Aba Island 1881, is the first clash of arms between the expected one, the self proclaimed Mahdi, and the Egyptian Khedive. This is the backdrop for my con game scenario which I ran at an HMGS-South convention called Hurricon in Orlando Florida in September of 2016.
Here’s a link to the HMGS South club and cons: http://hmgs-south.com
The flags used are all from the excellent "The Flag Dude" range by Rick O'Brien. The only exception is this green Egyptian standard made by one of our groups daughter with an image supplied by me. We affectionately call our flags Izzy Co. Flags.
Now, onto the scenario…….
Hunt for the Mahdi, Aba Island, 12 August 1881:
In this battle the Officer in overall command and the attached political Officer did not agree on the tactics to be employed or on a common plan of action. Thus they landed troops piecemeal as soon as they arrived to the island without any coordination. To represent this challenge to the Egyptian commander I have split his landing force into (2) separate commands and mandated that they are not allowed to coordinate their actions and must land on opposite sides of the island. Satellite photos of Aba Island today shows the terrain as not being a true island but more of a peninsula, I have modeled it as a true island for this game as it was called an island so it has been made as such. The modern satellite photos may have been taken during the dry season so the Nile level may have been low.
Here is a link for a brief synopsis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Aba
Here are the Egyptian forces as laid out in the scenario as printed in the new TSATF Scenario Portfolio.
Major Zed Pasha will command the gunboat Zillah, armed with a Nordenfeldt MG and 4 crew. He has at his disposal a 10 man squad led by himself. On this gunboat is Capt. Raouf Pasha commanding a standard 20 man Egyptian platoon.
- One Gunboat: Zillah
- One Gendarmes Squad (20 Men)
- One Mountain gun with 4 Egyptian crewmen
- One Egyptian Platoon ( 20 Men)
- One Steamer: Oasis
- One Sudanese Platoon ( 20 Men)
- One Egyptian Platoon (20 Men)
In this refight the east bank Egyptian commander, Major Zed Pasha, landed his troops in front of some rough ground between two villages. Unfortunately for him there were many rebellious locals hiding in ambush at this very site. As the natives charged the disembarking troops fierce melees broke out which the Egyptian lost and they were forced back into the Nile. The troops still on board the steamer fired volley upon volley at the charging natives trying to stop them from overrunning their steamer.
On the opposite side of the Island Capt. Ahmed Din Pasha continued to steam down the length of the island apparently waiting for a target of opportunity. Alas none presented themselves with the natives hiding in ambush for the unsuspecting Egyptians. As the battle unfolded on the opposite bank the steamer's gun crew began firing in support destroying a dhow and killing several retreating natives forces, followers of the Mahdi.
Major Zed Pasha was able to rally his forces, force back the charging natives, and re-embark his troops on the steamer. He then headed downstream and unloaded his forces, safely this time. As his troops moved inland he discovered more enemy forces protecting the island. Yet none of the houses in the villages were harboring the fugitive Mahdi. The native forces fell back to give ground for time in order to deny the Egyptians their victory conditions. As the two Egyptian commands converged under the protection of the covering fire from the deck mounted cannon the natives retreated all the while inflicting additional Egyptian casualties.
With time running out and the Egyptians unable to locate the Mahdi before the designated number of game turns for this scenario the game came to an end with the Mahdi and his fledgling rebellion as the victors! The Egyptians had failed again, unlike as in 1881 where there were horrendous casualties with the Mahdi's forces capturing much arms and ammunition, the loss of life here was far less yet still a crushing defeat for the Khedive in Egypt!
Here’s a link to Bill’s website: www.crackerlineminis.com
The boats used in this game are custom made by my buddy “Last Stand Dan”. Please check out his website for pics, WIP’s, great AAR’s of cool battles we played, or to ask him for a quote on a boat. He currently makes different versions of both stern and side wheelers as well as single and double masted dhows. He recently made me a conversion kit to change a dhow to a junk and will be making dedicated junks as well.
Hers’s a link to Dan’s awesome blog: http://laststanddan.blogspot.com
The rules we use for our colonial games are "The Sword And The Flame" written by the venerable Gunnery Sgt Larry Brom. The rules give a very fun and exciting game with a great period feel. For the naval actions we use our very own Last Stand Dan's rules variant for TSATF affectionately entitled Gunboat & Dhow! This is one of the scenarios that has been included in the newest scenario book available from Sergeants 3, the Brom's company selling all of Larry's rules sets and the official TSATF variants. We miss you Larry!!!!
Please check out their website for details on rules and their very own convention: http://www.sergeants3.com
The troops used are a mixture of Castaway Arts, Old Glory, Perry Miniatures, Foundry and Britannia. The links for all of which can be found on the main page of this blog.
Rough ground pieces made by my new friend Bill Daniels. Last Stand Dan always has a selection of Bill's terrain to sell at his vendor stands at cons. He makes all sorts of cool hills and stuff. He's currently making me gun positions for my next con game that I just don't have the time to do myself. I'm sure they will be very cool indeed.
Well and walls made by Dwight Jones who is a vendor at all the Florida cons! He makes all sorts of great custom hand made terrain! Hills, walls, dice towers, houses, structures, fields, wells, etc which can be used from ancients to scifi.
Buildings made by the excellent "Miniature Building Authority". They've got buildings for just about every conflict in both 15mm and 28mm scales for ancients to moderns, and beyond (Sci-Fi). Their products have got to be seen in person to really appreciate them and the expanse of their lines.
Check out their website: http://www.miniaturebuildingauthority.com
"Never get off the boat, never get off the $%@#&*? BOAT!