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.

15 September 2016

"Whats that over there chaps?" - Rescue the Governor Part Two

The advance continues on with the Royal Marine Light Infantry leading the way

From the last posting we can recall that Major General Cole has ordered the general advance and the column, full of confidence and bravado, sets off to ensure no further Gordon of Khartoum disasters for our good Governor Willoughby-Smythe.

One of the very enjoyable aspects of these rules is the fact that the umpire controls all the Mahdist forces via random determination in the old style "Pony Wars" style Reaction Charts, obviously altered for our desert surroundings.  The Imperial players are therefore all working together (supposedly!) against the enemy.

The 9th Bengal Lancers pass upon a nasty surprise

We had decided to give Dave Docherty's "Ambush Deck" a first run this game.  In the original Gilder rules the ambush dice ( percentage dice with a 20% chance of springing some nasty surprise) is rolled by the umpire every time an Imperial unit passes by.  The "Ambush Deck" is pre-loaded by the umpire with both enemy, potential events and blanks and most importantly, is drawn by THE PLAYERS.  They have no-one to blame but themselves for their predicaments and the look on their face as the tentatively draw the card is priceless. 

This innovation will be permanent for our future games and included in the rules as an "Optional Rule" in the future.

As the Bengal Lancers approached the Oasis they came across a well hidden Krupp gun manned by chained captured Egyptian gunners being urged into action by a Mahdist overseer.

28th Bengal Lancers uncover something as well.

At the same time the Bengal Lancers were fired upon by a very keen group of Fuzzy Wuzzy gentlemen with a rescued Nordenfeld gun.  They immediately opened fire on the C" Company  and jammed on their seventh round.  The Indian infantry, relieved that the clearing of this area suddenly became a much easier task than they had fought, immediately charged them and dispatched all the gunners.

The Scottish Field Artillery - need to complete some limber teams.

The 3rd Egyptian Foot start to manouver

"The Friendly Shepherd" arrives in an Ambush Card.  He will answer three questions truthfully...

At this point several bands of Beja and Hadendowah had started to make their way onto the field, not in great numbers however dangerous enough to the point that they had to be dealt with.

The commander of the Yorks and Lancs, Steve Y in the guise of Colonel William Gibson at this point was asked to draw an ambush card and to his delight found it revealed the friendly shepherd who would answer any three questions of him truthfully with a "Yes" or "No" answer.  Much hilarity ensued after Steve asked a very specific question detailing enemy dispositions and was answered with a quick and distinctly happy "YES".  Lots of laughs.

The cavalry ignore the Egyptian gun and carry on up the board.

Whilst the RMLI and Bengal Infantry issue sustained fire to silence the unfortunate crew

Beja spearmen appear suddenly on the British left flank.

What has captured these Egyptian soldiers attention?

Mahdist Camelry, some of the most feared troops in the game, suddenly pop up to the rear...

...and also to the flank.

Mark B was commanding the 3rd Egyptian Foot very well and saw that his forces were being surrounded, having earlier taken care of a small ambush within the scrub to his front.  He turned his companies and prepared to face the enemy.

More Fuzzy spear make their way from the village into the Royal Marine Light Infantry and the
lead regiments of the mighty Gordon Highlanders under Stephen B's command.

Another view of the field of battle

The Naval Escort advance to the rear of the Gordon's who have broken into skirmish order to clear the scrub 

At this point the Imperial column is making good time.

The ambushes that could have caused some significant damage to the column have turned out to be a damp squib and have been dealt with easily by the British and allied players. 

However a key action is about to occur as the Egyptian Foot prepare to take on the camels to the rear of the formation.  If they fail to deal with this very real threat, the column may well be skewered from within.

The moment of truth as two companies prepare to stem the tide to the rear...

...and to the flank!

With Colonel Gadfahi has the fate of the rear elements of the column entirely in his hands, one can only hope that the man is up to the enormous challenge ahead of him.

One can only hope.

12 September 2016

"Carry on through the desert" - Part One

The game is afoot gentlemen - desert fun in North Perth

The weekend just passed saw the NWS have one of its most successful gaming days this year with over 30 people in attendance to play a variety of wonderful wargames.

I saw this as an ideal opportunity to play a large "The Sands of Sudan" game to introduce a few of the lads who have been keen to have a rumble with the rules for sometime.  It would also allow me to play a few of the optional rules that I have been working on as well as some excellent ideas that have been forthcoming from chaps such as Dave Docherty of "One man and his Brushes" blog fame and Andy out at "Legendary Wargames".

As mentioned in the last post, the Imperial players were to set off and evacuate a particularly recalcitrant British Governor out of his increasingly Mahdist controlled posting and back to Suakin for safety.  The way by river was no longer an option as the locals had been able to set up some heavy captured artillery at a cataract.  Gunboats would be compromised passing through in the time frame that the local  British administration had in mind.

The field of battle with Tofar on edge of the Nile tributary and a small native village towards the centre.

The Governor, Sir William Willoughy-Smythe Pasha and his wife remain in the confines of the town with two companies of Sudanese infantry whom he has, unbeknown to the other players, ordered not to engage the Beja and Hadendowah just in case it infuriates them!!  Heaven forbid.

"Thou shall not shoot!"

The Imperial order of battle was as follows:

Officer Commanding the Rescue Column – Major General Joseph Cole

10th Hussars – Commanding Officer Colonel The Honourable William Ponsonby
1st Squadron (twelve figures) – Captain John Cotton
2nd Squadron (twelve figures) – Lieutenant Sir Henry Clinton
9th Bengal Lancers –Commanding Officer - Colonel Thomas Long
1st Squadron (twelve) figures – Brevet Captain Harold Poynton
2nd Squadron (twelve figures) – Captain Alan Broadbent 
1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders – Commanding Officer Colonel Sir Alistair McDonald

All companies consist of twelve figures
A Company – Brevet Captain Andrew McLean
B Company – Captain Ken McPherson
C Company – Captain Colin Taggart
D Company – Captain Lawson Gordon
E Company – Captain Brian Lawrence
3rd Battalion Egyptian Foot – Commanding Officer Colonel Miramar Gadhafi

All companies consist of twelve figures
A Company – Major Thomas Thutmose
B Company – Captain Thek Seki
C Company – Captain Walla Rameses
D Company – Captain Arkin Khafra
E Company – Captain Neferrakara
1st Battalion Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment – Commanding Officer Colonel William Gibson
All companies consist of twelve figures

A Company – Major Karl Styne
B Company – Captain Robert Wexford
C Company – Brevet Captain Wesley Van Leeuwin
D Company – Captain Charles Marrow
E Company – Brevet Captain Sebastian Hedeby 

Royal Marine Light Infantry – Commanding Officer Colonel James Scott
All companies consist of twelve figures
A Company – Captain Edward Frazier
B Company – Captain George Napier
C Company – Captain Thomas Munro
D Company – Lieutenant Marshall Royston
Naval Brigade – Officer Commanding Captain Septimus Atwater RN
Naval Escort (twelve figures) – Lieutenant Byron Winchester
One Nordenfelt Machine Gun with three (3) crew 

28th Bengal Native Infantry – Commanding Officer Colonel Sir Sinjin Neville- Bird
All companies consist of twelve figures
A Company – Major Jonathon Black

B Company – Captain Roderick Burt
C Company – Brevet Captain Geoffrey Duncan
D Company – Captain Charles Gillespie
E Company – Lieutenant Sir Stanley Hogan
Seconded units to the rescue column
5th Battery Scottish Divisional Royal Artillery – Commanding Officer Major Richard White

Consisting of three screw guns plus crew
Trinikat Mobile Mule Water Team (Sergeant Docherty)

Roger Pack – War Correspondent for “The Times” of London
Four baggage camels with ammunition of various types for the column.

In Garrison defending Tofar
12th Sudanese Battalion (two companies only) – Officer Commanding Major Walter Burns

All companies consist of twelve figures
A Company – Captain Alan Page
D Company – Captain Robert Bolton
Rocky outcrops and scrub provide some nice opportunities for ambush

Sir William Willoughby- Smythe and Lady Katherine Willoughby - Smythe look on with gay indifference

The Imperial players start to get ready - Steve feels command of the Naval Brigade deserves special head gear!

Another view down the table - all twelve feet of it.

Troops start to deploy - already we can see the 9th Bengal Lancers, 28th Bengal Infantry, Naval Escort and Nordenfelt, Royal Marine Light Infantry, Gordon Highlanders and the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regt. preparing themselves.

Another view of the lads getting themselves ready for action in the desert sun.

One of the interesting discussion points since the rules have been published has been the effect, or dare I say it, lack of effect of Senior Officers.  It was decided that for this battle we would have a trial of using specific characteristics for Generals and other Senior Officers in the game who were being represented by actual players. 
These included great scouting abilities, excellent ability to measure trajectory and distance to assist fire, bravery etc.  They worked very well and will be expanded upon further.
The column advances and already Mark B has the Mahdists appear on the flank of his Egyptian Regiment. 

Get those tape-measures out chaps - its time to get a move on.
So the boys have 18 turns to make their way down to Tofar to convince our fine simple-minded friend to vacate the premises and join them to safety.  In tow they also have Mr Roger Pack of "The Times" newspaper in London.  He is determined to further investigate the military shenanagins masquerading as tactical manouvres from our good friend the Commanding Officer General Cole.
The desert is full of possible ambush points and is known to be the home of some decidedly nasty and courageous native tribes determined to see the imperial infidel out of the Sudan forever.
What could possibly go wrong!

5 September 2016

"Rescue the Governor" - Sudan Gaming day

The binoculars are out - now where is that stupid Governor!

This weekend the Napoleonic Wargaming Society is putting on one of its famous gaming days.  These six weekly occurrences allow so many of our members to play a slightly larger game than usual in the more leisurely time frame of a Saturday rather than a weeknight Wednesday.

This Saturday I thought that it would be an ideal opportunity to play one of the original WHC Sudan scenarios as supplied to me by AJ.

Scenario: “Rescue the Governor.” William Willoughby-Pratt Pasha is Governor of a Sudanese town. Much like his mentor General Gordon, he refuses to abandon his post in the face of the Mahdist threat. It requires an Imperial expedition to set off down the table to the town to bring himself and his dependents out. Once the Imperial force reaches the town, the Governor will automatically agree to leave.

I have a few small items to finish off this week prior to the game but we should have six members having a real shot at trying to rescue the Governor before the Mahdists liberate him of his head.

Will post a few photos and an AAR next week.