2 November 2015

Action at Azara - Part one

"No sign of those blighters Smythe?  Roll the lads on then my boy"

The past few weeks have seen the ongoing adventures of the Reconaissance Column under the command of Colonel  Ben and his second in command Lieutenant Colonel Alexander as the come to terms with the dangers that the Sudan can unleash upon the unsuspecting.

As you will recall,  Suakin High Command have been tasked with helping local and British Civil authorities to help construct a rail link between Trinikat and the outlying regions. A line is already in place from Suakin however activities in the west have curtailed progress for a time.
Having sent off three companies of Sudanese Infantry as well as a company of Kents', the engineering officers and surveyors have not been heard of for over two weeks. To make things more intriguing, the Gunboat Sapphire which was dispatched a week ago has also not been seen or heard from.

The column takes off with the Yorks and Lancs to the fore electing not to scout the rough terrain ahead
It is essential that the War Office knows what has happended and most importantlt that vital and valuable surveying equipmemt is recovered so as not to hold up work in the field.  To have to send to Cairo or even worse, Europe, for replacement gear would be dissappointing to say the least.

So the good old chap General Graham has sent off  our two intrepid lads with the following forces:

  • Yorks and Lanc - A, B & C Companies
  • Kents                  - A, B, C and D Company
  • 3rd  Dragoons (dismounted)- Two equivalent companies
  • "C" section - RA - one screw gun
  • Naval Escort - one company plus one Nordenfelt gun
  • 19th Hussars - 1st Squadron

An early surprise as Mahdist rifles reveal themselves

Early in teh piece our Imperial Comm anders know they are entering hostile teritory.

The Yorks and Lancs immediately are surprised by a hail of small arms fire as 200 marksmen make their presense felt. 
Despite their enterprise a -3 on their fire roll made the initial volley reasonably ineffectual

With a stout determination the Yorks and Lancs returned fire and the ensuing reaction test from the brave Mahdists called for them to withdraw out of range.  However the Nordenfelt decides to have a crack at range and succeeds in jamming the gun with sand and debris.  That will need some cleaning fairly rapidly I would imagine gentlemen.

A small force of Fuzzy Wuzzy warriors appear up ahead

The crack of rifles brings the field to life as some enemy appear from various points on the table, not in large numbers mind, however enough to demonstrate to both Ben and Alexander that some mischief has befallen the previous two expeditions.

Skirmishers are sent off ahead of the column

A force of Fuzzy Wuzzy warriors, their hair stiffened and high and look incredibly fearsome, observe that the first ambush has not been successful and decide to retire of the field to regroup and wait further instructions.

This may well lull our two commanders into a false sense of security perchance.

The Naval Escort and Hussars see what they can do to assist the situation...interesting little rise over there chaps...anyone having a look at whats on the other side??  

Thought not!

Camels appear in great force to the rear of the column

The 19th Hussars quickly turn to face the impending threat

The screw gun turns about to see what it can do to allay the threat from the camels

The Dragoons wish their horses were at hand as they also turn to face

We do like these figures in their boaters.  Better unjam that gun me lad!

A small Fuzzy Wuzzy force awaits reaction dice to determine what they will do.

The naval escort elect to face the enemy as well and all the while desperately attempting to clear the gun.

The Mahdist marksmen have rallied around the oasis and look on for further targets

And so as this instalment ends we find the column under some pressure early from local forces loyal to a yet unknown Emir.  The drums have not yet started to beat which would infer that the full forces of the Ansar are at hand just yet.

Colonel Ben has a strong force of Mahdist's Camels to the rear which need to be dealt with and already his formation is under a fair degree of harassment.

What will happen next?