Friday, November 09, 2012

Aba Island 1881

The first battle of the Mahdiyyah was fought on Aba Island in 1881.

200 Egyptian troops disembarked from the steamer Ismailiya with an artillery piece in tow early in the morning of 11th August. The two officers in charge had been told that he who took the Muhammed Ahmad would win a promotion. Their two groups of troops formed up then blundered their way inland.

The Mahdi's followers, some 300 Ansar were armed with melee weapons only, yet as they broke upon the Egyptians in the dimness of the dawn, only a dozen fell to the ill-aimed scatter of Remington shots.

One hundred and twenty of the Egyptian troops failed to scramble back aboard the steamer.

Aba Island is a long, thin body, some 14 km long and about one wide, on the White Nile. It lies about 200 km to the South of Khartoum. At the time it was heavily wooded and was indeed a centre of boat-building activity.

That's all I have! Now to turn it into a war-game.

First the rules - the Sword and the Flame will suffice.

Second the Order of Battle.

I think two units of Egyptians (40 figures) and three of Ansar (60) will do.

The terrain will be heavily wooded. There will be a village some way back from the shore. There will be a landing stage. The river banks are very steep - no gently-shelving beach.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Sounds like the start of a scenario . . . and "The Sword and the Flame" is a good, fun set of rules for it.

I will look forward to seeing more of this project.

-- Jeff

Ross Mac said...

I vaguely recall a scenario in some magazin inspired by this in which the Egyptians had 2 officers, only one of which could win by capturing the Mahdi although they weren't allowed to actually fight each other. There was some sort of system to see if he had already escaped iir.

Mosstrooper said...

I look forward to the battle report - sounds promisung !