Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chapter 62: General Pettygree Defeated

Date: 18 July 1900
Location: Captured Tug Village of Dongolo
Situation: Battle of Dongolo Ends
Tabletop Rules: BAR Colonial. To obtain a copy see:

See Previous Chapter 61: The Second Wave! Posted 16 Feb. 2013


"Final moments of The Battle of Dongolo found the enemy breaching our defences in several areas but...."


"Colonel Sinclair's Seaforth Highlanders continued to hold the northeast corner of the village."

"It was at this time I gave the order to form a new battle line in the western end of Dongolo. The Seaforths continued to defend the northeast corner of Dongolo so this could be accomplished."

"Colonel Sinclair performed miracles there even as the enemy gradually pushed the Highlanders back. The number of the enemy was considerably reduced. The situation here gave me a glimmer of hope."

"As had been the Thugee pattern from the beginning, very little pressure was applied to our left flank on the north side of the village. The 27th Bombay Miners and Sappers had suffered few casualties as they withdrew to form the new battle line outside and inside the northern half of Dongolo."

"Behind the 27th., remnants of the 2nd. Sikhs formed a second line."

"A few yards farther to the rear, mounted on Express, my grey, I commanded our last reserve; our old 12 pounder, a body of surviving Berkshires and some of the 1st Sikhs."


"Our line in the southwest corner of Dongolo was not as deep. There was not much that could be done though there was a little time to shift some men to bolster the defence."

"The enemy held the ground south of the wall. Inside Dongolo a company of Sikhs held the enemy back with supporting fire from the Seaforths. However, they could not hope to hold long with the mass of the enemy ready to knock down the wooden wall."

"We were terribly outnumbered but holding - for the moment." 

"There was one uncommitted reserve available to the Guru; his third wave. Yet these and so many of our foes of the past hour were not apparently Thugees. They were allies of some kind who had suffered terrible casualties as the second wave pushed us back - as had we."


"Some said it was near sundown, when the cacophony of battle ceased. First to stop pushing, thrusting, firing and disengage were our opponents. Unbelievably they stood down as if on cue. An order from the Guru surely. Sensing an opportunity, I gave the order to cease fire too."

"We stood nervously eyeing each other. Our standing men formed up a bit better, reloaded, drank water from nearly drained canteens, nursed minor wounds and wiped sweat from their brows. Wounded were tended and brought to the rear as best we could manage. Was this a malevolent ruse to reorganize and bring forward their enormous reserve to crush us in an instant?"

"Then word came from Colonel Sinclair. A delegation preceded by the Guru's Household flag requested a parlay at the East Gate. What for? Our surrender and enslavement? -- Never!"

"Political Officer Major Faraday (left) accompanied by Lieutenant Caddy, RE rode smartly out of the East Gate to discover their intent. They were told the Guru himself demanded to speak with me."

"The Guru came forward with some of his Household warriors beckoning me."

"Colonel Sinclair formed a Highland guard outside the gate. Faraday and Caddy maneuvered their horses to the side to observe the proceedings."

"I walked through the gate to meet my nemesis." 

Guru: "Greetings General. Please accept my compliments for you and your Imperial Surajistan Field Force."

"At first I was silent casting a suspicious eye on this well-spoken frontier leader. Even Faraday and Caddy's horses were stern in their gaze. However, we knew that in the 80s he had benefited by a classical education at Oxford."

Guru: "Surprised General? Your countenance betrays you. You see a humbly clad man, shoeless, without gold braid or opulence in command of thousands of warriors who do not want any representatives of your Queen Empress here."

Pettygree: "To prevent your cult's murderous ways. Your army is crippled sir and can no longer conquer the subcontinent."

Guru: "Do not count on it General."

Pettygree: "What do you want to say?"

Guru: "That we should stop this bloodshed."

Pettygree: "Good. We shall start with your warriors and allies laying down their arms to be destroyed. Thereafter, your men will immediately return to their villages.

Guru: "No General. As the great Napoleon instituted an armistice in the year 1813, I suggest we do the same. We will start with your retreat from my valley. Take your accursed flags, weapons, wounded and every able-bodied soldier honourably away lest you be utterly vanquished and destroyed in fifteen minutes. You are beaten! You may have twenty-four hours before departure to build conveyances for your wounded. What do you say General?"

"I thought about it for some moments. His army had suffered crippling losses and like Napoleon he needed time to rebuild - if he could. However, I doubted he had resources in men and ammunition to do so. If the battle resumed, his losses would soar even higher."

"He no doubt also knew our annihilation would bring revenge from the Queen Empress as he called her - infinitely stronger than The Surajistan Field Force. I guessed he calculated it was his only way out. He would let us go to possibly insure his future survival."

"This extraordinary offer was our only way out too."

Guru: "What do you say General?"

Pettygree: "We agree to these terms.

Guru: "Then goodbye General. Never come back!"


"We departed Dongolo for Fort Grant after twenty-four hours per stipulated terms. I wondered if it was a pretty ruse to attack us in the open but...."

Captain Wending-Smythe: "Riders coming in General."

"Troopers Ham and Corey had found us. They reported the Rear Guard was encamped on the other side of the next river waiting for us. If the Guru wanted to attack surely he would have done so before we could combine."

 "Captain Jellicoe's Shore Party soon came into view."

"Behind them red coat infantry occupied a Thugge Tower."

"Before evening The Surajistan Field Force crossed that stream and encamped for the night.


"The retreat was not accosted as is often the case under these circumstances in these regions. No trouble came our way from the Guru or his allies. He was as good as his word. On August 27th. after more than a month's march we passed through Fort Grant's Main Gate. The campaign of 1900 was finished."

"No human knew what would come next. Perhaps we could hope for a long period of stability and peace,  relative peace. We worked very hard to care for the wounded and rebuild our shattered units. As for me personally, I expected a telegram any day recalling me to Britannia. On the 25th of September it came."



1) Clearly the Guru (Chuck) won the battle and campaign. Had it not been for "The Miracle" every Imperial save surviving cavalry would have been lost. The Surajistan Field Force must now retreat back to Fort Grant.Well done Chuck. He was ably assisted by Keith ? and Jon P. Congratulations and bravos!

2) Native Casualties:
Tugs: 262 miniatures (2,620 at 1:10)
Allies: 81 miniatures (810 at 1:10)
Total: 343 miniatures (3,430 at 1:10)

3) Imperial Casualties: 226 miniatures (2,260 at 1:10).
Imperial commanders were John B., my son Tyler and myself, Bill P.

4) Not all casualties are permanent. Medical care in the coming months will restore many combatants to their units, some will be lost and others will be invalided home pending D6 throws.

5) For the near future both sides will be in a state of recovery.

6) Questions:
How long will the armistice last?
Does the Guru have another reservoir of warriors?
What will be the attitude of the Guru's allies?
Will Britannia send reinforcements soon, later or never?
What will become of General Pettygree?
Are there other questions?
What do you think? Please post these below at Comments.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chapter 61: The Second Wave!

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


"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."


"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."


"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."


"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."


"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."


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.