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"TMWWBK - Naval Brigade 1884-85 Troop Type" Topic


8 Posts

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489 hits since 3 Sep 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

This Ones For The Sarge04 Sep 2017 1:53 p.m. PST

I know that naval brigade ratings in the Sudan carried the cutlass bayonet for the Martini Henry rifle but were they really as well drilled as the regular infantry and able to close order manoeuvre and volley fire?

The army list on p58 of the rules categories them as 'regular infantry' but surely irregular infantry with a points value of 4 points is more accurate?

Feedback please! Thanks

Personal logo Wolfshanza Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2017 10:08 p.m. PST

I tend to run all my naval types as regular infantry but poor shots.This makes their volley fire a 5 or 6 to hit rather than 4-6. Feel that their discipline was as good as the land forces ?

This Ones For The Sarge05 Sep 2017 11:51 a.m. PST

My copy of Osprey on the Sudan Campaigns 1881-98 says on p38 that "….There were a number of 'Bluejackets' landed with the Khartoum relief force, mainly employed in manning the Gatling guns."

This suggestion sounds like a good compromise – thanks!

Any other ideas?

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2017 2:59 p.m. PST

I rate my mid 19th century sailors as "Fierce". The RN had a long tradition of landing parties and cutting out expeditions where they made great use of their cutlasses. One theory is that the sailors were so harshly disciplined at sea that they sublimated that anger and let it go in battle. Perhaps they lost some of their warlike qualities as a result of the ships converting to steam later in the century.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2017 3:01 p.m. PST

I forgot to mention that during the mid-century Maori wars (which I game), the sailors were regarded as shock troops when it came to assaulting the Maori pahs.

This Ones For The Sarge05 Sep 2017 10:45 p.m. PST

I agree when the sailors are crewing guns as at the Battle of Tofrek where there was a fierce fight involving the Gardner guns worked by them and marines.

But ….. when sailors they were operating independently, not crewing guns, I'm not so sure that rating them fierce works. Or does it?

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 7:01 a.m. PST

The main difference between Regular and Irregular Infantry in TMWWBK is the former's ability to Form Close Order. I am certain that the navy was trained and capable in this maneuver. I cannot remember the source, but I am sure I have seen a photo of a naval unit practicing the drill to prepare to receive cavalry in square.

This Ones For The Sarge06 Sep 2017 12:00 p.m. PST

This is an intriguing prospect but the challenge is the numbers of men. For example the Orbat at the Battle of Tofrek of the 2nd Brigade, of which the Naval Brigade formed part, gives a figure of 3 officers, 30 men and 4 Gardner MG's. The most logical conclusion, and one that seems to agree with the sources I have read, is that the ratings were there to man the guns not in any sense form close order which given these numbers would have been slightly absurd and of limited tactical value.

Please note that I am purposefully distinguishing here between the Naval Brigade which was a contingent of sailors landed ashore and formations such as the Royal Marine Light Infantry, who incidentally also formed part of 2nd Brigade at Tofrek, and who comprised 25 officers and 600 men. A body which when formed up in close order would have been a significantly more imposing sight!

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