Monday 21 October 2019

Back to the banks of the Sutlej. Sikh Wars encounter.

Another Saturday another game, with the added spice of studiously avoiding any way of accidentaly finding out the RWC England v Australia match. (Go England! Great game!). I was joined by Conrad, Richard, Paul S and Shaun. I'd set up a fictional Sikh Wars game to see how Paul's own Panoply of War rules handled the conflict and rather different troop types than used previously. Paul umpired while Shaun and I were allocated to the British/EIC command and Conrad and Richard took the Sikhs. It was a pure encounter game with objectives randomly placed across the table. This meant that the Sikhs would actually have to attack rather than stand on the defensive as they did most of the time during the Anglo-Sikh Wars. With their dodgy command and a fair few feudal troops that was going to prove interesting. I got to use my new desert mat for the first time; very pleased I am with it too.

As usual I will let the photos take you through the events of the game. As I was playing I didn't take as many as usual, but thanks to Richard for contributing some of his pictures for this post.

Kairne Singh the Sikh CinC

The British centre. 
Facing the Sikh centre. Yikes! Three big batteries of heavy guns.
A brigade of Khalsa advancing towards the town of Mogapur

A reminder of the grand battery in the Sikh centre.

The table just after kick off. The British had a holding force on the left, a strong centre and all our cavalry and most of our horse artillery on the right. The Sikhs had lots of everything everywhere.
The British line.

A bunch of Akali fanatics, part of a large force of mainly cavalry facing our left wing.
Luckily (as it turned out) the Sikhs placed all their feudal infantry facing a brigade of  infantry and two troops of Bengal Horse Artillery.
One of our two cavalry brigades, 8th Bengal Irregular Cavalry (BIC) leading, then  the 4th BIC and HM 14th Light Dragoons (LD).
Our second cavalry brigade can be seen behind HM 14th LD. The Governor General's bodyguard (GGB), 4th Bengal  Light Cavalry (BLC) and HM 16th Lancers. I don't know why Shaun put the two Queen's regiments in the rear but it worked out ok in the end.
Mogabad about to be occupied by the Sikhs, with Shaun's brigade racing to gain a foothold in one of the built up areas.
Casualty evacuation underway.
The British left flank.

Those damned Akali surging forward!

Sikh regular lancers preceded by Akali horsemen facing my left flank.

The British centre advances, supported by a rocket battery and heavy guns from the siege train.
The British cavalry advance on the right.
BIC face off Sikh Gorchara, charging and driving back two enemy units.
The British as seen from the Sikh CinC's howdah.

Sir Harry Smith urges his men on.

The 8th BIC clash with yet more Gorchara.
The Akali horsemen were getting closer. An attempt to charge a battalion of BNI was driven off.
Elite Sikh lancers in reserve.
Yet more Gorchara lining up to attack the British.

Sikh trops on the right of Mogapur about to engage with a brigade of British.

Continuing from the photo above, the BNI battalion was badly hit by Sikh musketry and canister and driven back. HM 24th then took their place and advanced gallantly into a hail of more canister but held.
There was fierce fighting in and around Mogapur with the town changing hands several times.

The British heavy artillery.

More fighting in and around Mogapur.

Skinner's Horse (4th BIC) hit a battalion of Sikhs in the flank after driving off some enemy cavalry..The Sikh infantry were pushed back but not broken.

The Sikhs rallied and were able to form square and eventually forced the BIC to pull back.
In the centre the Sikh feudal troops had been all but driven off, however their elite 'Avitable' brigade was closing in on the thin British line.

Sadly it was already 4pm so we had to call it a day. The British had captured and held on to most of the objectives and destroyed quite a number of Sikh units while loosing four of our own, resulting in a massive British victory. However, I do believe that a few more turns would have seen a reversal of fortune for the British as several units were wilting somewhat, especially a number of Bengal Native Infantry battalions. Even some of the Queen's battalions were badly battered, and HM 14th LD had been broken! The Sikhs had at least two brigades of untouched infantry so a continuation would have been tight. Thankfully for the "Empire" we stopped. British victory. I enjoyed playing for a change, especially as it was a rare win for me, and I do think the armies and the table as a whole looked stunning, but I am biased.

Paul's rules are good and I like them. They're certainly easy to pick up and follow. If we use them again for the Sikh Wars we will need to think a bit more carefully about how to grade the various troops types to reflect their abilities and historical performance, but I don't think we were far wrong. Of course, the Sikhs suffered badly from their poor command and the large number of feudal troops in their army, which is only right.

Anyway, thats it for now.


  1. A fine looking encounter there! Good outcome too at the final whistle!

  2. Wow, wonderful figures on this table, love the "Casualty evacuation" and the most impressive battery!

  3. Wonderful looking game and some great figures on show as well.

  4. It all looks very splendid and colourful. Like your desert mat and glad you had a win

  5. Terrific looking game and set up. Quite the right feel for the period

  6. Excellent game Colin great troop types too.
    Who made your desert mat and what did they call it in the catalog?

  7. These are gorgeous looking games. I love seeing this kind of project take off.