Monday, September 28, 2020


Date: 26 September 1884 {2020}
Location: Khartoum and Environs
Situation: Battling Back to Khartoum --- Will?

1. Lt. Olley rescue the British Museum Party aboard Eclipse?

2. The Dervish storm Khartoum?

3. Lt. Grandmaison find and bring reinforcements?

Let's find out, shall we?


Two Days Ago
Lt. Grandmaison's Lancer Troop

"Tenent! We should have charged the enemy camelry bursting through into Khartoum!"

"We could have easily beaten the camelry lad but the rifles coming on behind 'em would have made short work of us. We would never have broken through. Best to retire now."

"Troop Ready, --- Bugler, ForWARD! --- Isabel, Hah."

And silently, "Now to find and report to General Pettygree."

One Day Ago
General Pettygree's Headquarters

"Charlie, the Dervish are at Khartoum. Is the General here?"

"Yes. --- He knows Grandmaison. News came by telegraph before the wire was cut. The Egyptian Lancers, Camel Corps and the Gatling Section are preparing to march within the hour. --- Here he comes now."

"Grandmaison. --- There you are. --- Report."

"General, the Dervish are massing before Khartoum. Thousands of 'em. My troop barely escaped from the Anwar Oasis and defile."

"Well done, my boy. Your news confirms the telegaph dispatched yesterday. --- Alright, get some food and be ready to guide the entire Lancer Regiment back to the defile. Push the enemy out, if practicable. I'll be directly behind you with the Camel Corps and Gatlings."

"Very good, Sir."

September 26, 1884 {2020}
Anwar Oasis and The Relief Column

Silently, "The defile is clear but Anwar Oasis is occupied."

Lancers Charge!

"The impact amongst ferocious Hadendowahs and the caucophony of shouts and oaths was ear-splitting."

"We were repulsed!"

"After rallying back, the Regiment charged again. All was disorder and confusion mostly with sabers because of broken and thrown down lances. I peeled off to the flank...."

"Charging Hadendowah riflemen posted there. Their fire was ineffectual and they ran."

"All were cut down in the pursuit. None surrendered."

"Meanwhile the Regiment was thrown back again unable to break through the fanatics. Fortunately the commander rallied them in a safe area. No doubt they were encouraged by the arrival of...."

"General Pettygree."

"And the Camel Corps."

"All marched steadily forward toward Anwar Oasis."

"As the Hadendowah retired...."

"With dignity."

"And our respect when they turned to face us again."


September 26, 1884 {2020}
Storming Khartoum

Dervishes Approach The Left Face of the Fortress

Closing In With Scaling Ladders

Along the Entire Face

The Right Face Braces For The Assault

Ladders Are Set and The Dervish Climb

Left Bastion Defenders Hold 'Em Back

More  Ascend to Fight

A Small Breach

Defence of the Adjacent Wall Fails 
Dervish Now Hold Tower Gate
Have Breached The Right Face (upper image)

More Penetration

"I'm too late. There is no rifle smoke anywhere along the fortress wall. The guns are silent. That means the Dervishes must be inside doing terrible execution. What of the garrision, civilians and Gordon?"

"Gentlemen. There is no more fighting along the ramparts. Smoke rises from within the city. The foe we steadily pushed back confidently holds the ground before us. I regret to believe Khartoum has fallen. Issue orders to fall back without delay."

Nearby a subaltern remains fixed on the distant drama.

"General, I beg your pardon."

"Yes Ashton."

"Would the General care to look once more at the city?"

"Oh my...."

"They are running! Running! Do you see?"

"Somehow Gordon drew an ace, Sir."


British Museum Excavation Site C

Lieutenant Olley tied Eclipse to the shore near British Museum Excavation Site C to rescue Lady Mary Pettygree.

"There she is Sir and Abigail too, if I'm not mistaken."

"Where away, Mr. Tidders?"

The London Times photographed and eventually reported Lt. Olley's successful rescue of Lady Mary Pettygree and Abigail at British Museum Excavation Site C. He would later be promoted to a Captaincy and become a sought after exploration speaker throughout the Kingdom.



"My dear readers, it only remains to thank you prodigiously for your interest and kind remarks about this great adventure and to express my sincere gratitude to...."

"Left to right: Chuck The Lucky, Earl K. (Colonel Coote), Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz as Purky Pasha) and my industrious and loyal chronicler Bill P. Without them, this story could never have been told. Do let them know what you think, if you please."


Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Date: 26 September, 1884 {2020}
Location: Khartoum and Environs
Situation: Get Them Back To Khartoum --- Fast!


Atop Government House in Khartoum

"Do you see them Private Knight?
"Just Eclipse now com'n into view Sir."

"Train that automatic on the shoreline."
"Aye Lieutenant Olley."

"Where the devil is the General and his party? There could be Hadendowah's hid'n anywhere now that we know they are suddenly massing again."

"I don't see 'em Sir --- but the're out there --- as sure as Bob's your uncle."

"I don't like it at all Knight. Not one bit."

British Museum Excavation Site C

"William, Abigail and I have the idea that this structure is a half-buried pyramid. Maybe more. When our laborers clear away the vegetation and commence digging, we'll see."

"Yes, General Pettygree. Think what wonders we may find inside especially if the locals leave us alone. They will --- won't they? Are they still cross about things?"

"Mary, my dear --- Abigail. We have time. How much I do not know. However, the Army has reported the entire region empty for months. Lieutenant Olley has seen nothing along the Blue Nile during his river patrols. Grandmaison has been out for days with the Lancers sending regular dispatches back to Gordon saying the same thing. Nothing will happen soon. We are safe."

Lieutenant Grandmaison's Lancer Troop

"Troop --- Hah ALT!

"Lads, we'll have to find another way back to Khartoum."


(1) Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz), Chuck The Lucky, Earl K. and Bill P. (yours truly) have a 54mm Khartoum game planned. The preceding short story sets the stage.

(2) A lot of people need to get back to Khartoum.

(3) We hope you will look in again soon to find out who did. 


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Date: 2 September 2020
Situation: Khartoum Stormed By Dervish
Location: East Wall
Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien Regime Colonial Adaptations

In recent months Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz) scratch-built 54mm Khartoum fortress walls and buildings for our future annual BIG Colonial game. By big we meant lots of 28mm miniatures on large table surfaces. We still have those but for this game we are using 54mms from Armies in Plastic, William Britains and John Jenkins Designs to:

1. Play a game to move units, throw dice and be with pards.
2. Get Jim's new structures and our miniatures in a game.
3. Test rules and numbers of miniatures to use. 
4. Preparing for a larger game including a Relief Column.

Here They Come!
132 of approximately 232 Dervish approach Khartoum.
Hadendowah: Four bands of 40 plus one group of 10 Rifles.
Dervish: One 60 man horde.
The ratio of Dervish to Imperials was roughly 4:1.

Chuck The Lucky
The cannon in the previous image did 'orrible execution on the left-most Hadendowah band and rifles causing them to halt and reconsider the future. The other one made it to the wall. If a unit suffers 10% loss due to fire in a turn, it needs to check to determine if it will carry on or fall back.

Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz)
Jim's Hadendowah and Dervish warriors are unstoppable. Ladders show their intent to scale the walls to storm the Sudanese capital and capture it.

Natives move 18"/turn ignoring reductions when traversing light vegetation. Scenario design called for 3.5 turns to reach the wall which worked fine. It gave the Imperials time to fire.

Old School dynamics of single miniatures fighting single miniatures were in play. This enhanced individual performance and was a lot of fun. Remember Colour Sergeant Bourne in the motion picture ZULU in melee? That kind of thing.

Scratch-built ladders wide and tall enough do the job.
Egyptian defenders failed to topple foreground ladders.
Defenders trying to topple a ladder were not allowed to fire.
Remember John Wayne and Fess Parker's Alamo movies?
This scene shows set and toppled ladders. The Dervish did not have enough movement left to mount ladder rungs.

Things don't look good for the Dervish for now.

However, circumstances changed.

Improving for the Dervishes.

Right wall section cleared by the Dervish.
Ditto for the left wall section not shown.
Egyptian reserves and wall survivors form up to fire.
Game over.


1. Three turns each consisting of three melee rounds were played to the last photo. It was enough to achieve a conclusion; good for the scenario. This was a two-hour game. Seven turns methinks. Huzzah! --- BTW: Ladder games are a ton of fun.

2. Modifications under consideration:

(a) Toppling ladders was too hard needing 1D6 = 6.

(b) Once the scrum starts, individual fire will be allowed rather than using charts. 
2D6 = 7-12 will be a hit with a following saving throw.

3. Virus social distancing found the three of us separated usually by 4-8'. According to the most  recently revised stats from the US Center for Disease Control, under 10,000 Americans regretfully died directly from Covid 19. The other approximately 160,000 (94%) died because on average they had 2.5 other serious medical diseases or conditions when they contracted Covid 19. A huge proportion were in the state of New York and in New York City where Covid patients were wrongly placed in vulnerable nursing homes. A very large number were elderly. Anyhow the above is current as of the first week of September 2020. Draw your own conclusions and remember what Pontious Pilate asked, "What is truth?" I don't think any of us fully know what is real and unreal about all this including me. However, I'm not as anxious as I was in June. 

Will I go to a hobby convention in 2020? No.

Will I continue hosting occasional games with low numbers of friends using social distancing? Yes. How about former numbers of 7-14 friends? Probably not until 2021.

Some friends are out for all of 2020. I respect that decision. They have serious health issues. We miss them naturally but fully understand.

4. Best of luck and prayers for all of my readers.

5. Extra Photos from Jim.