mahdist.jpg
 
 
 

Battle Report: 13th April 1996

Late British Indian ~vs~ Mahdist

(Robert Avery ~vs~ Richard Avery)

.

Late British Indian

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s Org. Class Weapons Pts/Fig Points
. CinC

1

. .. . 100 100
  2inC 1       50 50
1st British Bttn 20 4x5 RegB blr 11 240
Brigade Indian Bttn 32 8x4 RegC mlr 8 336
  Indian Bttn 40 10x4 LightsC mlr 10 480
2nd British Bttn 20 4x5 RegB blr 11 240
Brigade Indian Bttn 32 8x4 RegC mlr 8 336
  Indian Bttn 40 10x4 RegC mlr 8 400
Cavalry British Regt 8 2x4 RegB s, l, blc 16 148
Brigade Indian Regt 15 3x5 RegC s, l, mlc 14 240
  Indian Regt 15 3x5 RegC s, mlc 13 225
Artillery Indian Btty 3 3x1 RegC screw guns 66 228
  RA HMG Btty 1 1x1 RegB hmg 88 98
Train Ammo Wagon 1       50 50
              3107
.

Mahdist

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s

Org.

Class

Weapons

Pts/Fig

Points

  

CinC

1

 

 

 

100 100
  2inC 2       50 100
Fuzzy- Brown Unit 36 1x36 FanA sw/sp, sh 8 303
Wuzzies White Unit 36 1x36 FanB sw/sp, sh 7 267
Tribesmen 1st Unit 36 1x36 IrregB sw/sp, sh, blr 10 375
  2nd Unit 32 1x32 IrregB sw/sp, sh, blr 10 335
  3rd Unit 32 1x32 IrregB sw/sp, sh, blr 10 335
  4th Unit 32 1x32 IrregC sw/sp, sh 4 143
  5th Unit 32 1x32 IrregC sw/sp, sh 4 143
Horse 1st Unit 10 1x10 IrregA l, sw, sh, armour, mlr 14 155
  2nd Unit 10 1x10 IrregA l, sw, sh, armour, mlr 14 155
  3rd Unit 10 1x10 FanB l, sw, sh, mlr 14 155
  4th Unit 10 1x10 FanB l, sw, sh, mlr 14 155
Artillery Tribal Guns 3 1x3 IrregC light blrb FA 107 321
Train Ammo Wagon 1       50 50
              3092
.
. Late British Indian Mahdist
Foot 3520 4720
Horse 760 800
Guns 8 6
 

Report

A superb battle, with the result only decided in the final phase.

The battle opened on the British right flank: where his mounted brigade were opposed by two units of fanatical Mahdist horse. Both sides elected to soften each other up with rifle fire: fire so effective that the Bengal Horse on the British side and one unit of Mahdists became shaken. Now supported by the gatling gun, the 17th Lancers charged forward into the remaining Mahdist unit, and an extremely bloody melee followed. Eventually the hard-fighting 17th force the Mahdists to flee, but had taken such heavy casualties themselves that they took no further part in the battle.

The next phase of the battle was on the left flank: where the British 1st Brigade advanced forward too hastily and were forced to hurriedly form square in the face of a Mahdist charge. Six Mahdist units charged the British square: and although the two Mahdist horse units and two of the four infantry units were destroyed, the other two units of tribesmen impacted with such force that first the Ghurkas and then the Sikhs broke and fled the field. The British 24th held on for one more phase, but were eventually overwhelmed as well. Motto: if you don’t want to lose a whole brigade, form square before being charged!

Finally, in the centre of the field, the Fuzzy-Wuzzies and the British 2nd Brigade raced for the hill. The British got there first, and the supporting screw guns quickly silenced the Mahdist artillery: blowing all six guns in the battery to pieces.

Then, as the battle approached its climax, the only remaining British troops, the 2nd Brigade, were charged by six units of Mahdists: all that they had left. The British commander, not paying proper attention to fire control, stopped four of the Mahdist units from getting close enough to worry his men, but was unable to prevent the other two to get close enough to panic the 2nd Brigade - already nervous from the destruction of the rest of the British troops.

First the artillery crews fled, then the Sepoys, and finally even the Highlanders broke and ran.

Casualties

There were no details of casualties available...but they were high!

Results

A hard-fought victory for the Mahdists.

Analysis

If the British had formed square earlier, and practiced better fire control, then the Mahdists would probably not have got into “fear-of-charge” range. Full marks, however, to the Mahdist commander: whose boldness and co-ordinated attacks paid off.