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.

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