Mahdist War, Battle of Kirbekan 1885 – making a start

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My friend Peter Riley who has written a number of Wargames rules, including the Polemos American Civil War (ACW) and the Franco-Prussian War (FPW), sent me a copy of his unpublished colonial rules “A Steady and Deliberate Fire” a long time ago to try out and give him some feedback.  Doing something and giving them a try is long overdue.

By the way Peter is one half of the Wargamer Collection Calculator Crew that I have talked about before on this page, check them out here.

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Screenshot from their page

In addition they are doing a Little Big Horn Project in 6mm that I have been following with some interest (here is a good starting point).

I did acquired a large amount of 6mm Baccus Colonial miniatures in a “bring and buy” sale many years ago and have wanted to find some inspiration to do something with them.  I did some colonial stuff using the Men Who Would be King rules for 6mm Skirmish (link here, here and here).  That was really fun and The Little One and I have had fair amount of fun table time with those.

Redcoat Infantry, modelled for Skirmish and the 1-2-3 basing, that allows individual figure removal (I let you figure it out)
From one of the actions, some Zulus closing in!

However, I wanted something for bigger battles – and skimming through the rules Peter had sent me last week I found the Kirbekan Battle in 1885 (link here) that would require about 30 bases to play on a 6 by 4 table using 60mm frontage, and with 40mm bases it could be played on a normal kitchen table, on a 4’6″ by 3″ table.

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The rules are extensive and although I have not yet understood them I have decided, as a little side project, to do the two sides of the battle and use it as a vehicle to learn the rules.  In future posting I will write more details about the actual Battle and these rules.

With regards to basing (from the rules):

  • a base of Infantry represents an Infantry Company, about 65 to 180 men.
  • A base of Cavalry represents a Cavalry unit of about 65 to 130 men and horses.
  • Support Weapon bases represent and group of 1 to 3 guns.

According to Donald Featherstone’s excellent Khartoum book (published by Osprey) The British General Earle had the following force available at the battle (the book also contain the typical Osprey 3D map of the Kirbekan battle):

  • The Black Watch – 437 men.
  • South Staffordshire Regiment – 556 men.
  • A squadron of 19th Hussars – 83 men.
  • A half company of Egyptian camel company – 47 men.
  • Egyptian Camel Battery (2 guns) – 24 men.

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This translates to the following set-up in the rules:

  • The Black Watch – 437 men – 6 units (bases)
  • South Staffordshire Regiment – 556 men – 6 units (bases)
  • A squadron of 19th Hussars – 83 men – 1 unit (bases)
  • A half company of Egyptian camel company (Camel Corps) – 47 men – 1 unit (bases)
  • Egyptian Camel Battery (2 guns) – 24 men – 1 unit (bases)

I thought I start with the British Side and from the top..

The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

The regiment was created in 1881 in an amalgation of the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot and the 73rd (Pertshire) Regiment of Foot (more here and here).

The regiment fought extensively in the Anglo-Eqyptian and Mahdist wars at the Battle of Tel el-Kebor 1882, Battles of El Teb 1884 and the Battle of Kirbekan 1885.  The regiment also fought in the Second Boer War.

As for painting them I consulted the very good resource on Perry Minatures webpage written by Michael Perry about the Sudan 1883-85 (link here).  It has a uniform guide that includes the Black Watch (the grey I have used is perhaps too blue, because I used blue).

Each base represent a company of men, I made them in Marching and Firing poses on 40 by 20mm bases.

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Next up the South Staffordshire Regiment, at some point in the future.

/ Hope that was of some interest

14 thoughts on “Mahdist War, Battle of Kirbekan 1885 – making a start

  1. L'Empereur

    Always pleasure to see your painting!
    Lovely colours !
    We appreciate partculary the marching Columbia leasing but the bagpipe player !
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. L'Empereur

        Appologyse this damn automatic translation proposal change the word!
        We like to write “column leading by the bagpipe player” !
        But you certainly inderstand !
        😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Mahdist War, Battle of Kirbekan 1885 – a little more effort (Part 2) – Roll a One

  3. Pingback: Kirbekan 1885 – (Mostly) Some Mahdists – Roll a One

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