Garnet Wolsely’s War Diary: Tel-el-Kebr


I got a chance to play in EGYPT FOR THE EGYPTIANS: TEL EL KEBIR, run by Alex and Jen Bagosy, at HISTORICON. It was a real meat grinder for the British, at least the game I was in. The real story was quite different.

The Battle of Tel El Kebir

Anyhoo, the British had to advance over a wide area in gradually lightening conditions. I had command of the cavalry on the left, along with Garnet Wolsely.

Alex, giving his pre-game blurb. The rules were very similar to BROTHER VERSUS BROTHER, with some modifications.

… and Jen, the chick in the fez!

My stalwart cavalry command. I don’t know the orbat for this one, so won’t be remembering the names of these units very well. We were on the left flank.

My neighbors to the immediate left, the highlanders. We were slightly intermixed.

My neighbors to the right, the Sappers and Artillery. Bill Alderman, a friend of mine, had the artillery, which eventually was down tot he reigmental water-bearer, it saw so much punishment.

At commencement of the fight, we had a long way to slog, across a wide open plain, as this picture somewhat artificially attests to. Fortunately it was still dark which hindered the Eyptian’s visibility. They had three gun emplacements, which would be quite devastating once visibility cleared up. The infantry were solidly entrenched at the top of the slope, which gave them a lot of cover.

I took a few casualties getting to the edge and doled out some myself (the cav had carbines). Here I am in the dead spot of the slop where the Egyptians couldn’t fire… nerving myself to charge..

Bill’s artillery engineers were having a bad day. They advanced and halted at the base of the cliff and were literally “chopped into chutney” by Egyptian artillery. To his credit, even with rapidly dwindling numbers, he managed to decimate the Egyptian arty crews.

The infantry companies on the right were doing much better.. mostly due to the artillery focusing on the poor bloody artillery and cavalry.

The line was weak on the left, with a small gap that I tried to line up on. So I maneuvered as far as I could to the left before charging up the hill, getting well in front of the Highlander charge.

My charge on the left slightly slowed down at the top, giving the Egyptians a free shot which caused a lot of empty saddles. Meanwhile, the highlanders had reached the base of the slope, capturing the redoubt on the way. The sappers on the right were at the trenches at this point, and they took out the right most gun.

The infantry in the center had a very hard time of it.. the battle in the trenches to take the center gun was murder. But they got in! You can see the unmanned popgun on the right.. as most of Bill’s arty crews were dead now.

And we see the Gardner gun crew is dead, and there is one measly guy left…

Meanwhile, my plan to sweep wide and take out the left flank with a charge was an abyssmal failure! I jumped into the trench with my cavalry types… and went into melee with some surprisingly steadfast Egyptians. End result: Every saddle but one (including the officer) emptied. It was a slaughter. Fortunately Alex allowed some reinforcements so I reformed my command (what was left). Unfortunately, not in enough time to charge again. The Highlanders in the meantime did due diligence against the left, and got into the trenches with a valiant charge. Glory hounds, those jockos!

The valiant brits got into the trenches.. there was butchery… and the Egyptians broke in many places. The victory was given to the British, but it was a close one with the Egyptians having provided a very good fight indeed. The game was called at this point, and awards announced.

I got the “Good Sport in the Face of Massive Casulaties” award. Sigh. We shook hands all around, like gentlemen are wont to do.