A new regiment, figures by Old Glory. I really have a soft spot for my old Mini Figs but their age is becoming a liability, so I'm refitting with more robust 28 mm figures. The Sikh Wars line from Old Glory is one of their better efforts. The sculpting looks good alongside much of the Foundry figures in my collection. The stronger rifles and bayonets will resist bending and breakage.
Old Glory also supplies command and flank companies so that the regiments look the part. I have another on the paint blocks but time, and life's emergencies are preventing me from painting and playing much.
Having tried Goojerat with the Portable Wargame rules back in 2011 I thought I'd try the same battle, different flank, with Neil Thomas' rules for Nineteenth Century European Warfare.
I liked the five levels of training they offer, and immediately set about to modify them to suit a European trained tribal army, the Sikhs. Mr. Thomas already had listed choices for an early Victorian British army.
After the first turn the Army of the Sutlej is seen advancing along a wide front. There is a dry nulla to the far right. A smattering of three fortified villages run across the army's front. The objective is for the British army to place artillery on the nulla and enfilade the Sikh infantry lines. These lines are just off the far side of the board, towards the distant hills. To do this Brigadiers; Dundas, McLeod and Carnegy led their infantry brigades forward with cavalry support from Brigadier Whites 3rd Brigade.
Brigadier Carnagy's artillery begins reducing the center village. The 60th Rifles can just be seen approaching the furthest left village. They are part of Brig. Dundas' brigade.
At the end of turn three the Afghan line begins their attack; multiple batteries of camel guns support the mounted warriors. White's 3rd brigade comes up smartly, led by the 3rd Dragoons and Bombay H.A.
The Dragoons and the Scinde Horse mix it up with the enemy as the BHA fires in support.
Brig. McLeod advances his lines his artillery coming into action as well. Further down the right side of the line line, Maj. Gen. Colin Campbell leads the 25th BNI towards the nulla to threaten the last village.
The organized cavalry of the 3rd Brigade begins to make short work of the Afghan cavalry. The 9th Lancers and 8th BLC come on in support. The 60th has taken the village.
As the rifles move through the village, McLeod orders his brigade to push in among the horsemen. The rules have a built in loss of combat effectiveness for cavalry vs. close order infantry.
The Afghans are not able to stop the turning of their lines. They pull a few units from the attacking front to form a new line to protect their exposed flank.
The Rifles swing right from the cleared village to support the cavalry's attack. Both Dundas and McLeod begin to turn towards the nulla as well. At the top of the shot, Carnagy's troops begin to occupy the second village.
Alarmed by Maj. Gen. Campbell's troop movements towards the nulla, the Afghan cavalry comes around the center village to stop the threat to the last village. The larger view shows the devastation the british volley's have had on the Afghan's after repeated charges against the British/Sepoy lines.
The 25th BNI has repelled one charge and lost their artillery support as well. Two other battery's sent up by Brigadier Hoggan begin to deploy. Maj. Gen. Campbell stays near to steady the Sepoys.
Meanwhile, Brig. Whites cavalry prosecute the action against the Afghan cavalry.
The Afghan leader was unable to order any more charges, the unit size doesn't allow this in the rules. Not a problem for the British commander and very quickly the Afghans were swept away.
The British and Sepoy infantry battalions found the range on their mounted adversaries and began to clear their fronts of any enemy horse.
At this point, turn 13, the game was effectively over. The Sikh regulars and tribal skirmishers were ineffective.
A final look towards the advancing british lines showed the Afghan commanders VERY short of troopers.
How do the rules play?
In the past I've used Lasalle, by Sam Mustafa, as my goto rules. I consider the Sikh War armies to be Napoleonic armies in organization and fighting styles. The fact that the armies training on both sides was done by veterans of that conflict, just reinforces this opinion.
Neil Thomas' "Wargaming 19th Century Europe" gave me a chance to try a more "old-time" rules system that felt immediately comfortable. I adapted the British army from the Crimean list, removing rifled muskets and replacing them with muskets. I read through the Crimean Turkish list, and adapted some of its features for my Sikhs and their irregular allies. I treated the Afghan cavalry as A-3 cavalry for taking fire,but as Dragoons during melee. I copied the rules section onto four letter-sized cards to save abusing my book.
Both Lasalle and W19th C. use units, the losses are tracked and four losses seems to be common to both. In the case of Lasalle when four losses (disruptions) are reached it removes the unit. Their more complex morale system allows you to remove disruptions during the game, if your luck with the dice holds! In W 19th C. four losses removes a base and then triggers a morale check to see if one more base runs as well.
I like the ease of Neil's system because the chart work is minimal. Sam's rules have you keeping track of unit health and working many times to restore balance, otherwise the unit is removed.
Neil doesn't allow interpenetrations, Sam does but with a discipline test.
Neil limits formations but allows free formation changes for those that can change. Sam has different formations, with different fighting abilities but you need discipline tests for forming, and some maneuvers.
In W 19th C. the charge resolution and fire tables are simple and straight forward. In Lasalle the tables are straight forward but require attention to their higher level of details.
If I'm time constrained or want an easy to run game for new/ casual players, I'd use "Wargaming 19th Century Europe". If I'm with friends, and have more time, the detail of Lasalle can be worth the extra strain on the brain cells.
I've neglected my blogging duties. Not much to report via Sikh War developments. I must confess, I'm off playing with the new rules for the SYW by Sam Mustafa, "Maurice". I'm also being distracted by Angels 20 air to air combat in WWII. I should have this stuff worked out of my system by June's end.
If you look at the top left hand header area you'll see a link to my page on this diversion to the SYW. Enjoy!
Late in his reign, Ranjit Singh was troubled by the actions of one Dost Mohammad. Previously, Dost’s brother Mohammed Azim had followed a policy of compliance towards the Sikh State. After losing a war with the Sikhs over the control of Peshwur, Azim had willingly adopted the role of Ranjit’s tributary ruler. This satisfied the Sikh Court as the army could be employed elsewhere. Suddenly Azim died and the balance of power in Peshwur needed to be addressed.
This battle simulates one of the conflicts that led to the expulsion of Dost Mohammed from Peshwur and the reinstatement of his brother Sultan Mohammed as puppet.
I used my Sikh Wars game engine to establish the battle field and the belligerents. The result was a Sikh attack up a valley, towards dug-in Afghans nested between two villages.
The view up the shallow valley towards the Afghan lines.
The Afghans have 4 infantry groups, 2 skirmisher groups, 2 guns and 2 cavalry.
The view of the Sikhs as they enter the valley floor.
The Sikh army is composed of two infantry Brigades; 2 Infantry Pelatan, 1 Dragoon Regiment, 1 Artillery Battery
Additionally, the Sikhs have a heavy Siege gun, elephant towed escorted by an independent Dragoon Regiment.
Upon seeing the Sikh army the Afghan cavalry on both flanks goes out for a look-see.
The Sikh general sends one brigade to the right, and the second to the left. He can be seen personally scouting a position for the siege train.
Accompainied by their light artillery, the Afghan Noble cavalry rides down the side of the valley. Above them a skirmishing infantry unit takes up position among the rocks.
Reactions are swift as the Khalsa's troops deploy for a fight.
An Infantry Paltan advances up the valley floor towards the teaming enemy entrenchments.
On the Afghan right flank, Dost Mohammed's minions ride down the valley side, supported by artillery and a village full of jazailchees!
The skirmishers have gain a hold on the rocks above the exit from the valley. Behind them moving with caution (irregulars move w/ a random die roll) the Noble Cavalry approach.
Moving with the precision of their French drillmasters, the Sikhs engage the Afghan cavalry with Lancers and the following Infantry Paltan forms square; just in case!
The siege gun, finally speaks and the faraway trenches heave with death. The first Dragoon Regiment near the works takes some hot fire, but the second unit engages the enemy cavalry in melee. Infantry regiments fan-out into line and begin to approach the trenches. A field gun to their left booms in support.
Returning fire, the Afghan gunners begin to damage the attackers. However, the Sikh Dragoons have seen off the Noble Cavalry and the trench flanks are soon exposed.
A similar result happens on the Sikh right, the infantry come out of square, forms attack column to support the victorious Lancers. Infantry can be seen below in the valley, advancing steadily.
Just as the way seem clear, shots ring out and the column comes under hot jezzail fire from the hills.
Below, the Sikh infantry prepares to assault the left most of the entrenchments.
Artillery and small arms fire temporarily halts the attack. heavy siege gunnery falls on the trenches again.
Mustering their courage, the Khalsa's troops take the entrenchment and follow
with preparations to assault the village to their front.
The Dragoons over-run the gunners, sabering them at their positions. Supporting them is an infantry regiment coming up at the quick, just behind them. The siege gun barks out its death song once again.
(in Bundock & Bayonet, to hit troops in works you need to have four 6's as a result on the dice)
Fresh Regiments of Infantry assemble to move on the remaining trenches.
Failing their morale enemy troops move from the village to the hills beyond.
The remaining Lancers pass morale and charge down the entrenchments.
Victorious Infantry from the dissolving enemy right move to block any escape.
The remnants of Dost Mohammeds minions slink off into the mountains; one defiant Afghan captain points an accusing sabre at the victors,
Sorry to have been away so long. I had downloaded a trial version of Sam Mustafa's "Maurice " rules and began re-arranging my Seven Years War collection. As you know, collections always cry out for another few units and I've been painting for the SYW the past two months.
Today I hope to show you a game using a set of rules designed by Robert Cordery, found at: http://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.com . Look under his websites links; go to Colonial Wargaming, it's in there as a PDF.
Anyways, I'd forgotten how nicely this game plays, especially solo. I used a random force generator along with a set of random die rolls, this gives the terrain map.
So here we see the layout, the map called for jungle/scrub on all four corners and one clump in the British center (go figure)! The British have a force of 4 cavalry units, 6 infantry units and two Bengal Horse Artillery units. I used one British unit and two Sepoy units and the ratio. The 3rd Dragoons can be just seen taking two hits from long range fire from the pesky Sikh heavy artillery just to the left rear of the regular Sikh dragoons.
The Sikhs initially have 4 cavalry units, a Camel jingal unit, 2 heavy artillery units and 4 infantry. Following on, for turn four, is a cavalry brigade.
The objective was for the Sikhs to hold a ford over the river to their rear (left of picture); and the British needed to take and hold (two turns) an 18 inch section for a crossing. As it was the Sikh commander felt a good offense was in fact defense, and you can see the eager infantry, dragoons and camel jingal moving to make contact.
The Sikh cavalry makes contact with the 3rd Dragoons, and the British take the worst of it. Horse artillery and infantry come up in support but the dogged Sikhs stick around. In the distance some Gorchurras are giving the Sepoy cavalry a similar "run for their money". The Sikh's heavy batteries are plinking away each turn with long range fire. Ouch!
This poorly framed shot does show another Sikh dragoon unit being stopped by the Guides cavalry. In the distance the Camel jingal continues to harass the British Sepoys, the Gorchurras are holding their own (miracle), and luckily the Nasiri Bn., (Gurkhas), has broken out from the central jungle to chase of the jingal. The smoke shows the frequency of the cannonades.
If we leave the cavalry melee and look down the battle line, we see the Gorchurras in flight to the river. The victorious Sepoy cavalry has pursued them, and are now giving their full attention to the heavy gun near the jungle's edge.
The British have finally formed line from their marching columns and are preparing for a rollicking infantry fight.
I say infantry fight, because the left flank British cavalry seen here a being chewed up by their very successful Sikh counterparts. Also, the randomizer has another 3 Sikh cavalry units and a Horse gun arriving on turn 4!!!
Here we can see the weight of the following cavalry brigade arriving; two more regular Dragoon units and another of Gorchurras. The Horse artillery is already deployed and pounding the British infantry units trying to support their faltering cavalry wing. The Gurkhas have finally caught the camel gun and are about to carve the beast up, “Ayo gorkhali !”.
The infantry lines are pressing forward. The Gurkhas are finding the camel a tough go. The supporting British infantry have by-passed the remains of the cavalry scrum and are moving on the river, hoping to tie down more of the arriving Sikh cavalry.
Far in the distance, the lancers are pushing forward as well; eager to meet the fresh Sikh dragoons.
In this near-side shot from the Sikh's view, the Lancers have easily done away with the Dragoons and are now well into their next victim, infantry NOT in square!
Gorchurras are in support, but will their weak morale allow them to help?
The Dragoons rally, and rejoin the fight. They are sent against a British infantry unit that has out-flanked the Sikh gun. The gunners to their credit have been battling the Sepoys for two turns; you can almost see them darting in and around their gun, stabbing up at the horses with tulwar or ramrod. More Sepoy infantry, the 51st BNI, are coming up in support. It won't be long now!
Back on the Sikh left, a lone square of british infantry have attracted the attention of all the remaining enemy cavalry. To the top left, just out of the picture, a Horse gun begins "saluting" the enemy's cavalry.
The cavalry begin to pull back to the river. The Sikh infantry are pushed back from the entrenchments but defeat their British attackers. Now the Gurkhas prepare to take the works again. The lancers and Sepoys press on the left as Gorchurras slink across the river on their way home.
The combined arms effect of lancer cavalry and Gurkha determination clear the works. British and Sepoy infantry secure a section of river crossing. The Sikh gunners did manage to get their gun off across the river as well as some remnants of infantry. One gun, though, remains a prize!
I really enjoyed the flow of this game. There was a nice to-and-fro. The system uses cards to drive the action; with higher value cards acting sooner. I deal the cards out face down and place them randomly; turning them over can cause a great deal of joy or alarm. Great fun!