9 April 2018

Bengal Lancers at the ready

Two squadron's await orders in a game played last year.

One of my all time favourite units in the collection has to be this unit of Bengal Lancers.  Beautifully designed sculpts from Peter Gilder, they still maintain the character and details within their poses and faces despite having been first made nearly forty years ago.

This particular unit was painted for me by Gerry Web of Castaway Arts fame many ,many years ago.

The Captain signals the advance. Lovely Connoisseur Miniatures available through Bicorne in the UK

Apologies for the delay in posts this year as the other blog has been a bit more active with Napoleonic's and WW2 action.

I promise that this Sudan blog will be re-entering the fray with more campaign updates and some new models relating to the railways during the campaign.

9 February 2018

Sudan Heliograph team now complete - is it a sign?

Looking for the enemy or simply communicating with the column.

Finally I have managed to get a few hours to devote to a project that has been on the table for quite sometime:  My Redoubt Miniatures Heliograph team.

This will be in use for the forthcoming games and testing out some scenarios etcetera for possible future articles and publications.

Another view of the excellent equipment kit from their often forgotten Sudan range.

These Redoubt Miniatures have been in the collection for many years.  When I say collection I do mean "lead pile" and has painted up very well.  I have based them on an irregular footprint so that they can have a suitably rugged environment to do their vital work in.

The table covering is an excellent desert mat recommended to me by the very clever
Dave Docherty of "One Man and His Brushes" fame.

A nice Connoisseur Miniatures animal handler and mule managed to make their way onto the base as well.

Hopefully these will be on the table very soon.

23 January 2018

"Where is that wily fox Osman Digna?"

Not a photo depicting action from this weeks returns but a favourite nevertheless.

The week two returns were a joy to put together.  As mentioned in the previous posts, the fact that the players who were in the campaign took to the colour and atmosphere of a Victorian Colonial campaign with gusto absolutely made it a breeze.

The first page of Bullers returns from the Umpire, namely me!

Page two...always nice to have a bit of poetic license.

General Stewart appears to have a few things on his mind...

...as well as some challenges.

Scope for a bit of colour is the aim on these returns.

Despite the occasional grammatical error and question marks being omitted I like to
think it still reads well all these years later.

Not all correspondence is one way.  Major General Davis sends off a missive to his
Commander in Chief to make sure he knows whats' going on...

...and to ensure that vital supplies are not lost ion transit.

Gin may not be the first thing on his mind though.

Nothing like the battle being taken up to the boys in khaki.

Short and to the point methinks!

15 January 2018

The Campaign starts to warm up as order changes abound!

Time for some relaxing activities in camp outside Suakin.  "Now one needs to get some practise in before those lads
from the colony of New South Wales finally decide to arrive!"  Captain Lambton certainly looks the part.
The Sudan Campaign started up again shortly after the victorious action at Tukar Plains.  The forces continued to push on and the efforts to relieve the desert of the enemy was certainly gaining some momentum despite the occasional "challenge" put in front of the players.

Revised orders from General Graham start to make their way around the desert

Nothing worse than a message signed off from the boss in "disbelief"

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Redvers Bullers notes to the umpire prior to returns.  Very well written sir!

Now that's a lot of camels...whatever you do, don't get caught down wind.

As one can tell, the players were certainly getting into the spirit of the campaign and the correspondence and general esprit d'corps was outstanding.  The campaign was about to start to heat up literally as the forces of the Mahdi and his very trusty Lieutenant's were about to make life difficult for the Imperials...well in a gaming sense at least.

11 December 2017

The Battle is fought and campaign returns issued

One of the original photos of this particular battle. Excuse the glare on the very glossy prints of the time.
The battle was fought and won by the Imperial column after quite an early fright.  I had set out a campaign system very closely aligned to what I had managed to garner from Peter Gilders articles in Wargames World and Miniature Wargames.  This involved several aspects of returns for Imperial casualties which worked very well with what we were trying to achieve.

The Royal Marine Light Infantry in blue ( now repainted correctly in grey) advance.

I thought that it would be quite entertaining to maintain the narrative efforts in describing the battles and events and so decided that each return would be an ongoing campaign log of every unit that fought in the actual club games.  Therefore the returns for each column would have a brief description of the unit, how it fought, if any particular highlights or moments of glory had occurred etc.

A simple format which hopefully would give all the information required

A bit of a laugh when reviewing this all these years later!

The Umpires Master map with a quick overview of where everyone is and what may
be awaiting them in the coming campaign season!

I will include a few of the campaign rules in the next post and a few more details on how these were arrived upon and expanded to incorporate what we felt would be an ideal colonial feel for fighting table top battles in "The Sands of Sudan".

The Mahdist masses head towards a bit more shading and dipping in future years!

30 October 2017

"The Battle of Tukar Plains" - setting the scene

Egyptian troops on the march elsewhere in the theatre of operations

Apologies for the delay in getting the preliminary details of what was the first battle of our campaign out.  Life sometimes does have a habit of getting in the way of the fun things however I thought four weeks plus was far too long to leave thins up in the air.

As you recall the first weeks responses have been sent out to all the participants and Major General Davis has encountered some enemy to his front.

The plan for these campaign battles was to always use them as a way of introducing more players from the club into the games as required to serve several very important roles.

Firstly, it is always best when the column commander cannot control all the key roles in the battle.  Sometimes it is best to develop a small bit of character within the on-table personalities such as a head strong Cavalry commander, a stubborn Scots Guards Regimental Colonel etc.  In this way orders can at times be somewhat laxly interpreted much to the frustration of the overall Commander in Chief.

You can then also introduce small side lines into the battle which some of the minor players may be aware of without the C In C having an inkling of why Captain Tudway wont support Captain Smiths charge!

All good fun.

Very important to have all elements of the command led by named officers as
it does make the battle reports so much more personable.

All set for the battle ahead

So as you can see Major General Davis has a challenge ahead of him as he attempts to ensure he doesn't go the way of Pasha Hicks so early in the campaign proceedings.  The presence of a third party, in this case Roger Fredericks of "The Standard?" newspaper, whom none of the players will control also gives the umpire (me!) a lot of scope for wandering off into awkward situations, places that he should certainly not be in and even worse, areas where he could possibly put th entire columns well-being in jeopardy.

More soon.

14 September 2017

Sudan Campaign - the first returns look very interesting indeed!

Local civilian contractors oversee the collection and distribution of supplies
for the Imperial Columns campaigning in the coming months.

In the next instalment of the Sudan Campaign fought sometime ago we have a series of returns from the umpire, this humble writer in fact, to the four column commanders pulling all the strings in the Imperial Headquarters.

You will see that I endeavoured to respond to all the players in a narrative form rather than in a static, bullet point style which in my opinion lacked the scope to have the colour and flavour of an nineteenth century campaign

It also allows a bit of poetic license to create story lines within the columns which would be enable me to write in a few interesting scenario rules and requirements whenever troops made their way to the table.

I have also included the initial orders of Major General Redvers Buller.  These allowed me the right amount of substance to create a few interesting sub plots.

Buller sent out this missive to all Officers within the Nile Column

Continuation of standing orders - very important.  I wonder what the QM will be up to?

The remaining forces within the command.

The importance of the standing orders was certainly laid out to all the players prior to the campaign commencing and it was gratifying to see that some of them paid some attention to them.  It was even more satisfactory that two of them didn't!  Oh what fun we will have...

Mmm...a bit of an oversight!

Movement at Wadi Halfa - the gunboat leaves whilst the Egyptian Garrison practises
formation changes and battlefield drill and deployment on the outskirts

Sir Herbert Stewart has his hands full in more ways than one.

Just a quick aside in terms of language and terms used within the campaign.  The attempt was made to capture the terminology of a British Colonial force on campaign in the 19th century in trying conditions trying to conquer and subjugate the known world.  The feeling of superiority in every sense from our Oxford and Cambridge educated lads as well as the career soldiers promoted through the ranks was always to be one which was colourful to say the least when describing the locals.  Absolutely no offence is meant in anyway.

General Graham has a few interesting matters to be dealt with very early on.

General Davis cannot believe his luck...action from the get-go!

As you can see the lads have a bit to consider in their coming campaign week.