Thursday 16 May 2019

Anglo-Sikh Wars First Time on the Table Battle Report

John the Red came over yesterday evening for a game. I had decided that I had more than enough troops to put on a Sikh Wars game as I had put together some characteristics and stats for the troops of both armies and I wanted to see if they were going to work. We used Black Powder II this time, but I’ve got an idea I might try and adapt General d’Armee. We shall see.

The armies face each other over low jungle and otherwise broken ground.
I took the Sikhs and deployed my army with cavalry on each wing, and the infantry and artillery interspersed with each other in the centre. John deployed one brigade of infantry on his right, supported by a brigade of cavalry, while his three infantry brigades and two batteries of Bengal Foot Artillery formed up in the centre. His other cavalry brigade held the right supported by two troops of Bengal Horse Artillery.

John's centre was facing an awful lot of Sikhs.

The Sikh centre.
John's first move was to push his horse artillery forward supported by a brigade of infantry. The cavalry on that wing failed to move. 
On the right flank the British began a slow advance towards the village.
I immediately unleashed my Akali zealots. They suffered terribly from short range musketry and canister fire and were held but only after they crashed into a battalion of Bengal Native Infantry and broke them.
The remains of the Akalis in front of the British.

Right I thought. Lets see what the Gorchara can do and ordered them to advance, which they did. One unit was blasted by the Bengal Horse Artillery and ran away.
John committed the Governor General's Bodyguard (GGB) and charged the Gorchara. Both sides withdrew after a brief clash.
Another unit of Gorchara charged and hit the GGB, forcing them back again.
The Akali managed to close with another Bengal Native Infantry battalion (BNI). Things were looking a tad dodgy on the British left.
On the other flank the British had pushed a brigade of infantry, supported by a troop of Bengal Horse Artillery, into and beyond the village. My cavalry refused to move but when charged by John's cavalry, did manage to countercharge, hitting the 3rd Light Dragoons. The Sikhs were broken after a brief melee.
My elite infantry brigade advanced rapidly on the British.
On the British left the Akalis broke yet another BNI battalion, capturing a colour in the process. They had to withdraw as by now the Akali had been reduced to a few shaken units.
The 3rd Light Dragoons charged again, this time hitting a regiment of Sikh regular lancers. Once more the 3rd LD carved into the Sikhs forcing them to retreat (off the table as it happens). The 3rd were by now pretty battered and pulled back.
One of my Fauj-i-Khas elite battalions took six hits from the BHA, saving five of them! 
The 9th Bengal Irregular Cavalry (Christie's Horse) charge another Sikh Lancer regiment while in the background the 3rd LD can be seen in combat with more Sikh cuirassiers. Both Sikh regiments were broken or forced to retreat off the table, meaning that all the Sikh cavalry on their left were out of the battle for one reason or another.
The 9th Bengal Irregulars poised to hit a Sikh infantry brigade rushing to cover their left flank in march column.

We ended the game there as it was clear that the British had won on both flanks but would probably struggle to take on the centre unless they were able to rollout up from both flanks. That seemed unlikely so I declared the game a draw overall. I reckoned I'd get most of my artillery away covered by ten Sikh regular battalions, one or two of which might have been sacrificed.

Well, it was certainly a colourful spectacle and probably a fair result. The Sikhs were hampered by having a bunch of poor generals commanding them so rarely got moving very much, with the exception of the Akali and Fauj-i-Khas brigade. The superiority in Sikh artillery was never tested as the British wisely stayed out of close or even effective range, and even then they were taking hits and disordering ones to boot! The inferiority of the Sikh cavalry when facing regular European cavalry was accurately reflected in the game. I probably made the Akali too effective, since rectified. The elite Sikh Fauj-i-Khas infantry held their own and actually stopped the British brigade facing them (on the Sikh left). We never really got to test a European battalion's reported superiority properly but the BNI were definitely brittle to say the least! The one European battalion that did get into hand to hand did so against a battalion of Sikh 'pretend' Ghurkas so it was more of an even match to start with at least.

More testing is required, and in the meantime I shall get on with a load of Sikh Feudal irregular infantry and some more British limbers.

Partizan on Sunday so I'm looking forward to that.


  1. So fine to see this project out on the gaming table. The Bengal Horse Artillery uniform is one of my favorites.

  2. Epic! Beautiful and impressive cavalry charges!

  3. A great looking game - very colourful, and it sounds like a tough fight!

  4. What a colorful game! I play this period also and I think the poor performance of the Sikh cavalry is what should normally happen. I also agree with you that the Akali probably should be tempered a bit, they weren't that effective battlewise. Looking forward to more battles with this cool collection!