23 January 2018

"Where is that wily fox Osman Digna?"

Not a photo depicting action from this weeks returns but a favourite nevertheless.


The week two returns were a joy to put together.  As mentioned in the previous posts, the fact that the players who were in the campaign took to the colour and atmosphere of a Victorian Colonial campaign with gusto absolutely made it a breeze.






The first page of Bullers returns from the Umpire, namely me!

Page two...always nice to have a bit of poetic license.

General Stewart appears to have a few things on his mind...

...as well as some challenges.

Scope for a bit of colour is the aim on these returns.

Despite the occasional grammatical error and question marks being omitted I like to
think it still reads well all these years later.


Not all correspondence is one way.  Major General Davis sends off a missive to his
Commander in Chief to make sure he knows whats' going on...


...and to ensure that vital supplies are not lost ion transit.


Gin may not be the first thing on his mind though.

Nothing like the battle being taken up to the boys in khaki.

Short and to the point methinks!

15 January 2018

The Campaign starts to warm up as order changes abound!

Time for some relaxing activities in camp outside Suakin.  "Now one needs to get some practise in before those lads
from the colony of New South Wales finally decide to arrive!"  Captain Lambton certainly looks the part.
The Sudan Campaign started up again shortly after the victorious action at Tukar Plains.  The forces continued to push on and the efforts to relieve the desert of the enemy was certainly gaining some momentum despite the occasional "challenge" put in front of the players.



Revised orders from General Graham start to make their way around the desert

Nothing worse than a message signed off from the boss in "disbelief"

Add caption



Redvers Bullers notes to the umpire prior to returns.  Very well written sir!

Now that's a lot of camels...whatever you do, don't get caught down wind.


As one can tell, the players were certainly getting into the spirit of the campaign and the correspondence and general esprit d'corps was outstanding.  The campaign was about to start to heat up literally as the forces of the Mahdi and his very trusty Lieutenant's were about to make life difficult for the Imperials...well in a gaming sense at least.

11 December 2017

The Battle is fought and campaign returns issued

One of the original photos of this particular battle. Excuse the glare on the very glossy prints of the time.
The battle was fought and won by the Imperial column after quite an early fright.  I had set out a campaign system very closely aligned to what I had managed to garner from Peter Gilders articles in Wargames World and Miniature Wargames.  This involved several aspects of returns for Imperial casualties which worked very well with what we were trying to achieve.



The Royal Marine Light Infantry in blue ( now repainted correctly in grey) advance.


I thought that it would be quite entertaining to maintain the narrative efforts in describing the battles and events and so decided that each return would be an ongoing campaign log of every unit that fought in the actual club games.  Therefore the returns for each column would have a brief description of the unit, how it fought, if any particular highlights or moments of glory had occurred etc.


A simple format which hopefully would give all the information required

A bit of a laugh when reviewing this all these years later!




The Umpires Master map with a quick overview of where everyone is and what may
be awaiting them in the coming campaign season!


I will include a few of the campaign rules in the next post and a few more details on how these were arrived upon and expanded to incorporate what we felt would be an ideal colonial feel for fighting table top battles in "The Sands of Sudan".


The Mahdist masses head towards a bit more shading and dipping in future years!





30 October 2017

"The Battle of Tukar Plains" - setting the scene

Egyptian troops on the march elsewhere in the theatre of operations


Apologies for the delay in getting the preliminary details of what was the first battle of our campaign out.  Life sometimes does have a habit of getting in the way of the fun things however I thought four weeks plus was far too long to leave thins up in the air.


As you recall the first weeks responses have been sent out to all the participants and Major General Davis has encountered some enemy to his front.


The plan for these campaign battles was to always use them as a way of introducing more players from the club into the games as required to serve several very important roles.


Firstly, it is always best when the column commander cannot control all the key roles in the battle.  Sometimes it is best to develop a small bit of character within the on-table personalities such as a head strong Cavalry commander, a stubborn Scots Guards Regimental Colonel etc.  In this way orders can at times be somewhat laxly interpreted much to the frustration of the overall Commander in Chief.


You can then also introduce small side lines into the battle which some of the minor players may be aware of without the C In C having an inkling of why Captain Tudway wont support Captain Smiths charge!


All good fun.


Very important to have all elements of the command led by named officers as
it does make the battle reports so much more personable.



All set for the battle ahead


So as you can see Major General Davis has a challenge ahead of him as he attempts to ensure he doesn't go the way of Pasha Hicks so early in the campaign proceedings.  The presence of a third party, in this case Roger Fredericks of "The Standard?" newspaper, whom none of the players will control also gives the umpire (me!) a lot of scope for wandering off into awkward situations, places that he should certainly not be in and even worse, areas where he could possibly put th entire columns well-being in jeopardy.


More soon.



14 September 2017

Sudan Campaign - the first returns look very interesting indeed!

Local civilian contractors oversee the collection and distribution of supplies
for the Imperial Columns campaigning in the coming months.


In the next instalment of the Sudan Campaign fought sometime ago we have a series of returns from the umpire, this humble writer in fact, to the four column commanders pulling all the strings in the Imperial Headquarters.


You will see that I endeavoured to respond to all the players in a narrative form rather than in a static, bullet point style which in my opinion lacked the scope to have the colour and flavour of an nineteenth century campaign


It also allows a bit of poetic license to create story lines within the columns which would be enable me to write in a few interesting scenario rules and requirements whenever troops made their way to the table.


I have also included the initial orders of Major General Redvers Buller.  These allowed me the right amount of substance to create a few interesting sub plots.



Buller sent out this missive to all Officers within the Nile Column

Continuation of standing orders - very important.  I wonder what the QM will be up to?

The remaining forces within the command.


The importance of the standing orders was certainly laid out to all the players prior to the campaign commencing and it was gratifying to see that some of them paid some attention to them.  It was even more satisfactory that two of them didn't!  Oh what fun we will have...


Mmm...a bit of an oversight!




Movement at Wadi Halfa - the gunboat leaves whilst the Egyptian Garrison practises
formation changes and battlefield drill and deployment on the outskirts

Sir Herbert Stewart has his hands full in more ways than one.




Just a quick aside in terms of language and terms used within the campaign.  The attempt was made to capture the terminology of a British Colonial force on campaign in the 19th century in trying conditions trying to conquer and subjugate the known world.  The feeling of superiority in every sense from our Oxford and Cambridge educated lads as well as the career soldiers promoted through the ranks was always to be one which was colourful to say the least when describing the locals.  Absolutely no offence is meant in anyway.


 
General Graham has a few interesting matters to be dealt with very early on.

General Davis cannot believe his luck...action from the get-go!




As you can see the lads have a bit to consider in their coming campaign week.







31 August 2017

Heliograph team on the workbench



Just needs a bit of positioning and terrain sculpting and it will be in business
Just a quick post to show the next Sudan project on the work bench at home.


This will be my version of the Imperial Heliograph section who will employed across the table top in their communication efforts with the distant columns as well as small garrisons under siege etcetera.


The figures come from a a variety of manufacturers.  The team itself is from Redoubt Miniatures who have some hidden treasures within their 28mm range including some cracking Sudan figures.  They are closer to 30mm than 28mm however that is fine as I wish these lads to look like big beefy Brits from engineering and signalling backgrounds in comparison to the Connoisseur Miniatures native that will join them on the base.


In addition I am toying with what mule to include as well.  The choices are a Castaway Arts mule who shows just the right amount of asinine stubbornness in his wonderful pose, or the two Connoisseur mules with water casks and wooden boxes astride both flanks.  You can also see that the marine ply cut out by good friend Mike W has been hacked by yours truly and needs a good deal of sanding and filing before any figures are stuck on the base at all.


Original photograph from the Sudan of a Heliograph team


There are quite an array of these equipment packs from the many excellent manufacturers of Sudan ranges and this as well as the wonderful Perry Miniatures one are certainly my favourites.

24 August 2017

The Campaign kicks off - General Grahams initial orders

A peaceful walk through the streets of Suakin prior to hostilities.




Thanks to all who have commented on the first post in the Sudan Campaign thread which started last week.  There is no doubt that the thrill of running or playing in an ongoing campaign at a wargames club or with like minded companions is a wonderful.  The one-off games where it gets to 10.00 pm at the club and you decide to throw in that last charge just for fun has far greater consequences whenever you have to back up your force again the next week in an ongoing campaign scenario.


So in the last post the general situation was unveiled to the players and they were all given a map of the area of strategic operations.  An overall commander stepped forward who would attempt to maintain the co-ordination of the columns as well as take command of one himself.  This was no small undertaking.


The lads all got into the spirit of the Colonial Campaign from the start and the choice of language, style of prose and spirit of adventure was prevalent from the absolute get-go.  Initial orders were dictated at Headquarters and relayed out to the Generals for immediate implementation.






It makes it easy when the chaps enjoy the concept of a colonial campaign and
take on the roles of commanders so well and in the flavour of the period.






Stewart's command out of Suakin would have some crucial tasks.











Major General Davis was intent on battles, fun and a few shenanigans on campaign.









Some standing orders are always a great idea as they take away the...ahem...flexibility
of the umpire to do nasty things in the field. 






Never can go too far in the desert without a ready made zareeba evacuation plan







We all like the characters names from "Four Feathers" don't we?


As you can see from the last image, I had asked all the players to name their Regimental Colonels, Company and Squadron Commanders etcetera to add some flavour to the entire escapade.


So the commands have been allocated and initial orders received from High Command.  How these will be interpreted, acted upon and responded to remain to be seen