Thursday, October 13, 2011

Retreat to the coast.. Moves 5 to 8

So you may remember that in the last thrilling instalment, Wade-Smith and his trusty companion, the Belgian Observing Officer Captain Lucien Verbeek (with his horse Teufel.. ) are making their way back to the coast following the completion of a reconnaissance mission north of the Suez port of Suakin..  they have have nearly reached the coast where they will be picked up by gunboat, when the sound of Dervish drums alerts them to the presence of a Dervish force in the immediate area...

...back to the battle....

Move 5:

The Imperial infantry continue the formation of their square... In order to give as much frontage as possible, Wade-Smth leaves the "back" of the square open - time will tell if this is a mistake, but he works on the assumption that he needs to provide shelter in the centre for the artillery and crew...

Cover from the Penguin addition of "The Four Feathers" if I'm not mistaken
His cavalry and artillery continue to pour an extraordinarily ineffective fire into the closest of the two Dervish units charging them..

For the Dervish, another unit appears, this time they are Hadendowa, the feared and renowned fuzzy-wuzzy of Kipling fame, alerted by the sound of gun fire and the drums...

Move 6:

The Imperial square completes, but the firing by their dismounted cavalry, and the screw gun, is atrocious and the Dervish continue to close on the Imperial line (on a rules note - and that's all the text in purple - I've never seen so many 1's and 2's on an infeasibly large number of D6' in my life... as an example, at close range the artillery are throwing two D6/crew so that's eight dice hitting on a 4 or more - in the throw this move every dice was a 1 or 2 except one solitary 4, and when I threw again to kill I missed.. clearly they are suffering from some kind of heat exhaustion..)

Elsewhere, the other Dervish units appear to be suffering the same ennui as the Imperial firing parties - they are out of sight of the Imperial force and in several instances remain in their original position only making slow progress towards the centre of the attack... just as well really, or Wade-Smith's "promising" career could be over almost before it started!

Move 7:

Position at the End of Move 7 - Dervish cavalry have arrived - the assault (right) is gathering pace but has been fragmented by the rocky outcrop that has caused one of the Dervish units to slow so as to manoeuvre round it...

..and more Dervish reinforcements arrive, this time in the form of some cavalry who deploy on the hill just to the side of the farm (NB. In scenario terms that's all the first wave of Dervish units now deployed)

The assault on the Imperial line is going well, albeit the Dervish have still only managed to concentrate one unit - the Dervish attack has now entered close range and the Imperial fire picks up additional vigour but remains ineffective - just three casualties so far from 3 rounds of fire!

Move 8:

At last after working like demons the crew of the little screw gun load, fire and reload, and cause massive casualties on the charging dervish - just yards away they falter (the black flag indicates that that one of the bases, which represents two stands of six figures, is down to one stand. The red dice indicates only four left on the second stand. Imperial force has therefore inflicted eight casualties on the unit - the Dervish "pluck" rating is 7, one less, so they have to test their pluck which they then fail.... next move they'll only advance half, and will have to test again... for pluck think "morale"... a simple process but remarkably effective)


the Imperial square continues to advance on the coast - wade Smith's view is that the cavalry and the gun will be able to take care of the Dervish charging them... he may be right...... to his from however, he has just seen a howling mob of fuzzy-wuzzy breasting the dune, and coming straight at him....

The Dervish cavalry is swinging round as they have also spotted the Imperial units... the two Dervish units with green pins - bottom left, and bottom centre - are rifle armed....

Position at the End of Move 8 - Dervish units all over the table are now beginning to converge on the small Imperial force.. at the top of the table one Dervish force is almost within charge reach - the cavalry and Hadendowa are within sight so heading straight at them...

Stay tuned for further instalments - getting exciting - certainly gives me something to dwell on whilst cycling to work after having done a few moves!


  1. ...and the battle rages on! Great slugfest. Keep it coming. Oh, and by-the-way, keep your mind on your work today!

  2. I look forward to more . . . and (please) some analysis as to why you like "A Good Dusting" in preference to even your own rules.

    -- Jeff

  3. I too look forward to more. Great stuff so far.

  4. This could go either way, quite enjoyable sir.