Thursday, December 31, 2020

Doc's final for 2020: Finishing the French in Egypt Project and the first game scenario

For the last few weeks I've been finishing off my Armee l'Orient with the last artillery battery (4pdr & howitzer) & crews in Kleber - Paul Hicks/US Brigade figures of course. Another officer or two as well but I have enough now to play the game scenario I've devised. One thing or another in this crappy year prevented me posting earlier but I thought I'd sneak in the last post for 2020 literally at the death-knell as it were. The following are the last French (in Egypt) units/figures I'll be doing for awhile.

I've given the mounted officer some impressive plumage and a sash to make him another General de Brigade. The supply dump is part of the wargame scenario which is loosely based on an incident during Desaix' campaign up the Nile in pursuit of the remaining Mamelukes under Ibrahim Bey.  Desaix was under huge pressure chasing Bey's highly mobile force for several months and suffered severe supply problems in a logistical nightmare over 1000 kms from Cairo. He was highly dependent on the French Nile Flotilla to resupply and evacuate wounded including hundreds afflicted with blinding tropical diseases like ophthalmia. The flotilla was centered around the flagship l'Italie which acted as a floating hospital but was eventually caught and destroyed by one of the Mameluke Beys leading a force of a few hundred Mamelukes but included at least 3,000 Meccan fanatics (jihadis shipped across the Red Sea from Mecca by the Ottoman Caliphate). In the scenario I've devised Desaix main force is to rendezvous with the flotilla at a village on the Nile for much needed resupply BUT both Ibrahim Bey's Mameluke-led force is aware of the French landing and is trying to get there first - dispatching the Meccans to take the village and destroy the Flotilla landing force protecting the landed supplies. Desaix has dispatched his Dromadaires and Dragoons ahead to scout out the Mamelukes and contact the landing force first so the race is on!
The Mamelukes have forced the French into square while the Meccans assault the reinforced Legion Nautique landing force in the village. 

The Meccans burst into the village and eventually overwhelm the French forcing them out and seizing the supplies - temporarily at least. 

The main Mameluke force under Ibrahim Bey has gotten between Desaix and his advance guard/naval landing force. 

The French cavalry/camel advance force wisely forms square rather than mix it with Mamelukes!

The armoured Mamelukes form a wedge formation to penetrate the French square - and only bounced by the narrowest of margins!

The main group of Mamelukes in disarray after bouncing off the nearest French square. 

Confusion on the Mameluke side after repeatedly bouncing off the French squares - the jezzail armed Sekkans weren't able to get a bead on the massed ranks of French - luckily for the latter!

Having taken the village the much-depleted Meccans are about to get ridden down by French cavalry.

It was a great game with three commands per side so well-balanced. The game was called (Covid-restricted time limit at the club) with the French about to retake the village - albeit at some cost. The Mamelukes had failed to stop the French in square but their famous impetuosity meant that their artillery and jezzail armed Balkan mercenaries (Sekkans) were never able to take aim at the massed ranks of French advancing across the desert.  The naval landing force survived albeit severely mauled, losing the village and valuable supplies, eventually had to be saved by the French cavalry/Camel Corps advance guard. A third force of Turkish regulars (Nizam e-cedit and Janissaries) never got involved and so may not be needed for the future scenario.  Great fun using adapted General de Armee rules and a game I'll definitely be running in 2021.

My next project I'll post on soon is finishing my WWI 1914 armies with a beautiful force of BEF sculpted by Paul Hicks for Empress.  Meanwhile I'm glad to see the back of 2020 and look forward to much more wargaming goodness in 2021, wishing all my blog followers and fellow wargaming enthusiasts a safe and prosperous New Year!