Aquí están los soldados de la “ Highland Brigade “en la batalla de Tell - eL-Kebir, en Egipto, en este día en 1881. El ejército británico, ordenado por sir Garnett Wolseley, invadió Egipto para apoyar al gobierno del jedive Tewfik, que había sido derrocado por una rebelión del ejército egipcio.
La campaña concluyó con un ataque de noche del ejército británico contra un fortalecimiento enorme en Decir-EL-Kebir, al este de El Cairo, sobre las horas antes de amanecer el 13 de septiembre de 1881. Sorprendieron, pero fueron defendido al ejército egipcio fuertemente: pero después de que los ataques resueltos por la infantería y la artillería británicas, las fuerzas de los egipcios se rompieron. La victoria terminó la campaña.
La base de las figuras es el sargento Jones de DML: pero tanto se ha substituido o se ha mejorado que casi están nuevas figuras .
The Highland Brigade at Tel-el-Kebir .
In 1881 Egypt was ruled by the Khedive Tewfik , who, despite the efforts of French and British advisers since the building of the Suez Canal in 1869 to make him behave as a modern ruler should , managed to plunge his country into an increasing mire of bankruptcy , corruption and cruelty .
The long -suffering Egyptians broke out into a revolt against this unnatractive despot and his European advisors, led by their own Army under Achmed Arabi Pasha : matters got out of hand with widespread attacks on Christian minorities and European trading interests ; and to safeguard the Canal the British Government , much against its inclinations , sent an Expeditionary Force to regain control of the country.
It was commanded by Sir Garnett Wolseley , who was the butt of Gilbert & Sullivan’s spoof patter song “ I am the very model of a modern Major-General “ : a vain but undeniably talented officer : and he conducted the campaign with almost total success.
After various manoeuverings , the climax came in the Eastern Desert at Tel-el Kebir before the dawn on 13th September 1881 , precisely where Wolseley had predicted it would : the British Army made a five mile silent night approach that remained undetected until within 300 yards of the objective , then hurled itself on the Egyptian Army’s position covering Cairo , which consisted of a large and impressive rectangle of entrenchments studded with artillery redoubts.
The Egyptian Army was far from being a contemptible foe : it was armed with modern Remington rifles and Krupp artillery ; and its Sudanese battalions were amongst the best troops in Africa.
The left of the attack was conducted by the Highland Brigade including the Black Watch on the left , the Camerons, the Gordons and the Highland Light Infantry on the right. They ran into heavy if inaccurate fire , and the HLI found themselves confronted with a 16ft ditch fronting a four-gun redoubt ; it was touch and go for a while , and they had to take two goes at it , but once reinforced from the supports they carried the position , but with appreciable casualties .
The Egyptian army retired , then broke under pressure from two sides… and the victory effectively ended the campaign.
Large numbers of Egyptian prisoners were promptly sent home , which was exactly what many of them wanted anyway, being unwilling conscripts ; and many of the Sudanese were recruited into the reconstructed Egyptian army of a few years later .
Here’s Alphonse de Neuville’s wonderful painting : Unfortunately I can only find this poor copy : if anyone knows where it is I should love to know:
Sergeant , 1st Battalion Black Watch ;
Private, 2nd Battalion Highland Light Infantry:
This battle saw almost the last use of the traditional red coat ( the last was at Ginniss in the Sudan three years later ) ; and the uniforms have a kind of ridiculous pomp about them which makes them very attractive as figure subjects.
The basis is the DML Sergeant Jones figure , three copies of which I bought ages ago , which provides the basic red coat and the Martini-Henry rifle ; but it has all been so extensively modified that it’s almost a scratchbuild.
Since the two figures have identical kit , it’s certainly more efficient to build the two together :
I tread carefully in this era , it being so much the area of expertise of Misterscruff and Andysheppard , and I should like to thank them both for helping me out with items , and correcting my errors.
This is a bit of communal effort, since the arrival of Neil Walker’s new BW tartan prompted me to get on and finish them : Neil has got a textile company to produce a small quantity of Black Watch tartan in accurate 1/6th scale for his own figures , and has kindly sent me a piece.
Foreign Service Helmet : my own casting , with a pagri of fine cotton. The Regiments stained them with whatever they could find , mostly coffee. It was noticed by observers that the red –and –sand coloured British Army was less conspicuous than the white-clad Egyptians.
The tunics, the Scottish frock made from serge , have new sleeves , recut skirts , and working buttons. The new cuffs and shoulder straps are from some Polysuede which is a near match to the original fabric.
The sources differ about precisely which frock the BW wore at the battle : some show the more ornamental version version with the gauntlet cuffs , but others, including a photograph taken in England, show the plain version without cuffs or pockets .
I started with the plain cuffs ( as in most of these pics ), but I’ve now changed them to the gauntlet type , to conform with the white piping on the collar , as Nick pointed out to me.
Both figures are wearing the DiD greyback shirt .
The kilt and trousers are from Neil Walker’s new Black Watch Tartan , in the case of the HLI with the white overstripe of the old 74th Lamont tartan ( they wore this at the battle – later they were issued with MacKenzie ) done with a Pentel Micro-correct : this is very easy and effective , done with a steel ruler. If you want yellow for the Gordons or red for the MacKenzie , just do all the stripes in white then go over them with a permanent coloured marker .
The kilt is a first try: ideally it should have a lot more pleats at the back , but scale fabric does not pleat like the 1:1 original, alas , so one has to make some compromises .
The HLI gaiters were made in leather by Nick Taylor : splendid.
All the 1870 valise equipment is made from deerskin or fine calf stained with black shoe dye for the black bits : the pipeclay was all scrubbed off for the campaign , leaving it in its natural buff . All the working buckles are from brass wire.
Andy Sheppard made me the belt pouches , since he has had lots of practice !
The HLI bayonet is the new DiD one : it’s too short ( 21” rather than 26” ) but I haven’t yet worked out how to replace it and the scabbard easily : I can’t cast anything that long in my machine .
The BW sergeant has the DML sword bayonet .
The BW sporran is from fine leather with a mohair beard and tassels.
The boots are the DiD 95th Rifles version for the BW ; and Newline Japanese dyed black for the HLI .
The DML Martinis have been corrected with new backsights and swivels , various tiny screwheads , and a proper breechblock.
They are still a little slender , but there’s no way to improve that without starting again from scratch.
By the time the sun was up , it was all over :
The desert is a hard environment , particularly in the late summer , and although the troops were well supplied , in very good order and it was a short campaign , they inevitably became dust-caked from the clouds of the stuff thrown up by the marching columns , so I create this effect by careful paint weathering with a very dilute sand acrylic, then puffing talcum powder all over them.