Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Race to Dongala

The Camel Corps caravan steals out of the Oasis at the crack of dawn, hoping to gain a head start on any Dervish pursuit.

As the sun rises and brightens the sandy Sudan desert, the Camel Corps caravan gains a head start on the shadowing Dervish horsemen,  while British skirmishers and Lancers protect the flank.

At dawn a troop of the Camel Corps slipped out of the zeriba at the El-Dubie Oasis and made for the trail back to the British base camp at Dongala. They carried some valuable cargo with them in the form of the severely wounded Colonel Barlow. It was of the utmost importance to get Barlow back to Dongala for better medical care and for safety.

A company of infantry, commanded by Colonel Burnaby, was to accompany the caravan for a short distance in order to provide some skirmish cover. They could not stray too far from the Oasis otherwise they would not be able to keep up with the camels, which would leave them out in the open and vulnerable to a Dervish ambush or attack. To mitigate that possibility, Burnaby was also given a squadron of the 21st Lancers, who would provide cover for the infantry. Once the Camel Corps caravan got a head start, the infantry and Lancers were to fall back to the Oasis.

Colonel Burnaby fans out a company of skirmishers to protect the western flank of the Camel Corps caravan. Off in the distance the caravan is shadowed by Dervish horsemen. Beware of an ambush too!

Some Beja riflemen pop up out of nowhere and start shooting at the Camel Corps as it passes.
The 21st Lancers formed into two ranks and advanced on a small group of Dervish horsemen, who wanted nothing to do with the Lancers, so they retired back into the scrub bushes. Some rifle fire from the British skirmishers killed two of the Dervish horse, providing them with further incentive to move out of range.

British skirmishers deal with the Beja threat, but meanwhile, Dervish horsemen race ahead of the caravan to cut them off from the safety of the camp at Dongola.
A small group of Beja riflemen popped up out of the scrub brush and peppered the camel caravan with rifle fire, but their aim was poor and the caravan passed by unharmed. The British skirmishers, however, did advance towards the Beja and drove them off with rifle fire. At this point, Burnaby realized that he was on the verge of straying too far away from the Oasis and that his Lancers were being caught up by the events that were unfolding back at the Oasis. He could hear the crackle of rifle fire back at the Oasis and knew that Major Dundee and his comrades were probably under attack. It was time to fall back to the Oasis and provide some necessary reinforcements for the camp. It proved to be a wise decision, as future events will confirm.

The Dice Gods smiled kindly on the Camel Corps that day. The British won the first movement initiative  on each of the first two game turns. 
The Camel Corps caravan made it back to Dongola without further incident, but what was the fate of the rest of the patrol back at the Oasis? The increasing volume of rifle fire from that direction was troubling to Lt. Ward. He would have to report the events to Colonel Sinclair post haste.

Be sure to return tomorrow to find out what happened at the Second Battle of El-Dubie. Would the Dervish prevail once again, or would Major Dundee successfully hold them off?


  1. Fantastic photographs. The one at the bottom of this post reminds me of a spread in Wargames Illustrated many years ago that featured a similar Colonial set-up in which each figure was unique. I dare say that your work here is even better.

    Best Regards,


  2. Whew! Back at the River Camp. A relief.
    But at El Dubie what is underway?
    Very enjoyable photos and story Jim.
    Keep the news coming!
    Cheers, bravos,
    Bill P.

  3. Magnificent stuff - would I be right to say that the unit sizes are a little smaller than your usual BAR games?

    1. The Surreys are 40 rank and file, the Sikhs are only a company of 10 figures and the Lancers are a squadron of 11 horse. The Camel Corps are 5 individuals. On the Dervish side, the three Ansar war bands were 15-15-20 and a reinforcement of Fuzzies was 20 figures. The BAR rules work perfectly fine with smaller amounts of figures.

  4. I'm loving this "Serial" action story! Like everyone back home I can't wait for the morning's gazette to see what has happened to our gallant Mr. Dundee!

    1. Dundee's battle at the Oasis will be posted Monday evening (Chicago time).

  5. Great stuff! I suspect this'll be remembered as The Summer of the Jim's Sudan. Looking forward to more.

    1. It certainly took me by surprise. I had figured that it would be the Summer of Russians for both SYW & GNW, but the old painting mojo seems to be on vacation, but happily that is mitigated by all of the Sudan related activity.

  6. I plan on having at least one more smaller battle in August 2016 leading up to the next scheduled big battle in October.