Major Farthingdale-Pyles and Quincy Pasha attempted the relief of Jaksi using Men Who Would be Kings on our Thursday evening game at Durham Wargames club. So far Mr Babbage has defended Jaksi, a revolting place, really well. After dividing the forces into a British command and an Egyptian one we diced for it and I was fortunate to be taking the role of Major Pyles once again.
Unexpectedly a last minute Dervish Commander appeared, The Mad Khalifa Nigel, who used a variant of the Babbage rules, since "The Khalifa" does not believe in letting his men slink away.
With the Dervish appearing randomly and then acting under his command the Pasha and I were in trouble.
The terrain had Jaksi, our objective on a hill against the far table edge, some random scrub and rocky areas, as well as a long dry donga, subject of much quipping and punnage during the game.
Were my side was let down was the Cavalry. The Royal Dragoons` Lieutenant Charlatan Heston was an utter poltroon. The Regular Cavalry were not allowed to charge. They would have to use their carbines. The effectiveness of my force was under serious question!
Quincy Pasha had some effective Officers in his Anglo Egyptian Field Force. Two groups of Fellahs and the gun were all commanded by stalwarts. One of his units however was commanded by... a coward. A man likely to run off at any moment.
Placing this group in reserve the Pasha declared that he was resolute and keen to face the enemy.
The Dervish appeared behind my British force. I had planned to advance the Cavalry to take the objective, but my first attempts to move my force into a defensive formation failed. Major Pyles advanced and then realised that he was alone. The RMLI had refused to move, as did the gattling gun. With a cry of glee the mad Khalifa let loose a horde of Dervish Spears, from behind me!
The Dervish swarmed in the donga to the front, and even worse a group charged from the shrubbery to wipe out the gun and its crew.
The Pasha however was up to this challenge and saw them off. Still things were looking dodgy on the right.
To be quite honest things were looking bad on the left too. My Royal Dragoons, commanded by Lt Heston the coward, were having to use their carbines to swat away enemies from the isolated Queens own. More and more Dervish appeared over that hill on my flank. The RMLI were down to eight men.
With our new tactic of standing still the Dervish attacks had quietened. Even so we were only just hanging on.
With the Khalifa howling threats and swearing vengeance the Pasha and I declared ourselves the victors. This was a somewhat hollow claim however, since we had each lost well over half of our men.
The only unit not to have casualties was that of the cowardly Ali, who refused to move from the baseline for the whole game.
- Hold fast and move as little as possible,
- Let one quality unit rush to the objective,
- Deploy in square, or at least defensively, from the outset,
- Keep crewed weapons in the middle of the line rather than isolating them.