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Wednesday Evening Wargame

The thing I like about wargaming is that it appeals to a wide section of people, you have your die hard "I am sorry but those epaulets did not appear on that uniform until a week later " through to your " Lets see what would have happened if the British used Sherman Fireflys at the battle of Cambrai 1916 ".

I do not have a million pounds to spend, so I have to use my camo green British cruiser tanks to fight my desert coloured Italians in 1941, and those same Italians may turn up in Stalingrad a week later.

So I guess what I am saying is my blog is grass roots wargaming, and as such, I took the following photographs using my mobile phone and make no apologies about the odd dining room chair featuring in the background. Either way, we rediscovered an old flame on Wednesday........Colonial Wargaming, and the excellent rules that capture the flavour of the period - Science versus Pluck

The Oasis

Anyway I had to get to an Oasis to help secure water for the intended advance of Kitchener's main army. For this little task I was given command of a Brigade which included Four companies of Guards, Four companies of Royal Marines, Four companies of Sikhs, A Sudanese Regiment, some artillery and a couple of Gatling guns. A Regiment of Bengal Lancers was also thrown in for good measure..........

The Bengals Lancers screening the advance of the British Square

The Lancers soon spotted some of the enemy forming up on a low hill in the distance. I decided that I would halt the square and use the Lancers to draw the 'Fuzzies' onto my defensive firepower. The guards where at the front, the Sikhs on the right flank and the Marines on the left flank. The Sudanese were forming the rear of the square. At each corner a Gatling or artillery piece.

The Square halts and forms up. The Marines in the foreground with the Guards in the distance.

The 'Fuzzies' massing behind a low hill

I sent the Lancers forward and sure enough, this caused the massing ranks of the enemy to start to move forward. The nice thing about Science versus Pluck is that the umpire only exerts some control over the enemy - a reaction test can wrest control from the umpire and the games takes on a life of its own.

The enemy charge forward towards the square.

An enveloping attack on the front three sides of the square develops and from nowhere appear a large group of camelry. The Lancers slowly withdraw towards the square. I am going to look for them to cover the poorly trained Sudanese regiment at the rear of the square.

The camelry advance at a trot

The Fuzzie infantry close on the Sikh regiment on the right flank of the square

It was not long until the Fuzzies closed with the right flank of the square and were faced by some of the finest troops in the Empire - the Sikh regiment, supported by a light artillery gun and a Gatling. 2000 enemy troops charge the line, facing just under 400 Imperial troops.

The guards meanwhile were facing around 3000 troops advancing steadily at the front of the square, and the Marines started to fire at 500 camelry trotting after the withdrawing Lancers.

The Sikhs open a withering fire on the advancing mass......500yds away, "that should stop em".....a reaction test....."nope, they love it....charge"

and charge they did 250, 200,150,100yds....."Volley fire, fire at will, throw the kitchen sink at em" and still they came on. It was at this point I threw a one for the artillery piece - causing it to jam, and a one for the Gating, causing it to jam - the joy of dice

In Science versus Pluck, officers play a big important part, and one such officer stationed with the Sikhs was Captain Bertie Chomondley-Warner. He saved the day with an emergency response for a mad minute of fire....................this resulted in a wall of bullets that even the fanatically brave Fuzzie could not stand, and quickly they withdrew leaving many casualties behind them. It was a close run thing I tell you.

Meanwhile the Marines continued to cause casualties on the camelry. The Lancers stopped, turned and formed up for a charge.......

The Guards stood firm and the 3000 foot warriors moved towards them, and they got to within 100yards before the order was given to open devastating effect. This group broke and ran.

The camelry and Lancers met in a crashing tide of men, horse and camel. The Lancers were famed horsemen and certain of victory.............I was relaxed. But the melee did not go as expected, in fact it was very much an even contest.

However, faced with meeting the British square alone, and suffering flank fire from the Marines, the Camelry disengaged and withdrew, with their honour very much intact. The night ended in a victory for the British and large casualties for the Mahdist forces, but it was a close run thing, and to be blunt, if were not for the actions of a certain Captain Bertie Chomondley-Warner the story may have had a very different ending..............................


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