Battle Report: 17th November 1998

Egyptian ~vs~ Late British

(Robert Avery ~vs~ Rupert Avery) .

Egyptian

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s Org. Class Weapons Pts/Fig Points
  CinC 1         100
1st Brigade 1st Bttn 20 4x5 RegC blr   280
  2nd Bttn 24 4x6 RegD blr   256
  3rd Bttn 24 4x6 RegD blr   256
  Lancers 12 2x6 RegC l, s, blc   200
  Attached Art. 2 2x1 RegC light blrb FA   198
2nd Brigade 1st Bttn 24 4x6 RegC blr   240
  2nd Bttn 24 4x6 RegC blr   280
  3rd Bttn 24 4x6 RegC blr   280
  Lancers 12 2x6 RegC l, s, blc   200
  Attached Art. 2 2x1 RegC light blrb FA   198
              2488
.

Later British

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s

Org.

Class

Weapons

Pts/Fig

Points

.

CinC

1

 

 

 

  100
  2inC 1         50
1st 43rd Foot 20 4x5 LightsB lbl   340
Brigade 95th Highlanders 40 8x5 RegB lbl   600
  Naval Brigade 24 6x4 RegB lbl   392
Cavalry 17th Lancers 10 2x5 RegB s, p, blc, l   200
Brigade Camel Corps 8 2x4 RegC s, p, blc   140
Artillery Battery 3 3x1 RegB light blrb HA   372
  Naval Brigade 1 1x1 RegB gatling gun   98
              2342
 

Report

This was an encounter battle: with both sides starting in column and suddenly realising that the other was there!

As battle opened, the Egyptian commander rushed his 1st Brigade infantry to the town in the centre of the field, covering their left flank with the 1st artillery and their right flank with the combined cavalry. The 2nd Brigade infantry, although delayed as they let their guns through, were also sent to the left flank.

The British elected to send their Highlanders around the town, with their centre being held by the Naval Brigade and 43rd Foot. They also sent the horse artillery, supported by the Camel Corps and a squadron of Lancers, around in an attempt to outflank the Egyptian left.

Although the Egyptians peppered the British infantry with artillery fire from their 1st Battery, they were unable to do more than minimal damage before being scattered to the winds as the British outflanking RHA came into play. The RHA, however, although routing the 1st Battery of Egyptian guns, then lost two of its own sections to counter-battery fire from the 2nd Egyptian Battery.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian infantry were approaching the town, supported by the combined Lancers. The commander of the Lancers suddenly spotted a column of Highlanders and, thinking to destroy them before they deployed, launched a charge against them.

Unfortunately, the Highlanders were more than able to cope with this: snapping smartly into line and just about destroying the Lancers with fire from their Martini-Henry’s.

Things did not look to hot for the Egyptians: they had lost two units of cavalry, one battery of guns and a battalion of infantry (2nd/1st) - routed by the outflanking squadron of British Lancers. However, the Egyptian commander invested the town and, lying prone, the 1st/1st began a firefight with the British 43rd Foot and Naval Brigade. Casualties amongst the 1st/1st and 43rd were minimal, as both sides were lying prone and either skirmishing or behind cover, but the Naval Brigade took some damage.

It should be noted at this point that the Naval Brigade Gatling Gun had jammed: and had therefore done no casualties in the battle so far!

It was now, however, that the British commander managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! Keeping the Egyptian 1st/1st pinned down with fire from the 43rd Foot, his plan was to charge them with the Naval Brigade: the sailors taking full advantage of the opportunity of bayoneting the prone Egyptians! Unfortunately, the Naval Brigade, as they were preparing for their battle-winning charge, were hit by more fire from the 1st/1st that, combined with their previous casualties, was enough to shake their morale! No battle-winning charge this turn.

Worse, however, was the fact that the 43rd Foot, eager to get maximum firepower onto the town, had exposed their flank. Seizing the opportunity, the Egyptian CinC charged this open flank with the Regular D 2nd/3rd: who crashed into the prone, skirmishing foot with devastating effect!

The 43rd broke and ran: taking the shaken Naval Brigade and their supporting Lancers with them! Now with only the Highlanders and Camel Corps undamaged (and these on opposite sides of the field), and with the Egyptians not only safe in the town but also pursuing his routed men, the British commander had no choice but to order a retreat.

Casualties

The Egyptians lost 180 infantry, 40 artillerymen, and 360 cavalry.

The British lost 2 sections of artillery, 120 sailors, 20 lancers and a smattering of regular infantry.

Results

A win for the Egyptians.

Analysis

As the battle came to its climax, the Egyptian CinC had just about given up hope: as he had thrown away his cavalry and half his artillery unnecessarily. The British commander, however, has split his force and allowed the Egyptians to invest the town.

It was the failure of the Naval Brigade to charge that caused the British defeat: something that was somewhat due to bad luck. With that charge going in, the Egyptians would have collapsed before their own, flanking charge went in.

In all, a narrow escape for the Egyptians.