The telegraph station at Tranjapour was the most forward base between Fort Grant and The Khyber Pass. In bygone years it had been subjected to small nuisance raids conducted by local tribesmen too numerically weak to do more than cut the wire and disturb supplies coming in. In early 1898/2008 attacks suddenly intensified causing Imperial authorities to order a more vigorous presence. Reinforcements began arriving in late July.
On 31 August 1898/2008 Tranjapour was a scene of much activity. On that beautiful and cool blue-sky morning, Captain Khambatta’s detachment of the 1st Sikhs stood too adjacent to the village road. When the 10th Hussars passed by, the khaki clad infantrymen presented arms.
The hussars had not expected action so soon. After arrival at Bombay from Great Britannia on 10 June, they were ordered to acclimatize and exercise in Poona (Pune) benefiting by the relatively cooler temperatures atop the Deccan Plateau. However, at the end of June due to intensification of raids out of the Khyber, they were ordered to entrain for Fort Grant and receive new orders from Regional Commander, General William Augustus Pettygree. The new orders read:
“You are required and directed to take the regiment under your command to Tranjapour and there prepare for a reconnaissance in force to the Khyber Pass. Identify and impress upon insurgents and seditious tribal leaders that HM Government will not tolerate further turbulence, destruction of Imperial property and inconveniences to HM subjects. You are to ascertain why recent raids have increased in number, strength and vigor. If you deem it necessary and practicable for the success of the mission you may enter The Pass proceeding beyond it. Draw supplies for no more than a fortnight at Tranjapour.”
#1 10th Hussars Depart Tranjapour
31 August 1898/2008. Lt. Col. Preece leads 26 hussars on a reconnaissance mission to the Khyber Pass. A detachment of 1st Sikhs (29) guards the most forward base of Tranjapour and the telegraph line back to Fort Grant. All soldiers are Connoisseur Miniatures by Peter Gilder. Hussars stunningly painted by John Preece. Houses by Miniature Building Authority. Telegraph by Berkshire Valley. Vaubanner Graphics SYW flags. New regulations to no longer carry flags did not reach the regiment.
#2 10th Hussars Ride Away
For now the regiment marches in a column of troops by squadrons screened by a vedette. Captain Bartlett's 1st. Squadron leads Captain Sach's 2nd. Squadron. Lt. Col. Preece and Major Trevelyan ride in the center. In the rear is the regimental baggage camel named Rose.
#3 10th Hussars Encamp Here
1 September 1898/2008. At the end of the afternoon, the regiment arrived at the Spring of Gupta Dagmar. It is the halfway point between Tranjapour and the Khyber Pass. Lt. Col. Preece halts the column turning to Major Trevelyan saying, “We shall rest the men and horses here for a day. Issue orders to encamp and place vedettes all round. The march will resume the day after tomorrow.” Meanwhile Private Corey at the water’s edge does not see the hidden tribesman silently watching everything.
#4 10th Hussars Arrive Near Khyber Pass
4 September 1898/2008. After the halt at Gupta Dagmar on the 2nd, the regiment resumed its march the next day. On the 4th., the Hussars poured onto the only flat ground this side of The Khyber Pass, the field of Japura Singh. That's B Troop, 2nd Squadron in the distance searching for the foe, whomever they may be. Just ahead of and to the right of that far stand of dark pines is a narrow pathway just before the entrance to The Khyber Pass. No incidents so far. Camp will be established here.
#5 10th Hussar's At The Pass!
5 September 1898/2008. At dawn Sgt. Davies (B Troop, 2nd. Squadron) quietly leads his vedette within the shadows of The Khyber Pass. That's 'im in the right foreground. Quiet there, YOU lot! Where do YOU think you are? Piccadilly Circus?
#6 10th Hussars Look Round The Bend
5 September 1898/2008. Sgt. Davies has ridden to join a trooper in the shadows to the right. Pvt. Corey is left most. They are about to look round the bend in The Pass. Shhhh! Carefully now.
#7 10th Hussars Vedette Seen
5 September 1898/2008. Someone is always watching. What will they do?
#8 10th Hussars Move Forward
5 September 1898/2008. Sgt. Davies has orders to cautiously move into The Pass a short distance. At noon, he and a trooper walk their horses forward leaving behind two men to fire in support.-----Rules: The Lt. Col. is cautious (-1). Throw 1D6. That result, -1 = # of dice in inches forward. A 5 was thrown -1 = 4D6. The four thrown = 18" forward from Photo #7 position.
#9 10th Hussars See....What?!
5 September 1898/2008. "Prodigious dust Sergeant an' comn' our way. Sounds like thunder." Sgt. Davies has seen it too. In the next moment he says, "Horsemen and ridn' hard for us. About turn an' let's get outta here fast! At the gallop!" Meanwhile the dismounted troopers in reserve are loading and aiming. They had best mount up too!
#10 10th Hussars Vedette Retires
5 September 1898/2008. The vedette retires in haste, but Sgt. Davies slows to allow his dismounted men to mount up and ride to him. Good form Sergeant! Sgt. Davies shouts, “The Colonel’s GOT to know!” Meanwhile, the foe atop the plateau opened fire. Note dust raised by their missed shots in the road.-----Rule: Each day is divided into three phases. 2D6 doubles were needed for the natives to fire simulating their orders and nervousness. As Davies retired, the enemy threw double twos and - missed!
#11 10th Hussars Vedette Nears Camp
6 September 1898/2008. In the distance, Sgt. Bourne's guard, (A Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th Hussars) has been watching the entrance to The Khyber Pass. Private Jones remarks, "Sgt. Bourne, vedette's comn' in fast." Indeed, on the morning the 6th, Sgt. Davies came into view successfully riding back to camp. He'll turn left beyond the guard to report to Lt. Colonel Preece. The foe, whomever they were, did not pursue beyond the plateau. Who were they and what mischief are they about?
#12 10th Hussars Sgt. Davies Reports
6 Sept.1898/2008. Lt. Col. Preece, "Report Sergeant." Sgt. Davies, "ZUR! We reconnoitered The Pass proceeding inwards a bit as ordered. At noon yesterday a dust cloud appeared approaching our position. Horsemen Zur, doubled us, what we could see. Fell back to our picket an’ Private?” Pvt. Corey, "Zur, I was in support to the rear on the plateau. I beg to report a dark mass was in the far distance but I could not make it out. People I’d guess.” Preece, “ Very well men. Thank you. Get some rest.”
#13 10th Hussars Take Action
7 September 1898/2008. Lt. Col. Preece set the regiment to building a retrenchment blocking exit from the extremity of The Khyber Pass. There you see men of the 1st. Squadron commanded by Captain Bartlett and Sgt. Bourne. Around to the left another surprise awaits the foe should he appear.----- Dismounted soldiers are Perry Miniatures.