So, this week we were back in the Sudan (again) for battle practice for Sandy’s campaigns. Sandy ran 2 small scale encounters simultaneously. Peter and German Michael were on one table and me and Dave Birrell on the other. I wasn’t paying too much (OK, any) attention to the other table, so my reports are only from my battles.
I took the British first and Dave took the Dervishes. As it was a “learning” encounter, there were no clear objectives, just to survive and inflict 50% on the opponent (something Dave and I failed to take into account for the Dervishes). The British go first, so I marched on in 4 groups…
Group 1 was the Bengal Lancers Group 2 was the Highlanders, 1 regiment of Egyptian regulars and a machine gun Group 3 was the Royal Marines and 2 more Egyptians Group 4 was the Naval landing party and the final regiment of Egyptians The Dervishes, as ever, had a hidden deployment (for the most part) and unknown (to the British) numbers
Table set up
The Lancers moved towards the Dervish gun and visible foot units as the Marines group form line and advance towards the rough ground. The Lancers took some fire and received a hit (3 hits and the unit is destroyed), Deciding that I’d rather do some damage with them before the native fire took them out, I charged the Lancers towards the gun and 1 unit of Ansars. I fully expected them to die gloriously, but the Indian boys did me proud! The killed the gun and did damage to the Ansars. The next turn, Dave moved the other unit of Ansars into contact, but the Lancers continued to do damage. By the time they were driven off, they had killed 1 gun, 1 units of Ansars and damaged a second. They may have died, but they went down fighting!
The lancers kill the native gun
While this was going on, some Hadendowa warriors erupted from the rough ground and attacked an Egyptian regiment. Not usually known for their melee skills, the Egyptians were expected to act as little more than a speed bump to the cream of the Mahdi’s warriors. Once again, though, my “boys done good”. They took hefty damage at first, but then saw off the natives.
Egyptian troops prove their mettle
Unfortunately, that proved to be the high point for me. The Highlanders group had been heading towards the village and were surprised by a second unit of Hadendowas and a unit of Ansars. After the displays by the Indians and Egyptians, I was fairly confident that the Highlanders would make short work of the natives. Oh, how wrong I was. Their closing fire missed and their melee roll was abysmal. Within 2 turns, they were off, along with the machine gun, without doing any damage to the Dervishes.
The Highlanders bottle it big time
A turn later and I had lost 50% of my force and had to withdraw. I can’t be sure, as nobody kept count, but I;m sure I had inflicted similar casualties on the Dervishes, possibly reducing them to 50% around (or just before) the same time. This is not intended as a case of sour grapes or to take anything away from Dave’s win, as we played exactly the same way in the second game, with the roles reversed.
The terrain was moved slightly and we started again, with Dave taking the British and marching on in a manner more suited to Napoleon than Gordon. He soon divided his column into groups and spread out across the table.
The British column approaches
As Dave split his troops, I sprung a few ambushes, causing heavy losses to both sides, but predominately to the British. The Bengal Lancers were wiped out, again, and my camel corps beat up the Marines.
Marines vs Camels
The final action came when some Egyptians came too close to a plateau and were surprised by a unit of Hadendowas. The loses taken by the Egyptians were enough to force the British to withdraw. A second win for the Dervishes, although as I said earlier, it is possible the British could have actually won as we weren’t counting the Dervish losses.
Hadendowa warriors beat up some Egyptians
So, the British lose both encounters on our table. On the other table, the British won both battles and a few wrinkles were ironed out. The campaign(s) begin(s) in earnest now and promise(s) to be good fun.
Next week it will be a Seven Years War game with my French taking on Sandy’s British. We’ll be using the tried and trusted Warfare in the Age of Reason rules. I’ve never fought the British before, should be interesting….