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.

27 September 2016

The Tale of Two Commands : Can the Governor hold on?

Our intrepid newspaper correspondent seeks a closer look as the Egyptians do battle!
As you can no doubt recall the last instalment of our relief and rescue column found our young and valued allies the Egyptian Foot looking at copping a bit of a hiding at the hands of the Mahdist Camels.  These brave locals were attempting to finish off the column by attacking the rear of the formation.

Colonel Sinjin Neville Bird continues his advance to clear the oasis.  Beautiful Connoisseur Miniatures Sudan
figures from the Bicorne Miniatures company in the United Kingdom 

The 10th Hussars storm past the now safe outlying buildings and look to support the Bengal Lancers

Mahdist cavalry and infantry move quickly upon the advance forces

Rifle fire from the rocky outcrop prove to be somewhat inconsequential in the early stages

Need to better secure those moving tiles methinks!!

The Royal Marine Light Infantry take on an almighty Beja charge - "Here's to you Fuzzy Wuzzy!"

"Well done chaps!" - "B" and "C" Company, The 3rd Egyptian Foot distinguish themselves against the odds.  Once
again love the Connoisseur sculpts and the Peter Gilder designed falling camels are superb!
Our brave Egyptians fight tremendously well against the Mahdist Camels and their fire as they charge in makes the melee and easier task.  Colonel Gadhafi aka Mark B is cheered by all and sundry around the table...with the exception of the Umpire!

Roger Pack looks mightily impressed as well

The Mahdist cavalry hit the 9th Bengal Lancers whilst the Hussars take on a large force on foot near the wadi

Another angle of the action

Captain Colin Taggart of The Gordon's takes to forming up his "C" Company into skirmish formation
to take on the enemy rifles who are starting to become a nuisance!

The command of the 28th Bengals starts to become tenuous as more Mahdist foot appear to the flank

The artillery start to bring fire to bear on enemy units threatening the rear

General Cole looks on as the action starts to heat up

Our players seem slightly subdued as new enemy appear on all sides

Could this be the end of the 28th Bengals Native Infantry?
So the battle is evenly poised.

The rear is now secure however the left flank which is entirely in the hands of Martin's command under Colonel Bird is all that stands between the masses of Hadendowah and the soft centre of the column.

The 28th Bengal Native Infantry have already been weakened by the ambush from the oasis so is not at full strength and quite strung out.  One can only speculate what the can do to stem the flow of enemy upon the field.