7 December 2014

The Battle for Osira - "Stand firm the Tenth!"

The 9th Bengal Lancers continue to harass the enemy
 The last post left the force holding Osira in a pretty pickle.

The drums had stopped beating and the forces that had been massing off table all appeared at the same time intent on charging the nearest Imperial troops and putting an end to the British hold in this region.

As the sun shines in the east the Sudanese 10th Regiment prepares to receive the enemy assault.

Back at the outlying buildings on the plain the Dragoon Guards provide cover whilst the engineers set about their work.
Turning "D" and "E" Companies to face the enemy that has appeared out of the dust to their rear as the local Emir cavorts his local followers into an absolute frenzy.  Surely nothing can save them now!

A view up the table as Fuzzies enter from the left rear of the relieving column. 
Yorks and Lancs, Highlanders and the all important supplies head closer and closer to Osira.  However will there be a force to relieve?

The 19th Hussars remnants protect the flanks of the column.  The Mahdists have taken quite a few of them down with them as only 80 men out of 120 are still in the saddle at this point.
The enemy weapon supplies go up finally.  First part of the operation complete.  "Well done Carruthers!"

The Naval Escort, Gardener Gun and "C" Company take on enemy mounted whilst on their left the other companies fight on for their life.  Used this photo in the last post as well so apologies but it does give an excellent feel of the precariousness of the Imperial situation at this point.  Umpire is all smiles at this stage!
At this stage of the battle it certainly looked like curtains for the troops at Osira.  The 10th was hit on two sides and both "D" and "E" Companies were wiped out to a man after the Mahdist had managed to remain in combat for three successive turns.  In the end sheer numbers told on the beleaguered native troops and their British officers.

Thankfully "C" Company managed to see off the enemy mounted to their front with relative comfort.

"C" Company is hit on the flank as the Mahdist prepare to roll up the flank.  The 6th Egyptians rapidly move up to try and stem what will no doubt be a massacre if the Mahdists are able to remain in combat.

 In The Sands of Sudan, you can only turn the end figures to face if hit on the flank.  So this combat between the 10th and the Mahdsits would be critical even though the damage would not be great in terms of casualties. 

The Mahdist player (the Umpire) was feeling very confident at this stage and the game was only a good melee dice roll away from reaching the point of no return.  Amazingly the Sudanese regulars won the melee through some great dice.  Their was so much disgust that photographic evidence seems to be lacking.

Thank goodness!

The 15th Sikhs, determined there would be no more nasty surprises in the mimosa set up a defencive line.
"The problem with this place Archibald is there is never anywhere to damn well park!"

All was not lost however for the Mahdists.  The large forces advancing at rapid pace were still on a charge reaction and were closing with the Cameron Highlanders to the rear of the column
The brave Fuzzies hit the line after taking horrendous shooting casualties coming in.  The rules carry over these shooting casualties into the first round of melee making a very effective combat system quite fluid and decisive.

A view from the Mahdist side...really need to finish some of those bases and touch up a few more figures.  Wear and tear over the years can be a bit of a nuisance.  At least the boys are on the table though!
Colonel Forster redresses the ranks and prepares to provide fire support
The Fuzzies in the centre are now spent and their supporting warriors are now decimated by the Dragoon Guards flanking fire.  In the rear the Ansar reinforcements have copped a hiding from the Scots and their artillery as they make their way off the table to fight another day.

The supplies make their way to Osira.

As the Bengal Lancers mop up the battlefield in the background men take the opportunity to see to their mates and thanks God, Queen and Country for surviving another action in the desert sands.
 The battle had been hard fought and in the end was very much decided by the steadfastness of the Sudanese 10th Battalion at Osira.  The ability of its men to take the attack from the flank and turn it into a victory provided enough time for the remaining companies to defeat a fierce mounted foe.

The battle had not been without loss for the Imperial players.  The 10th Sudanese had lost two companies of men and the Naval Escort had lost 20 men as well.

The 6th Egyptian Regiment had lost 50 men and all other Imperial units were in reasonable shape though the Scottish Battery "A" Section had suffered 20 casualties from the counter battery duel between themselves and the captured Egyptian gunners in the rear.

The 9th Bengal Lancers, who had been decisive on the field at every turn, had lost 160 of 240 officers and other ranks from the action.  The 19th Hussars had similarly only 60 survivors from their two squadrons and methinks General Graham may well be asking questions of how his valuable cavalry was so mauled in this encounter!

The relief column was assisted by an unlucky run of Random Event cards by the Mahdists who were slow to muster their forces and when they did, the numbers were not as great as they would have hoped.

The game was great fun and certainly helped highlight the benefit of the game system and how well it flows with many figures on the table and the constant changing events and circumstances of the battle. .

Some more thoughts on the game and some scenario tips and design notes to follow in the week chaps.


  1. Brilliant second part and a very useful insight into the rules and a very lucky turn of events by 10th, filed promotion for the company Officer and to see you don't need thousands of figures to generate a cracking game

  2. Thanks Graham and some excellent observations from you. A great game that was played with perhaps six hundred figures on the field which would be approximately the same as a Napoleonic division a side game using In The Grand Manner. One thinks that young Company Officer may be mentioned in dispatches if there is any justice!

  3. Fantastic collection of figures and terrain with a great battle report. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Pat - thanks very much. Looking to add some "Silver Whistle" touches to some more terrain soon.

  4. You painted all the dismounted camels? That sir, is dedication. Great looking table and figs. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Michael - yes it would be dedication if I painted them but they were squirrelled off to a painting service. My sanity was far too important!

  5. A stunning looking game, Carlo! Love the look of the table.

    1. Thanks Simon - need to fix those gaps on the ties but in the greater scheme of things that's ok. Thanks for popping over mate.

  6. Top stuff Carlos, great battle report.

    1. Thanks Peter - was quite a bit of fun and the game had a nice flow to it. Especially liked Mikes frustration with having left the camels with the explosives on the hill with the artillery.

  7. Fantastic! Great pictures (love the last one!), a beautiful table and splendid armies...love the camels as well...

    1. Cheers Phil - that last photo contains a nice vignette. They are a few Redoubt figures which I have always really liked. There are some more photos of them in the post title, I think,"Get the men to safety".

  8. Cracking stuff, Carlo! Yes, that young chap should at least be mentioned in dispatches. In one game Peter did award a posthumous VC to the commander of a 19th Hussars squadron who fought and beat the Mahdists on four occasions, falling only at the last along with the remaining handful of his men. He even marked the spot where he fell by painting a red dot on the terrain board. =)

    A thought about the bases for those interested. One thing used at the WHC was for a base to represent ten Mahdist figures, just as the figure itself represents ten men. 7-8-9 figures in an uneven pattern on the base with a bit of scenery to disguise gaps makes it look more like an irregular force. It also means figures can be eked out further to cover a greater number of bases - quite an economy in the larger scales. (Carlo, I think you've used the method in the your own collection, especially with the Hadendowah? My eyes aren't what they were!)

    1. Good morning AJ.
      Yes that method of basing us ideal, particularly forvthevMahdistscor as you more correctly call them, the Hadendowah of the Sudan. Most of my bases have between 7-10 figures on them and the scenic scatter of rocks, grass, mimosa etc. looks sensational. In addition it is certainly a great way of reducing the need to buy figures and then paint them ten to a base.

      Some of my riflemen bases have only two figures on them amongst the rocks!!

  9. A most inspiring game report. Gladly I have a week off work now so can get busy with the paintbrush myself!

    1. Hi Matt,

      A week of work...that's what I am looking forward to in a few weeks.
      What scales and figures are you intending on using mate? Would love to see some pictures when you get a few completed.

  10. Most inspiring and now I have the rules what's to stop me?

    The Mahdists look a bit thin on the ground, could do with some reinforcements.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Yes as mentioned in the report the poor old Mahdists didn't quite get the rub of the green in terms of reinforcements this time. There were another two shelves awaiting the chance to launch themselves. In addition I didn't draw one "Camels Mounted" card which is most unusual. Camels are great if you are the Hadendowah!!