Sunday, May 3, 2015

Chapter 73: Pettygree Wins But Disaster Strikes

Date: February 23, 1904 (2015)
Location: Entrenched Camp, Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh, India
Situation: Crescendo of Battle
Sept. 25, 1900: Thugee armistice, recall from India and retirement.
April 30, 1903: Learns armistice broken by resurgent Thugee Army.
May 9, 1903: Recalled to duty in India to break the Thugees.
June 1903: Assumes command in Egypt as a ruse.
September 1903: Secretly departs Egypt for India.
Next four months: Assembles the Army.
Feb. 22, 1904 Gen. Pettygree Arrives at Tapi River Camp near Burhanpur.
Feb. 23, 1904: Battle of Burhanpur.
See Previous Chapter 72 here:
Clicking images enlarges them prodigiously.

As the Brigade marched toward the entrenched camp's breached walls, Colonel Sinclair (2/72 Seaforth Highlanders) turned to his left noticing....

A large body of enemy horsemen dangerously maneuvering to turn the brigade's left flank. If countermeasures were not taken soon, the battle would be lost.

Turning Bonnie a mite so he could look to the rear, Sinclair said, 
"Well now. That's a fine thing.
Where the deuce is Pettygree and the Cavalry Reserve?
Ah dinnae ken! (I don't know)
Should we form square? --- Wait a moment!"


The First Mountain Battery has deployed to face the Thugee cavalry and....

Here comes the General after swanning about I'm think'n.

The General and the 9th Bengal Lancers swung left to counter the enemy.

After this Sinclair entered the entrenched camp. A remnant of the Lincolns manned a sandbag wall whilst Seaforths clambered up ladders to defend the fort walls. 

More Highlanders arrived.

Soon the Thuggees came forward.

 They were too few and their charge would fail but....

Their purpose was to keep the Imperialists busy here --- so....

Their brothers could engage the 2/66th Foot outside the walls and....

Launch a surprise charge from a concealed position.

Green Sash swordsmen crashed into the 66th. though withering fire from above and front.

It worked. They were unstoppable. One company fell back under pressure.

The Imperial Company routed and the Tugs pursued at the top of the image. It also caused a bend in the line.

The Green Sash Swordsmen cut down the fleeing Imperials finding themselves disordered and marooned behind Imperial lines.

At the same time Grey Sash Riflemen came forward and then suddenly shifted....

To the right to more fully engage the 2/66th. Foot and so....

The Guru's Artillery could commence fire. Only a few ineffectual rounds were fired before long range rifle fire from the Seaforths manning the walls began picking off the gunners. Then....

The guns were suddenly abandoned - no doubt encouraged by the dissolution of  the Thugee Army.

And the Thuggees evanescently disappeared.
The battle was over.


The Brigade assembled on parade.

Upper Left to Right: Seaforths and 29th Bombay Miners and Sappers.
Bottom: 2/66th Foot (Berkshires)
Soldiers! Congratulations! --- Well done!

Your conduct in the defence was in the best traditions of the service.

Colonel Sinclair! The King is indebted to the Seaforths today as am I.
Colonel Blakeney. If not for cool service by  the Berkshires, we would have lost.

Lincolns! You held the camp against all odds before we arrived.

In spite of the atrophied condition....

Of these old walls.

Most amazing!

First Mountain Battery! How do you like your new acquisitions, eh?

Come on Frye.

9th. Bengal Lancers! You prevented disaster on our flank.

I am honoured to serve again with you General and it was....

A great day! Prodigiously good. I congratulate your success too.

Meanwhile, in a distant copse of pines....

Two Thuggees watch the celebration and aim a singularly long gun.

Then fire!

Nahin, sahib khabadar. (Take care) General! Be still.
General --- GENERAL!


1) ------!!!!!!

2) The Battle of Burhanpur was played in two parts. Not shown in Chapters 72 or 73 was the initial coup de main launched by the Guru's Advance Guard. This was played in one of our fun Wednesday evening sessions. On the following Saturday we gathered for the Relief of the Entrenched Camp; the subject of this and the last chapter.

3) Our Saturday cast of players seated left to right: Keith L., Dan E. and Nick K. Standing left to right are John B., Chuck L., Morgan E. and yours truly Bill P. 

4) The pair of Tugs at the end are new castings from Empress Miniatures. The tower was custom-built by H.G. Walls. City Walls are from Kobblestone Miniature's Mediterranean range on loan from the collection of Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz of Fife & Drujm Miniatures). See:

5) Imperial Losses: 2/66th Berkshires (29), 2/72nd. Seaforths (5), Lincolns (40) 29th Bombay Miners and Sappers (5), First Mountain battery (1), 9th Bengal lancers (0). Total = 80. The Lincolns took the brunt of the Gruru's wrath on Wednesday evening.

6) After the game D6s were thrown for all Imperial losses. A six was needed for recovery. Afterwards fourteen were deemed lightly wounded and returned to their regiments. I'll do this a couple more times to rebuild Imperial units some.

7) Thugee Losses: Unavailable. They were carried away.

8) The Guru had nearly 650 men available, about two and a half times Imperial numbers. Scenario dice throws disabled the Thuggees ability to mass. Imperial rapid fire bonuses also hindered them. It was true in those days that it was easy for an Imperial force to invade and initially succeed. To ultimately win, they needed to crush the opponent severely and secure native allies with goods, weapons and bribes. Did Pettygree finish it?

8) What say you?
Kindly place your remarks below at the word Comments.