18 August 2017

A Sudan Campaign

Nice photo from the latest game at the NWS with some of the local lads.
It has been far too long since this site has been updated and for that please accept my humble apologies.  My time has become quite tight in the past two years and work, family and general life have been incredibly busy.

The old journal - even looks the part.

However the Sudan is still a strong rallying point for my wargaming passions and I was looking over an old "Campaign Journal" from nearly twenty years ago.

Pretty hard to put this on a flat bed scanner!

All those years ago we were keen to put the Gilder rules into a campaign at the club and as I was incredibly keen to start fleshing out the rules, I put my hand up to run the show and see what we could put in motion.  The first point of reference was the wonderful Wargames World where Peter Gilder had placed a good deal of information to at least get started on running a campaign.

Filed away, this copy got us all quite excited. 

What a wonderful magazine spread that captured all the flavour of this wonderful period

The articles for any who can recall reading them at the time were wonderful and full of creative flair and ideas however tantalisingly short on details and the nitty-gritty rules of thumb we so desired.  Therefore we took what we could find from the articles, looked through all the old style "How to" campaign books we could get our hands on and started off with a flurry.

My colourised version of the original map from WW

It was decided that we would need four players for the campaign to be the respective column commanders.  We would then invite in various members of the club to play a Regimental or Brigade Commander role as required.  In this way the four column commanders wouldn't get all the games and the individual players could use some imaginative flair every time they took the field, much to the horror of the overall Generals.  It was wonderful stuff.

My poor photo of my original brief heavily taken from Gilders article.

Page two of the brief

Page three - these can be found in the appendix of "The Sands of Sudan" rules

To further complicate issues for the players I did want them to also have a political eye looking over their actions and decisions.  Hence I asked friend Gerry Webb who was busy at the time getting Castaway Arts up and running whether he would like to play the part of a distant Prime Minister in his home town of Cairns all the way in Northern Queensland.  Being a colonial aficionado from way back he gratefully accepted the role and sent out his first directive before a tent was packed!

The Prime Ministers first missive to Graham

The game was now afoot.

The next post will detail the initial formations, orders and individual plans from the lads as the campaign prepared to get underway.

Wonderful old advertisement for Peter Gilders wonderful range of figures.

7 March 2017

The Desert Column

The gunners manning the Nordenfeld on the deck of "The Sapphire" watch the battle unfold. 
Redoubt Miniatures figures and a scratch built gunboat.

A few file shots of games played that I thought might be nice to kick-start the blog again and get some more inspiration coming through.  Work is very much front and centre at present however it may prove ideal for writing up some new scenarios on long flights in the region in 2017 and beyond.

Love that banner!

The column advances through the centre

9 November 2016

An old steamer gets ready for some dry dock work

The funnel has snapped off, the roof of the cabin and captains bridge have absconded and the missing
hand railing would be a modern day W H & S disaster. 
In the old days of Sudan gaming at the club everything was, with the exception of the figures, scratch built.  Buildings were carved out of refrigeration foam, coated with Polyfilla and then painted and based upon MDF bases and decorated with sand, sand coloured lichen and bush grass.

That also went for the first Sudan steamer at the club, lovingly put together by Phil Cook many, many years ago and based upon pictures from Wargames World, Wargames Illustrated as well as articles and sketches from Military Modelling.

A particularly poor photograph taken nearly twenty years ago showing the gunboat as it falls
into disrepair...damned engineers and missed maintenance schedules!

This saw a lot of action in the very early days of our gaming and though it was reasonably basic, it absolutely served a fine purpose in our battles.

We need to fix up the paddle wheel and fit this vessel to a base.

Nice steam engine on the main deck...very nice piece of heavy metal.

The life preservers and captains wheel were added by myself many years ago

Lovely shape and good bones to work on.

This particular vessel went into storage sometime ago and has been across Australia twice in moves over the years where, as you can clearly see, it has not fared as well as it may have under a different Captain.

However all that is about to change.

I have been working on a few scenarios where we need to have a couple of steamers/gunboats making their way up the cataracts of the Nile and this one is now getting ready to have a bit of work lovingly bestowed upon it over the summer months.

The newer gunboat - slightly flasher but willing to have a partner to patrol the waterways in the Sudan

We will keep you posted upon its progress before she sets sail again in the New Year.

14 October 2016

Mahdist Uniform details from Military Modelling circa 1985!

Wonderful colour plates by Richard Scollins

I often go trawling through old magazines on the shelves (remember those - made of paper?) and love the wonderful uniform and battle/campaign information you can still glean out of so many of them. To my mind they are still gold.

I have, to the best of technologically challenged ability, put up a wonderful article by the very famous Ian Knight, colonial expert without peer, which makes for some fascinating reading.  This comes from the July 1985 issue.

Even the old fashioned typesetters could occasionally make a mistake in their spelling!!

Wonderful black and white illustrations- wish they were in colour

I am unaware of the copyright requirements on reproducing this article from a now defunct publication however I acknowledge that all copyright and ownership of these plates and the article itself is the domain of Richard Scollins and Ian Knight. 

If you wish to reproduce or copy them on a blog or what-not if you would also acknowledge their excellent work it would be greatly appreciated by everyone.


6 October 2016

"What's all the fuss old boy?" - Rescuing the Governor scenario concludes in fine colonial fashion!

Things are going well for the British column as both enemy mounted and foot suffer severe reverses at the wadi and
the desert crest and are now in full flight.  Can the advantage be exploited?

Apologies for the delay in getting this final instalment up on the blog however their have been distractions from outside the hobby and within in the past fortnight - all of them good!  So without further delay lets see how this particular scenario played out.

Beja or good old fashioned Fuzzy Wuzzies as I like to call them, hit the 28th!

Colonel Sinjin Neville-Bird prepares to lead by example

I touched earlier on in part one of the game that the various Regimental Colonels that were being played by actual players were allowed to have a characteristic that would assist them during the game.  Colonel Neville-Bird, played by Martin in typical fashion was blessed as follows:

“Son of Mars”
This particular chap grew up reading of the exploits of Alexander, Leonidas and The Black Prince and so believes himself to be a 19th century warrior poet best suited for earlier times.  He is a dashing and courageous leader who fights from the front and adds a +1 on every melee combat result he is actively involved in. 

He is more inclined to take a wound however and must roll a d6 after every round of fighting.  On a roll of 1-4 he is unscathed.  Roll of a 5 gives him one wound and a 6 gives him two wounds. 

If this takes him over his capacity he has died a hero for Queen and Country.

The Royal Marine Light Infantry continue their pursuit of a defeated group of natives as
the Naval Brigade look for a drink along with their mules.

Back at the rear of the column the Egyptians get a move on along with the intrepid newsman Roger Pack..."Now tell
me how do you spell Gadafhi?"

The advance goes pressing on - the village is cleared and the rocky outcrop is next.

Another view of the victorious column cavalry having done a sterling job

As if the 28th Bengal Native Infantry don't have enough on their plate more Hadendowah appear on the flank 

A rallying cry from the Emir manages to bring around this retreat.

A view down the table to show just how far the column lead elements have travelled...

...and indeed how close they are to their objective

The 9th Bengal Lancers, albeit with severely depleted ranks, once again take on the enemy whilst the 10th Hussars, much fresher than their colonial colleague counterparts, give a mighty cry as they surge into the foot. 

Near the oasis the 28th fight for dear life on a number of fronts

"Hold the line their Sergeant Patel!"

Fierce fighting just outside the wadi and within spitting distance of the town.

"Haven't you ever seen the hand of God before?" - Martin takes off some casualties as they try and outlast the Beja.
The Gordon's continue their advance up to the rocks as enemy cavalry appear past the palms 

From the rear another captured Egyptian gun appears - lovely Greg Blake designed Cannon Fodder miniatures piece

Column of companies with a long way to march

Colonel Ponsonby and General Cole use all their dexterity to move their men forward.

The Mahdists are again in flight before the town walls as the garrison looks on having not fired a shot
under direct orders from their commanding Governor.  "No point egging them on you know old boy!"

The local Emir is not prepared to go down without a fight and sends forth more mounted and foot to take
on the RMLI and the Gordon's, the latter fresh from having destroyed the enemy rifles.

An incredible battle.  The brave and courageous Fuzzies "stuck" in the melee with Martins lads for two
miraculous turns however in the end their lack of numbers couldn't sway the outcome.  The 28th are safe
but, as you can see, have received an incredible mauling

As Major General Cole rides to the gates the RMLI receive a mounted charge and prepare to open fire...and miss!!

At the same time the 10th Hussars make short work of this isolated band of Mahdists

The 9th Bengal Lancers finally see off the brave Hadendowah cavalry who have been harassing them for most
of the day.

The Mahdists who had gathered on the hill in menacing numbers high-tail it off the board as the Scots move
up to engage them.  Something to be said about men in kilts hey Graham C?
Having already rebuffed the passioned entreaties from several junior officers sent to the town to convince him
to leave the town, major General Cole himself fronts up.

He still looks quite defiant atop the roof

However even this fool can see that the time has come to make his way down the stairs with his good lady and seek
a cool Gin and Tonic at the Bengal Club back in Suakin.
Despite the losses from the 9th Bengal Lancers and the 28th Bengal Foot, the column arrived in reasonable shape.

The scenario itself was enormous fun, made all the better by the fine spirit in which the game was played.  Well done to all the lads for enjoying their exploits in the Sudan.

The players in our Victorian romp: From the left Mark H (Colonel The Honourable William Ponsonby), my good self, Stephen B (Colonel Alastair MacDonald), Steve N (Major General Cole), Steve Y (Colonel William Gibson), Martin S (Colonel Sir Sinjin Neville-Bird)... 

...and missing the photograph as he was still bringing up the rear the irrepressible Mark B (Colonel Gadhafi)

I will post in a week or so a few of the rules and scenario notes we used in the game for reference and comment.

All the very best.