Concealment & scouting in BP

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ochoin
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Concealment & scouting in BP

Post by ochoin »

'Black Powder' of course encourages players to modify the rules at their whim.
I feel the need to directly address the possibilities of concealing the Dervish & the discovering them through scouting for our Sudan gaming.

Neither of these issues are addressed in the rules. I believe the Dervish were pretty adept at using terrain to hide. This is easily done by using pre-placed, numbered concealment markers that may, or may not, reveal 1-2 Dervish units when the enemy approaches closely.

I also think a 'Go To Ground' mechanism could be added. This means, as an Action, a Dervish infantry warband can lie down - be dimly seen but not clearly. I envisage that a unit in GTG can only move 1 movement allowance (dice permitting) a turn & not be able to charge. They should count as in heavy cover if targeted by rifle or artillery but only able to fight back in H-t-H as if disordered. Another order, would put them on their feet, ready to cause mayhem.

I also think a single TINY unit of scouts (2 figures?) could be added to each Anglo-Egyptian column. In what I imagine will be a brief existence, they can signal the presence of a hidden unit if within that same close proximity.

So- with your knowledge of BP, or familiarity with the Sudan or expertise at wargaming, please comment, criticise & suggest.

donald
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BaronVonWreckedoften
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Re: Concealment & scouting in BP

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften »

At the risk of (over-)complicating the issue, presumably the Imperial troops found out the hard way that the Dervishes were adept at this, with the possible further complication that none of the people who "discovered" the hidden Dervishes, or their wily machinations, the first few times, lived to report back. So at what point in the campaign do the Good Guys "discover" this talent and make the necessary tactical adaptations you describe? I suppose you could argue that sending out scouts is standard military practice (especially for chaps who had previously soldiered on the N W Frontier or similarly hostile places), but that begs the question as to whether what the Dervishes actually did really was unique, or simply involved larger numbers than any previous opponents could muster?

(That hasn't really helped much, has it?)
Kein Plan überlebt den ersten Kontakt mit den Würfeln. (No plan survives the first contact with the dice.)
Baron Mannshed von Wreckedoften, First Sea Lord of the Bavarian Admiralty.
ochoin
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Re: Concealment & scouting in BP

Post by ochoin »

The Sudan is, of course, 7-8 campaigns, spread over two separate wars (maybe three).
The inept early campaigns of poor Egyptian troops, usually led by unlucky Englishmen like Hicks & Baker, often were a result of ambush. Though Gordon did show what could be made of the Egyptians, he, too, was ambushed badly before he kept to Khartoum.

However, when you got quality British commanders with quality troops, even the better Dervish generals & their undeniably brave troops struggled.
Ambush was still a favoured tactic but no longer a battle-winner.

My favourite B.C. is Gerard Graham. He, like his contemporaries, used small scouting parties to avoid ambush, though there were certain measures of surprise over several battles that often kept the results close.

The final campaign with the culminating battle of Omdurman, like Ulundi in the AZW, is just a one-sided massacre.

So in response to your point about when the lessons were learned, I'd say the British had a very short learning curve in that they were led by highly skilled professionals & their troops were often seasoned veterans of colonial wars. Throw in superior weaponry, & it is remarkable the Dervish did so well.

donald
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