Background image is Les Dernières Cartouches (The Last Cartridges) by Alphonse de Neuville

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Black Powder: A Trip Down the Nile

The lads having enjoyed our last go at Black Powder, and the schedule allowing for another game soon
thereafter, we set up a big battle. As several of us have troops for the British campaigns in the Sudan, we selected that as our next topic. Mr Invisible provided a table with a small village sheltering beside a low ridge, and we deployed the bulk of his and my Mahdist forces alogn the ridge, then brough on an expeditionary force of British and Imperial Indian troops.

The Dervishes had three banners: one largely Beja spearman and skirmishers, one with other Ansar troops with rifles, spears, and artillery, and a third that had a small cavalry force in addition.

The Sudanese forces deployed with the Beja banner on their left and the force with cavalry on their right. They held the ridgeline and the village.
Mahdist forces deploy.
The Imperial force had one brigade with sepoys and British Rifle Brigade troops and a small detachment of dismounted Camel Corps infantry. Two more brigades consisted largely of British infantry; one included two battalions of the dreaded Highlanders. Each brigade had a battery of field artillery, but no Gatling guns or cavalry were in attendance.
First Brigade
The British entered slowly, with 2nd Brigade (the one with the Scots in it) delayed for the first and second turns. We had intended that 1st Brigade would be our central reserve, but it ended up marching forwards while the Scots dithered on the left. The Indian brigade moved forward confidently on our right.

Third Brigade
Once the British appeared, their foe surged forward, seemingly in echelon with their left leading and their center and right hanging back.

The Beja advance.
The Hadendowa warriors were ready to get well stuck in and attacked a battalion of Rifles on the left of 3rd Brigade.

Two Beja rubs attack the green-clad Rifles.
Meanwhile, on the left, the 2nd Brigade had made an appearance and were immediately assailed by enemy cavalry and infantry. The Black Watch was forced by the ferocity of the Sudanese onslaught to fall back behind the Gordons.

The general officer commanding, travelling in company with the bullock carts carrying the mess silver and the all-important gin, sent an encouraging message.

The Dervish commander is clearly wishing he were allowed the comforts of gin...
This seems to have bucked up the Highlanders, as the Gordons, with support from the Royal Artillery, fired several devastating vollies that drove a mass of the enemy from the field.

The York and Lancaster Regiment then proved that they were the equal of their northern neighbours, devastating another enemy force with well-aimed riflery.

These developments were welcome, as the Rifles and one of the sepoy regiments had been overrun by Fuzzies.

And a massive attack in the center crashed on the ranks of the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

The British right-hand brigade was broken and falling back, as was the Mahdist right-flank banner. Could the British center hold? Could either army's advancing left seal the victory?

First the shaken (literally) Royal Irish held off a second wave of Dervishes, sending them fleeing in terror of the Irish spunk.

Then the Royal Warwickshires drive off the advancing Beja.

More shooting, and the Mahdist center goes from five units to four... three. The British are victorious!

And, having helped seal the victory, the Highlanders go off to dinner. :-)

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