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Mahdist War, Battle of Kirbekan 1885 – a little more effort (Part 2)

 

IMG_7060I recommend that you read the first part from last week (link here, that contains a little bit of an intro) as this is a rather short update if you have not already and if you are interested in the context of this.

I learned this week that Major General Earle who died at the Battle in 1885 is standing outside George’s Hall in Liverpool (where he was born in 1833).  A very elegant statue that was unveiled in 1887 by Lord Wolsey, the Commander of the British Forces in Egypt.

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Earle had started his career fighting in the Crimean War and fought gallantry at Alma and Sevastopol rising to the rank of Lieutenant.  He later served in Gibraltar, Canada and India. In 1880 he was granted his Major Generalship and was sent to Egypt in 1882.  Here he was the commander of the garrison at Alexandria.  In 1884 he was in command of a campaign (the British Nile Column) to support General Gordon in Khartoum (Sudan).  The city was under siege by Mahdist.  Earle and his soldiers did not arrive in time and Khartoum fell in the beginning of 1885.

 

On the 10th February 1885, Major Earle, and part of the British Nile Column stormed the hills at Kirbekan and routed Mahdist force.  Unfortunately Earle, as stated above,  was killed in the battle together with about 60 British soldiers, including Lieutenant Colonel Philip Eyre of the First South Staffordshire Regiment.

So, to hang on to Lt Col Phillip Eyre for a moment, this week I did the second large British unit at the Kirbekan Battle 1885.

The South Staffordshire Regiment

The regiment was sent to Egypt in 1882 as part of the invasion and in 1885 it travelled as part of the unsuccessful column to lift the Siege of Khartoum, but came to play an important part in the battle at Kirbekan.  Following Garrison duties it was later sent to fight in the Boer War.  I let you read more about the regiment and its further adventures during the Great War and World War 2 on Wikipedia (link here).

As I did last time I used the excellent Perry Painting Guide from their webpage (link here).  I made six bases (40 by 20 mm) with firing poses and six bases with Marching poses – as the British did a lot of marching and I fancy a long column of soldiers in the end.  Of course when I checked this out I realised that the South Staff Regiment and the Black Watch were ordered to wear red at the Kirbekan Battle – I painted mine with the grey/blue uniform last week – Oh well perhaps the Scots did not listen to the English commander, or I have to do another set of them in red!

14. South Staffordshire Regiment
This regiment and the Black Watch were ordered to wear red to storm the ridge at the battle of Kirbekan, 10th February 1885

From the Perry Painting Guide

Anyway, here is how the South Staffordshire gentlemen turned out (they are 6mm Baccus from the their colonial range, link here).

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/ Hope that was of some interest, next time I will do some Mahdists I think.

 

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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