Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blast from the Past: Battle of El Obeid, Q&P AAR

As my Earthlink-based gaming website will disappear one day, I am reposting fun AARs onto this blog. Here is a Colonial battle from December of 2009. It is set during the Mahdist rebellion in which a discredited Pasha Hicks invades the Darfur region of The Sudan. We use my friend Tom's For Queen and Planet rules. He is the author of this battle report.

The battle for El Obeid swirls around an Ansar strong point

On Sunday we played a scenario of Queen and Planet that was semi-historical. Early in the Mahdist revolution, a mercenary named Pasha Hicks (a discredited British officer) was sent into the Darfur region with 8000 penal and 'conscripted' police troops. They were guided by what were suspected Ansar sympathizers that lead them around in the wilderness until their food and water was exhausted. They were then surrounded by about three to four times their number of Ansar and in a battle that lasted over three days were killed, virtually to the last man.
My wing of the Anglo-Egyptian relief force advances
In our semi-historical recreation, I assumed that their guides were loyal/competent and were able to guide them through the wilderness and avoid the Mahdist forces operating against them. They arrived at the capital of Western Sudan, El Obeid, and gave battle to a force of Ansar just slightly weaker than they were. Our battle consisted of about 2900 British-lead Egyptians and 2800 Mahdists in a struggle on the outskirts of El Obeid. Joel and Mike lead the Egyptians and Allen and Keith commanded the Ansars.
Joel's command leads the assault on the Ansar-held town
The Ansar deployed hidded in the buildings, slums and orchards of El Obeid and the Egyptians marched forward to recapture the city. As the battle developed it was clear that the two Egyptian commands had Shiek Keith's single command in a bit of a 'pinch.' Shiek Allen rather leisurely (but brilliantly) redeployed to assist his commander in chief. The Ansar had deployed a battery of old brass cannon on the roof of the most forward home and since this home had been designated by the Egyptian CinC (Joel) as the initial objective to sieze both Colonal Mike's command and General Joel's command quickly closed in on it. Unable to removed the cannon from the rooftop. CinC Keith decided to support his forward position by pushing his Jehadia infantry forward to support the cannon.The home and the battery quickly became the focus of the entire battle with the Egyptians twice storming the building and attacking the battery on the roof only to be driven away by extremely well timed counterattacks from Sheik Allen's redeploying command.
Our "high water" mark - the charge of Hick's Own Cavalry penetrates into El Obeid
In a final outpouring of bloodshed both CinC generals were killed or routed and with casualties on both sides at 50% or higher and with both commanders fallen, the Egyptian and Ansar armies broke and fled the field.
Successful Ansar counterattack drives the relief force back from its hold on the town
I was trying out some new thoughts/rules on urban warfare and most things seem to work well except close combat vs units in buildings. It didn't seem reasonable to give overlaps against units inside buildings, but it also didn't make sense to give hard cover to them either. Thoughts on how best to handle hand to hand with one unit inside a building and the other attacking from outside would be appreciated.