Jackson Gamers' 30mm Colonial game, August 19, 2000

Action in the Nile Delta

The "Jessie S" with Gatling gun protruding steams down the fresh water canal, south towards the Nile.

This game was played with 30mm. armies built by Larry Brom in the 1960s and 1970s. The figures are old, much thinner and with less detail than modern 28mm. soldiers, but playing with these guys is SUCH fun!

In real life, the British fleet bombarded Alexandria at the start of the war and landed marines to seize the city. Some reinforcements were sent there, but most of the army sailed through the Suez canal and landed at Ismalia where it marched along a canal headed for Cairo. The climactic battle of the campaign was at Tel El Kebir.

In our game, the not quite so small British force at Alexandria probed south, seeking the Egyptian army. They advanced along the canal that connected Alexandria to the Nile, through a green and cultivated land which bloomed by fresh water irrigation from the canal. The British forces placed their left flank on the canal, and their right flank on the Alexandria to Cairo rail line. They were supported by an ad hoc armored train seized in Alexandria, and a small gunboat, the "Jessie S." on the canal.

Robert Whitfield Jay Stribling
Bryan Thompson Sean Pitts
Jim Pitts Fred Diamond

The British players, left to right: "Colonel" Bryan Thompson, "Colonel Cambell" (Jim Pitts) and "Brigadier" Robert Whitfield (Commander).

The Egyptian players, left to right: "Pasha" Fred Diamond, commander of the Sudanese, and the dhow fleet. "Pasha" Sean Pitts, commander of the Egyptian infantry and valiant defender of El Amal. "El Supremo" Jay Stribling, cavalry commander and valiant (but unlucky) son of the desert..

A hastily comandeered Egyptian train with a Gatling and three companies of infantry accomapnies the 93rd higlanders and the Grenadier Guards as the British advance along the railway line on their right flank.

The Egyptian brigadier rides slowly back and forth in front of the Egyptian mounted brigade. Little does he know that "El Supremo" is about to take over his troops and launch them through the British lines on a mad dash for glory!

Seeing a weakness in the British deployment, the Egyptian commander in chief took personal control of his mounted forces and led them courageously through a gap between the armored train and the Indian Brigade which was slowly slogging through wet irraget land, and charged the side of the armored train. His valor was of no use, because the locomotive driver saw him coming and threw the train into reverse, outpacing the camels and horses of the Egyptians (the train failed it't morale roll and backed off the table)

Unfortunately this was the high point of the Egyptian mounted units as they dashed to and fro in the British rear areas, trying to attack first one then the other Inidan battalion which repelled them from infantry square formation. The train came right back on and it's Gatling gun never stopped peppering the Egyptians.

The Egyptian mounted brigade trying to melee with the train.

On the canal the "Jessie S." commanded that part of the table with her Gatling gun and the rifles of the naval detachment. The Sudanese would come up onto the berm adjacent to the canal to fire rifles at the boat, but time and again were driven back into cover behind the canal bank due to the firepower of the boat. Eventually Sudanese bullets did stop the fire of the sailors, but the deadly hail of fire from the Gatling was never stopped.

A surprise attack with native dhows filled with Sudanese infantry was never able to close with the British vessel. Prayers to Allah for wind to fill the dhows' sails showed a lack of piety and the dhows could never catch the steam powered floating fortress of the infidels.

A line of arab dhows packed with Sudanese infantry enters the canal intent on closing with the "Jessie S" and boarding her.

The "Jessie S" with a hastily mounted Gatling gun cantilevered out from the foredeck steams up the canal searching for the enemy.

On the British Left, the cavalry commanded by Colonel Cambell (Jim Pitts) was seriously impeded by the poor going of the cultivated fields and the irrigation ditches. They came within range of the Soudanese riflemen on the Egyptian right and were bloodied. They inclined towards the center and were fired on by the white-coated Egyptians, and finally fell back due to casualties.

The British set up their cavalry on their left and this photo shows it crossing an irrigation canal and moving through cultivated fields (boggy wet nasty ground - yecch!).

Indian cavalry spur forwad to attack the Soudanese infantry. Alas, too few of them survived the fire to do damage..

Their attempts to find good positions for charges did tie down over half the Egyptian forces which were unable to intervene in the struggle for El Assan village on the extreme Egyptian left.

The Egyptian battalion which was in the town of El Assan fell back due to casualties, but "Pasha" Sean Pitts whipped it back into line and sent it forward again, with another supporting formation behind it. The Grenadier Guards can be seen massing for a column assault beyond the town.

Victorious on their right flank, the Grenadier Guards' colour proudly fly above El Assan.

The Egyptian battery scored a tremendous success early in the game, routing the 93rd highlanders from the field and later crippling the armored train, but the British Gatling and the Indian battery soon reduced it to impotence. A trememdous struggle around the village of El Assan resulted in the British guards battalion winding up in control of the town.

After 5 turns, a major morale check revealed that both armies were in "Broken" status and when a victory point total revealed each side with 21 points, the game was called on account of (imaginary) nightfall, and both sides were presumed to have stolen away in the darkness.

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