Sunday, April 21, 2019

A Batch of Boats

It's curious that, for a relatively modern major military operation along one of the great rivers of the world, little is known about the Nile gunboats used during the 1885 campaign. Some thirty or so steamboats were employed. Even the Mahdists had a few, either captured from the ill-fated Gordon's flotilla or commandeered from civilian operators. One of the former is mentioned as being armed with 'a brass howitzer,' which must've been an antique even then.

What few illustrations there are show gunboats armoured by a rather gimcrack arrangement of wooden beams and planks battened onto the sides and superstructure to give the crew some cover.

They bear little resemblance to the spiffy Nile gunboats used by General Kitchener eleven years later...

Nile gunboat Melik. She and her sisters Sheikh and Sultan were built in 1896 by the Thorneycroft yards at Chiswick, London and transported to Egypt in sections.
I already have a British gunboat, not too far removed from the Melik to look at...

...but now I need a couple of steamboats for troop transports and a Mahdist gunboat and riverboats to provide some opposition. I have the beginnings of three steamboats.

The riverboats will look something like these modern craft since the design hasn't changed for centuries.

Red sails in the sunset...
Along with these I need to make a load of palm trees since these are a feature of the Nile banks, so it'll be a while before I resume the campaign.

1 comment:

Michael Awdry said...

fascinating A.J., looking forward to seeing this project grow.


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