Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Battle of Omdurman

This past Saturday, Manny hosted the battle of Omdurman at his home.   The rules used were Reckless Daring written by Manny and published by Hoplite Research.  I was Kitchner and commanded the mounted troops on the right flank.   Gill commanded the British infantry in the center, while Nick and Alan commanded the Egyptian and Sudanese infantry on the left flank.   Mahdi Manny commanded our opponents with Richard in charge of the right flank, John leading the center and Jim arriving from off table on my right.   We also had a large artillery park consisting of two medium gun batteries, one howitzer battery, and four machine gun batteries.  The original plan for the game was to require the British forces to advance up the river and take the city, but due to space limitations this was not included.

I assigned the howitzers and one machine gun battery to Nick and Alan.   Except for two artillery sections and one machinegun section the rest of our guns were under Gill's command and interspersed amongst the infantry battalions.   Since our European troops would have suffered from heat and dehydration if they advanced too far from the river our plan was to hold our positions and let the Mahdists break themselves on our defenses.

The battle began with an aggressive advance by Richard against Alan and Nick and a cautious advance by John in the center.   Richard attempted to charge into Nick and Alan's infantry, but his charges were either halted by gunfire or driven back with heavy casualties.   John held back and only advanced to just over halfway across the table.  Gill was able to inflict some long range casualties with his artillery and caused one of John's infantry units to break.  Gill had the Guards battalion and one of the Highlander battalions in reserve.  The snipers on the hill never had an effect on the battle as they were our of range of our defenses.

I had most of the camel corps and mounted infantry dismount and occupy the buildings on my flank with a couple of squadrons mounted in reserve.   For the first two turns I had been waiting for the enemy to attack on my flank, but had not seen anyone in front of me.  Manny and JIm then announced that a large dust cloud was approaching from my right.  This was followed by the arrival of about half of Jim's command.  The next turn I charged the 21st Lancers into the two units on his left next to the river.   The Lancers quickly drove them from the field.  The left two squadrons continued their charge into the next group of infantry to their left and drove them from the field also.   I had been able to halt the two squadrons on the right and had them reform, but the left two squadrons continued their pursuit off the table.   They were to return later.   I had to recall the right two squadrons towards the buildings before they could finish reforming to avoid flanking artillery fire from Jim.   Jim quickly advanced the rest of his command towards the buildings as more of his infantry arrived.   His advance came under fire from my guns and the two reserve camel units that I had moved up and dismounted to support the guns.   The 21st recovered and with the rest of the squadrons arriving drove more of Jim's infantry from the field triggering a morale check for his command.   The morale test failed and Jim's troops fled the field. 

At one point our gunboat came under attack when it was boarded by enemy troops on boats in the river.   The better quality naval crew was able to drive off the two waves of attacks, but suffered heavy casualties.

At this point our opponents conceded the battle.   Nick and Alan had suffered some casualties, but had done an excellent job of holding off Richard's attacks.   Gill had held his position and his artillery fire and his strong position had kept John at bay.   Manny had some additional troops in reserve on the far side of the table from me.   While the 21st was a bit worn from combat the other 10 squadrons of mounted infantry that I had would have been able to advance and start rolling up the enemy's left flank even with Manny's reserve command  to oppose them.
Overall view of the battlefield with Egyptian and Sudanese infantry in foreground.
 Artillery and machineguns
 The gunboat.
 The mounted command
 Enemy snipers on the hill
 Enemy right flank (at bottom) and center commands
 Mounted infantry deployed in buildings with part in reserve.  21st Lancers at bottom right outside built up area.  
 British infantry and guns defending works
 Our left flank.  Nick's command at far left.  Alan's command at buildings
 Jim's command arrives on my right flank and the 21st Lancers charge into action.
 John's command arrives on far edge of table
 Near the end of the battle just before Jim's command broke.   
 John slowly advances towards Gill and gets to about the middle of the table.
Richard's attack on our left flank is halted by gunfire.

Alan was kind enough to send the pictures he took of the game.   The following were all taken by him.  Thanks to Alan for allowing me to post them.
 Part of Alan's command in front of buildings.  Highlanders in building.
 View of front of British infantry behind works
 our gunners prepare their weapons.
 21st Lancers
 Richard's command advancing
 Awaiting the onslaught

 Mahdists form up
 Nick's command   mahdist infantry has been disorganized by fire
 Mahdist casualties mount.
 Gill in red John towards the back and me wearing the mandatory helmet provided by Manny. .  Nick and Alan's  forces are almost untouched
 21st Lancers attack the second group of infantry.  They would chase them off the field.
 Mahdist infantry make contact with Nicks command 
Mahdist infantry about to be thrown back 
 John's command advancing
The 21st strikes again routing this unit would cause the morale test for Jim's command.


Prufrock said...

Nice looking game, Bill!

William Butler said...

Manny always puts on a great game.