Thursday, March 13, 2014

Battle for Atbara (Sudan Campaign)

Battle for Atbara

Other Campaign Notes (5th Season)
You can see on the map that we have the British moving in from the north and east.  They have the gunboat Cairo racing for Abu Hamed to open the railway.  A new desert column is advancing across the desert to Abu Klea and then on Metemma.  The campaign is going to be a lot of battles from this point, this one being the first to be fought in this season.  Abu Klea (scheduled a couple of weeks from now) and there will be a micro battle at Abu Hamed with the Gunboat Cairo's RMLI and Sailors involved.   Again stay tuned for that one.

The Battle for Atbara (1st Battle of the 5th season - Sudan)

I will begin this segment using the excellently written report by Major Manley which is followed by pictures of the battle fought yesterday here in my War Room.  I hope you enjoy it.

(Begin message from Manley)
Commanding Officer, Headquarters
Suakin, Sudan

From the Desert near Atbara,

Your Honor,

I am pleased to report our successful contact with the enemy.  We have destroyed the forces immediately to our front and are continuing to move towards Atbara.  The men are in high spirits as a result of today's action in spite of the casualties we took in defeating the Madhi forces.  The Dougna and his men were last seen retreating into the hills from which they came.

The battle did not start out well as we encountered unforeseen terrain conditions which delayed our advance.  Therefore we did not push as far forward as we had hoped before forming our square.  I will describe the action and heroics of many of the officers and men.

First and foremost is the bravery and success of Captain Stockton and the 9th Egyptians.  These men formed the rear of our square and were seriously pressed by three separate Fuzzy attacks as well as a rear attack from native camelry.  Throughout it all the men fired with effectiveness and fought three melees; each time causing 75% casualties, forcing the enemy back and eliminating any threat to our rear.  They suffered 40% casualties but retained their heart throughout it all.  Captain Stockton and the unit deserve special recognition.

Major Forte commanded the 8th Egyptians and the Egyptian gun on the left side of the square.  Though they were not heavily engaged being furthest from the enemy, the gun was very effective in damaging oncoming camelry and infantry to our front.  Additionally, Major Forte was able to kill one of the camel leaders with fire from his pistol and his infantry helped to turn back the camel charge on the rear of the 9th.  The gun was in the thick of the conflict and suffered 75% casualties from the sniping camelry in the hills to our left.  After forcing back the two camel units Major Forte and the 8th formed line to the front and fired on the move keeping the enemy on the run.

The Northumberland Fusiliers were heavily engaged to the front of our square.  They faced six native foot units and one camel charge.  Throughout it all they fired effectively and held their ground though suffering 50% casualties.  As with the Egyptians at the rear of the square, the jobbers (is this right John?) fought effectively, suffering all of their casualties in hand to hand fighting.  Several times the natives were close to breaking their line, but the men held strong, forcing the enemy back and reforming their line.  Lieutenant Wood was seriously wounded during one of the melees by a native sword after killing numerous enemy from the front line.  As the enemy fell back the men were able to gather up their dead and wounded to advance as a reserve.  They had fought well and have been recognized by their comrades.

The KRRC fired effectively and forced all enemy to the front and rear of the square.  Lieutenant Summers should be recognized for accurate fire; killing the leader of a fuzzy charge on the gun in the corner of the square.  This along with the fire from the troops forced this charge back and probably saved many of the gun crew.  Additionally, their fire helped kill many of the fuzies attacking the 9th Egyptians.  As the enemy attack began to falter, the men moved to the front to allow the Fusiliers to reform, and along with the 8th Egyptians and the gun kept up a furious fire while pushing the enemy.

The most desperate situation occurred when we first attempted to advance after disordering most of the enemy.  Our advance was disjointed and this exposed the rear of the 9th Egyptians to a surprise camel charge from the hills to our left.  These troops had been sniping from the hills but suddenly saw a gap in our line and charged.  In spite of their advance, the Egyptians held strong to the fuzzys charging their front, knowing that the rest of our force would come to their support.  We are able to turn both guns on the charging camels and killed 90% of the enemy before they could contact the Egyptians; the remaining camel was unable to close and left the square the way they came.  This eliminated the situation and allowed our forces to reorganize and advance towards Atbara.

I found myself supporting the Fusiliers to the front of the square for the majority of the fight.  Several times as the line was opening, I found myself in the gap helping to rally the men and close the lines.  Additionally I was able to support the Fusiliers fire on the charging Ansar; felling two war band leaders; helping to force back their charges.

I can not speak highly enough of the effectiveness and stoutness of our forces and their leaders.  Their efforts left hundreds of the Madhi forces lying in the sand with their bones to be absorbed by the desert.  I do request the immediate support of reinforcements for our Egyptians (seven dead including Lieutenant Aman, and one wounded in the 9th Egyptians and six dead and three wounded in the 8th.  Additionally we need seven men in the Fusiliers to replace KIA's.  Hopefully Lieutenant Wood will recover quickly along with the two other wounded men.

Your obedient servent,
Major Manley, KRRC
Desert Column Commander

Here are the pictures from the battle.  

1 comment:

Mad Guru said...

Beautiful Battle Report, Dan! Looks like it was a close run thing, with the 9th in danger of annihilation at the end. Really gorgeous photos. I'm excited to keep watching as you and your fellow club members keep playing this campaign!