Saturday, August 03, 2013

El Fasher, March, 1882

Slatin Pasha's army are advancing on El Fasher. the constricted nature of the terrain around means they can only really approach from one avenue, and doesn't the wily Squali'id Ali know it.

He has placed his artillery in the town itself which is surrounded by a zareba. The rest of his troops he has forward deployed behind a ridge two-thirds of the way down the table. The ridge itself extends two whirds across the width of the table and it is towards this gap that one of Squali'id Ali's units of ansar issues, jogging toward Slatin's Egyptians.

Slatin has deployed conventionally in line; one unit - the left - covering the gap, another facing the ridge-line with the artillery between them and the pack-animals behind. Slatin and his standard-bearer are with the gunners.

He is confident he can shoot the oncoming Ansar to pieces and advances to close the range so he can begin to do just that. His left most unit takes a casualty from the gunners ensalved by the Mahdists who must work their gun in chains. His own gun bangs back, killing one of the unfortunates in almost fratricidal counter-battery fire.

As his left-most infantry unit moves forward, so to do the Ansar and Camelry concealed behind the ridge! A nasty shock! They open a fire upon the Ansar who have emerged first and knock many of them over, but not enough as they reinforce with another 6 figures at the end of the turn. Their comrades in the right-hand unit also get firing, but a large part of their musketry is masked by the ridge.

More desultory gunshots are exchanged by the artillery with minimal effect - two Egyptian infantry fall and so too is a Mahdist gunner relieved from his servitude. The oncoming Ansar continue to do just that, but are left mostly unmolested as the closer ansar unit gets thoroughly shot to bits, forcing it to retreat as it has fallen below 50% strength. Conveniently this clears the range for the camelry who siexe their moment and declare a charge!Again the fire of the right-most Egyptian unit is masked and all they can do is bowl over a handful of the likewise now charging Mahdist infantry.

The Mahdist charges go home. The infantry cannot fire. The right hand unit has mounted in part the rise, but refuse to charge in support of their comrades who are losing the hand-to-hand combats as wheat does to the scythe. They do however fire a ragged volley into the camelry. 10 rifles at close range cause two casualties which is enough to tip the Mahdists over to 50% casualties and thus ending their brave and tactically rather better defense of el Fasher.

The Egyptians have suffered 14 casualties in the doing - 11 to hand-to-hand combat and threee to artillery fire.

Slatin and his standard bearer are among them.

After the battle the field is covered off, enemy wounded finished off and Egyptians recovered for care. Seven of the Wounded recover.

Slatin is among them. His standard-bearer is not.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Not dead

Just though I ought to report in gentle reader. Work and family matters have come first these past few weeks leaving me with little hobby time.

We hope to restore our regular service shortly.

Perhas in the meantime, I'll put on a photoshoot to tide you over!

Friday, July 05, 2013

Move 2, The Western Sudan

Foga. January 1882.
Slatins' men advance on Foga, methodically slaughtering all before them.
Having won the fight there and pausing only to liberate supplies, Slatin's men press on to El Fasher.

Slatin's force moves off to liberate El Fasher.  Remembering that the RI of the area remains 6, they will be attacked, no matter what. All that remains is to determine the number and kind of the enemy and the nature of the engagement.

I rolled a 4. El Fasher is a Garrison town, worth 5 VP, so I deduct one from my die roll, resulting in a three - the difference between this and the RI is 3 and therefore the number of basic units I will face.

Knowing this, I selected and cast three D6. A 5, another 5 and a 2. A quick consultation over the appropriate table: two Units of Ansar, then, and some cavalry (in my case this will be camelry!).

Dear reader, I then rolled a 2 for the encounter type:

Egyptian Attack on a Defended Town or Zeriba.
The town will be along the banks of the river or built around a well or standing pool. It will have defenses of some sort: rifle pits/trenches, a zeriba, or stone/mud walls. The Dervishes have one artillery piece per three basic Dervish units. These can be 12-pdr smoothbores or 9-pdr breech-loaders, at the referee’s discretion. The Anglo-Egyptians win by driving the Dervishes out of the town.

Hard fighting ahead for Slatin! 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Move 2 Begins

Good morning again!

Kicking off move 2, we need to rol only one revolt index - South Sudan has not yet revolted and thus may be rolled for this time. You will recall that there was a RI of 2. If I roll this or less the region will be in revolt.

I roll a 1.

Now I roll for suprise captures of Garrison Towns.

These are Khartoum, El Dueim, Jebeleirl and Fashoda.

The basic chance for a surprise attack to capture a garrison town equals the regions’ revolt index. This is modified as follows:

-1 per company beyond the first stationed in the town
-1 town is Wadi Halfa, Suakin, or El Obeid
-3 town is Khartoum

You will recall that only Khartoum is heavily garrisoned, but no troops are stationed in any of the other towns. Bit of an oversight, that. I will need to roll three or better for El Dueim, Jebeleirl and Fashoda.

I roll a 5, a 2 and a 3. Jebeleirl has been taken by surprise. Khartoum is beseiged. It has 5 Moves of Supply.

UPDATE: I have added a new Map to the "Maps" page showing the situation at the start of move Two.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Move 1 Wrap Up

Good morning!

AsI said before signing off yesterday, today I will be wrapping up this the first of our campaign moves.

We shall be examining the following matters: Supply, Revolt Indexes, Victory Points and Reinforcements.

So, first to Supply. When we started the move wqe determined which areas were in revolt and how much "Supply" was available to each of the beseiged Garrisons. we came up with the following:

Western Sudan
El Obeid. Supplies for 4 moves.,

Eastern Sudan
All Garrisons succumbed to surprise attacks when the revolt broke out.

Northern Sudan. 
Abu Hamed. Supplies for 7 moves So far so good, eh?
Berber. 5 moves of supply.
Atbara. I have 5 moves worth of supplies laid in.

Not too bad, eh? It gets somewhat better, too. After the incidents and accidents of combat:

Western Sudan 
El Obeid. Supplies for 6 moves.

Eastern Sudan
The newly-arrived British Expeditionary force brought 4 moves' Supply with them.

Northern Sudan.
Abu Hamed. Supplies for 10 moves So far so good, eh?
Berber. 8 moves of supply.
Atbara. I have 7 moves worth of supplies laid in.

Next we come to the calculation of Revolt Indexes.

At the start of the game they stood thus:

Southern Sudan, 4
Eastern Sudan, 4
Western Sudan, 6
Northern Sudan, 2

Now we apply the following modifiers:
+1 each garrison town in the region captured by surprise or abandoned by garrison
+1 each battle won in the region by Mahdists
-1 each battle won in the region by Anglo-Egyptians
+1 Khartoum fell this turn (affects all regions)
+1 any adjacent region’s index went up because of battles or captured towns
-1 any adjacent regions’ index went down by two points or more because of battles or captured towns

Southern Sudan, 4 all that can be applied here is a -2 for the battles won in East and West Sudan. RI is 2
Eastern Sudan, 4, +3 for captured garrison towns, -1 for the "win" at Suakin for the British.. RI is 6.
Western Sudan, 6, +2 for captured garrison towns, -1 for the Battle won at Foga by the Egyptians. RI is 7.
Northern Sudan, 2. No garrison towns captured. -3 for "wins" at Abu Hamed, Berber and Atbara. . RI is 0. South Sudan is pacified after an abortive revolt that garnered little support. East andd West Sudan must take their RI down a point as a result of the 2+ point reduction in North Sudan's RI.

Final Revolt Indexes:
Southern Sudan, 2
Eastern Sudan, 5
Western Sudan, 6
Northern Sudan, 0

A good result, all things considered.
Next we look at Victory Points.

The end of the first Move sees the Garrison Towns of El Fasher (5), Dara (5), Kassala (5) and Trinkitat (5) in the hands of the Mahdists. This gives them a total of 20 Victory Points. It's a long haul if they need to get to 400.

For the Egyptians, the game ends when all four regions are out of revolt or after 20 turns, whichever comes first.

Lastly we turn, faithful reader, to the matter of Reinforcements. Rolling a 5, I elect to have more British units from my pool arrive at Aswan to begin the long march South. They will consist of three infantry Units, a Cavalry Unit and a gun. Remaining in the reserve are the Naval Brigade and a Nordenfeldt.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Move 1 - North Sudan

There are five garrison towns in the North Sudan area; Wadi Halfa, Dongola, Abu Hamed, Berber and Atbara.

When the North unexpectedly rose, the commander on the spot, the wily Colonel Portphillip Bey determined that all of his garrisons would try to break their own seiges with sallies. The garrisons were quite strong and he thought they stood a good chance of success given the low Revolt Index of the area. Three of the towns actually had garrisons - Abu Hamed, Berber and Atbara. So then the proceedure:

A sortie is handled as if the units were entering their own space; a die is rolled, modified by the size of the garrison town (-1 per 5 points), and compared to the region’s revolt index. The difference determines how many units are participating in the siege. The garrison can call off the sortie after this die roll, but it counts as a lost battle. The Dervishes will have a fortified camp (zeriba, rifle pits) to defend and one cannon per four basic units. If the camp is captured, the Dervishes are driven away, but only temporarily. The garrison can gather 1d6 additional turns’ worth of supplies and settle back into its defenses or it can abandon the garrison, moving one space immediately (and risking another battle). If the garrison town is reoccupied while the region is still in revolt, the siege resumes.

Abu Hamed, 10 points. I roll a 3, -2 for the town size which yields a 1. Remembering the RI of the area is 2, the difference is 1. One unit is beseiging the town. I roll for type and it is a unit of Ansar. I am not going to bother with a game here as there are two units of Egyptian infantry present. I deem the Ansar decide discretion is the better part of valour and they move off, leaving the Egyptians to loot their camp for an additional 3 moves' of supply.

Berber, 5 points. I roll a 2, -1 for the town size which yields a 1. Remembering the RI of the area is 2, the difference is 1. One unit is beseiging the town (again!). I roll for type and it is a unit of Ansar (Again!). Likewise, I am not going to do a game here either as there are two units of Egyptian infantry present. The Egyptians to loot the enemy camp for an additional 3 moves' of supply.

Atbara, 10 points. I roll a 6, -2 for the town size which yields a 4. Remembering the RI of the area is 2, the difference is -2. No enemy units are beseiging the town. The Egyptians gather an additional 2 moves' of supply.

That concludes the fighting for move 1.

In my next post, I shall calculate Supply, Revolt Indexes, Victory Points and reinforcements. I suspect (hope?) North Sudan may no longer be in revolt after this move!

Foger Liberated!

Forces operating under Slatin Pasha today defeated a Rebel force which issued from the Zareba surrounding the small hamlet of Foger.

Led by their Sheik, Squali'id Ali, the three units of Ansar and one of Jehadiy'ya riflemen moved smartly to attack Slatin's two Egyptian Companies and his single gun. The Egyptian troops immediately deployed into a firing line with their gun between them and advanced slowly, making all the while a steady fire that bowled over the Mahdists in hordes.

Still, on came Allah's warriors until the point was met where human flesh and will could do no more against that storm of steel and lead. The last men on their feet among the human wreckage could do no more; and when they retired it was with an air more of injured dignity and one of terror-struck flight.

Upon entering Foga, two turns' supplies were liberated by the jubilant Egyptian troops.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Move 1 Continues. The Western Sudan.

El Obeid. Western Sudan.

Slatin's force moves off to liberate El Fasher. It's first waypoint is Foga. Remembering that the RI of the area is 6, they will be attacked considering that a 2 is rolled.

As the difference between the RI and the dice roll of 4, the Egyptians will face four enemy units. I then roll for unit type. A 5, a 6 a 3 and a 5. This equates to three units of Ansar and one of Jehadiy'ya Riflemen.

Rolling then for the type of engagement, I roll a 5. This is the pre-generated Scenario that arises:

Dervish attack on an Egyptian column.
Attacking a column: The Egyptian force enters one edge of the table and moves to the approximate center, with transport animals. They can be in square or column formation. Dervishes enter in an L-formation from the opposite edge and one side. Egyptians win by holding the field or by getting at least half their transport off the forward table edge.

UPDATE: This will be played out over the weekend. Anyone interested in giving general orders to the Mahdists?

The Trinkitat Times

From Occupied (or is it Free?) Trinkitat our correspondant scribbles. All the news that is fit to print.

All hate-mail to the Editor, please.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

First Move - Part the Second

First up, a correction. The British Expeditionary force starts the game concentrated at Aswan. Every move I can roll a D6 and release that number of units for operations starting either there or at Suakin.

I rolled a 5 and will therefore have five units transported by the sea route to Suakin. These will be three infantry, one cavalry and one gun.

To determine what happens when they debark, I need to roll more than the regions' revolt index for the Dervishes NOT to meet me in the field. As the RI for the Western Sudan is 6, there is no chance of this happening, therefore we will fight.

To determine the composition of the Mahdist force one deducts the die roll from the RI. As I had rolled a 5, the enemy has one unit to oppose me. Two, since Suakin is a Garrison Town worth five points. I then roll again for each unit to determine the type: I roll two fours. On a 4-6 one gets Ansar. Thus my British force of five units will face a Mahdist force of two Ansar units.

Now, on the balance of probabilities, I would think the Ansar would get rolled over pretty quickly and that they would not in fact actually offer battle. Therefore I am going to consider that the BEF enters Suakin unopposed.

More updates as I work through.

Monday, June 24, 2013

First Move

The first step is to determine which regions of the Sudan are in Revolt.

As you will recall, the proceedure is to roll a D6 against each regions' revolt index. Any score that was less than or equal to the index meant that the region was in revolt.

Here are the indicies:

Southern Sudan, 4
Eastern Sudan, 4
Western Sudan, 6
Northern Sudan, 2

Here is what I rolled:

Southern Sudan, 5
Eastern Sudan, 4
Western Sudan, 3
Northern Sudan, 1

Oh, dear me. Only the Southern Sudan remains quiescent this round. The rest of the country erupts in flames!

As this is a turn where regions have erupted in revolt, we must determine whether any suprise attacks have been made on garrison towns.

Starting with the Western Sudan (Revolt Index 6), we have three Garrison Towns; El Obeid, Fasher and Dara. I roll a 4 and a 5 for El Fasher and Dara respectively. There are no modifiers to modify the RI for those towns, so they fall to the Mahdists. I roll a 4 for El Obeid but may modify the RI down by two points for her garrison and another for the fact that it is El Obeid. So, El Obeid is beseiged with supplies for 4 moves (1D6+1).

The Eastern Sudan has three Garrison Towns: Suakin, Trinkitat and Kassala. The region has a RI of 4. Rolling first for Trinkitat and Kassala I score a 1 and a 6 respectively. Trinkitat has fallen and Kassala holds out, albeit under seige and with 6 moves of supplies. Suakin rolls a 1. Is this a disaster? RI -1 because it's Suakin goes to 3. Then -1 for it's garrison. Oh dear. History repeats itself to a degree as Muhammed Tawfiq Bey and his garrison are put to the sword. This is disastrous!

With trepidation I roll for Northern Sudan. RI is 2. Wadi Halfa first: 5. No problem with 7 days' supply. Dongola rolls a 4, despite having no garrison and also rolls up 7 moves of supply. Abu Hamed squeaks it in with a 3 and also rolls up 7 moves worth supply. So far so good, eh? Berber next. I roll a 6 and a five to give the garrison there 5 moves of supply. Last one: Atbara. There is a significant garrison here. I roll a three, again squeaking it in and discover I have 5 moves worth of supplies laid in.

So far the Mahdists have accumulated 19 Victory Points with their daring surprise attacks as the regions went into revolt. They have gained Suakin and massacred two companies of Egyptian infantry in the doing of the deed. Western Sudan is also largely lost and El Obeid is under seige.

Oh dear.

In the Second part of the turn we will look at Anglo-Egyptian movement, battle resolution and bookkeeping issues.

Plotting and Scheming

If you care to take a look at my deployments, my plan is fairly plain to see.

I am playing a game whereby I will attempt to hold out for the British Expeditionary force to come to my rescue!

The key to that will be to hold out whilst the Desert Railway is built. I must maintain my hold on the river at least as far as Khartoum.

Slatin Pasha will need to be both lucky and active in Western Sudan to hang on as it will be tricky to re-inforce him.

Move one is about to begin.

We shall be rolling to determine whether any region revolts and whether the Mahdists put in any surprise attacks upon our garrison towns  - those marked with squares on our map.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Revolt Indices

Each area on the map except Egypt has a "revolt index," reflecting how much of the populace has risen against the government and gone over to the Mahdi. The indices vary from 0 to 10.

At the start of the game, their values are determined randomly. Roll 1d6+2 for the Southern Sudan, and roll 1d6 each for the Eastern, Western, and Northern Sudan.

Here we go then. I am using an online dice roll site, very useful if you are out and about!

Southern Sudan, 4
Eastern Sudan, 4
Western Sudan, 6
Northern Sudan, 2

Every move I will roll a d6. if the score is less than or equal to the Revolt Index for that region, then the region is considered to be "In Revolt".

You'll note the Western Sudan is starting the game in revolt already! That Osman Digna..!

So we begin

For a long time now I have been wanting to do a colonial campaign set in the Sudan.

I have finally decided to get things underway. I will be using Steve Winters' excellent campaign system which he detailed on his website "The Colonial Angle" many moons ago.

Let's see how we go.