Friday, 31 October 2014

Result in the Sudan

At last Steve and I managed to meet to bring the Sudan game to a conclusion.  On the river, the Tamei, which was very low in the water, drifted away from the jetty and after an order from the bridge, the engines were put into full astern.  With the needles into the 'red zone' the steamer struggled into the main flow of the river.  Suddenly, the power dropped away but the steamer was now out of the arc of the Dervish artillery. Rather than continue to shell the Tamei, the Dervish gun now concentrated on the Egyptian troops advancing on Ad Dueim, quickly finding the range and inflicted heavy casualties.

The Dervish cavalry had at last reformed and began to move forward.  Ahead of them were the Egyptian mounted infantry, who had dismounted and formed line to support the attack on Ad Dueim.  Caught unprepared, the Egyptians' volley was ineffective and the Dervish cavalry crashed into them.  The line buckled and then gave away.  As the Egyptians ran back towards the lines behind them, the Dervish cavalry followed up and charged into the disorganised line. Fortunately for the Egyptians the supporting Dervish cavalry were fired on by the Imperial field guns.  The losses stopped them in their tracks and then the machine gun from the Tamei joined in to complete their destruction.

By the farm a fierce melee was under way. Dervish infantry had charged out of some broken ground and closed on the British line.  A close range volley did not stop the Dervishes, but discipline and bayonets did and when the Dervish commander was killed, the fight went out of the attackers and they fell back.  On the Imperial right the flanking column of mounted infantry continued their solid performance beating off yet more attacks in spite of the losses they were suffering.

Indeed, the Mahdi was beginning to think that perhaps this was not the day ordained for victory.  However, he moved to rally his troops and having inspired them to greater efforts, ordered them forward.  Once again the waves of Dervish infantry surged forward.  Perhaps lulled by their success, the British infantry volleys were not as punishing as expected and the Dervish charged home.  Three British units were now fighting for their lives and the initiative lay with their enemy.  Scarcely believing his eyes, the Imperial commander saw the British front line waver and then break.  Under the eyes of their leader, the Dervish infantry swept forward.  This was the high water mark of the Dervish advance.  Their cavalry was on the brink of breaking the Egyptian line opposite Ad Dueim and all that remained between the British and disaster were two units of Highlanders.  It was at this point that the Mahdi received news that the defences of Ad Dueim had been shattered by artillery fire, the Dervish artillery in the town had been destroyed and that a whole brigade of Egyptian troops were bearing down on the town.  He therefore ordered the supplies to be removed from the town and carried off into the desert.

The previously successful Dervish cavalry now found themselves unsupported. As they battled the Egyptians to their front they were attacked in flank by a Sudanese infantry unit.  With their commander wounded all order was lost and the battered remnants of the cavalry galloped back towards their lines.  Not wishing to suffer more losses, the Mahdi ordered his men to fall back; there would be other days and other battles before this war was won.  For his part, the Imperial commander was happy to be left in possession of the field.  His troops had suffered heavy losses and he had no cavalry to exploit his 'victory'.  The Tamei would need extensive repairs before it could be in service again and the bulk of the supplies had been carried away by the retiring Dervishes.


Sunday, 12 October 2014

Another interruption

Real life intervened yet again this week, so Steve and I did not meet to finish the latest Sudan game.  With the next two weeks also "spoken for" it will be at least three weeks before my next update.  Many thanks for your comments and continuing interest in my ramblings.

 I leave you with another photo from the Sudan game.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Sudan round 2

Normal service was resumed this week, so Steve and I met to continue the latest action from the Sudan. Close quarters fighting was immediately the order of the day.  At Ad Dueim the steamer was mooring at the jetty and preparations were being made for the Blue Jackets to capture the village.  The only Dervish troops in sight were those manning the defences facing the Egyptians and a field gun; the latter being a particular nuisance as it was firing at the 'Tamei' and some parts of the upper works were now beginning to resemble a colander.  Bolitho, in charge of the landing party was all set to go ashore when a report from the bow machine gun team changed everything.  A mass of Dervish troops were surging down the dusty street towards the jetty!  Led by their emir, the Dervish ignored the storm of bullets and made for the steamer.  As the range closed the machine gun jammed.  Drawing his cutlass, Bolitho led his small band to oppose the natives.  After a desperate melee in which Bolitho managed to wound the emir, the Dervish were driven back in confusion, but it had been a close run thing.

The Dervish attack the Tamei
On the Imperial right the battle for the farm continued with the mounted infantry and Lancers under increasing pressure.  Indeed, the Lancers were forced to give ground and as they attempted to reform a charge by a fresh unit of Dervish drove them from the field.

A bad day for the Lancers
Fortunately for the Imperial cause, the mounted infantry stood firm, in spite of their heavy losses, and bought enough ground for a second unit of mounted infantry to deploy.  In the centre the Imperial troops were advancing with caution towards Ad Dueim.  With the Egyptian cavalry covering them, the British infantry began to deploy into line, ready to drive off the expected counter attack.  They were not to be disappointed as from behind Ad Dueim masses of Dervish cavalry began to move forward.  However, the native horsemen were hampered by some rough terrain and also their own infantry, who had been driven back by the controlled volleys from the British troops. They struggled to make progress as each wave was met by a volley as they tried to close to contact.  If the cavalry failed to close and were driven back this pinned the supports, who were then treated to a volley in their turn.  Some charges did strike home and for a time it looked as if the Egyptian cavalry would follow the Lancers into the desert wastes, but with commendable spirit the Egyptians held, assisted in part by the timely arrival of a British horse battery.

Behind the Egyptian cavalry their infantry were disposing of the last of the Dervish front line.  The Dervish had fought bravely and delayed the Egyptian infantry long enough that the Tamei had had no support and was in a parlous state with flooding to several compartments.

The Egyptian infantry drive off the last Dervish unit
 Back at the farm the mounted infantry barely had time to draw breath before a further unit of Dervish charged forward.  Behind them were several more units, led by the Mahdi in person. Clearly, there would be more fighting before the day was over.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time again,so the game will now go into a third session, with the odds slightly favouring the Imperial side.