15mm Mahdist Nile Gunboats
Dervish Converted & Captured Steamers
If you thought that there was very little information about Anglo-Egyptian gunboat operations on the Nile, then even less is known about Mahdist gunboats and steamers! Although they are mentioned here and there in various accounts, there is not much in the way of eyewitness accounts, actual ship names, what role they played in the Sudan wars, how they were crewed, or anything else for that matter. What is known is that the Dervishes did capture a few Egyptian steamers and some were seen on the Nile at various times. Also, the British did retake a gunboat after Omdurman that had been fired on by French troops near Fashoda and was returning for repairs without knowing that the city had fallen! This does, however, present an ideal opportunity for colonial gamers in that you can pretty much build any kind of steamer and/or gunboat that you wish to go up against the Anglo-Egyptian flotilla! When I started building these Mahdist gunboats I began with the premise that they would be captured steamers or local transports that were pressed into service with the Mahdi's forces. This meant nothing with ultra-modern weaponry or clean lines similar to the British Sultan class. These boats would be more or less river transports that would have been hastily converted to serve as weapons platforms on the river. This meant boiler plate armor, boards covering exposed spaces, and whatever cannon and machine guns that had been previously captured, then crammed into any space that would provide an opening to fire them. Let your imagination run wild.