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Silence the Guns. A 'Sudan' based game of Death in the Dark Continent.

Locals watch the dust clouds of the British advance across the river.

Dave, Richard and Myself got together to try out my 10mm Sudan toys with the Death in the Dark Continent Rules. I played the plucky British - sent out to capture some Mahdist artillery making a nuisance of themselves against traffic on the river. Richard played the Ansar forces trying to repel the infidel. Dave oversaw proceedings and sat amused as we faced off against one another.

The Dastardly Mahdi Artillery

Richard placed his forces in secret locations recorded over the table. He had Riverine Arabs, Beja and mixed spear and rifle armed units dotted around hidden from my Binocular's. My command was largely made up of Egyptian Infantry and Cavalry, with some artillery. I did have a gunboat that transported a unit of British Marines abroad.

My gunboat heads up river and is waved at by some excited locals!

On the first turn I moved my gunboat up river ahead of the main column. The boat had some artillery capability but I also wanted to 1) see if I could spot any hidden enemy and 2) see if I could swiftly move up to deploy my Marines near to the enemy artillery positions and take them by surprise. The boat advanced up river and soon drew the attention of some of the hidden tribesmen.

Egyptian regulars advance in the middle and cavalry squadrons move up on the far flank.

Meanwhile the main army advanced, with the lead unit deploying in line ahead of scrubland. My cavalry moved up swiftly to support the advance. Good job too as Richard activated two hidden units of Ansar. My infantry replied with some opening volleys - scoring some immediate casualties (white circles) and my cavalry hit home with a flank charge! Meanwhile the Ansar artillery tried to range in on my advancing troops - fortunately having little initial accuracy success.

Meanwhile my boat continued its way up stream - locating more of the enemy as it went. Ineffective musket fire rattled against the ships railings. Before the marines and ship's crew could breath a sigh of relief the crack of distant guns and a familiar whistling sound brought a new threat. Shells started throwing up water around the ship - Richard had redirected his artillery at my boat. It only took a few turns for his guns to range in and eventually they landed a few hits - fortunately doing not much more than inflicting superficial damage and persuading the Marine Colonel to put his tea down! Damned unsporting behaviour and he had his best china out!

Meanwhile the Egyptian cavalry get to grips with the Ansar blocking the general advance!

In the centre meanwhile more of Richards Ansar were 'appearing' and breaking up the general advance of my troops and peppering it with long range fire. I pressed home with a cavalry squadron and manage to break one of the tribal units. Meanwhile my regular infantry starts to open up along the line scoring some hits against the Ansar and shaking it up.

A hidden unit of Beja leap out from their hiding place!

Having cleared one unit of enemy my cavalry continued to advance on the left flank of the enemy guns (seen in the far distance along the row of hills). Suddenly whoops of excitement and ferocious screams startle the horses. A hidden unit of Beja runs at my horse fighting it into a standing stalemate. On the right flank you can just make out my boat having made it (under duress!) up the river now unloading its Marine payday!

Forward the Marines!

My boat (a little tattered) manages to creep up to the base of the hills which the guns are firing from - only to be met by a seething mass of spears! Fortunately their training (they are an expensive unit in DIDC but very effective!) sees them break the enemy organisation with a well placed volley. Meanwhile in the centre my artillery unlimbers and starts to range find Richards hill perched guns.

Kings of the castle....

On my right flank while one unit of my cavalry is locked in a force struggle with the emerging Beja - my infantry advances on an enemy held hill. My other squadron of cavalry deploys (precariously) to protect its flank. Richard scores some hits with his artillery on my advancing units. Then my guns find their range and decimate one of his artillery positions. The game is still evenly poised - I still have a way to go and one enemy gun position to clear.

Things get 'interesting' for the Marines.

Not much sooner after the Marines have disgorged from the boat then more enemy spring up. The boat's captain puts it in reverse and tried to give covering fire - itself taking some hits. Just off picture behind the Marines, a nasty looking unit of Beja is emerging from the around the corner of the hills. While the Marines are inflicting a high casualty rate - they themselves loose a base to enemy fire. Things are looking grim. Several men start to look nervously over their shoulder at the perceived safety of the boat....

General Advance!

With the Marines in an dashed awkward spot I order a general advance. Fortunately my cavalry wins the fight against the Beja scattering them back into the desert and my infantry fire gradually wears down the Ansar who start to fall back. Richards lone artillery position continues to pour fire on my positions and even diverts to score another hot on the boat!

Attack the devils in blue.....

While the Beja move around the base of the hills the Marines manage to pepper it with some lucky hits - disorganising it sufficiently to buy the gallant boys in blue some breathing space. This shot was taken just before my artillery landed several more hits on Richards remaining artillery position (see on the hill). Objective complete! Phew.

An exciting game overall. The 10mm worked well with the rules and looked the part. We deiced that 10mm gave a great visual game and also enabled lots of room for manoeuvre - something that 28mm games can struggle with (dont panic most of my armies are 28mm!). My 10mm Sudan collection is pretty huge now and I can even field a large part of the environs of Cairo.

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