Monday, 24 June 2013

The Battle of El Tikka Marsala: The British Force

The Strategic Situation
The annihilation of a series of Turco-Egyptian Armies under British Generalship, yes the donkeys were in command, by the army of the Mad Mahdi caused Her Majesty a severe deficiency of amusement and she expressed herself most strongly to Gladstone upon the matter. Gladstone, who was facing a general election, felt obliged to ride the tide of Jingoism and dispatch a British Army to 'restore pride'.

The cry went out to find a General who was neither senile, mad or half-witted. Chief of Staff, Sir Diamond Wolfy eventually settled on General Farley-Rusk who had been seen to read without moving his lips.

Thus it was that Farley-Rusk found himself deposited at the Red Sea port of Soddit with a sizable colonial army.

First Infantry Brigade
The core of the army was infantry brigade consisting of The Duke of Elmsford's Own Light Infantry, The Rutland Rifles, and two battalions of Bengal Fusiliers supported by an artillery battery and Gardner gun battery operated by the Naval Brigade: see above.

Cavalry Brigade

Cavalry support was provided by a brigade under the command of The Honourable Rupert of Chipping Sodbury. It consisted of two Hussar Squadrons and a battalion of Abyssinian mounted rifles.

Second Infantry Brigade

Farley-Rusk rendezvoused in Soddit with a second brigade of infantry shipped down the Red Sea from Egypt. Unfortunately it was an elite unit of two battalions handpicked Guardsmen mounted on camels. Elite to the officer corps meant those with the highest social standing so the officer's mess had the highest number of peers ever found concentrated outside of the House of Lords members bar.

This brigade was supported by naval artillery.

The Brigade commander was Bulley, the very epitome of a Victorian soldier, gigantic, aggressive and with a huge moustache. These important qualities outweighed his minor deficiencies of alcoholism, indecisiveness and the intellect of a squirrel.

The Plan
It was all agreed that 'something must be done' but the question was - what? Soddit was too far away from the Nile or, indeed, anywhere of consequence. After searching the map a dot turned out to be a place called El Tikka Masala and not, as was originally assumed, a squashed mosquito.

Accordingly, the next morning Farley Rusk led forth his army to capture El Tikka Masala.

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