Figures: 1/72 (20mm) Italeri, Waterloo 1815 and HaT plastics.
No communication has been received as to what is happening across the Sudan. Major Wilford T. Wilmington IV does not know if his problem is local or if the entire Sudan is engaged. He sent two native runners north over the last 3 days but has heard no response. Major Wilmington thinks awhile and says to himself, "Surely the fantacism has been localized, our presence is too strong along the Nile and coastal areas...what the hell is going on?". He tries to comfort himself,"Your in it now old boy, you wanted the responsibility of command and now you're in it alone. All the training and a high morale will surely keep things from getting out of control.These are tough men and we'll get through alright."
A week after the first contact with the dervish madhists Major Wilmington decides its time to find out if the enemy are still in the area. He spends most of the night contemplating his plan as sentries call out sightings of movement through the night. The Sgt. Ahmed and the camel corps barely escaped the last encounter as they lacked the firepower to deal effectively with the rabble of fanatics; only speed saved them from certain death. It appears this Madhi fellow is not taking prisoners as the wounded were slaughtered in the first engagement. "Yes indeed" he says to himself, "the firepower and cold steel of a highland platoon is exactly what we need here". The decision is made to reconnoiter, another patrol and this time it will be in force.Time to share the plan with the staff.
The plan is to send a platoon of highlanders to aggressively scout the area.
There are 3 points to investigate and clear if possible.The platoon only needs to spot each PEF "Possible Enemy Force" and report back and engage if it is reasonable to do so.
Major Wilmington shares the plan with Captain Addison and Sgt. Major Cunningham over a glass of sherry, which the Sgt Major politely refuses."Gotta keep a clear head sir", Cunningham says stoicly. They work out the details and assign 2nd platoon to the mission. Soon Lt. George Cavendish is called in for the assignment. "Remember Georgy old boy, you only need to reconnoiter and report. You only engage if you have too" states the Major.
The sightings are much closer to the outpost than the previous week and the sentries are on alert. "These dervish fellows are quite bold in their choice of proximity" says Capt. Addison, "At least you won't have far to walk". The young Lt. acknowledges the order in typical fashion and parades out of the office and informs his platoon of the mission.
On turn 1 - The platoon leaves the outpost in the morning and the men have the ominous feeling that they are being watched from the hills nearby. (The PEF's in the hills do not move as the column leaves the outpost). The column leaves the gate and turns to a nearby hill which is the first area to inspect. Sgt. Remmington is too busy advising the squad to notice the young and inexperienced Cavendish has forgotten to send out scouts ahead of the platoon. ( I didn't realize until after the game that I really hamstrung the Brits by forgetting to use scouts).
|Turn 2 deployment|
On turn 2 - The highlanders gain the initiative and deploy in open order. Sgt Remington leads a squad to the right with Cpl. Williams and Cpl. Willaby takes a squad to the left under the watchful eye of Lt. Cavendish. (The open order will allow for faster movement. I thought the troops would need to stay mobile). The men disperse and move freely but are vulnerable if engaged in melee. Cavendish tries to keep up the spitis of his men saying, "Damn fine day for sport eh Willaby? Let's get today's fox!". Willaby looks back unsurely at the arrogant officer, "What an arse" he mumbles.
On turn 3 (the dervish gain the initiative and one of the PEF's splits into 2 PEF's). It seems likely that a large body of fanatics on on a nearby hill as movement can be seen. On this turn Sgt Remington moves his squad closer to the PEF. The second squad during turn 3 moves closer to hill where multiple PEF's are seen. They are just out of range but they know something is up there. They approach in open order to maintain maneuverability.
On turn 4 the British keep the initiative so the Sgt and his men approach. They are startled by a shephard and his goats. Everyone jumps as the peasant narrowly escapes being shot by a nervous private. A roll randomly determines that the PEF is a goat herder tending to a flock. The movement was nothing serious thank goodness. The men of the squad laugh nervously to relieve the tension.
The second squad moves toward the hill and makes their spotting roll. "CONTACT!", yells Cpl. Willaby. The 10 man squad are confronted by 20 screaming Ansar who are running out of the hills. The Test of wills check by the dervish results in a charge. Lt. Cavendish is caught by suprise as half of his platoon are out of position and facing away from the enemy. The order is given, "Present...Fire!" and the squad releases a volley into the howling dervish.
The result was a low ammo marker and no hits.....that's right...not a single hit! the Ansar shrug off the volley and close in on the British. I check the Being Charged Table and the roll result was Pass 0d6 as a result of 5's and 6's appear on all of the dice. 1 of 3 figures runs and the rest stand to receive the charge. The Ansar are fierce, have shields andoutnumber the squad 3:1 in combat. Cpl Willaby fell (result of 11 on 2d6) as did another private. The squad begins to melt away and runs past Cavendish who is trying to keep order, but it is hopeless. Cavendish was not attached to any squad.
|The last stand of Lt. Cavendish|
The natives now take their move and sucessfully charge the second squad in the flank while others charge to Cavendish. Only one man from the squad gets off a shot and drops one of the heathen rabble but the rest close in a fanatical charge. Cavendish fires twice and misses, he has no choice but to receive the charge alone. He can not run, the Major and the men at the outpost are watching and the family's honor is at stake. In the melee Sgt. Remmington is cut down and the leaderless squad runs for their lives back into the outpost. The end for Cavendish is quick as he disappears beneath the on rush of wild tribesmen. A victorious yell erupts from the desrt hills as the last of the highland infantry scampers into the fortification.The Sgt Major is at the gate to meet routed men. He berates them for their behavior and in a fit of fury grabs Cpl. Williams by the scruff of the neck. "Damned disgraceful Williams, you should have took charge ya coward....you're a damn disgrace...damn disgraceful indeed" yells Cunningham.
The result of the second patrol :
Lt. Cavendish - KIA
Sgt Remmington - KIA
Cpl Willaby - KIA
15 Men plus 2 KIA
Peering through the binoculars Major Wilimgton's heart sank at the gruesome sight. Captain Addison stared at the rout in complete disbelief knowing full well the fate of the young officer, his inexperience cost him dearly. "There has to be another way, help has to be coming", the Major thought as he glanced blankly into the hills to the north. His thoughts drifted as the desert sun set turning the hot brutal day into a cold and uncertain night.
The game ended after 4 turns...2 Hour Wargames indeed! The British got crushed because I rolled complete crap. Even though I was tempted to fudge the rolls and the results I chose not to and let the game play on. The British really need to win one but this is it how it goes in the Sudan.
At this point the dervish are building up a sizable lead on the Brits. The next mission will be determined by a roll on the Mission Table.