Friday, February 19, 2010

Chapter 30: Battle At The Camp

Date: 16 October 1899
Time: Dawn as the sun rises in our photos.
Location: Entrance To The Secret Valley?
Situation: Battle For The Camp
Sirs, images enlarge when clicked.
Reviewing Chapters 28-29 will be beneficial. Suffice to say in the dark hours before dawn enemy horsemen are attempting a coup de main on the Imperial camp. Will they succeed? Find out as the sun illuminates more and more of the valley. We return now to Lt. Byron beside the Tower and....

Byron: "Form line here! Bring THAT gun up too, behind me. On the double!"

As the sun continues to rise, the first arriving Seaforths get into line whilst the 15 Pounder prolongs forward. Below the ridge men of the 1st Sikhs race out of camp to form line as well.

Why? Two bodies of enemy cavalrymen are heading for the camp to score a coup de main. The familiar Red Sash Horsemen lead followed by a strong reserve from the elite Household.

Here they come. Only one company of Sikhs has been able to form line. Meanwhile, Lt. Byron orders the formed Seaforths to the edge of the ridge joining the 15 pounder already there. Colonel Archibald Sinclair has arrived on the scene as more Highlanders form to his right.

The piquet line of Sikhs and two 2.5" guns of the 1st Indian Mountain Battery fire.

Ohhhh, WELL DONE Berkshires! They are formed and marching out to deploy at the back of the camp. General Pettygree, Colonel Blackeney and Correspondent Pearson observe the march. The other 15 pounder is just coming in to support the line.

The Sikh battle line fires but half the battalion closest to you is still disordered.

All available Seaforths line the ridge and fire. Sinclair peers into the enemy mass saying..."It's....

KHAN!" --- shouting new orders to his horsemen.

Who suddenly turn in the manner of Ancient Parthians to fire on the Imperials.

The two sides fire at each other.

As the Seaforths watch from above, the horsemen finish their 180 degree turn riding back from whence they came. Do they hope the Imperials will break ranks and pursue them to their doom?

This ruse de l'guerre fails to tempt the Sikhs. The mountain guns fire parting shots as the Berkshires turn toward the combat area. 

 Two Seaforth piquets are the last to engage the foe.

The horsemen abandon the field riding as fast as they can taking some of their wounded with them.

The turncoat Rajah of Bebara also decides to depart. The battle is over --- or --- is it?

The General has ridden forward to speak with Col. Buckingham of the 1st Sikhs and Major Mitchell.
Pettygree: "WELL DONE SIKHS!

Buckingham: "What was the point General?"

Pettygree: "It was a close run thing Colonel. Had your men not gotten into line I suspect the Tugs might have ridden your people down and ransacked the camp.

Mitchell: "They hoped for confusion and a coup de main. Had the Red Sash chaps gotten in, their Household Reserve might have been too much of a shock for us.

Pettygree: "Aye. Had they succeeded, I suspect the Berkshires would have had a prodigious mass of fugitives heading toward them; a very great trouble. We were lucky."

Mitchell: "True, but General, if KHAN is a student of the Parthians, then the rest of the enemy force awaits us back along our route of march. With the escarpment to our front and the Tugs in our rear, he may think we are trapped."

1. And now dear viewers we must even more seriously ponder the treachery of The Rajah of Bebara. It was he who led The Column into this valley blocked on one end by the sheer escarpment and on the other by his cunning associates. The pursuers have now become the pursued --- and --- they are trapped.

2. It was a matter of one turn that made the difference. As the Tugs closed, Buckingham ordered the line back. Only half the battalion previously had sufficient time to become ordered; the men arriving on the firing line first. Later arrivals were only scarcely in line when the retrograde order came in. They never had time to remove "disorder." When they fired, a -1D6 reduced their fire effectiveness.

3. As for KHAN'S plan, a 1D6 throw decided his final option at the last moment.
1, 2, 3, 6 = Parthian Shot. 4, 5 Charge home into the Sikhs. (The throw was 1)

4. Sikh Losses: 2x KIA and 1 wounded man taken to Dr. Watson.
5. 1st Mtn. Battery:  1x wounded man taken to Dr. Watson.

6. Red Sash Horsemen:
11x KIA, 9x wounded rode away, 7 wounded captured and 2 wounded recovered immediately.

7. Chapter 31 will appear in March.

8. Meanwhile, your remarks are welcome. Click on Comments below, if you please.


Fitz-Badger said...

A bit of an escarpment hanger, eh?
Excellent cinematic report and pics as usual! I'm loving it!

Steve Gill said...

What a pleasant surprise, I wasn't expecting the next exciting installment just yet.

As ever, lovely touches on the aesthetic front, especially the tents and dust-clouds.


Rafael Pardo said...

A very good narrative and pcitures!

Bluebear Jeff said...

Another exciting chapter . . . and great images (as always) . . . the dust and smoke worked very well.

-- Jeff

Ross Mac said...

Another stirring episode. I don't care if their line is a little ragged, those Highlanders looked very steady to me indeed! Time to sent out some patrols I think.

I had trouble getting the sound track to play though and had to imagine the long roll of the drum sounding assembly, the bugle calls and the pipes as the troops tumbled out of their tents and the battle cries and crack of the rifles and thunder of hooves. Wasn't hard to imagine though, great imagery.


Anonymous said...
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Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Excellent - and I do especially like the colouring you've used on Major Mitchell's horse - very nice... looking forward to the next instalment!

Squibzy said...

Once again, Sir, a very interesting little scenario, with your usual flair for story writing and excelent photos.