Friday 10 November 2017

Omdurman using Bloody Big Battles

We have been going through a bit of a Bloody Big Battles (BBB) Colonial phase playing El Teb, Adowa twice and now Omdurman. The Omdurman scenario can be downloaded from the BBB Yahoo Group

The scenario is an interesting take on Omdurman as it deals with the aftermath of the Mahdist assault. To quote the scenario

While the initial phase of the assault on the Anglo-Egyptian encampment was a disaster for the Mahdists, in order to gain a complete victory Kitchener needed to clear the way to Omdurman and Khartoum. To ensure a secure supply line, this meant defeating the Khalifa’s field army and securing the road from Omdurman to the north.
Looking  north - the objectives are circled in white

There are 5 objectives spread along the entire 6 foot length of the table which the Anglo-Egyptian force must capture in order to win. To draw the Mahdists must hold 1 objective. A Mahdist victory is achieved if they hold 2 objectives of which one must be within 14" of the Nile.
Start of the battle. The Anglo-Egyptians mainly start in El Egeiga. The Mahdists aim to capture the 2 southern objectives

Therefore the Anglo-Egyptian forces must go on the offensive immediately. That's a bit different from the usual standing behind the Zariba and mealie bags and shooting anything that comes within range.
The main Mahdist force heads south to take the two objectives
A single Ansar unit under Ali wad Helu loiters near one of the northern objectives
The Anglo-Egyptian force waits for a plan 
One of the 2 gunboats patrolling the Nile - this one is by Peter Pig - lovely
While the Mahdists seize their two objectives the Anglo-Egyptians finally decide to advance
The Anglo-Egyptians continue their advance
The Anglo-Egyptian centre
The Egyptian Camel Corps and cavalry stand idly by on the northern flank
To the south the British engage the Mahdists and go low on ammo
In the centre the Egyptian line cracks as a Mahdist force storms through the line
A general view of the battlefield from the south - not looking good for the Anglo-Egyptians
The Mahdists being to overwhelm the British on the southern flank
The final positions with the Anglo-Egyptians falling back on their original positions with no hope of even getting a draw!

Therefore an overwhelming, "questions in the House", major victory to the Mahdists. 

The Anglo-Egyptians were sadly lacking in aggression - not even bothering to take unprotected objectives with their cavalry.  However they were under the impression that there was an Ansar unit waiting in ambush, their firing was relatively ineffective and usually being down in melee factors did not help.

The melee factors usually favour the native troops quite drastically. Typically there are 6 Native bases vs 4 European bases so that's 3:2 Numerical  advantage (+1), the Natives are Aggressive (+1) and usually in Depth (+1) so that's a +3 advantage in combat. There is no point in the Europeans being in depth as they need the firepower to either stop or disrupt the natives.

We were using the colonial variant which allows native infantry to move at 15" and only halts units when they lose a base from firing. Both have a major impact on the game as the native troops can zoom around the board and are hard to stop when charging.

We did however enjoy the game and feel that BBB works very well for Colonials. The scenario is excellent as forces the Anglo-Egyptians to come out and fight. In my opinion it has the feel of a mini-campaign rather than a single battle as the Anglo-Egyptians have to send forces off in all directions to capture the objectives. 

I'm looking forward to playing this one again.

Thanks to Rob Smith & Dave Bennett for putting the scenario together

Thanks to Steve for putting on the game with his collection of 15mm troops. He is in the process of re-basing some of the Mahdist troops as they are all on double size bases.

Steve and Shaun played the Anglo-Egyptians and Rodge, Stewart & myself gloried in being the Ansar.