I devised a game scenario based on Desaix's famous pursuit of Mameluke leader Murad Bey in the Upper Egypt campaign (August 1798 - August 1799). The game is loosely based on several incidents during the campaign. The first was in March 1799 with Desaix' General De Brigade Belliard's small force of 1000 men (and one light gun) encountering 300 Mamelukes and 3,000 Meccan infantry (Arab fanatics) at Abnud north of Luxor. A desperate hand-to-hand battle ensued for two days with the French eventually dislodging the Meccans and destroying most of them but suffering over a hundred casualties in the process - one of the heaviest losses suffered by the French in the campaign at that point. Once over Belliard resumed his marching between Qena and Aswan. The second is one I've described before, the destruction of the French flotilla at Qena (just north of Abnud) in April 1799 by Murad Bey's ally Sheriff Hassan and 2,000 more Meccan fanatics. In his marches up and down the Nile after being resupplied Desaix had been forced to leave his flotilla which was subsequently attacked and largely destroyed. Belliard's force was barely 20 kms away but had no idea the Mamelukes and their Arab allies had slipped in behind them. This must have been quite a blow as Desaix relied heavily on his flotilla for resupply and to move long distances up the Nile. Because of the dangerous shoals Qena was about as far as most of the larger vessels like the flagship L'Italie could go but at the time it was also serving as a hospital ship for hundreds of soldiers suffering opthalmia and dysentery.
The French have landed their small infantry force and pushed to the edge of the village in the nick of time. One Naval unit and disembarked gun are in the middle of town, with the second unit still disembarking. A single battalion of the 21st DB is covering their right. The only way back to the flotilla is via the dilapidated local dock, one of which is barely usable.
The Mameluke force consists of two infantry 'brigades' of Fellahin/Egyptian infantry and Sekkan unit (Jizail armed Balkan/Greek mercenaries) & one 4 pdr gun plus Mameluke/Bedouin Arab cavalry (12 figs). The second 'brigade' consists of Cairo Janissaries, Sekkans and Meccan fanatics plus an 8 pdr gun. Both the Egyptian infantry and Meccans are large units (30+ figures each). Also available from Turn Four is another main force of Mamelukes (24 figures) who arrive along the other side of the table.
The Egyptian Fellahin infantry - encouraged by their Imam - get ready to charge while the Sekkan unleash surprisingly accurate galling fire from the cover of the palm grove in front.
The Egyptians burst through into the field but suffer a deadly bombardment from the French flotilla howitzer and are then met with an equally devastating fire from the Naval Brigade, gun and the 21st DB battalion lined up opposite.
The Ottoman 4 pdr provided accurate fire on the French in support of the attacking Fellahin. Behind them the Meccan's furious charge is barely stopped for the moment by desperate volleying from the French Legere.
By sheer weight of numbers the Meccans have forced the French back towards the village at the end of Turn Two. Fortunately for the latter the Meccan's enthusiasm to come to grips with the hated Infidel has masked their own gun which only got one shot in (and missed!) The French in danger of being outflanked by the Meccans managed to buy enough time to retreat into the village building.
Turn Three saw maximum pressure on the French. While the Egyptian Fellahin were destroyed and fled the field the Sekkan's sniping and Ottoman gun wiped out the Naval gun crew and reduced both the 21st DB and one of the Naval battalions. Then the Mamelukes made one of their maniacal charges that only just stopped short of contacting the other Naval battalion. It was too much for the other one which having lost the gun crew and under bombardment broke, leaving a hole in the French line.