Saturday, August 6, 2016

Breakout At Dawn

Dawn arrives in the Sudan

The scouting patrol settled down for the night at the Oasis of El-Dubie. A thorny zeriba protected the perimeter on three sides, while a collection of mud huts provided a barricade for the fourth side of the rectangular perimeter.

The men rested uneasy as the Dervish peppered the Oasis with rifle fire all through the night, their objective being to keep the British awake and sleep deprived.

Dervish rife fire has kept the men on alert all night.
It was clear to Colonel Burnaby that the Dervish would likely test the British resolve with an attack, probably at dawn.

"I'd expect the Dervish to attack us from the east so that we have the sun in our eyes," said Burnaby to Major Angus Dundee, the commander of the three companies of the Surrey Regiment (khaki).

EDITOR's NOTE: I forgot to assign a commander of the patrol column. Initially it was supposed to be Captain Nolan of the Sikh Regiment, but as the size of the column grew, it was clear to me that a higher ranking officer, at least a major, should be in command. Colonel Sinclair would have remained back at the camp at Dongola since he is in charge of the whole brigade therein. Colonel Burnaby is an unassigned officer so technically he is not in charge, although he is along for the ride. So the column's commander will be Major Angus Dundee of the Surrey Regiment.

Colonel Burnaby (left) and Captain Nolan (right)

"Aye, no doubt you are correct Freddie," replied Dundee. "We have to get Colonel Barlow out of here and on his way to Dongala before the Dervish attack or cut us off from our base camp."

" Angus, I would like to volunteer to lead a small number of men to take Barlow back to Dongala, before the sun rises," said Burnaby.

"I was thinking the same thing," replied Dundee. "We will send off the Camel Corps under Lt. Simon Ward to take Barlow back to Dongala. At the same time, Freddie, you will take a company of the Surrey's and all of the 21st Lancers out of the perimeter and form a skirmish line to cover the escape of the Camel Corps."

" You know me, Angus, I'm always game for an adventure," blusterd Burnaby.

" All well and good, Freddie, and I respect your courage, but don't get into a fight with the Dervish. You are just to screen them off from Ward so that he and his men can gain a head start on the Dervish. Use the Lancers to make a feint at any Dervish horsemen out there, you know, just drive them off, but do not charge them. Understand?" said Dundee.

"Sure, I have got it," answered Burnaby, ("in a pig's eye!" he muttered to himself.

"Did you say something Freddie?"

"I said bye bye," replied Burnaby as he slapped Dundee playfully on the shoulder. " time is wasting, I must get going."

Lt. Simon Ward leads his troop of the Camel Corps (carrying Colonel Barlow)  away from the Oasis, while  Burnaby leads the Surreys on foot into the brush, supported by a squadron of lancers.
Will Lt. Ward gain enough of a head start to get his troop of Camel Corps back to Dongola before the Dervish get wise to the escape plan? Will Colonel Burnaby get himself into trouble, as is his want? And will the Dervish attack the Oasis, which is now depleted in strength now that several sections have been dispatched out of the camp?

Come back and visit tomorrow for the answer, or should I say "ansar"


  1. Great job on the dawn twilight effect in the photos! Keep the story coming!

  2. Nice photos, those chaps better keep there eyes peeled ...

  3. What dangers are outside the protective enclosure --out there -- awakening -- arising -- to cause trouble and worse in the near darkness.
    Well spun tale and images Jim!
    Bill P.