Sunday, January 13, 2008
Fall of Khartoum
Our battle of Khartoum actually spans two battles that were held on two different nights. We used "The Sword and the Flame" rules through out the campaign.
The dervishes have held the city under siege for several weeks. Supplies and living conditions in Khartoum have been poor. The defenders are fewer but morale remains high in the hopes that relief is on the way. The fort is buzzing with the news that British troops have landed in Egypt and they are working their way south. A gunboat was spotted heading toward the town, could it be the relief they have been waiting for?
At this point the dervishes decide to attack. If they can press the battle then perhaps Khartoum will fall and the infidels will be put to the sword. The great and all knowing Madhi commands that the battle is today.
Thousands of dervishes come screaming out of the hills. The defenders have been stunned by the awesome sight. The desperate struggle begins as Ansars, Fuzzy-Wuzzy and other tribesmen pour forth to destroy all that is unholy.
The dervish forces close in for the kill as rifle fire has not been entirely effective. The issue will be decided by cold steel.
The +1 for defending the wall really helps even the odds for the Sudanese.
The dervish enjoy the ability to throw spears prior to closing for hand to hand fighting.
The terrain and figures were accumulated over the years by Jim Ferich. There are several different manufacturers represented on the table. Jim has been playing these rules since their inception.
The close quarters fighting continues on, the Egyptian and Sudanese infantry decide to fall back to stronger defensive positions. There are just too many tribesmen to fight and they are being overwhelmed.
Infantry takes position behind the barricades to await another fanatical charge. Artillery and reserves are repositioned to deal with the threat.
Smoke can be seen on the river, an approaching gunboat is spotted, are the relief forces arriving?
The tribesmen lose heart and withdraw at the sight of the unexpected force. They have no desire to face the artillery and machine guns of this new threat.
The gunboat arrives to the horror that it has been shot to pieces steaming to Khartoum. There is no supply column or relief force accompanying the crippled steamer. The meager supplies are offloaded, perhaps the survivors can hold out.
The sailors tell Pasha Boyle-Gordon that the river journey has been hazardous and there is no escape. The gunboat is too damaged to remove civilians.
The dervishes watch from the hills with great interest.
The following day the Madhi commands his army of faithful to go forward and finish off the defenders. There is no sign of a relief force, and Pasha Boyle-Gordon must be killed. There are too few survivors to man the walls around the fort. The have consolidated to defensive positions through out the town. The dervishes pour through the outer walls with ease. Allah is indeed great.
The defenders have no choice but to hold fire until it is necessary.
Pasha Boyle-Gordon looks on with interest and great concern. He holds his position with fewer defenders as casualties mount.His loyal body guard stands by his side throughout the ordeal.
He exudes confidence despite the odds, is his will enough to carry the day?
The dervishes roll through the streets raping cattle and stampeding women and children!
They never knock before entering either, how rude! How un-British!!
The dervishes stopped to kill any wounded infidels they happened to come across.
The buildings are foam core, they look great don't they?
The battle carries through the streets as dervish rifles take their toll on the defenders.
The tribesmen with rifles scale up to the rooftops using ladders. The spearmen skewer anything moving in the streets and houses.
The defending Sudanese prove a tough match even when out numbered. Mounted officers help decimate whole units of attacking Ansar. There are just too many, the defenders fall back the last remaining defense of the inner fort. The gunboat offer support from the river. Soon the walls are covered with Tribesmen hell bent on destruction. The battle rages on.
The defenders take many enemy with them as they fall. Artillery crews were soon overrun by natives. One by one the defending units fall. Even the Pasha Boyle-Gordon has defend against the onslaught. He defends the doorway with his body guard. He kills 20 of the screaming tribesmen (he gets a +3 to his roll, and Eric rolled very well all night), but another unit of angered Ansar step on and over the bodies of their fallen to strike, they are more frenzied then ever. Finally a spear finds its target.
The epic defense of Khartoum is over. The struggle was the stuff of legends. The London newspapers will carry the name of Pasha Boyle-Gordon to history.
The campaign continues on as the dervishes gained 25 points for capturing the town of Khartoum.