Wednesday 24 July 2019

A bloody nose for John Company.

Paul came over yesterday afternoon for a game. Given the promised heat I decided we’d fight something along the banks of the River Sutlej during the 1st Anglo-Sikh War.

The scenario was based loosely on an engagement after the battle of Ferozshah in December 1845, when a British column marched across the front of an emplaced Sikh army at the village of Budowhal. In reality the Sikhs failed to intervene significantly and apart from some long range artillery fire and harassment by irregulars of the rearguard and stragglers the British were unscathed. But a more aggressive stance by the Sikh commander (who in this case was not involved in any treachery with the British or Palace Politics) would have proven very difficult for the British.

In this game the British had to get down the entire length of the table (almost 14 feet of it) and although there were significantly more British and HEIC troops involved than in the original battle to make a game of it the Sikhs were permitted to try and cut them off, assuming they could get their troops moving of course.

Paul sort of gravitated towards the Sikhs so I took the gallant lads of the Queen’s regiments and those of John Company.

The British on the march. The Sikhs are to their left. In turn 1 my very first command roll resulted in my cavalry blundering, with half of it exiting the table! Not a good start!
The Sikh army. (Part of it anyway)
The village of Budowhal with heavy artillery positioned on its flanks.
Bengal Horse Artillery quick into action against the mass of irregular horsemen  milling about in the distance.

The 12th Bengal Irregular Cavalry attack and drive off two batteries of Zambureks at the far end of the table  on the Sikh extreme left.
More BHA in action against the Sikh centre. It was an unequal fight against two large batteries of heavier guns.
Akalis catch a battalion of Bengal Native Infantry on the hop!
While Sikh matchlock men pour into the dried up riverbed.
The Akali fail to break the BNI immediately but force them back. The BNI can take no more and they break at the end of the next round of combat.
Two Queen's regiments advance against the irregulars.
On the left HM 16th Lancers, supported by Bengal Light and Irregular Cavalry charge the mass of Sikh irregular horsemen. In previous games the European cavalry had gone through the Sikhs like the proverbial knife through butter but not this time, as they were bounced!
In the centre, what was left of it, the native infantry were crumbling and the one European battalion was under heavy artillery fire. Added to that, a large mob of Akali was roaming around in my rear.
The Khalsa sense victory.
Skinner's horse fail to stop the Sikh irregular horse and are pushed back.
The British rearguard finally made it onto the table, in just enough time to cover my retreat.
The cavalry brigade on my far right was now dangerously exposed but in a good position to damage the Sikhs if they were to get too close!
In the village the locals just get on with their lives as usual.
With three brigades broken (two of infantry and one of cavalry) it was all up for the British.
The emboldened Sikh irregulars surge forward.
So, the British had failed to march off the table and would have to make other arrangements. Several native battalions had broken as had one European one (The Bengal Fusiliers). My cavalry and artillery had performed badly and the Sikhs had, for a change, managed get their troops moving in the right direction. The Sikhs would never be able to follow up their victory so the British would extricate their army to fight another day, which is what will happen on Saturday.

1 comment:

  1. Wargames set in the Jewel in the Crown always strike a chord with me, such stirring sights and tales of daring do!