Monday, September 15, 2014

Small Action - Battle at Wad Hamed (Sudan Campaign)

Well here we go again.  The dervish didn't win this one but were not totally decimated either.  Again, losing leaders and getting charged by cavalry made for a tough fight.  In this battle the Gunboat Kadesh makes a surprise appearance.  It managed to slip past the British river patrols and was making its way back to Khartoum when Lambert and Wharriers' forces arrived.  The objective of the Dervish was to defend and push the British back to Metemma and as a secondary objective protect the Kadesh.  There was no time to make repairs and the Kadesh had to get out of harms way as quickly as they could. 

So the Dervish had some great highlights when a war band repelled two British Cavalry charges on the ridge!  It may have been luck by the cavalry not passing their charge completion rolls but Mumbasa would beg to differ.  Allah willed it!  The third charge finally did them in but not until we killed and wounded some Indian cavalry.

Rules Notes:  On the last couple of turns the British got their guns within range of the Kadesh.  So I numbered the two guns and the Kadesh with some small die.  Using Boilers and Breechloaders we ran the river operations first, by pulling three cards to randomly fire a gun or the gunboat. Worked out great except that the Kadesh took more damage.

Another fun battle!
Last Stand Dan

And now of course we have to hear it from the British point of view.  

To Colonel Manley, Area Commander, Upper Nile
From Lt. Colonel Lambert, Detached


It is my great pleasure to report a highly successful engagement at Wadi Hamed on the Upper Nile, against a large force of the Mahdist rebels.  My own command, with the able support of Major Wharrier's Sikh command, met and defeated the enemy at this critical town and succeeded in clearing the area of Dervish fighters and securing possession of the docks.  Not incidentally, we also sighted and engaged the Dervish gunboat Kadesh, damaging its hull at the waterline and quite probably killing the captain!  All of this was accomplished with minor losses, and the combined forces of Major Wharrier and myself are fit for immediate action.

The action developed as follows:

My command consisted of the 111th Fuzileers, the 10th Hussars, and the 3rd Punjab Artillery.  The command of Major John Wharrier was in support, consisting of a squadron of Sikh cavalry, a platoon of Sikh rifles, and a Royal Artillery section.  Our orders were to capture the docks at Wadi Hamed.  As we advanced southward towards the docks, we sighted the plume of steam rising from the Arab gunboat Kadesh.  Major Wharrier was most eager to rush upon the docks and to bring the gunboat under fire, so I approved of his plan and allowed him to lead the attack while my own command gave support and provided flank security.  The Mahdist defenders occupied a low ridge between us and the docks.  As we advanced with all our cavalry along the bank of the Nile, our guns well forward and supported by the Sikh infantry, the Dervish attempted to take us in the flank from behind a rock outcropping.  I had already deployed scouts in this direction, which triggered the Dervish attack, but the main body of the Fuzileers were well prepared in close order and after a sharp melee the enemy were seen off to their Promised Paradise. 

Meanwhile, the guns of the Royal Artillery and the Punjab mountain howitzers were dealing terrible destruction to the Mahdists on the crest of the ridge.  Both cavalry units struggled to attain the crest, and each was thrown back once, but each time the other cavalry unit was able to fill the gap and maintain the contest for the crest.  At last, the Sikh infantry arrived in position to support a final push and the ridge was ours!  I immediately ordered all of the guns to occupy the ridge and engage the Kadesh, while Major Wharrier led the cavalry in a dash to the docks.  Our guns exchanged fire with those on the gunboat, but the enemy's fire was ineffective, while ours quite clearly caused significant damage before the enemy broke off and steamed away, notably with a list and obvious damage to the bridge.  At this point the enemy's morale was broken and they quit the field, leaving the usual large number of dead behind.

The docks are undamaged and quite serviceable for our own gunboats should that be your desire.  Losses to our forces were acceptably low, although I would of course request that replacements be brought forward to maximize our effectiveness for further duty.  I must commend the artillerymen of both commands who have given exceptional service throughout the campaign, and I would be remiss if I failed to mention the sterling performance of Major Wharrier, whose joyful attitude and exemplary tactics were indispensable to the success of this expedition.  I am proud to write that all of the units under my command performed admirably today, giving testament to the value of combined arms led by capable officers. 

I look forward to rapid receipt of your further orders.

I am sir,
Your obd't servant,
Lt. Col. JL Lambert

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