In finishing the Gardner Gun today I have finished the Naval Brigade. At the ratio of 1/33 I am using I should really only have 5 figures to represent the Brigade but with two guns with crews of four I am obviously going to be well over this. I have decided that as a wargaming unit I will add four sailors as well. So here is the complete Brigade ready for action.
The Bluejackets of the Naval Brigade were the first British Troops to land at Suakin in February 1884. At El Teb the 125 men, three Gatling Guns and three Gardner Guns were attached to the 1st Brigade and formed the front two corners of the square. When the Beja first charged it was three of the machine guns, that had been run out in front of the square, that fired first. Later Admiral Hewett led a charge of the sailors with fixed bayonets.
At Tamai the force was slightly larger at 163 men. They were in the 2nd Brigade in the left hand top corner of the square. When the Black Watch charged they left the Gatling and Gardner guns stranded outside the square. When the Beja charged some of the guns had to be abandoned and the Beja subsequently threw one of them down a ravine, although the sailors managed to pull it out later. Ten of the naval crew were killed and seven wounded but not before they had disabled the guns. It was whilst defending one of these guns that Private Tom Edwards of the Black Watch won the Victoria Cross.
Later about half of the Naval Brigade served with the desert column. But that is another story and another army!
Right, there is no excuse now, I have to start some Highlanders!