Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Battle of Ginnis - 28mm Wargame

With the somewhat mild weather bathing southern England into a false sense of an early Spring I threw open the doors of the shed on Monday night for a small colonial dust up.

Having recently strengthened and rebased by Dervish Army (see below) I thought a engagement in the Sudan might be a bit of fun. Reading through some various books and internet sources I settled on a re-enactment of the Battle of Ginnis. 

My Dervish Army

The Battle itself was a rather small affair at the tail end of the Sudan campaign but it is perhaps best known as the last battle British troops wore their red jackets into action. I am not going to bore you into a full history and background to this action but if you are interested in more reading a great link can be found HERE 

In summary the British have been tasked with clearing two villages alongside the Nile and a known Dervish camp to the north of the second village (Ginnis). The British have been formed up into two infantry brigades and one cavalry brigade. To support the action a gun boat armed with a machine gun is shadowing the land forces as the move forward.

A Map of the Action can be seen below

We used Black powder as our choice of rules and the British Order of Battle was as follows

In addition the British have a Gunboat armed with a Gardner Gun. This can move 12" per turn and can target forces hiding in the villages/riverbanks. It is assumed to be out of harms way from the locals so cannot be targetted back. 

The British Forces are estimated to be around 3000 men

The table has been set up with the Nile running West to East - the British are approaching from the far end, The two villages are on the banks of the Nile and the Dervish camp is bottom right.

Estimates for the size of the Dervish force vary but I have taken the 6000 listed in the excellent Mike Snook book on the Sudan. With twice the number of troops that the British I gave the Dervish 50% more units. Their order of battle is as follows - all Dervish commanders had a rating of 8

Location (each Location has a commander)



Kosheh Village

2 x Beja Skirmishers

1 x Artillery

Small Rifle Armed Units

Beja crewed artillery

Ginnis Village

2 x Beja Spearmen

1 x Beja Rifle Unit

1 x Artillery

Standard Infantry Units

Between Villages

3 x Beja Spearmen

Standard Infantry Units

Dervish Encampment



Cavalry Command

3 x Horse Cavalry

1 x Camel Cavalry

Standard sized units

Infantry Command

5 x Beja Spearmen

Standard sized units

The Forces in the Villages and between start on the table. The Dervish camp rallies in turn 2 with the Cavalry brigade emerging first in turn 2 followed by the infantry command in turn 3.

We originally intended this game to be 2 v 2 but sadly one of the players dropped out so Mark and Vince lead out the brave British forces and I would command en masse the Dervish force.

What happened next was a story of disaster....

The British forces were lead out by the Cavalry brigade...

Followed by the First Brigade of Infantry. I think it was theoir mission to clear both villages quickly before tackling the main Dervish force at the encampment

The field seemed quiet as the cavalry rode into view of Ginnis and Kosheh 

Local tribesmen could be seen skulking around the banks of the river

The Locals wait....

By now the second brigade complete with artillery, camels and machine guns was enetering the field.

As the First brigade moved closer to Kosheh they filed out into line ready to give the locals a harsh lesson in the wonders of the Martine Henry 

The Local tribesmen duly obliged and charged forward  - quickly routing a small unit of camel corps and driving back the mounted infantry. Such insolence would not do and the British quickly pushed out a firing line of regular infantry. A couple of volleys should sort these fuzzies out...

Well that was the plan but clearly no one had told the locals, a second charge quickly routed the first unit of British infantry and if it wasn't for a heroic blunder charge by the British mounted infantry these Dervish's may well have gone onto greater things. As it was the remaining Dervish units in this tribe were quickly mopped up and proceeding could carry on. The loss of one Battalion could be hushed up in the reports...

Meanwhilst the second brigade supported by the gunboat was making steady progress along the river and by the end of turn 2 had cleared the first objective

The gunboats machine gun support was most welcome

As we moved into turn 3 the Battle started in earnest. Flooding out of the encampment came the main Dervish force. Lead by its cavalry they surged across the table with a full three moves. As the Dervish commander I somewhat screwed up here and moved these chaps 36" when I should have moved them 54". Had I of taken the extra 18" the Dervish cavalry may well have run riot amongst the British line.

My cock up gave the Brits a chance to dress their lines and give a volley or two before my cavalry would enter the fray.

A thin line stretched across the desert awaited the Dervish horse. 

Evidently the British were ready and not before long the lines started their work quickly driving off and destroying the Beja camels and shaking a further unit. With a cry for Allah I threw my last standing Cavalry unit against the British Hussars. They counter charged. Mounted on their thorough breds and armed with sharp sabres the Brits should win....BUT...a monumental disaster as the Hussars collapse in the melee and are routed from the field. 

The Dervish horse swarm forward as a result of this unexpected victory wiping out the sole camel corp unit blocking their path. The British Cavalry brigade is no longer a functioning unit and retires from the field.

By now the Dervish warbands are surging forward and like their mounted friends they get three orders carrying them half way up the table.

The Dervish are now one move from the rather fragile British line. The Brits open fire across the oline. Every shot misses or is saved by the natives...oops

The charge is on and the Dervish surge forward

Closing fire doesn't stop the charges from going in....

A second British Battalion is wiped out along with its Artillery support - this breaks the second Infantry Brigade. The Dervish surge forward with a still intact and viable force.

Vince's command has been shattered. He has learned a valuable lesson that you should never underestimate the locals.

Realising that the second Brigade was now all on its own Mark graciously withdrew his forces giving the Local Dervish commander the field.

A totally unexpected victory for the locals.

This game took approximately 90 minutes to play - it was fast , brutal and a great deal of fun. We did discuss the outcome and the dice gods were most definitely with the Dervish both in their fortunate commands but also the failure of the Brits to score when needed. However saying that the ferocious charge of the Dervish where they get to reroll misses in the first charge is very potent combined with a morale save opf 4+. Forward going I think we will need to adjust this

More soon

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Happy New Year - and what's happened in December

 Good Morning All

I sincerely hope you all had a great Christmas and a happy New Year ! Here is to 2022, hopefully a year that will be better than the last 2.

Still no news on the BIG thing I wanted to share last month, if anything this has become less likely to happen in the short term but you never know what might happen round the corner. In the meantime lets catch up on what has been happening in the shed.

On the games front things have been severely limited, I tend to close the shed up in the winter months because it is too cold and we reconvene to my kitchen for board games. However the spread of covid means that this luxury has been off the table for the moment, but things are looking up with the very mild weather experienced here in London I am opening up the shed this Monday for a game (s).

The focus of Monday's game will be the Battle Of Giniss fought during the Sudan Campaign and although a small affair it is best remembered as the last battle that the plucky British tommy wore his scarlet tunic in action. Why the Sudan? Well I have just finished painting a further 120 Dervish and have rebased my entire army...

120 figures doesn't look like a lot...

The entire Mahdist force now comprises of around 450 foot, 100 odd cavalry, commanders and a couple of guns

The figures are mounted on 5 x 5 bases with three to a base

My colonial forces will be augmented very shortly with a few Royal Marines and some more Sudanese horse (these were Gripping Beast light Arab cavalry)

A couple of months aga I mentioned I had bought some 3D printed tanks from the Tank Factory. I was so happy with these I bought some more for my VBCW forces. These include a couple more Vickers light tanks, a Char 1 Bis, A Lanchester Armoured Car and something else ;-)

If you are looking for great value 28mm vehicles and tanks I really can recommend them. They do however take a few weeks to arrive.

Back in November I attended Warfare at Ascot Race course and purchased a couple of boxes of medieval cavalry buy conquest games at the Bring n Buy for £15 quid total. These have now been painted and are awaiting instructions (ie they will most likely be pressed into action for my early medieval war projects/crusades. They are very nice figures if a little smaller comparted to fireforge.

AS for Christmas Mrs Shed bought me another 320 plastic Perry Napoleonics !! A french and british infantry Brigade so that a few more figures to paint in the New Year.

I'll start on the Naps once I have finished painting these 80 plus Saxons from Gripping Beast that I picked up on ebay for a great price

In the meantime I wish you all a great 2022 and here is to more games than last year !!


Monday, 6 December 2021

Shed Wars is 10 years old today !

Good Morning All

It is the Shed Wars 10th Birthday - I cannot believe that I started this blog exactly a decade ago.

Looking back over the years writing this blog has provided me with an enormous senses of satisfaction but perhaps more importantly it is a wonderful reminder of what a great hobby we are fortunate to be part of.

I'd also like to thank those who attend the Shed and take part in the games . Without their support this blog would mean nothing.

Given that this is a big birthday I was hoping to share some BIG news but sadly I am going to have to delay this until the New Year. Yes there is some BIG news ...all very positive.

In the meantime and as before I'll share a quick summary of the numbers, lookback on what has happened in the last 12 months and try to gaze into the crystal ball for next years plans (without revealing the BIG news).


The table below illustrates the counts over the last 10 years, and they steadily climb. The Last 12 months has seen  some 277,000 views, or approximately 23,000 per month. With no other data to compare this against I have no idea if this is good or poor. I can report that a typical new post generates around 1-1.5 thousand hits in the first couple of weeks so this suggests that my 'regular readership' is about this number. Of which only a third are following. 



Page Views































I think when we look back on 2021 the first half of the year was very much characterised by the continuation of Lockdown and the uncertainty that this pandemic continues to cause society, As I mentioned last year I am in the very fortunate position of having a degree of financial security and so I decided at the end of last year that I would take early retirement. With this extra time on my hands I have been able to devote more time to the hobby.

So when I began to review the year it became apparent that this was  a very productive year for painting and in no particular order here is a quick summary of what has been added. 


Most recently I focused on building up my ECW Collection with more pikes, shotte and artillery. These were all rebased during the year and I can now proudly boast almost 1000 28mm figures in this collection.

 Right at the beginning of the year I added to my WOTR collection (and I am painting more at present) - I can now field almost 1400 plus figures and this probably represents the largest army period I now have in the shed.

As a side project in January (thanks to a fortuitous bid on ebay) I painted up a Plains War project. This included over 100+ mounted braves, c60 foot indians and 4 troops of US cavalry (each 12 mounted/dismounted strong) 

In September I added a further two Cavalry troops and command stands. 

One of my simple objectives this year was to rebase all my Zulus and whilst I was at it I added to the Impi. Over 1000 Zulus can now take to this field ! 

The final side project was the purchase and painting of a small Dwarf Army (c250 figures strong) - we have a plan to fight the Battle of the Five Armies in the New Year and nobody in the group had any Dwarves.

Some odds and ends also hit the painting table including 60 Victrix Vikings

And a few 3d printed tanks for my VBCW Collection.


The terrain building has been relatively quiet this year with no major projects however I did manage to finish my walled Desert City (aka Khartoum)

and to complement the battle mats made last year I made up several hills.

Despite Lockdown we have been successful in playing games most Monday nights but rather alarmingly I did not document a lot of these but we fought games across most of the genres held in the shed.....these included a couple of games set in the Plains Wars using Black Powder

We refought the battle of El Teb in colonial Sudan


But by far the biggest event of this year was our successful attempt to refight all the Battles of the Wars of the Roses. These were all individually documented on the blog and are summarised on this page link HERE

We started this ambition to refight all the major engagements of the WOTR back in 2020 before Lockdown and by October 2021 we had fought the first four battles. When restrictions lifted in May this year we threw ourselves into completing this plan. By October Bosworth (our finale) had been fought. I have just finished writing a couple of articles for Wargames Illustrated on this adventure and these will be published in the New Year.

In the meantime a couple of simple pictures from these games...

The biggest and the best game - Towton

The first game - First St Albans

The last Game - Bosworth


Much will inevitably depend on the big news I am not going to reveal but what I can say is that next year's wargames focus will be very much on adding to what I already have rather than starting any new periods. Like my Zulu's I plan to bring my Dervish army up to a full 1000 strength (figures are already here) and then I'll be looking to add to my 300 strong Afghan forces. With this accomplished I should be able to host some serious Colonial games.

Other plans include a full rebase and additions to my Crusader and Saracen Armies. I am going to also attempt to develop some siege games in this period.

Finally as a group we are thinking of kicking off a campaign to refight the biggest battles of the English Civil War. This is very much in the early stages of development but you can watch progress here.

And that brings you to the end of this 10th Birthday special. Thank you for following this blog and thank you for your comments. Please stay safe. Wishing you all a very happy Christmas

Eric the Shed