TSATF at BattleCry 2011 [2]

Following the disastrous battle of the expedition to locate the missing European Civilians (TSATF at BattleCry 2011 [1]), Baker Pasha and a handful of survivors had managed to evade the victorious Dervishes and rejoin the balance of the local Anglo-Egyptian forces. With the entire countryside now up in arms and no hope of a second attempt to locate the civilians Baker pulled his remaining force from its isolated position and immediately began a rapid withdrawal to their regional capital and barracks town, hotly pursued by the Dervish forces.

The Naval Brigade Gardner Gun redeploys to face the Camelry attack on the rear

The Naval Brigade Gardner Gun redeploys to face the Camelry attack at the rear!

Game 2 – The Scenario

An Anglo-Egyptian column is withdrawing from hostile Dervish territory, closely pursued by enemy forces.

Dervish Camelry pursue the Anglo-Egyptian column

Dervish Camelry pursue the Anglo-Egyptian column

As they emerge from the desert hills and approach their base town they are assaulted on all sides by Dervish forces that have caught them up, and a pitch battle ensues as the column must try and conduct a fighting withdrawal into the town. There would be no hidden ambushers – the Mahdists noted the start position of all their troops (table edge entry points) and then the Anglo-Egyptian Column deployed along the road (with the head of the column about 2 road moves from the town) – all Dervish troops moving on-table on turn 1.

Game 2 – The Action

A quick role swap and Gerry represented ‘Al Mahdi’ and I was Valentine Baker Pasha. As the column approached the town Al Mahdi’s forced debouched from the hills and the column was faced with being swarmed on three sides by the Dervishes! Baker Pasha immediately made a judgment call to concentrate his forces on the closest attackers, who were the most dangerous threat – he’d leave part of his column & flank exposed in the hope he could defeat part of the Dervish force then redeploy to face the balance.

Al Mahdi's troops deploy (commanded by Gerry from Castaway)

Al Mahdi’s troops deploy (commanded by Gerry from Castaway)

Head of the Baggage Column moving past the Bashi-Bazouk firing line

Head of the Baggage Column moving past the Bashi-Bazouk firing line

As a result the Bashi-Bazouks’ Company, Naval Brigade Gardner Gun (the sister gun section to that lost in the previous battle), and the 2nd Company, Egyptian Camel Corps, rapidly deployed into line on the left flank of the column – the infantry deployed into Open Order to cover as much frontage as possible and permit them to maximise their firepower. The remaining unit, B Company, Yorkshires, deployed to the right-rear as the sole unit to cover the exposed side and rear of the column, while the baggage column endeavoured to manoeuvre into a position behind the firing line.

The Bands of the Dervish ‘Red Flags’ Rub were soon quickly upon the Bashi-Bazouks – they were given “Independent! Fire at Will!” orders and in turn rapidly blazed away at the closing enemy – to their credit inflicting numerous casualties. The Gardner Gun and Camel Corps joined in against the neighbouring Dervish Band, the latter also firing by “Independent! Fire at Will!” orders. The Camel Corps engaged the ‘Red Flags’ Jihadiyya Riflemen, inflicting very heavy casualties (the 11 Camel Corps Riflemen using “Independent! Fire at Will!” scored about 9 Hits with their first volley). Return fire from the Jihadiyya was largely ineffectual and unknown to the Anglo-Egyptians they possessed very little ammunition…

Bashi-Bazouks receive a Dervish charge!

Bashi-Bazouks receive a Dervish charge!

To the Right and Rear of the Column more Dervishes and Fuzzy-Wuzzys approached, with Dervish Camelry pursuing the column up the road. On the column’s left-front the Bashi-Bazouks (in Open Order) were engaged in brutal hand-to-hand with the first Band of the ‘Red Flags’, the second band, having failed to charge home, had gone to ground at the edge of the small hills. Suffering 40% casualties (3-figs dead, 5-figs wounded) the Bashi-Bazouks managed to throw back the Dervishes with even heavier casualties, and reform themselves to face the greater threat of the second band who, as mentioned, were prone nearby at the edge of the hills. Alongside the Gardner Gun and the dismounted Egyptian Camel Corps were tearing into the Jihadiyya Riflemen, inflicting 60% casualties on them (12-figs killed or wounded) – and the latter had now consumed their final ammunition in return fire, inflicting a total of 10% casualties on the Camel Corps (1-fig killed, 1-fig wounded), however it was the Camel Corps Commander (Iqbal Effendi) who was KIA!

By now the Fuzzy-Wuzzy Band was rapidly approaching from the right-front of the column, unopposed, and the Camelry were closing from behind. The remaining two Dervish Bands of the ‘Green Flags’ Rub were more tardy, and weren’t energetically closing – the Yorkshires holding their fire to await them emerging from the broken rocky ground near the hills. Baker Pasha quickly redeployed the Gardner Gun to face to its rear, and frantically endeavoured to hasten the Baggage Column Camels to move from within the position towards the town, thereby opening up the field of fire for the Gardner at the Fuzzy Wuzzys. The Bashi-Bazouks and Camel Corps remained in place pouring Independent fire into the 2 ‘Red Flags’ Bands, while the Yorkshires did some minor manoeuvring into position to be ready to receive the ‘Green Flags’ charge. The Baggage Column finally moved clear and the Gardner Gun opened up with devastating effect onto the Fuzzy-Wuzzys!

Dervish 'Green Flags' charge the exposed left flank of the Yorkshires Company

Dervish ‘Green Flags’ charge the exposed left flank of the Yorkshires Company

The Bashi-Bazouks now deployed more to the right to close off the options for the ‘Red Flags’ (leaving their wounded behind to be guarded by the Yorkshires), and joining them, leaving behind their hobbled camels, the dismounted Camel Corps rapidly advanced into position alongside in support. Both continued to blaze away with Independent Fire at the ‘Red Flags’ racking up the casualties, especially as the second Band had now rallied and stood up preparatory to charging again. Meanwhile the Jihadiyya had suffered a Critical Morale Failure and were now fleeing back into the hills, one threat seemingly removed! (In fact they were out of ammunition anyway).

The Gardner continued to rattle away at the Fuzzy-Wuzzys, these in turn endeavoured to charge, however the Gardner had inflicted 65% casualties (13-figs killed & wounded) on them with its two bursts of firing, and it was too much for the brave Hadendowa, they also suffered Critical Moral Failure and fled back towards the hills. Baker Pasha had pulled off a magnificent gamble, leaving his right & front exposed and having the rapidly redeployed Gardner Gun team from the Naval Brigade ‘save the day’!

Baker Pasha and Haaziq Bey in animated conversation at the peak of the battle

Baker Pasha and Haaziq Bey in animated conversation at the peak of the battle

By now the Camelry and tardy ‘Green Flags’ were rapidly approaching from the right-rear and rear of the column – the Yorkshires prepared to receive them, and the ever energetic sailors with the Gardner Gun rapidly redeployed to a new position alongside the Yorkshires flank, just in time as the Camelry threatened to smash into their line in conjunction with a ‘Green Flags’ Band on their flank! The Yorkshires by now were also blazing away with Independent Fire and the Gardner joined in against the Dervish Camelry. Meanwhile back on the left of the road the Bashi-Bazouks and Camel Corps were receiving the renewed charge by the last ‘Red Flags’ Band – both units blazing away with the last of their ammunition. Al Mahdi meanwhile, remained well to the rear, not showing much interest in personal involvement.

By now the Baggage Column was well down the last stretch of road and almost to the town gates, while at the rear the Dervish Camelry and ‘Green Flags’ Band threatened to crash into the Yorkshires line. Fire from the ever reliable Gardner felled some of the Camelry as did the Yorkshires Independent fire against the Camelry and the 2 Dervish Bands. The ‘Green Flags’ Band on the flank was halted just short of contact and its charge failed to hit home, the Ansars going to ground a short way from the Yorkshires (the 2nd Band was only just closing into final charge range). The Camelry however hit home against the other end of the Yorkshires line, which being in Open Order was not ideally placed to receive mounted charges – the Yorkshires taking heavy casualties of 40% (8-figs) and losing their ground to the Camelry (which saw several wounded then massacred – their cries unnerving the Yorkshires – such that only 1 wounded fig survived the melee). The Camelry itself also suffered heavily – around 60% casualties (7-figs) from the gunfire & melee.

B Company, Yorkshires skirmishing with the Dervishes

B Company, Yorkshires skirmishing with the Dervishes

Back on the left of the road the Bashi-Bazouks and Camel Corps were very successful in throwing back the last ‘Red Flags’ Band – it had again failed to charge home and once more gone to ground on the lower slopes of the hills – but only after suffering further gunfire casualties. It had lost 60% of its numbers by now, and as it’s sister band had already suffered a Critical Morale Failure and fled the field, so was it expected it’d soon follow suit. Which was just in time as the Bashi-Bazouks and Camel Corps no longer had any ammunition remaining and would be solely reliant on forming up in Close Order to resist any further charges. Both the Yorkshires and the Gardner Gun were both also down to very low ammunition (2 increments each – the latter having been firing in action every turn since the game commenced, and avoiding any jams).

The surviving Dervish Camelry after they charged the Yorkshires

The surviving Dervish Camelry after they charged the Yorkshires

However Baker Pasha had pretty much won the day – the surviving Dervish ‘Red Flags’ Band and the Camelry were in Critical Morale, and likely to flee the field at anytime, and the 2 ‘Green Flags’ Ansar Bands had both suffered casualties, and were facing the still reasonably intact (12-fig) Yorkshires supported by the Naval Brigade Gardner Gun. The Egyptian Camel Corps were even quietly confident of recovering their surviving camels! As the Bashi-Bazouks formed up into Close Order to retire to the town covering the rear of the Baggage Column, the dismounted Camel Corps did likewise but remained near the road covering the surviving Dervish ‘Red Flags’ Band and hoping to go back for their camels. The Gardner Gun prepared for action against the surviving Camelry to protect the collected wounded nearby, and the Yorkshires prepared to make a partial withdrawal to reform their lines with the Naval Brigade, ever so slightly nervously eyeing the surviving ‘Green Flags’ Bands…

But Al Mahdi had had enough, to the sound of their drums, the Dervish forces rapidly began to melt away, and Valentine Baker Pasha heaved a huge sigh of relief, “…it had been a damn close run thing…

Game 2 – The Forces (for TSATF)

Anglo Egyptian Column

  • (General) Valentine Baker Pasha & (Lt. Colonel) Haaziq Bey
  • B Company, Yorkshire Regiment (20-figs British Infantry)
  • Zakariyya’s Irregular Bashi-Bazouk Company (20-figs Egyptian Infantry)
  • 2nd Company, Egyptian Camel Corps (12-figs Egyptian Camelry)
  • B Section, Naval Brigade Gardner Gun Battery (4-figs British MG team)

Dervish Forces of the Mahdist Uprising

  • Al Mahdi & Servants
  • 1 Band of Camelry (12-figs Camelry: 3-Rifles/9-Spear or Sword)
  • Green Flags Rub:
    — Amir & Bodyguard
    — 2 Bands of Dervish Ansars (20-figs Spears & Swords)
    — 1 Band of Hadendowa Fuzzy-Wuzzys (20-figs Swords & Spears/Throwing Sticks)
  • Red Flags Rub:
    — Amir & Bodyguard
    — 2 Bands of Dervish Ansars (20-figs Spears & Swords)
    — 1 Band of Jihadiyya Riflemen (20-figs Rifles)

All the Figures & Terrain in this game are from my collection except the Palm Trees which are from Kieran Mahony’s.

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