This scenario was played out using the Colonial Skirmish rules on this site - click here

The scenario owes a lot to the Point Wytouki scenario on the Major General's Page.

All of the small pictures can be clicked to see a larger version.

Wiping the perspiration from his eyes Binky cursed the heat, the flies, the red-hot rocks and the dust as he lay behind the boulder that had been home for the past two hours.  He cursed the shimmering air as surveyed the ground before him through his field glasses.  Nothing.  Not a single Mahdist.  Not even a villager or fisherman.  Yet he knew that they were there. 

He had to get past the fortified tower with the information for the Ambassador.  Think!  He tried to keep his mind on planning but images from Cairo kept appearing in his mind.  When he was not thinking about an ice cold drink that is.  A few moments ago it had been champagne now water would do nicely.  The masked costume ball at the Ambassador’s residency kept wandering into his mind.   In actual fact it was the rather risqué costume worn by Cynthia that he saw.  She looked just the part as Cleopatra; you would have taken her for an Egyptian!  “That’s it!” he said almost out loud.  A plan was forming. 

He rushed back to the steamers and explained what he wanted done.  The girls readily agreed.  And a few hours later they were disguised as local married women.  Hassan taught them a few useful phrases but he was quite sure that they would not be stopped or even noticed.  Women had a place in society so that as long as the girls did not draw attention to themselves they would be safe.  Just to be on the safe side both Cynthia and Meg carried small .22” revolvers under their headdress and Meg had her Derringer.

The Cunning Plan

The plan was for the girls to make a reconnaissance and be covered by a strong landing party.  In actual fact the girls played their parts so well that they were able to collect water at the oasis and locate a field gun concealed behind the long house in a fortified position and also that there were riflemen defending the oasis.  They also saw the tented camp behind the tower and defences across the road by the oasis.  On the way back they saw armed men amongst the red bushes on the hilltop.  Not once were they challenged, not even by the cattle herder they had to pass close by.

The Plan of attack

Binky deployed his forces with some skill.  On the river the steamer would follow the Gunboat and the launch would bring up the rear.  Adrian and his veteran askaris were entrusted with the river squadron with Louis overseeing the naval operation.  A sergeant and 3 of the Riflemen were detached to augment the firepower of the gunboat and one of the two Nordenfelts and a Hales rocket tube were mounted on the steamer.  Gerald had the central and largest force made up of the Egyptian infantry and his own Askaris with a Hales rocket tube, mainly for signalling.  Adrian was to advance on the first rocket being fired skywards.  Binky took the most dangerous position with his askaris and the remaining riflemen.  He added a Gatling dismounted from the gunboat.


The “Mata Haris” return (left), At the rear Binky can be seen with his Gatling and in the centre of the nearest Company Gerald (in green jacket) strides forward.

Determined to outflank the oasis Binky ordered Gerald to clear the hill while he sweeps around to the right.  The information about the heavy gun changed things so he sent the girls back with a message for Adrian adding new signals for “Stop” and “Resume”. 

Just after he did this he realised that the boats would be in voice range soon after sailing!

As Gerald’s force breasts the rise the defenders fired a warning shot.  The Egyptian infantry responded with a poorly aimed volley.  Their officers soon restored discipline.


No casualties are taken or inflicted in the first exchange of fire. 

A fierce exchange of rifle fire then takes place in which Gerald suffers 3 dead, two crippled and 2 wounded.  While the defenders suffer 4 dead.  

The Nordenfelt opened up to support the attack.  Gerald shouted out, “Follow me!  Charge!”  And the whole force swept forward. 

Suppressed by the Nordenfelt the sangar is stormed and the defenders bayoneted by the assaulting infantry.  One more infantryman is crippled.  Hassan set up a small dressing station and binds up the wounded.  The crippled are brought in and he discovers that they are not as badly wounded as first thought.  Gerald launched the signal rocket.  It soared into the sky and burst with aloud report and bright shower of sparks and smoke.

Meanwhile Binky came under severe sniper cross fire losing heavily to some riflemen hidden on the rooftops and the heights. 

The concealed gun was turned on Binky and his force.  After a couple of poorly aimed shots a shell landed right in front of the Gatling.  All were mesmerised for a second by the spinning, fizzing shell.  Then as one they ran to cover.  Binky had time to reflect, the gun was an old 9 pdr muzzle loader not a modern or heavy gun at all.  So where were the big guns?

Gerald launched his assault on the oasis.  He suffered two killed and two wounded.

Binky was in trouble.  The shell exploded with not quite the anticipated violence.  As the smoke cleared the Gatling stood unharmed.  Binky breathed a sigh of relief.  It was short lived.  From behind him came a roar, “ALAHU AKBAR!”


The rest of his party advanced across the open as the Dervishes burst from cover at full tilt. 

Gerald’s ferocious bayonet charge drove out the defenders for practically no loss and allowed him to catch the Dervishes in a devastating crossfire from Binky’s Gatling, Gerald’s rifles and Adrian’s gunboat.  If ever there was a case of fortune smiling upon Binky this was it!

Adrian’s small fleet was steaming into action.

The “Suleiman Bey”

The fleet; “Suleiman Bey”, “Cleopatra” and “Miss Frances”

As he did so the crafty emir unmasked his Krupp gun and fired at the gunboat.  The shot missed but only just!  Adrian standing beside his gunners turned the 12pdr and fired.  The first shot scored a direct hit on the trunnions of the Krupp shattering it and killing one of the crew.  A loud cheer rang out from the gunners.  Although he did not mention it at the time, this was the first time that Adrian had fired a Naval gun.  The gunners were immensely impressed.

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