Following on from my last post on the Battle of Abu Klea there were a number of issues we were not happy with and how the game played out. If you missed this just head HERE
Fortunately I had another group of players to refight this on Weds night so we incorporated the changes discussed. These were chiefly:
1. The Dervish squads in the centre would be armed with rifled muskets NOT breech loading rifles.
2. All of the Dervish units would be standard sized ie no large units.
No changes were made to the number of units.
I should add that the British could fight in both games to the point of dismissal. Until all units were either routed or shaken the British force could continue to fight.
The Dervish ob the other hand were to play by the standard brigade break rules. For example if a contingent had three units once two were shaken/routed that force would disappear into the sands. This is a crucial element to the game.
Finally I forgot to mention Burnaby in the last game. Burnaby was a well loved and famous commander of his time. In our game he has a luck factor. Each turn he can use his luck to allow any reroll of the dice on the Allied side provided he is within 24" of the action. However once the reroll has occurred his heroism might put him in danger. He rolls a d6 - on a 6 he dies. The second time he uses his luck its a 5 or 6 and he dies etc.
Burnaby actually died at Abu Klea trying to rescue the crew of the Gardner gun
Game two featured myself and Glen as the Dervish and Alastair and Callum as the British. Could they fare much better than the Monday performance?
Once again the square set off with the camels and screened to the left by the Hussars
The square rapidly closed with the Madhist's musketeers and using their superior fire power began to clear the ridge. The Gardner gun jammed.
As before the Guard's regiment at the front took the bulk of Dervish fire but were saving the hits this time.
With the British line extending the hidden wings of the Dervish attack appeared. The right flank soon came under the attention of the Hussars and Infantry. Significant casualties were inflicted.
The right flank of the British wheeled to meet the attack from the left. The Gardner crew frantically trying to un-jam, their machine gun
With the battle raging across three sides (left, centre and right, the Dervish Cavalry broke out intending to cause havoc in the centre of the square.
The next turn was crucial for the British, with good fortune they broke the two Dervish units attached to the cavalry and as such the threat to their rear was removed. However the Mahdist left wing crashed into the Gardner gun and the supporting Sussex battalion. The Gardner gun was overwhelmed and using Burnaby's luck to try un-jam the infernal machine cost our Hero his life.
|The fleeing Berber Cavalry|
The Sussex battalion was forced back shaken.
The Dervish then focussed on the Sussex unit again next turn routing the first British troops.
However this came at the cost of their contingent being shaken across the board
For the loss of one gun and infantry unit the square had dealt with the Dervish Flank attacks - it was time to push forward
Extending into line again the British once more tried to clear the ridge line. The Dervish musketeers pulled back to lick their wounds, disordered but not shaken. By now the last of the Mahdist forces - 5 warband's were mustering for a full frontal assault.
The British used the time to rally and set up their defences.
The Mahdist left flank charged and for little cost broke the second British line unit and pushed back the guards.
and...at the point they wanted the camels to stand they charged forward.
Fearing the loss of the camels the Hussars moved forward to engage the Dervish right flank.Whilst their left flank - artillery and rifles poured fire into the left. Things were getting tight. Both remaining Dervish brigades could break if not careful.
Sadly for the Hussars their charge was a failure inflicting few casualties on their target. Pinned down in melee they were charged in the rear by a second tribal unit and it was all over for the Horse.
The remaining Dervish threw themselves at the Mounted Infantry holding the left flank. These were slaughtered in a whirl of swords and spears.
Bravely the remaining Guard regiment moved forward to support the gun. This was their last stand as the tribal horde came in baying for blood
In conclusion - a much closer game. Incredibly tense and could have gone either way. Had the camels stood still I doubt the Dervish would have broken the line.
We will most definitely fight this again sometime.
Thanks to all those who took part on Monday and Wednesday