Sunday, 1 December 2019

Battleground 2019 and the Battle of Ferozeshah Part 1

Waking to a frosty morning we headed off to our local show Battleground, just 5 minutes in the car. We'd set up on Friday evening so there was no need to get there too early (thankfully), arriving about 9.20. John the Red had just arrived and Paul Robinson from Grimsby was there shortly afterwards, closely followed by Douglas Thomson from Falkirk. During the course of the morning we were joined by Tim Whitworth and Barry Foster from the E. Midlands and Roger Castle from W. Yorks.

There are loads of photos to share so I will concentrate on my game in this post and the show as a whole in the following one.

The British right flank. Massed Bengal Artillery and Gilbert's Division of three European and three Bengal Native battalions supported by a troop of Bengal Horse Artillery and a brigade of cavalry. Tim threw a blunder on the first turn and all the infantry retreated two moves off the table! Temporarily thankfully.
The British left under Littler (John) advance. One brigade closes on the entrenchments while the other in the background refused to move. 

Wallace's weak division in the centre advances into the teeth of Sikh fire. 
Two troops of Bengal Horse Artillery galloped right up the the Sikh entrenchments, unlimbered and poured canister fire into the ranks of Sikh infantry.
A few turns later the right wing (Tim/Barry) under Gilbert reappeared and advanced quickly towards  the Sikh left. This was the weakest section of the their defences, held only by feudal troops stiffened by regular artillery and camel guns. The British cavalry wound their way through the jungle and closed on the entrenchments.
The massed batteries of Bengal Foot Artillery advanced but were still very ineffective. 
On the British right John's attack has stalled but more Bengal Horse Artillery have advanced  closer to the entrenchments.
In the centre, now commanded by Roger, Wallace's Division has advanced closer to the Sikhs, taking heavy casualties. John's attack on the left has got going again.
The Bengal Horse Artillery in the centre caused significant damage among the Sikh defenders but were taking fearful casualties themselves.
Tim and Barry's wing assault the Sikh left.
Sir Harry Smith's division has begun to appear through the jungle.

Success in the centre of sorts. One battalion of Sikh defenders has been pushed back but the Bengal Native Infantry were shaken and wisely chose to stay in the ditch.  The Queen's battalion on the left is making heavy going of driving off their opponents, but the first crack has appeared in the Sikh defences.
Stalemate in the centre. Wallace's division is now shaken, but in my house rules European troops do not have to retire as part of a broken/shaken brigade unless they too are shaken.
The Tim/Barry assault is going well, insofar that the enemy closing fire failed to stop the chargers from getting stuck in! The Sikh battery hangs on for a turn but is then overrun, but the Queen's battalion facing them also failed a break test and routed.
More of the British right make it through heavy closing fire and engage the Sikh defenders.
HM 3rd Light Dragoons managed to cross the earthwork and forced a battalion of  feudal infantry to retreat.
Meanwhile in the village of Ferozeshah, life goes on as normal.

The Sikhs built raised earth platforms for some of their cannon. This battery was a particular and deadly nuisance to the British attack.
In the background a brigade of Smith's division advances to replace the shattered troops of Wallace's division.
The British foot artillery was as ineffective as in the real battle but the Bengal Horse Artillery were very dashing, galloping up close to the enemy.

John's assault on the Sikh right is making slow progress in the face of heavy Sikh artillery fire and the best of the Sikh infantry.
John pushed his two cavalry brigades forward in support of the infantry attack.
The Sikh right looks pretty untouched although the orange-flagged brigade is shaken.  The massed Sikh cavalry just in shot were actually just off table and like their historical counterparts took no action to interfere with the British attack. 
The large redoubt on the Sikh right was a daunting sight, but once the attackers got into the ditch they were invulnerable to  its fire.
Paul's command on the Sikh left are in full retreat and the British are about to enter the encampment in strength. One of the British brigades had been broken but the other and the cavalry were free to be unleashed into the camp.
The camp and village before they are overrun by the victorious British.
 So, by 2pm and after a very hard fought game it was all over with a British victory. The game almost followed history, with the attack on the British left being held while that on the right was successful.  Sikh cannon weren't especially effective otherwise the end result could have been different, or at least delayed. Sikh reinforcements also failed to arrive. The British took heavy casualties in gaining their victory, and the 3rd Light Dragoons emulated their historical forefathers by crossing the entrenchments and pushing into the camp.

Overall it was a great game. I was very happy with the way the game turned out visually as well as how it played as a game. There were some very nice comments made by the public and by other gamers. A big thanks to John, Paul, Douglas, Tim, Barry and Roger for their support and for taking part and helping to keep the game going and STILL get lots of shopping in! Thanks too to Richard who offered the services of some of his charges at HM Home House Prison for making the Ferozeshah banner (as seen in the previous post). It was a very professional job. Finally, a very special thanks to my wife Katherine for her help and support, without which putting the game would have not been possible.

In part 2 I will cover the rest of the games and the show overall.



8 comments:

  1. Splendid looking game Colin. Hope the back held up, and the wallet!

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  2. That is a splendid display there Colin.

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  3. Colin,
    It was an excellent looking game, just wish I'd had more time to visit during the battle.

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  4. Great looking game as always Colin.

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  5. Lovely looking game Colin. Looking forward to reading your review of the show.

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  6. Colin, it was a great day and well worth the journey. Thanks again.

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  7. My favourite game of the show and there were many very good games to choose from.

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  8. Glad to hear that all your hard work paid off and things went to plan. It all looks magnificent. I particularly like those little camel guns.

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