Saturday, 19 March 2011

Wargames Weekend: The Relief of Fort Kosheh

The final game of the weekend saw a return to the Sudan with an opportunity for me to use my recent Perry purchases and yet another outing for the Colonial Adventures rules. Lenin took command of the plucky Brits and I commanded the Mahdists.

A detachment from 1st Battalion The Queenʼs Own Cameron Highlanders and the 9th (Soudanese Battalion) supported by an artillery battery have been posted to Fort Kosheh.

The Mahdists have been attacking the fort sporadically for some weeks but their activity has now increased and the fort has come under an major assault. Messages have been dispatched requesting a relieving force, which needs to arrive soon...

Captain Cyril "Barmy" Fotheringay-Phipps, the officer commanding the fort, deployed his forces in defence despite sporadic rifle fire from some buildings overlooking the fort to the rear. The first Mahdist attack came toward the front wall. The egyptian artillery crew struggled to redeploy the gun to face the attack and the highlanders began a steady volume of fire into the approaching mob. The Mahdists took many casualties but came on and reached the wall where they set their ladders and began to climb. Despite his earlier exclamation that they were "all doomed!" Sergeant Jock Frazer steadied his men and ensured continued volleys into the enemy.

However, despite the steady British fire their numbers of wounded was rising and the Mahdists reached the top of the wall where a vicious melee ensued. The Mahdist numbers won out and they took a section of wall. Captain Fotheringay-Phipps kept a cool head and ordered the sudanese defending the other walls to about face and loosed a devastating volley into the Mahdists. This combined the rising casualties from the continuing fire from the tower was too much for the Mahdists who broke and fled.

With the attack repulsed Barmy redeployed his men again; this time to deal with the riflemen on the overlooking buildings. Concentrated British rifle fire combined with the egyptian cannon gradually took its toll and the rifle fire became more sporadic. Counting his losses Barmy was considering his next move when another threat appeared. This time a large mob of Fuzzy Wuzzys emerged from the scrub beyond the town, hell bent on charging the walls of the fort.

Another reshuffling of their steadily diminishing numbers saw the garrison ready to face this latest assault. This time their fire was properly co-ordinated and after a couple of particularly effective volleys the Mahdist attack faltered and they fled.

Meanwhile a relief column from Suakin was approaching commanded by Captain Hildebrand "Tuppy" Glossop with troops from the 1st Berkshires, some more Egyptian troops and a Royal Artillery screw gun.

The column advanced steadily towards the town but as they thought they would reach it unmolested an enormous horde of Mahdists appeared from a wadi to the flank of the leading Egyptians and charged!

The Egyptians hurriedly formed line but could not get off enough fire to stop the charge before it reached them. The Mahdist number soon began to tell and the Egyptians were losing men left, right and centre.

Tuppy kept his head and deployed the Berkshires in a line to the left rear of the Egyptians and poured fire into the Madhists. Eventually the Egyptians could hold no longer and their few remaining men withdrew behind the British line leaving the Berkshires to face the full force of Mahdists. The Berkshires remained steady and continued to fire into the Mahdist horde until it reached their line and a bloody melee began. The superior Mahdist numbers were grinding down the British defence but eventually the British discipline showed through and the attack was broken.

However, it was a much depleted column which arrived to relieve the fort...

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