-gunning with her 9pdr and Nordenfelt initially the fire is of limited success with the shellfire claiming one or two of the Fuzzy-Wuzzies in the town, but then the Nordenfelt gets a lucky shot as she moves closer in to the village jetty, catching a large group of Fuzzies (one unit) between buildings and raking them with MG fire, inflicting numerous casualties…

The "Fuzzy-Wuzzies" charge!

The “Fuzzy-Wuzzies” charge!

Meanwhile the (rifle armed) detachment of Sailors & the Egyptian Infantry have approached the outskirts of the village and fire off a volley at the leading Fuzzies, inflicting a couple of casualties (thanks to Talahawiyeh the first unit has suffered 16 casualties by this stage, but the second unit only 4) – the defending Dervishes consisting of just 2 units of 20 Spear & Sword armed Fuzzy-Wuzzies, with no Amir or Digna leading them nor any artillery. The Fuzzy-Wuzzies now decide the time is right to counter-attack as the Anglo-Egyptians have come within charge range of the village outskirts. They charge forward from the cover of the buildings, however the unit closest to the river has suffered heavy casualties and despite urgings of its leader fails to charge, instead dispersing behind the buildings, it’s morale failing…

The second unit however is true to their reputation and charge home against the 4/5th Egyptians – who in turn bravely stand and receive the charge. After an ineffective volley of spears & throwing sticks (and some ineffective return fire by the Egyptians) the Fuzzies get in amongst it, however the Egyptians give as good as they get and in a particularly brutal fight they suffer 6 Casualties (2 Dead & 4 Wounded EM) but dish out 8 casualties to the Hadendoa warriors, causing the remaining 8 (incl. their Sheik) to retire back into the village.

While the Egyptian Infantry reform and collect their wounded the Sailors, covered by Talahawiyeh’s guns, move forward and clear the village – in time to see the fleeing remnants of the Dervish Force disappearing into the desert, their morale having finally collapsed after suffering 70% casualties…

4/5th Egyptian Company at Metemma.

4/5th Egyptian Company at Metemma

Of the Egyptian wounded 1 is immediately back in service having only had light wounds, 2 may or may not recover and will travel in Talahawiyeh’s improvised infirmary for a while, while one dies from his wounds shortly after the battle. The action, however, is seen somewhat out of context for its size and reported by the Dervishes throughout the region as a significant Mahdist defeat [thereby affecting the revolt index calculations through it’s demoralising effect]!

Talahawiyeh quickly resupplies and forages what it can from the village over the next couple of days and, with her troops rested & El Zahra Agha re-embarked Talahawiyeh’s voyage down river to the North continues…

This battle was resolved using Steve Winter’s Simple Battle Rules for quick resolution of minor battles at The Colonial Angle.

Return to Fire & Sword Turn 01: November 1883.

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