Having successfully returned to their base (game 2) Valentine Baker Pasha’s forces weren’t able to rest – a delayed communiqué arrived advising a steamer was coming down the Nile to rendezvous with them at the village of al-Ġardaqaḧ as-Sūdān and it included more civilians! Baker Pasha would have to assemble another, reasonably strong column, and rapidly march the 2 days across the desert to the Nile, through the territory teeming with Dervishes, to reach the village in anticipation of the steamer’s arrival.
Game 3 – The Scenario
An Anglo-Egyptian column is marching to a Nile Fishing Village to rendezvous with an expected Paddle-Steamer Gunboat. The Gunboat has vital supplies (in this case civilians needing escort to a safe location as well as critical supplies of ammunition and such that have escaped the Mahdists in the South) so it’s essential the column reaches the village on the agreed day.
However the Dervishes have foreseen the columns advance and correctly predicted it’s destination, and have forces already ensconced at the village to await them, while the balance of their forces continue to shadow the Anglo-Egyptian Column. As the Anglo-Egyptians approach the village its apparent the Dervishes are waiting, although the Paddle-Steamer Gunboat may arrive at any time to provide additional fire support. The Column must drive off the Dervishes and occupy the village.
Game 3 – The Action
Once again Gerry and I switched roles, Gerry would be Baker Pasha (with some assistance from the public) and I would represent Al Mahdi. Faced with an even tougher challenge than the failed previous expedition, Baker Pasha elected to bring both his Companies of British Infantry, and replaced the weakened Camel Corps with some Bashi-Bazouk Cavalry, which would be more suitable for the expected short distance and open terrain involved. The hardworking B Section of the Naval Brigade with their Gardner Gun were, as previously, also present.
Meanwhile Al Mahdi’s forces were converging on the column, unknown to Baker Pasha the Dervishes had already established a small gun battery position at the village – to deny passage of the Nile to the Khedival Steamers – and as a result a Rub was already in the region providing security. As the Dervish forces followed the column they rightly guessed it’s destination and grinned gleefully at their anticipated victory.
As soon as the column neared the village it became clear there was a reception committee waiting – many of the Dervishes’ colourful flags being visible – the ‘Green Flags’ Rub was drawn up in battle order just outside the village, awaiting the approaching Ferengi. Hidden amongst the Palm Trees was a Krupp 6pdr crewed by Egyptian captives, a little Dervish surprise for any steamers than might happen along! On the appearance of the column the Dervish force immediately rolled forward, to the beat of their drums, and urged on by their Amir, all 3 Bands surged towards the Anglo-Egyptian force…
Baker Pasha responded by rapidly deploying the two British Companies into Close Order lines, the Yorkshires on the right, and the Irish Fusiliers on the left. The Naval Brigade Gardner Gun was pushed out in front, while the Irregular Bashi-Bazouk Cavalry remained in reserve… Volleys of fire soon crashed out form both Companies and the rattle of the Gardner as well, with casualties rapidly being raked up against the 2 leading Bands of Ansars, the third, of Fuzzy-Wuzzys, was further back so escaped the initial fusillade. The Dervishes pushed on, endeavouring to charge home as rapidly as possible, forcing the Gardner Gun to withdraw quickly to the left-flank of the Irish Fusiliers, to avoid being overrun. Another volley and more casualties, an then both the Dervish Bands crashed into the 2 British Companies, tossing spears as they came – and a wild melee erupted all along the line! However the staunch British Infantrymen were up to the task, and threw back both Dervish Bands, for the cost of only 15% (3-figs) casualties to the Yorkshires, and 10% (2-figs) to the Irish Fusiliers. The Dervishes meanwhile had suffered from gun-fire & bayonet 75% (15-figs) and 70% (14-figs) respectively – both units retired Shaken and in Critical Morale after their failed assaults.
Suddenly the tooting of a whistle was heard, and black smoke over the Nile – the gunboat was arriving, paddling it’s way laboriously upstream. Crash! Boom! Artillery fire opened up from within the Palms, and a Dervish shell landed on the forward section of the boat – minor damage was done to the boilers and a Naval Sailor manning the forward gun was injured. The gunboats main gun barked out in reply – landing it’s first shell dead centre on the Dervish Battery – all the Egyptian prisoners manning it were killed to a man, and the Fuzzy-Wuzzy overseer wounded, rending the artillery threat hors de combat.
Meanwhile back at the column Baker Pasha had despatched the Bashi-Bazouk Cavalry to watch the rear, he had got wind of the Dervishes approaching from behind and was hedging his bets! Meanwhile the Fuzzy-Wuzzy Band in the centre of the line prepared to charge home. Bounding in they came, met by another furious volley by the close ordered Brits, loosing their leader in the process… (a low charge roll resulting in them charging short right in front of the Brit Guns)! Meanwhile the two badly shot up Bands of Ansars suffered Critical Morale Failures and fled the field, the Amir joining the Fuzzy-Wuzzys to take personal command of his remaining force…
However the Fuzzy-Wuzzys bravery had bought enough time for the ’Red Flags’ Rub to finally arrive, it’s 3 bands of Ansars racing onto the battlefield to take the column from behind before it could react. However the Jihadiyya Band was missing, it having not yet arrived… Meanwhile the Gunboat paddled its way slowly upstream, turning it’s main 9pdr Gun and secondary single-barrelled Gardner Gun on to the closest of the “Red Flags’ Dervish Bands… The Yorkshires and the Gardner Gun team likewise about faced and turned their weapons to face the new threat, leaving the Irish Fusiliers to face and finish off the Fuzzy Wuzzys to the front.
All too soon the leading Dervish ‘Red Flags’ were almost upon Baker Pasha’s forces – the Yorkshires rattled off a largely ineffective volley, and the Gardner Gun also was noticeably less effective in its firing (which as it turned out was perhaps a forewarning of what was to come)! However Talahawiyeh started to pour fire into the Ansars closest to the river, inflicting numerous casualties from cannon and machine gun. In front of the column the ‘Green Flags’ Amir was frantically trying to rouse the Fuzzy-Wuzzys for one final charge, unsuccessfully as it turned out, and to the rear the Bashi-Bazouk cavalry retired into the gap between the Yorkshires and the Irish Fusiliers – many of them firing off haphazard shots with their rifles & abu lafata at the approaching Dervishes as well.
Then the leading ‘Red Flags’ Dervishes crashed into the Yorkshires, and on the other rank the Naval Brigade Detachment and worse still the rear of the Irish Fusiliers! While the Yorkshires fired off an effective volley into the Dervishes as they approached, the Naval Brigade MG Section didn’t fare so well, the Gardner Gun, as was its want, finally jammed and refused to fire! Even Baker Pasha himself frantically emptied his revolver into the Dervishes flank as they passed him by to try and assist the sailors! The Irish were inert and totally failed to respond to the charge, obviously not realising what was happening! Meanwhile the Fuzzy-Wuzzys still refused to rise and attack from their prone positions – and there was still no sign of the Jihadiyya Band arriving.
As the Dervishes crashed into both ends of the Anglo-Egyptian line they were preceded by a flurry of spears and other thrown weapons, and while these were largely ineffectual against the Yorkshires, and the rear of the Irish Fusiliers, they took out the entire Gardner Gun team to a man, only one enlisted man surviving wounded! The Yorkshires easily fought off the decimated Dervishes to their front for minimal casualties (1-fig wounded) the other flank didn’t fare so bad – the Royal Irish Fusiliers first had their wounded massacred as the charge passed over them, then they lost many men due to the surprise assault from the rear, and when it was all over they were down to only 50% (10-figs) of the company effective, albeit some (2-figs) had fled away from the main body in disorder, plus one surviving wounded fig! And they now had a fair body of Ansars swarming onto the flank of the surviving troops… To cap off a not so good turn of events for Baker Pasha the Bashi-Bazouks continued to fire away erratically at the other Dervishes, burning off ammunition like there was no tomorrow…
Talahawiyeh continued to pound the Dervishes close to the river, as they closed in on the Yorkshires, the first Band surprising kept going despite horrific casualties and dived through a field of crops to get around the Yorkshires open flank, while the third Band, fresh and largely unharmed, joined with their Amir and charged headlong into the front of the Red Coats. The Fuzzy-Wuzzys still refused to rise and come help finish off the Irish Fusiliers, so the successful Dervish Band continued its charge alone into the flank of the remaining Irish, including Baker Pasha, massacring a few more wounded along the way (including the wounded Naval Brigade Gardner Gun survivor). Again the Irish just stood there – inactive! However help was at hand a few of the villainous looking Bashi-Bazouk Cavalry crashed into the Dervishes to assist the Irish.
It was too much for the Dervishes however, against the Yorkshires they broke and failed to charge home – retiring in confusion with heavy casualties from gun fire – leaving their Amir stranded alone in front of the British (subsequently his horse being promptly brought down and the Amir quickly taken prisoner). On the other flank the successful Ansars also finally lost their impetus, and failed to complete their charge – falling back in disorder – a lucky escape for the Irish! The Bashi-Bazouk Cavalry were pretty cock-a-hoop at what they saw as solely their success, and promptly fired off more ammunition (this time into the air) to celebrate! However the tide had broken, and the Dervishes were spent – Al Mahdi was left wondering where his Jihadiyya had got to, and what might have happened if they had arrived, or the Fuzzy-Wuzzys and been convinced to charge one more time – victory had openly slipped between his fingers…
Game 3 – The Forces (for TSATF)
Anglo Egyptian Column
- (General) Valentine Baker Pasha & (Lt. Colonel) Haaziq Bey
- B Company, Yorkshire Regiment (20-figs British Infantry)
- A Company, Royal Irish Fusiliers Regiment (20-figs British Infantry)
- Zuehb’s Bashi-Bazouk Cavalry Squadron (12-figs Egyptian Cavalry)
- B Section, Naval Brigade Gardner Gun Battery (4-figs British MG team)
“Talahawiyeh” Paddle-Steamer Gunboat
- Main Armament: 6pdr Rifled Breech-Loader (4-figs British Artillery team)
- Secondary Armament: Single-barrelled Gardner Gun (4-figs British MG team)*
* Being only single-barrelled the Gunboat’s Gardner Gun gets just 2D/Crewman instead of the usual 3D/Crewman.
Dervish Forces of the Mahdist Uprising
- Al Mahdi & Servants
- 1 Captured 6pdr Krupp Light Field Gun (4-figs Dervish Artillery team)
- 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
— 3 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.
Game Images Gallery
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