Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chapter 61: The Second Wave!


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Date: 18 July 1900
Location: Captured Tug Village of Dongolo
Situation: The Second Wave Strikes Hard

See Previous Chapter 60: To The Rear Guard Posted 14 Feb. 2013

GENERAL'S JOURNAL - 18 JULY 1900

"During the interval between the first and second waves, I ordered all but the cavalry within the relative protection of Dongolo's crumbling walls. Otherwise we would not withstand the next onslaught."

"The entire cavalry brigade was ordered to ride westward to bring Colonel Keene's Rear Guard to rescue us. However, only the 10th Hussars obeyed that order. The rest remained behind to assist friendly units retire into the village. Had they not done so, I fear a great many lives would have been lost."

"There was not much time left before the second wave struck."

LEFT FLANK - NORTH OF DONGOLO - FACING EAST

"The 27th Bombay Miners and Sappers supported by the 1st. Sikhs were in a stable position as the second enemy wave approached elsewhere."

"The 27th and a Seaforth section watched the enemy run toward our center with incredible speed."


CENTER - FACING EAST

"The foe soon closed with the Eastern Gate breaking down the door. Within the courtyard, the Seaforths gallantly fought hand to hand never allowing them in. To the right of the Highlanders...."

"The foe arrived at the 2nd Sikh's upturned wagon wall with a singular fierceness. Fire discipline was good causing the enemy to...."

"Fall back as Martini Henry rifle smoke drifted between the lines."

"As they regathered wits and courage, dense masses of friends came forward waiting for a turn at the wall. For a moment I reckoned our Sikhs were the Spartans holding back the Persians at Thermopylae."

"They rushed us a second time, lost heavily and...."

"Departed in haste."

'To be immediately replaced by a fresh fanatical body of sword and spearmen. How much more could the Sikhs in their disordered condition take?"

"Sustained pressure forced the Sikhs back from protection of the wagon and the village wall. The enemy poured across."

"I saw the beginning of a square being formed."

"But it was too late. There were too many casualties. Lt. Colonel Savory could not sustain them in ranks and was carried away as most of 'em ran to the rear to find a way to enter the village. Fortunately they were not pursued but...."

"They were cut down to the last man by cunning enemy horsemen taking them in flank."

"The horsemen thereafter turned to parade along the south wall as...."

"Even more enemy warriors poured through the breach."


 RIGHT FLANK - SOUTH OF DONGOLO - FACING EAST

"The Berkshires were charged by the enemy Household Cavalry."

"During the melee the 1st Mountain Battery with most of its ammunition spent pulled back as I ordered. You may recall I had ordered all cavalry to the westward but Captain Gill thought it proper to cover the withdrawal of the guns first."

"The outmatched Berkshires after holding the line for a moment ran for the village. [Not shown.] The lancers intervened to cover their hasty withdrawal."

"The Guru's Household then had its turn to be overwhelmed...." 

 "Rout, be pursued and cut down to the last horsemen by Gill's lancers."

"Not much later another body of enemy horsemen engaged our sowars. There was no way to hold the line especially with the distant oncoming horde."

"Gill's exhausted men soon became outnumbered and...." 

 "Were bested by the enemy."

"Allowing the timely withdrawal of the 1st Mountain Battery. I regret to say the lancers were a spent body."


BACK IN THE VILLAGE

"From my vantage point high in the village tower, I saw some of the cavalry had been able to move to the plain to the west. However, I could not linger there longer. Conditions below were ominous. It was time for me to...."

"Get below and form a new defence line."

"Some were beginning to leave Dongolo hoping to flee to safety."

"Naturally I would and could not abandon my post though my grey, Express, could fly."

"The final curtain appeared to be drawing down upon us. The remnant of The Surajistan Field Force was fighting gallantly. No one was quitting the line. There was no where to go anyway. If this was to be our last stand, then, so be it! The Guru would pay dearly and his wicked plan to enslave all of the subcontinent would be frustrated - no - crippled."


CLOSING REMARKS

1) The Battle of Dongolo was fought during five consecutive weeknight sessions after work in January and early February. Each session lasted 2-2.5 hours. The number of turns played each time was about 3-5.

2. The historical Thugee cult allied itself with local Indian government officials and aristocrats to conduct their murderous thievery. Bribes, gifts and threats kept many in their debt and quiet. It was not a coordinated national movement but we need not be constrained by such limitations. The 1939 motion picture Gunga Din was not. Nor are we.  Indeed, we have taken things a step further finding allies for the Guru bent on removing Imperial soldiers and controls from the region. We ran out of N.W. Frontier tribesman adding natives from elsewhere to make things really difficult for The Surajistan Field Force.

3. We are one post away from the conclusion of the battle.

4. Thank you very much for looking in with such gratifying keen eyes and interest.

5. Your remarks below are welcome. I hope you will have a moment to comment. Join the fun and enhance the story with your thoughts too.
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5 comments:

Chuckaroobob said...

Die hard, lads, die hard!

Richard Hubbard said...

Strike-a-light! There's more fanatical tribesmen pouring into the battle for Dongolo than I've seen flies on a dead buffalo carcass! What a fight. Whatever will happen next...(pant, pant!)

Will the General's horse escape? Will the General be riding him?!

Will Troopers Ham & Corey arrive back at Dongolo with a relief column to save any but a few wounded brave soldiers? I really can't wait!!! :-)

Phil said...

Fantastic pictures, figures, and report! A great work, I love your elephants too!
Phil.

A J said...

Gripping stuff indeed! The jig is up for the Field Force - unless relief comes soon.

Bob Gallavan said...

Excellent post, difficult situation for The Duffer. Well, every good British campaign started off with a disaster.