Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Battle of Chillianwalla

Here is a refight of the left flank attack at Chillianwalla, 13 January 1849.

This Lasalle game started with the British attacking, so they began to move one brigade at a time. I started with the cavalry brigade closest and finished with the infantry brigade on the right.

British order of battle :

Cavalry Brigadier White      Brig. Hogan          Brig. P'Cuick           Brig. Penny
3rd Light Dragoons              61st Foot              24th Foot                 15th BNI
5th Bengal Light Cavalry      6th   BNI              25th BNI                  20th BNI
8th Bengal Light Cavalry      36th BNI              45th BNI                  69th BNI                     
                                           46th BNI


The game starts with Reactions to enemy maneuvers, including counter charges and firing. Then you Resolve Combat, first the Fire combat then Melee. Then there is an Activity phase, movement of brigades and recovery from disorder. Finally, there is a Status phase where you remove smoke/firing markers, do engineering etc., and take  morale; figuring end of game math.

Because this was the first turn, we started with Activity; this game sequence reminds me of Principles of War. So, the British moved, if any units wanted to maneuver, they needed to pass a discipline test, a 4+ on a d6.

The Sikh Army then moved as well. However, they started at the beginning of the sequence with Reactions to what the British had accomplished. The Sikhs have a heavy gun battery on the far left of the battle field (the center of the actual field of battle; we're fighting the British left flank) which DID unlimber ( range 22 base widths/ 44 inches).
Due to the poorer quality of some troops not all units passed from the assembly tables to the main table.

TURN  2 

The British reacted to the advancing Sikh cavalry, by unlimbering the BHA just shy of cannister range. As the limbers moved away, the 3rd Dragoons shook out into line. The BNC moved into support of the BHA.

Brigadier Hogan's infantry negotiated some sandy hillocks of scrub as his supporting battery of RA unlimbered, ready to fire. Brigadiers P'cuick and Penny advanced quickly and took position in mid table. Penny's right most infantry battalion took fire from the heavy artillery, but the long range and sand scrub saw the shot pass harmlessly by the unit.

The Sikh commander Raja Lal Singh was disappointed by the effect of the heavy bombardment, he ordered the remaining Sikh Irregulars to change face and march to the left of the battery.
Meantime the unruly Ghorchurras blundered on through the scrub, anxious to get to grips with the enemy.
The remaining Sikh infantry Brigades (composed of 4 infantry paltans, some poorly trained) advanced with their guns, which unlimbered at the end of their move.


The British reacted to the Sikh cavalry maneuvers by firing cannister from the BHA and shot from Hogan's RA battery.  The result caused two disorders (5-8 hits: 4+ on d6) for the regular Sikh Dragoons amd 1 disorder to a Ghorchurra regiment. With the discomfort of the enemy obvious to all, the 3rd Dragoons charged the Ghorchurras as the 5th BLC  slammed into the reeling Sikh dragoons.

Not sure what outcome the cavalry melee would present, the 6th BNI formed square; the rest of Brig. Hogan's infantry took up positions on the scrub covered hillock.

P'Cuick and Penny continued their advance to the next line of hillocks, the 20th to fire from the heavy guns and was disordered ( two hits ).

The Sikh cavalry continued their advance, supports coming up from the back table. The remaining Ghorchurras moved to close with the 3rd Dragoons, bringing up the camel guns in support.

More of the irregulars pass their discipline tests and move off to cover the heavy gun battery. The battery scores hits and disorder on the British mention above. The Sikh infantry guns unlimber and form battery in the table center; watched over by Raja Lal Singh!

( To Be Continued)


Well, after a long struggle to keep my 91 year-old dad healthy and in his home, I'm back; and happily so is my dad.

The battle continues with the attack through the scrub by the 3rd Dragoons.

The Sikh cavalry commander sends in the last of the Ghorchurras and the Dragoons.

The Bengal Light Cavalry on the Dragoons left mix it up with the Ghorchurras.

In the center, the infantry and guns continue their slow advance against the Sikh lines.

The Sikh, for their part, rise to the occasion and begin their own counter moves.

The advance of the cavalry brigade into the scrub had left a hole in the left flank of the line. The sepoy battalions were order to take ground to their left. Hogan realized he lacked the strength to complete the task and asked for a reserve battalion to come over from the center to support him.

The reserve battalion could be seen in the distance moving to Brigadier Hogan's assistance. 

Again the Sikh Paltans maneuvered to the attack!

As the 3rd Dragoons began to turn the line, the Sikh infantry began to formed squares!

Would it be enough to save them? The Bengal Horse artillery made sure it was not!

So, as the game came to an end the 3rd Dragoon had turned the line. The horse artillery made it possible for the second regiment of Bengal Light cavalry, seen on the right, top of the picture, to penetrate deep into the disordered groups of Sikh infantry. The casualties inflicted by the cavalry brigade allowed the Sikhs to reach their Breakpoint of greater than one-third losses.  Lasalle gave a very good game, one that mimicked the events in the actual battle.

Thank you for your patience.