Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dervish


"The term 'Dervish' is used to describe the Mahdi's followers, although he preferred the name 'ansar'.'Ansar' means 'helper' or 'follower'. It is used in the Koran to describe the people of Medina who helped the Prophet Mohammed when he was in exile. It conveyed the meaning of 'disciple', and implied a reward in after-life. 'Dervish' is a much wider term and describes a variety of Moslem friars. The word literally means 'poor' (from the Persian word, 'darvesh') and all dervishes were supposed to have taken vows of poverty and austerity".

..at last some time to get up into my (freezing) loft and get some pictures.. I've threatened to play DG but the cold up there is positively disincentivising, so many apologies for the delay, matey!

Herewith another couple of bases of ansar for the Colonial project..



According to Warner, the Dervish army comprised four main elements; the cavalry, the camelry, the Jehadia (these were the rifle armed foot soldiers, who were grouped together in specific units), and lasty, and most prolifically, the 'sword and spear men' (who these guys represent).


My research indicates that they were grouped into "rubs", or battalions, armed with swords, spears and some rifles, and were commanded by Emirs.

Dervish Emir..

They were composed of Baggara's (an Arab tribe from the southern Darfur/Kordofan region of central Sudan, and also the tribe of Abdallahi ibn Muhammad the Mahdi's second in command/planner), Ja'alin's (an Arab tribe from around Khartoum), or Danagla's (the Mahdi's own tribe, from Dongola), and my understanding is that the units could be a  mixture of all those tribes, even though my further understanding is that the Ja'alin and Danagla didn't get on well..  it seems to have been a strength of the Mahdi (or Muhammad Ahmad ibn as Sayyid Abd Allah to give him his full name) that like some great leaders he seemed to be able to persuade peoples who traditionally disliked each other, to forget their differences.


In his book Slatin [clicky] said there were about 7000 cavalry, 34000 Jehadia, and 64000 sword and spear men, so these guys form the majority of  my Dervish force (this would have been around the time of the siege of Khartoum)..

An Emir of the Baggara tribe
 ...and last of all a shot of the Dervish force to date.. artillery top right (an old muzzle loader), ten bases of "Arab" foot (plus the two above), four of Hadendoah (Bejah, the "fuzzy wuzzy" of Rudyard Kipling renown), two bases of cavalry, and two of camelry, plus a few casualty bases... these are based Gilder style with 8 to 10 figures per base, but where the number of bases is the important factor...


So..  two bases of Dervish foot, 19 figures, Peter Pig, 15mm..

17 comments:

  1. That's an impressive force - really like your basing!

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    1. Cheers Stryker... simplicity itself... undercoat sand colour paint, coat of PVA glue and then dip in builders (sharp) sand... add a few slightly larger bits of gravel, a couple of tufts of greenery and that's it.. the sharp sand is the key though, as it has sand but also grit/gravel - gives a nice effect

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  2. Great looking figures and basing - and great background/history for these guys.

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    1. Cheers DeanM.. I enjoy the research aspect... difference between gamers and wargamers I think.. :o)

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  3. Wow, they look great, and the bases are awesome....excellent job!

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    1. Cheers Phil.. someone once told me that a good base can make up for a poor paint job - I've been following their guidance all my hobby life.. :o))

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  4. Very nice, Steve! A great-looking force indeed . . . now I want to see them in action so I hope that your loft warms up soon.


    -- Jeff

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    1. Thanks Jeff, good to hear from you, and Happy New Year by the way.. I think these guys will be next on the table...

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  5. Steve, very nice think we are banding the same 60x30?
    You doing Sands of the Sudan? I haven't painted any mounted yet and was gifted some two dragon Ansar on Thursday ( think they're o.o.p now) they're very nice but the Peter Pig are v. Nice.
    Looking forward to starting on my Blue Moon Bengal lancers.

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    1. Hi Graham C - 50x30 from memory, MDF from East Riding Miniatures.. I have "Sands of the Sudan" but not had a chance yet to read them, so I suspect I will use "A Good Dusting".. See hear for a review http://theminiaturespage.com/news/300782

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  6. These look very nice, I'm just about to start this period myself :)

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    1. Neil - well done - it's a surprisingly addictive period in history!

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  7. They do look pretty impressive- even more so if you 'd have used Blue Moon - unashamed plug s!!!

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    1. Andy - I almost did when I bought the Bengal Lancers recently - you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I read that they were "big" 15mm???? Put me off as most of the project is Essex/Lancashire/Peter Pig....

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  8. Very nice Steve - look sensational in the scale.

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  9. What's that terrain you're using in those top three pics? Vinyl mat of some sort?

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    1. Hi Doug - I use the 2' square TSS Terrain tiles.. http://totalsystemscenic.com/product/us-1-undulating-sand/

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