|The advance continues on with the Royal Marine Light Infantry leading the way|
From the last posting we can recall that Major General Cole has ordered the general advance and the column, full of confidence and bravado, sets off to ensure no further Gordon of Khartoum disasters for our good Governor Willoughby-Smythe.
One of the very enjoyable aspects of these rules is the fact that the umpire controls all the Mahdist forces via random determination in the old style "Pony Wars" style Reaction Charts, obviously altered for our desert surroundings. The Imperial players are therefore all working together (supposedly!) against the enemy.
|The 9th Bengal Lancers pass upon a nasty surprise|
We had decided to give Dave Docherty's "Ambush Deck" a first run this game. In the original Gilder rules the ambush dice ( percentage dice with a 20% chance of springing some nasty surprise) is rolled by the umpire every time an Imperial unit passes by. The "Ambush Deck" is pre-loaded by the umpire with both enemy, potential events and blanks and most importantly, is drawn by THE PLAYERS. They have no-one to blame but themselves for their predicaments and the look on their face as the tentatively draw the card is priceless.
This innovation will be permanent for our future games and included in the rules as an "Optional Rule" in the future.
As the Bengal Lancers approached the Oasis they came across a well hidden Krupp gun manned by chained captured Egyptian gunners being urged into action by a Mahdist overseer.
|28th Bengal Lancers uncover something as well.|
At the same time the Bengal Lancers were fired upon by a very keen group of Fuzzy Wuzzy gentlemen with a rescued Nordenfeld gun. They immediately opened fire on the C" Company and jammed on their seventh round. The Indian infantry, relieved that the clearing of this area suddenly became a much easier task than they had fought, immediately charged them and dispatched all the gunners.
|The Scottish Field Artillery - need to complete some limber teams.|
|The 3rd Egyptian Foot start to manouver|
|"The Friendly Shepherd" arrives in an Ambush Card. He will answer three questions truthfully...|
At this point several bands of Beja and Hadendowah had started to make their way onto the field, not in great numbers however dangerous enough to the point that they had to be dealt with.
The commander of the Yorks and Lancs, Steve Y in the guise of Colonel William Gibson at this point was asked to draw an ambush card and to his delight found it revealed the friendly shepherd who would answer any three questions of him truthfully with a "Yes" or "No" answer. Much hilarity ensued after Steve asked a very specific question detailing enemy dispositions and was answered with a quick and distinctly happy "YES". Lots of laughs.
|The cavalry ignore the Egyptian gun and carry on up the board.|
|Whilst the RMLI and Bengal Infantry issue sustained fire to silence the unfortunate crew|
|Beja spearmen appear suddenly on the British left flank.|
|What has captured these Egyptian soldiers attention?|
|Mahdist Camelry, some of the most feared troops in the game, suddenly pop up to the rear...|
|...and also to the flank.|
Mark B was commanding the 3rd Egyptian Foot very well and saw that his forces were being surrounded, having earlier taken care of a small ambush within the scrub to his front. He turned his companies and prepared to face the enemy.
|More Fuzzy spear make their way from the village into the Royal Marine Light Infantry and the |
lead regiments of the mighty Gordon Highlanders under Stephen B's command.
|Another view of the field of battle|
|The Naval Escort advance to the rear of the Gordon's who have broken into skirmish order to clear the scrub|
The ambushes that could have caused some significant damage to the column have turned out to be a damp squib and have been dealt with easily by the British and allied players.
However a key action is about to occur as the Egyptian Foot prepare to take on the camels to the rear of the formation. If they fail to deal with this very real threat, the column may well be skewered from within.
|The moment of truth as two companies prepare to stem the tide to the rear...|
|...and to the flank!|
With Colonel Gadfahi has the fate of the rear elements of the column entirely in his hands, one can only hope that the man is up to the enormous challenge ahead of him.
One can only hope.