Thursday, January 26, 2012

Egyptians

Back in August 2008 I painted enough figures for my first unit of Egyptian regulars in the Sudan project - this is they (looking far too shiny for my tastes)

With the rules I was using at the time (and may still return to to tinker with) these two bases represented a company which is the operation manoeuvre unit for the rules...

In the Good Dusting rules the manoeuvre unit is slightly higher (battalion/regiment), so I've taken to representing battalions with four bases - another two bases of Egyptians were therefore required to allow me to represent them on the table top. Happily I had enough figures in the painting pile to do the job - in order to give them some focus I also gave them an officer and piper... it is a curious thing that Egyptian regiments have a bagpiper but an interesting browse on Wikipedia tells me:

"The [highland bagpipes] also spread to parts of Africa and the Middle East where the British military's use of pipes made a favourable impression. Piping spread to Arabic countries such as Jordan, Egypt and Oman, some of whom had previously existing bagpipe traditions. In Oman, the instrument is called habban and is
From the excellent Savage and Solder site..
used in cities such as Muscat, Salalah, and Sohar. In Uganda president Idi Amin forbade the export of African blackwood, so as to encourage local bagpipe construction, during the 1970s."

Got to love Wiki - who would have known Idi had a domestic bagpipe industry in Uganda....???

Anyway - the Egyptian army had it's (re)birth following the battle of Tel el Kebir in 1883, it started off eight battalions of foot, but by the time of Omdurman was up to nineteen. These were comprised of separate Egyptian and Sudanese troops.

My copy of Asquith's "Wargaming the Sudan" tells me that each Egyptian infantry battalion comprised four companies of 200 men up until 1898.

In order of seniority they had regimental numbers of 1st through 8th, and 15th through 18th (the Sudanese would have been numbered 9th - 14th) and the general opinion at the time was that the Sudanese were the cream of the army, with the Egyptian regiments often being placed in the second line as they were seen to be lacking in fighting spirit, or what our French colleagues would call panache...

Either way - here's the first picture of the new recruits...  the officer is typical (see bottom of this post for a cracking contemporary photograph), and for the Egyptian regiments were usually British - British officers seconded to the Egyptian any were given a commission of one or two ranks above their own.


The Egyptian (and Sudanese) infantry were armed with the classic colonial weapon, the Martini-Henry rifle and triangular socket bayonet.

Opinions on the fighting quality of the Egyptian regiments changed markedly after the battle of Ginnis, when the Egyptian regiments cleared part of the village in stiff hand-to-hand fighting and captured four Mahdist guns - clearly the training had paid off - from that point on the Egyptians were seen as "steady" while the Sudanese were seen as the shock troops....


...and here's the entire regiment deployed as one.... the two new bases in the middle with the originals on the wings....  I applied a layer of Dullcote to the original regiment which has matted them down nicely, but I think I'm also going to re-base them as the new MDF bases are considerably better....



So there you have it - either two company's of the 1st Egyptians, or the 1st Egyptians, depending on which rule set I use.... figures are 15mm and (I think) largely Peter Pig, not sure about the officer/piper, he may be Lancashire from the first big bag of figures I bought way back at the start of the project...

So 12 painting points, thank you very much - next on the painting table a regiment of Confederate infantry for the American Civil War project..

...as promised a contemporary photograph - if this doesn't show a certain insouciance I don't know what does!

Anglo Egyptian army officer - from the Soldiers of the Queen web site..
Other sources:

The Egyptian Army 1880 - 1900 the Savage and Soldier magazine article by Doug Johnson


7 comments:

  1. Nicely done. And I am patiently waiting for another wind-and-sand battle report.

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  2. They look good - love their khakis and fez heads. Dean

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  3. Love that photo! That is a man who enjoys a good Circassian dancing girl!

    Last time I was in Jordan I "enjoyed" being serenaded by a local military bagpiper. Bizarre!

    Nice Egyptian unit by the way!

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  4. Very nice. I do like Peter Pig's range. The chap in the photo bears a certain resemblance to the actor Nicholas Lindhurst - maybe his character's time-travel shennanigans in "Goodnight Sweetheart" extended farther back in time! ;)

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  5. Nice looking figures! As AJ commented I do like PP figures.

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  6. Not my period but I certainly appreciate the hard work you've put in there.

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  7. Not my period but I certainly appreciate the hard work you've put in there.

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