Monday, July 08, 2013

"Khaki & Red" - a review...

Raced through this one - I've always found Featherstone to be hugely readable and this was no different.... 

If Grant & Young are seen as the black powder wargamers, for some reason I've always held in my mind that Featherstone was the colonial wargamer..  his grasp of the period and the sheer number of books he's written on the subject clearly mark it as a favourite period for him..

So what do you get in this book??

This book is in two parts - the first section on India (and in particular the North West frontier) with the second (and to me more interesting) section on Egypt (both the north, and the Sudan) The period covered is roughly from the end of Indian Mutiny to the end of the century (Omdurman)

The Indian section comprises a chapter on weaponry (both small arms and artillery), units, organisation, a summary timeline (yee gods they were busy on the frontier!) and then more detail on a number of the missions - a veritable plethora of wargaming scenario ideas here...

The Sudan section has the same basic set up, with slightly more detail (I thought) on the three actual campaigns he covers - the initial invasion (to replace Arabi Pasha), Khartoum and then the re-conquest.

The book was published in 1997, and to be honest for the Sudan section there's not really very much here that hasn't already been published in his Osprey books published three or four years earlier (and all of which I highly recommend)....
  • Khartoum 1885: General Gordon's last stand (1993)
  • Tel El-Kebir 1882 : Wolseley's Conquest of Egypt (1993)
  • Omdurman 1898 : Kitchener's victory in the Sudan (1994)
In summary, a good overview/summary of warfare in the period - if you want more detail for the Sudan I would pick the Osprey's (in conjunction with other authors/works).

Steve the Wargamer rates this as 7 out of 10 - but only because it's a reuse of previous research/books...  get it anyway for the splendid woodblock prints from the newspapers of the time that illustrate the book copiously!

Picture courtesy/copyright


  1. I always liked Featherstone's Colonial works. They were part of the inspiration behind my own Colonial efforts.

  2. Interesting - I was wondering if it was a repackaging of "Colonial Warfare Africa" and "Colonial Warfare India", but it seems that is not the case.

    Might have to pick that one up.

  3. CK - I've not read the India one yet - it's on my to read pile - but I read the Africa one sometime ago and *seem* to remember it deals mostly with events in southern Africa ie Zulu/Boer Wars..