Monday, July 7, 2014

GUNBOAT! The Cairo goes into Action (Sudan Campaign)

The Cairo was ordered to sail to Atbara to support Manley's siege in the upcoming days.  The Kadesh was seen moving downstream toward Berber so the Cairo and Giza were on alert.  You saw the Giza was damaged and was docked at Berber after supporting Elder's attack on the city.  This is the battle of the Cairo meeting up with the Kadesh.

Using the excellent set of Gunboat rules Boilers and Breechloaders, 4th Edition I set up the ambush of the Cairo.  The Cairo was moving slowly coming around a shoreline when it broke out into some open waters of the Nile.  In front of Captain Andrew's was the protected vessel the Kadesh, a converted side-wheeler ferry boat.  The Dervish rolled two Krupp guns on the forward and aft decks. Additionally, rifle and swordsmen were crowded on the deck in hopes of grappling and boarding the Cairo.  Two more Dhows were loaded with swordsmen to do the same.  With a 6" current and an easterly breeze of 6" it was a perfect situation for the Dervish flotilla.  

The Cairo started stoking the coals and building speed throughout the battle until it was steaming at 13+ Knots against the current.  With the size and speed it was not going to be stopped.  All the Dervish could do was to try and slow it down with some boarding actions but that didn't happen.  The Kadesh was soaking up a lot of hits and because of its size had to go to the Special Damage chart frequently as they took on damage.  Boiler hits, gun destroyed, captain almost hit, and failed morale had the Kadesh keeping its distance from the deadly Cairo.  

One battle incident was when one of the Dhows turned across the bow of the Cairo only to get rammed when Captain Andrews unexpectedly made a hard turn to port which put the Dhow right in the path to get rammed.  The second dhow had a chance to grapple but failed and because the Cairo cleared both boats so quickly (getting the Cairo card first) they would never catch up.  

The Royal Marines were crack shots in this battle and took down some Dervish troops.  The Nordenfeldts also got into action and peppered the Kadesh from the Port side gun ports.  The 3" gun of the Cairo is deadly when hitting wooden vessels.  It causes 4 hit points a hit on Wooden Boats.  If the Kadesh was not there the Dhows would have been blown out of the water.  I think a few more dhows creating a line of battle providing more grappling opportunities could make things interesting for the British.  

So the Cairo creating all kinds of havoc for the Dervish flotilla is on its way to Atbara.  It may make it in time, we will see.  The problem will be with the Giza that is damaged with the Kadesh moving downriver to engage it.  We will fight that battle soon.  

Captain Andrews:
Slowly navigating a bend in the river I found open water an ordered full speed ahead.  I also spotted the Dervish flotilla waiting for us.  My orders were to press through to Atbara at all costs.  So as I engaged the Dervish I continued to increase speed.  I ordered one hard turn to port to line up our exit point away from the small island on our starboard side.  I ordered the 3" to open fire at long range and the battle was on.  We steamed forward and continued to punishing the Kadesh and engaging the two dhows filled with warriors.  After maneuvering to port I was able to get our aft 6pdr into action.  My Marines and Nordenfeldts also engaged the enemy as they came in closer.  One dhow mistakenly moved across our bow and I ordered us to ramming speed.  We hit the dhow, damaging it and then slid past it as we moved up river.  The second dhow tried to grapple with us but failed.  Our damage was light but I am sure the Kadesh was hurt because they unexpectedly disengaged and kept their distance from my gunners.  I did have the intention of slowing to eventually sink her but proceeded with the mission to move up river with great haste.
Captain Andrews

HMS Cairo

A few pictures of the battle....


Mad Guru said...

Wow, Dan, awesome AAR filled with FANTASTIC pics!!! More confirmation I did the right thing when bestowing your recent Liebster award! Relax, that's the last time I'll ever mention it, but I can't wait to see what comes next on the Nile!

Furt said...

Must say I discovered your blog because of Mad Guru and I'm happy I did. Great report and cool pics. I have been looking back through all the AARs, but must say the river actions are the BEST!


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Top dog.. most enjoyable!

Sgt. Guinness said...

Another amazing AAR! Your AAR's flow like a movie, they are so much fun and inspirational. The custom Gunboats you fabricated are Awesome brother!!!! The Liebster award Mad Guru bestowed upon you is definitely appropriate.