Once again Steve kindly organised the traditional "Sunday after Phalanx" game for the visiting Gentlemen Pensioners. Attendance was lower than previous years perhaps due to continuing concerns over Covid and the aggravating factor of the drastically increased cost of fuel. This year the game was scaled back to Steve's usual 6 x 8 table and was set in the Sudan.
News had come through to Imperial headquarters that the governor's residence near Kagbar was under siege by Amir Khat . Such an affront to British prestige could not be ignored and consequently a large force was assembled to restore proper order. Two brigades of British infantry, (Brigadiers Ross and Wakefield), with a brigade of mounted infantry, (Goodrich) and one of cavalry (Nowell-Lees); were accompanied by two brigades of Egyptians (one each of infantry and cavalry, (Brigadiers Al-Hussein and Badawi respectively). The whole force was under the command of General Wilberforce Forbes-Robertson.
When the Imperial force came close to Kagbar, they found that there was a force of Dervishes on the ridge close to the residence. They had artillery and this was shelling the residence, attempting to break down the walls or gate. Forbes-Robertson ordered Nowell-Lees and Goodrich to advance directly towards the ridge, but to beware of being ambushed by other Dervish forces. The Egyptians were to move towards the village of Kagbar itself, whilst Ross and Wakefield would screen the settlement of Fareig which lay in front of them and with the majority of their troops protect the flank of the cavalry and mounted infantry.
|The Dervish force threatening the Governor's residence|
|The Imperial forces begin their advance|
|The residence's defenders|
|The Egyptian brigade moves forward|
|The Dervish move out of cover to attack the Imperial left flank|
|The cavalry and mounted infantry advance in the centre|
On the right, the Egyptians were also moving forward, lead by Badawi's cavalry. Suddenly from behind some dunes and scrub bodies of Dervish cavalry appeared, moving swiftly towards them. The leading unit of Egyptian cavalry turned to face their assailants, but as they did so a unit of Dervish infantry charged out of the village of Kagbar and into their flank. Reeling from this attack the Egyptian cavalry were then charged by the Dervish cavalry and routed.
|The Egyptian cavalry are ambushed|
On the left the battle for Fareig continued and Ross deployed his battalions to meet the Dervish attack. The West Borsetshires were charged as they struggled through the scrub and were driven back in spite of the best efforts of their officers to hold them in position.
|One of Ross's infantry battalions is driven back in disorder|
Nowell-Lees had continued to advance and was contemplating bringing forward Goodrich's command to establish a solid base from which to assault the ridge. He had ordered his units to halt to await the mounted infantry, but the order had not got through to the Lancers who were the lead unit. Their commander thought he saw a chance to capture the Dervish artillery and drive off the infantry on the ridge. With trumpets sounding the Lancers swept forward onto the ridge. They dealt with their opponents quickly, but then command and control seemed to evaporate and the cavalrymen dallied, rather than driving home their advantage.
|The Lancers sweep onto the ridge|
|The Egyptian forces come under heavy pressure|
Although he had been ordered to support Nowell-Lees, Goodrich had been forced to dismount his men and form a firing line to try and hold back waves of Dervish infantry which had attacked from the direction of Kagbar and also the dunes behind Fareig. Forbes-Robertson ordered Wakefield to move his men forward to support Goodrich, though half the command was involved in trying to suppress the riflemen in Fareig. Fortunately, the artillery was now shelling the village and the enthusiasm of the defenders was wavering. Even so, an attack on Fareig, by one of Goodrich's units was driven back with heavy loss
|Goodrich's men come under attack|
|The failed charge on Kagbar|
|Steadfast in defence, the naval infantry|
|The lancers are doomed|
|Ross's men face yet more attacks|
|Goodrich and Wakefield struggle to hold the centre|
Much as Forbes-Robertson urged his subordinates to get their men forward, little could be done in the face of the incessant attacks. Ignoring their casualties, the Dervish warriors threw themselves at the lines of British infantry and in the distance, the Dervish artillery could be heard battering away at the residence.
|The end - the residence falls|