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Battle Report: 1st January 1999

Later British ~vs~ Egyptian

(Robert Avery ~vs~ Richard Avery) .

Later British

Brigade

Unit

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

1

. .. .   100
  2inC 1         50
  Ammo Wagon 1         50
Infantry 43rd Foot 20 4x5 LightsB lbl   340
  95th Highlanders 40 8x5 RegB lbl   600
Cavalry Camel Corps 8 2x4 RegC s, p, blc   140
  17th Lancers 10 2x5 RegB s, p, l, blc   200
Artillery RHA 3 3x1 RegB light blrb HA   372
Naval Brigade 24 6x4 RegB lbl   392
Brigade HMG's 2 2x1 RegB gatling gun   196
              2440
.

Egyptian

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s

Org.

Class

Weapons

Pts/Fig

Points

.

CinC

1

 

 

 

  100
1st Brigade 1st Bttn 20 4x5 RegC blr   240
(white) 2nd Bttn 24 4x6 RegC blr   280
  3rd Bttn 24 4x6 RegC blr   280
2nd Brigade 1st Bttn 24 4x6 RegC blr   280
(blue) 2nd Bttn 24 4x6 RegD blr   256
  3rd Bttn 24 4x6 RegD blr   256
Cavalry Lancers 12 2x6 RegC l, s, blc   200
Brigade Lancers 12 2x6 RegC l, s, blc   200
Artillery Attached Art. 2 2x1 RegC light blrb FA   198
Brigade Attached Art. 2 2x1 RegC light blrb FA   198
              2488
.
. Later British Egyptian
Foot 1680 2400
Horse 360 480
Guns 10 8
.

Report

Both sides began the battle in column: rushing into battle lines as they spotted the enemy.

The Egyptians held their centre with three battalions of infantry: who advanced forward in a combination of line and column behind a skirmish screen. This allowed them to develop their flank attacks: with two battalions attacking the British right, and one the British left. Their Lancers were split between the flank attacks.

The British, meanwhile, rushed into line behind a skirmish screen of the 43rd Foot. I say rushed: as the British never really got into a formation that they were happy with. For example, the horse artillery became bunched on the left wing: only supported by the dismounted camel corps; and the Highlanders never managed to get into a full battalion frontage.

The Egyptians attacked and, despite losing a unit of cavalry in a foolish attempt to clear the British skirmish screen, soon had the British on the back foot.

On the British right, two battalions of Egyptians attacked the still deploying Highlanders. Although one battalion was badly mauled by Scottish fire, the other managed to outflank the Highlander line and make it shaken. This flank looked decidedly dodgy for the Brits!

On the British left, the Artillery (who had so far spent the battle destroying one Egyptian battery) were charged by two units of infantry and the remaining Lancer unit: who had already successfully routed the British Lancers with carbine fire!

The defending Camel Corps inflicted devastating casualties on one Egyptian battalion, sending it shaken and ending its charge, but them fled as the Lancers came in. Two of the three British sections fired and, despite being shaken, stopped their charge too.

One charge left: this the British just managed to stop with the Naval Brigade, including gatling guns.

One more attack would have broken the British line but, unfortunately, the Egyptian army had sustained such heavy casualties already that all their units were either shaken or routed. The Egyptian commander had no choice but to retreat. 

Casualties

The British lost 100 men from the 43rd; 140 Highlanders; 40 Lancers and 40 Camel Corps. Their 2inC also suffered spectacular death as he tried to deploy the Highlanders. In all, 320 men. 

The Egyptians lost two sections of artillery; 100 men from the 1st Brigade; 260 from the 2nd Brigade and 260 Lancers (including the entire blue regiment). A total of 700 men.

Results

The narrowest of victories for the British. 

Analysis

The British, quite frankly, did not deserve to win the battle! Their deployment from column was abysmal: leading to all kinds of traffic jams and limited fields of fire. As a result, they passed the initiative to the Egyptians: who took full advantage with aggressive flanking attacks that almost won the day.

It must also be noted that the Egyptians did not all the time realise the strength of their guns: failing to add the bonuses for breechloaders some of the time. The extra casualties that this could have caused could have crumbled the British line: leaving it unable to stop the Egyptians charges that were so narrowly halted.

A lucky escape for the British.