Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chapter 56: First Contact


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THE RETURN OF
MAJOR GENERAL PETTYGREE'S
SURAJISTAN FIELD FORCE
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Date: 12-17 July 1900
Location: Another Secret Valley Mountain Pass
Situation: Enemy Arsenal Outpost Discovered
See Previous Chapter 55: Into The Pass - Posted 16 October 2011
http://generalpettygree.blogspot.com/2011/10/chapter-55-into-pass.html
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GENERAL'S JOURNAL - 12 JULY 1900

"The mountainous region through which we now march is stunning. Today there has been extraordinary variety and splendor. Great aged pine forests occasionally cut by swiftly running mountain streams frame our picturesque march from horizon to horizon. Cool mountain air agreeably bathes us though it is high summer."

"It would be a fine holiday excursion with companionable camping and picnics if not for danger of the deadliest kind that must be waiting behind any outcrop, gully and tree. As we negotiated a hairpin curve...."

"Captain Sachs, 10th Hussars, with the van halted The Column to...."

"View another unnamed valley below. Two crooked trails meandered to the bottom near a body of water not dissimilar from a Scottish loch. In the far distance through a haze something appeared out of place in this vast uninhabited region."

"Our best scouts, Troopers Corey and Ham, 10th Hussars, were unable to identify what it was.

"I therefore ordered Lieutenant Caddy RE to investigate and report back to me before The Column descended to the valley below. I was not surprised when he asked to have Troopers Ham and Corey plus two other qualified 10th Hussar troopers escort him."

GENERAL'S JOURNAL - 13 JULY 1900

"As Lt. Caddy's vedette neared their objective, the party maintained cover. However, someone needed to be sent forward to investigate more closely; dangerous work."

"Troopers Ham and Corey volunteered and ascended a slope to see. A tower appeared in the distance the design of which is so familiar on The Frontier. I can well imagine their customary banter as the view opened to them."

Trooper Ham: "Well if you ask me Trooper Corey...."

Trooper Corey: "I ain't ask'n."

Ham: "Here we are with the honourable duty to discover what beauty lies ahead. Out in front as usual. No danger hereabouts, eh?"

Corey: "Still - let's take cover behind that prodeegeous' Gundt Elm. Part of the drill you will remember mate."

Ham: "Will you look at that! Not The Tower of London, mind, but impressive"

Corey: "Let's tie our horses, dismount and call our officer of engineers forward."

Ham: "Aye. The tower is inside an enclosed village."

Corey: "The walls are broken and lie at peculiar angles. Meybe' one of those earthquakes disturbed the place. They are common enough."

Ham: "Mor'n likely an' look at that small volcano below. Shh. Here comes the Lieutenant."

Corey: "A walled village Sir with a fine looking tower. The village wall has been insulted and a stream bars us on this and the south side."

Caddy: "Very well. Let's view it from other angles and report back to the General."

Pettygree: "And they did. There was some minor activity within but they could not ascertain the extent of it"


GENERAL'S JOURNAL - 17 JULY 1900
The Village of Dongolo Seen From The West

"I surveyed the theatre starting from the left side atop a commanding ridge. Though the descent would be steep, the defile before me offered some immediate cover and also later at the stream. The foe could be seen mobilizing with fanfare in Dongolo."

"Moving to the center there was more room to deploy a substantial body. Though open, the advantage of assaulting the short west wall of the habitation seemed obvious. Fewer of the enemy would benefit by hardened protection. The Elephant Battery would deploy here supporting the assault."

"The right side of the ridge presented another defile beside a diminutive and hopefully dormant volcanic cone. I thought it best to deploy farther to the right with...."

"The Berkshires covering Brigadier Blackiston's Light Cavalry Brigade all of whom were arriving already"

"Back in the center, the Brigade of Sikhs, the Elephant Battery, our Rocket Section and Lieutenant Caddy's Royal Engineers were not slow to arrive either."

"On the left the 27th Bombay Miners and Sappers arrived near the same time, spread out a screen and with bugles sounding marched down slope to begin the attack."

"They marched past an oasis unimpeded.
Desultory shots were fired at them to little effect."

"On they marched toward the stream."

"Closer and closer still."

"The foe was eager enough on the opposite stream bank.
However, their smaller numbers had a telling effect."

"The 27th arrived at the bank giving fire."

"The foe withdrew before them.

"Allowing the battalion to reach the other side to consider it's next move. Had they advanced too far forward? What of the attack in the center?"

"There was scarce opposition. The 1st Sikhs advanced in a closed column of companies whilst the 2nd Sikhs flanked the deploying Elephant Battery. A violent burst of enemy cannon fire did horrible execution in the column."

"The 1st deployed in line as a divisional column from the 2nd advanced in support."

"The Elephant Battery opened fire shelling the Main Gate."

"Beside the 15 Pounder Rifles a mid-18th Century 12 Pounder was deployed."

"A lucky salvo destroyed a great gun and its ammunition exploded."

"Immediately afterwards hidden riflemen appeared along the opposite bank."

"However, the enemy had begun to retreat. 
We crossed the stream."

"His design was to withdraw the remaining great cannons."

Covered by a gradually withdrawing screen."

"He momentarily stood on high ground to the east of the village to rally his followers and then withdraw into the hills. Later...."

"I rode to speak with Brigadier Blackiston saying, Sir I observed the garrison withdraw dragging their ordnance to the eastward. I wonder at it."

Blackiston: "Their retreat was unseen at first, unexpected and quickly undertaken General. I am reminded we were posted to the refused right wing."

Pettygree: "Quite so Blacky. Still an opportunity was lost for the cavalry to catch them. We will surely face those guns again - perhaps to their advantage."

Blackiston: "Rupert or Sackville? Paget or Cardigan?"

"Late in the evening I was called to the top of the village tower.

"The Tug Main Army had suddenly arrived."


CLOSING REMARKS

1. Chuck L. ably commanded the Tugs at Dongolo whilst John B. and I took care of the Imperials. My command consisted of the Elephant battery and the 27th. John commanded the Sikhs and the Rocket Section.

2. Chuck was significantly outnumbered but was able to throw 1D10 x 10 for additional combatants. He unfortunately threw a 2 resulting in only 20 extra miniatures. He mentioned had he gotten 60, there would have been a stiffer fight for the village. As it was he was under scenario orders to withdraw as many cannons as possible when practicable. He succeeded though the Elephant Battery was singularly lucky to destroy two guns by counter battery fire.

3. Graham K., a pard in a chat group, provided the Imperial battle plan. It was to use the forces you've just seen attack the village. Others were left out. John and I decided to post the latter on the refused right flank and to essentially leave them there. Otherwise the Tugs would have been extraordinarily outnumbered.

4. Thank you for looking in. I hope you will welcome back General Pettygree and his cunning foes with your remarks below.
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3 comments:

Michael Mathews said...

And the campaign begins anew. The hunt is afoot!

Richard Hubbard said...

Aha! General Pettygree's back in the saddle again! After the Alexandrapour 'movie', it's nice to get back to some 'historical' wargaming again, eh?!
Squibzy

Anonymous said...

Back to chastising the locals, eh? Excellent, let us hope the General survives the Tug Army counterstrike.