This engagement is pure fiction yet one that I greatly enjoyed during our experimenting with the older DBA-HX using 2.2. That was two years ago and since DBA-HX has been upgraded with 3.0 I wanted to replay this “classic” battle using the same composition of forces.
The original game was played on a 4’ x 4’ board with both sides deploying as per DBA 2.2 and this replay made use of the 80 x 160 cm board which brought the deployment areas closer. The Sudanese lost the first battle, perhaps with the newer version that could work to their advantage.
The original army lists can be read at the following link. The reader will note some of the changes made to troop types.
command one, 3rd in command.
2 x Cavalry British regiments
2 x Cavalry Sepoy regiments.
2 x Skirmishers Combined light coys.
command two, (CinC)
3 x Line Infantry British regiments
6 x Line Infantry Presidency Sepoy regiments.
1 x Cavalry Presidency Guard
2 x Heavy Artillery
command three, 2nd in command.
2 x Line Infantry European regiments.
4 x Line Infantry Sepoy regiments.
2 x Jaeger Nasiri battalions.
1 x Horse Artillery
Total – 27 elements
command one, 2nd in command
8 x Cavalry
4 x Cameleers
command two, 4th in command.
8 x Horde (fast) levy
4 x Warrior Melee weapons.
4 x Skirmishers musket armed.
command three (CinC.)
8 x Horde (fast) levy
4 x Warrior Melee weapons.
4 x Skirmishers
command four, 3rd in command.
12 x Warrior Hadendoa tribesmen.
Total – 56 elements
This game followed the standard method of terrain selection and placement as per DBA 3.0. Sudan, as defender, rolled consistently to place 4 of the 5 pieces in the same quadrant and the Anglo-Indian player joyfully seized this gift and would anchor their right wing among the hilly area and stretch the central command across the open ground to end at the rough ground. The cavalry brigade would form behind as a reserve.
Sudan adjusted its battle plan and would fix the infidel’s main position with two commands of the faithful while the Hadendoa and cavalry would encircle both flanks; the cavalry on the open side on the right and the Hadendoa, through the hilly area on the left.
A general advance by Sudan was launched at the start of the battle. By turn three the turning moves were progressing well while the centre two commands were making their way forward despite the effective artillery barrage.
The British adjusted their main battle line to counter the assault on the centre while the cavalry brigade wheeled to the left preparing to charge the oncoming Sudan cavalry.
As allies, the Hadendoa were not encountering too many problems despite their poor pip throws. Maneuvering in compact formations a portion would occupy the Nasiri battalion now positioned atop the hill while the remainder would skirt the position and take the British in the flank.
At the opposite flank, the Sudanese meet the British cavalry head on. In subsequent turns, the Sudanese would steadily overlap the British and Sepoy regiments.
The allocation of pip scores meant the central command taking the highest score would progressively apply pressure to the central British command. Despite having large number of Horde, requiring an extra pip to move, contact with the British formations would come soon.
In two turns, the Sudanese main command stretched the British line to where dangerous gaps now appeared.
On the British right flank, the reserve formed line to meet the Hadendoa moving across the valley floor. The Horse battery unlimbered to the right of the line to add its weight. Atop the hill, the Nasiri were fighting off twice their number.
By a miracle, the British cavalry had endured the Sudanese onslaught for four turns with each side losing an element.
The Sudanese central command, feeding more troops into the struggle was widening the breach in the British line. At the upper left, the third Sudanese command can be seen pretty much in the same position as four turns ago. Recipient of the lowest pip score meant the Hordes remained incapable of moving any further. Despite the low score, the skirmishers attached to the command did move forward to engage the British infantry.
By turn eight, the battle which had edge in favour for the British suddenly turned against them. In two bounds, all the British and Sepoy cavalry were destroyed and on the left flank, the Nasiri were wiped out to a man as well as the British reserve holding the valley entrance. The two Anglo-Indian commands became demoralized and therefore game over. Sudan lost 15 elements (7 Horde) to the British 12.
The original game was played in August of 2013 and though it did test some draft items for 3.0, there were still many items from 2.2 that made the game longer to play out. This game was finished in eight turns or just over an hour of actual time.
To the casual reader, pitting 56 elements against 27 may seem excessive, but considering numbers recorded in such encounters the game still played well. A win for the British is not impossible as this has already been proven. Keeping the artillery field of fire unobstructed is crucial as even simple recoils will force the native opponent to expend more pips.
The Sudanese player used the Horde to effectively screen his main fighting strength (warriors) from enemy fire. Horde cost nothing, but the warriors do. If the Horde do manage to contact the infantry, they will remain in contact as a “more than score” in combat will have no effect on them. Horde does follow up enemy recoils including mounted.