Friday, 26 April 2013

COW2005: Redcoats and Dervishes (or the Attack on Abu Hamed)

During 2004-5 I developed a set of Colonial rules (REDCOATS AND DERVISHES) based upon Ian Drury's 1745 Jacobite Rebellion rules, REDCOATS AND REBELS.

The scenario I chose for the sessions run at COW2005 was entitled THE ATTACK ON ABU HAMED, and it was based on a small battle that took place during the re-conquest of the Sudan.

Anglo-Egyptian forces (must enter on the top edge of the map)
  • 4 infantry battalions (may be either British or Egyptian)
  • 1 Artillery battery (may be either British or Egyptian)
  • 1 Machine gun battery (may be either British or Egyptian)
  • 1 Leader
Optional additional forces:
  • 1 Gunboat [N.B. Used in the game that I ran]
  • 1 Cavalry regiment (May be either British or Egyptian) [N.B. Not used in the game that I ran]
Dervish forces (situated anywhere on the plateau that surrounds Abu Hamed)
  • 2 infantry rubs armed with firearms
Optional additional forces:
  • 1 Artillery battery (must be set up facing the river) [N.B. Used in the game that I ran]
  • 1 Cavalry rub armed with firearms (must be set up in the town of Abu Hamed) [N.B. Not used in the game that I ran]
Scenario specific rules
The Dervish infantry are deemed to be in trenches (i.e. cover) whilst on the plateau. However once an Anglo-Egyptian unit reaches the top of the plateau the Dervishes are no longer deemed to be in their trenches.

During the real battle a brigade of Anglo-Egyptian troops advanced on Abu Hamed. The defenders held off the Anglo-Egyptian attackers for a short time, but once the advancing troops had reached the top of the plateau surrounding the town, the defenders decamped.

In the game that I ran at COW2005 the Anglo-Egyptian infantry advanced in columns, whilst their artillery and machine guns moved up in support. The Dervish defenders held back from their trenches on the plateau, and dealt one Anglo-Egyptian unit a very nasty blow when it advanced over the top of the Dervish trenches and onto the plateau. The Dervishes then exposed themselves to the fire of the other Anglo-Egyptian units, and very quickly they became disorganised. In the meantime the Dervish artillery had been under fire from the Anglo-Egyptian gunboat for some time, and it also became disorganised. Realising that they could not win (i.e. they had reached their ‘break off battle’ point), the Dervishes withdrew from Abu Hamed.

The village of Abu Hamed.

The British force enters the battlefield.

The British advance begins.

The British infantry deploy into columns so that they can move faster.

The British centre.

Another view of the British centre.

The British advance continues ...

... and the gunboat engages the Dervish artillery.

One British unit (the Highlanders) has already begun to suffer casualties ...

... just as the British artillery moves into position.

A Dervish infantry unit attacks one of the British infantry units ...

... which they push back

... leaving them exposed to fire from the British machine gun.

The impetuosity of the Dervish infantry has left them in danger of being destroyed by fire from two British infantry units and a machine gun unit. At the same time the gunboat is beginning to move closer to Abu Hamed and the rest of the British force is poised to attack the remaining Dervish troops in Abu Hamed.


  1. 'A Dervish infantry unit attacks one of the British infantry units ...'


    '... which they push back... '


    '... leaving them exposed to fire from the British machine gun.'


    Quite a fine little set up, there, and shows how much fun can be had with so few figures and toys. Elegant simplicity.

  2. Archduke Piccolo,

    Thanks for your very kind comments, and I am very pleased that you enjoyed this blog entry.

    This sort of colonial wargame lends itself to the narrative-style of wargame, where events help to tell a story that everyone taking part can participate in.

    All the best,