Friday, February 17, 2012

Sudan Wargame

This afternoon 11 brave young wargamers delayed the start of their weeklong vacation to participate in a large colonial wargame.  A 12 foot by 4 foot table was set up, bathed in the late afternoon sunlight.

Six native players were set to take on five imperial ones.  The native commanders could talk to one another, but the British commanders couldn't.  This proved to be a tremendous advantage.

The winner would be determined by points.  These could be accumulated by destroying enemy units as well as taking key geographical objectives on the table.  At one end there was a small town held by two companies of highlanders and two companies of raw militia.  Adding to the defense was a section of royal artillery and one of miserable native stock.  In the middle was a vital oasis defended by two companies of redcoats.  And then at the extreme opposite end was the bulk of the allied force made up of four British companies, three Egyptian, two sections of royal artillery, two troops of British lancers, two troops of Egyptian cavalry and a large baggage train.

To oppose this formidable force were several groups of native warriors.  Initially, this observer thought they would be hard pressed to make their way through sheets of disciplined fire to come to grips with their enemies, but this proved not to be the case.

The town, awaiting the assault
The powerful relief column
The two companies trying to defend the oasis are overwhelmed by native cavalry.

 The British were not able to coordinate their defense.  Each company seemed to fight a battle of its own with little or no support from the others.  Inevitably, each would be swallowed up by vast numbers of howling tribesmen.

This last picture is symbolic of the problems that plagued the British commanders throughout the game.  Note the limbered artillery at the rear of the town.  What a difference it could have made.  But alas, the two young lieutenants found this out too late.  It cost them and their men their lives.

Despite the lopsidedness of the victory, everyone agreed that it was a fun game.  As the young commanders bounded off into the coolness of the evening to begin their vactions, one could hear talk of a rematch being requested.  That's always a good sign.

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