1 December 2014

Relieving the column at Osira - Sudan Battle Report

Things get interesting around Osira later in the battle.

A few of the boys from the NWS and I decided we would play a game to help celebrate the publication of the rules and the fact that the chap writing this blog was a year older at the same time!  So, with a hurried series of emails (whatever happened to written and posted invitations by the way?) Mike and Martin arrived at my place to have a rumble upstairs in the wargames room.

The scenario was that General Ward was tasked with relieving Colonel Streets command that had found itself under intense pressure at a small Nile town just near Osira on the important supply lines for the Imperial forces.  Local Mahdists had set up very effective harassment points around the cataracts of the great river and had been using captured artillery to cause havoc amongst local shipping and supply barges.

Colonel Street had arrived with the 6th Egyptian Regiment, 10th Sudanese Battalion, a Naval Escort from the Gunboat Sapphire as well as Nordenfelt and "A" sections screw gun from the Royal Artillery Southern Division.  The force had proved insufficient to clear the opposition from the vantage points on the river and had also disoverd a vast cache of ammunition and weapons in a nearby village.

The set-up looking down the table from the Nile and the Osira outlying village buildings.

Screw guns secure against the building walls and the 6th Egyptians in support.

10th Sudanese with their British Officers view the unfolding events with some trepidation.  Will the relief column get through or is it curtains for Colonel Street and his weakened brigade?

General Wards relief column deploy and prepare to move to secure this portion of the theatre of war.

General Wards column consisted of the great man himself, four companies of the the 4th Dragoon Guards mounted and resplendent on their "ships of the desert", two sections of the Royal Scottish Artillery Battery, the 15th Sikhs, The Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment, The Cameron Highlanders, two squadrons of the 9th Bengal Lancers and finally two squadrons of the 19th Hussars. 

In addition they also had sufficient munitions and explosives to destroy the enemy weapons supply as another task for their military mission.

The 19th Hussars looking quite confident in the day ahead...mmmm!!

Bengal Lancers recently arrived from the sub-continent preparing for some desert hi jinks!

Dragoon Guards looking quite the part mounted on their camels...all 48 of them.

The brave and wily Fuzzy Wuzzies - a very determined and respected foe.

The column advances down the table with the cavalry brigade making good ground on the left flank.
The battle was to prove the perfect opportunity to give the new design of the rules a good working out as well as using the full deck of Random Event Cards to see what would be forthcoming.

Captured gunners fire on the rear of the column during the earthquake! (ok leant on the tiles at the wrong time)

Ambush at the wadi.  The 19th send off two troops of horse to dispatch the irritants.
On the Imperial right the Guards dismount to take to the village whilst the artillery unlimber to deal with the unexpected artillery threat to the rear.  However has anyone remembered to bring up those explosive laden camels?
Two companies assume the position.  Once again lovely Connoisseur castings who are, by the way, under the new stewardship of James Daniels.  Congartulations James!
The Fuzzies advance on Osira whilst the Egyptians start a withering hail of fire in an attempt to stop their rush.

The 200 Mahdist spearmen lying in wait wish they had stayed a littlee lower for a little longer.

Scottish Artillery look to find their range in some counter battery fire.
Back at Osira the Fuzzies attempt to end the battle early with an almighty push...

...and are sent on their way by a sturdy resistant white wall.
Another ambush is sprung by the Guards.
15th Sikhs move up in support.  Still cant see those camels and explosives.
The Bengal Lancers meet some Ansar in the centre of the table and waste no time running them down.

The Native Shepherd makes an early appearance...and "Yes" some relief may well arrive from up the river however he cannot guarantee that will happen within 20 turns.  "Yes" with a smile as he wanders away.
  At this point another Random Event Card announced that a Dust Storm had hit the area and that all visibility was reduced to 24 inches for 1d10 turns.

The artillery look to maximise target opportunities whilst our trusty Captain of Engineers and his load of explosive camels sit and wait for the invitation to join the rest of the lads at the weapons supply.

15th Sikhs move up to support the Guards.

The next interesting Random Event Card which was drawn was one of special significance.  The desert air was suddenly filled with the tom-tom-tomming of native drums.  From now on all enemy forces drawn to come on are rolled for to determine type and what direction they may enter the table however they are hoarded off table until the drums stop.  Once this happens they are all placed on the battlefield and charge.

A view from down the table showing the unfolding events.
Egyptians enjoy the view.

The 9th Bengal Lancers introduce themselves to some locals.

Finally General Ward has his supplies into the village area where they can now be deployed.

Turn nine and all looks pretty good for the Imperial columns.  Relief is now only another six or seven moves away...

...the 4th Dragoon Guards have established a defensible position whilst the engineers do their work.
 Then suddenly silence...

The drums stopped.

With a blood curdling chorus of screams the table edges filled with mighty Fuzzy Wuzzies and Hadendowah.

Mahdists appear on the flank of the Hussars...
...in the rear to give praise to the Mahdist overseer at the guns and heap abuse on the captured Egyptian gunners chained to the axles so they cannot run off the field!
...on the Imperial right flank...

However despite the massive increase in the Mahdist numbers on the field, the Imperial forces still remained supremely confident.  As the forces were being deployed tribe by tribe Martin quipped "Well at least they haven't appeared in our rear".

...fresh guns on the flank...

No troops in the rear...think again lads!!

The battle was now precariously poised.  What would be the outcome?

We may have to wait until later in the week to see if the column triumphs or fades away into the desert sands!

Until then all the very best.



  1. Carlo,
    Great looking game, inspirational. Waiting patiently! For the next installment

  2. Thanks Graham - it was a great game and quite interesting with the twists and turns. Would do a couple of things slightly differently next time and I will detail that next post. Getting ready to put that article up soon as well on the Suakin Relief Force.

  3. Looks brilliant, Carlo! I just love the mounted infantry, and the huge "camel park!".

    Best, Simon

    1. Thanks Simon - not quite as impressive as the "bed of nails" that is your pike blocks at Raphia but a heck of a lot of metal! Mike should gave kept them mounted just a bit longer though.

  4. What a splendid table, love these armies, so impressive! Mahdists are really nice...

    1. Thanks Phil.
      They are nice until they jump out of the mimosa intent on removing you from the formation! They are fun to play with.

  5. Just like a two part thriller, you have left it on a cliffhanger. Can't wait for the next installment.
    Can you clarify the rules and advantages of squares. I appreciate it stops a flank attack but does a square have any other pluses such as never being outnumbered?
    Keep up the good work.

    1. Hi WB. Next instalment this week.
      Squares advantage is exactly as you point out, they cannot be flanked and Aldo gave the advantage of potential support fire from within the square from artillery if the minimum range allows. Being caught on the flank can be a disaster as you cannot turn to face the rest of the column or line and the Mahdists will fight all their troops against potentially two British.

  6. Wonderful, Carlo! By Jove, those photos take me back. Nice to see my namesake made his first appearance! :) I'm looking forward to more.

    1. Thanks AJ - the game glowed really well and Mike and Marty were into the right spirit from the start.

  7. Inspirational stuff! Can't wait for the next moves.

    1. Cheers Matt and thanks for the nice write up on the blog mate - much appreciated.

  8. Absolutely wonderful stuff! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Cheers Michael. The game is about to take few interesting twists too!

  10. Stifling stuff indeed - exactly the sort of thing that gets one into a Colonial gaming!
    Smashing collection of figures lads!

  11. Thanks Paul - the collection is 99% Connoisseur Miniatures from Bicorne Miniatures in the UK and has been accumulated over many years. Glad to hear it tickled your Colonial fancy mate!

  12. Fantastic looking game Carlo...we have a game planned next Wednesday night testing your rules. Should be fun.

    1. Great to hear Nathan - look forward to seeing done shots mate.

  13. Looking great Carlo. So we await Part II. Will it be that the locals "don't like it up 'em" or will it be another glorious imperial defeat full of sacrifice?!

    von Peter himself

    1. Hi Peter,

      Great to see you popping by mate. Yes, this afternoon will see the final instalment and there wreck few twists that is for sure.