Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chapter 35: Pettygree In Extremis

Date: 16 October 1899
Location: Two Miles From The Escarpment Camp
Situation: Imperial Battle Line Ten Hours After The Sunrise Battle Of The 16th
In Extremis: Grave circumstances
Sir!: Images expand amazingly if clicked once or even twice.
Ferocious Tug counterattacks were described in Chapter 34. The Imperial left held, the foe dispatched. On a side table, the Imperial right, Blackiston's wing was forced backwards. Shocking numbers of his foe thereafter wheeled to cross to the main table to attack the flank of....

The Imperial Center

Before this we return to less turbulent moments there.

Imperial Center: 1st. Sikhs on the left. Berkshires on the right. The foe lightly holds the far bank. One might entertain thoughts of an easy crossing if not for the unknown of what might be hidden beyond the ridge at the top of the image. And so....

The square forms line with the Sikhs conforming. Berkshires look half right. A new foe approaches.

Berkshires! MAKE READY --- AIM --- FIRE!      

At the image top is the side table and the attack approaching Blackiston's Right Wing described in the previous chapter. Blackiston was tumbled backwards by overwhelming numbers. In next minutes that foe wheeled directly toward you dear reader forcing the Berkshires....

Into the L-shaped line here. Unfortunately for the Berkshires this reduced frontal firepower. The foe to their front along the stream seeing an opportunity, charged home. The time of close action was upon them and the adjacent Sikhs. Will they hold? And what about the Berkshires firing in the lower right of the image. Pressure mounts. We turn around....

Viewing things from KHAN's perspective and see why. The Berkshires and Sikhs are engaged in hand-to-hand close action to their front; (image middle right). The portion of the Berkshires forming the L atop a ridge are blazing away in rapid fire mode trying to stop an oncoming mass, the mass that pushed back Blackiston's  Right Wing. However,  we see his 15 Pdrs. and Bombay Miners and Sappers giving fire into their aggressive opponents rushing onwards - unstoppable. Blackiston's 9th Bengal Lancers (top left) arrive onto the main table.   

The climax of the battle is near.

As KHAN and the traitorous Rajah of Beberra watch it all unfold. And now....

Correspondent Mr. H. Pearson calmly takes notes behind the Berkshire firing line. Coming toward him through the smoke of Martini Henry rapid fire volleys, he observes....

The victors over Blackiston's command charging straight for him. A ferocious melee will occur atop the ridge. From there the Berskshires poured out a last volley and then engaged the foe in melee. It was touch and go with the foe charging uphill through a brush line. And....

KHAN's allies have finally had enough. Unable to break the Berkshires they routed away to the side table. Count them if you wish. The original number was 126. Meanwhile we return to the front of the Berkshire line where....

We see the Berskshires have been pushed back! (They lost the first round of melee and are forced back 6")
Losses are rising as....

General Pettygree rides forward to encourage the fighting Berkshires. The melee round just lost required a morale test with a modified result of 6 to continue. A failure will mean rout with a likely pursuit by the foe. If a pursuing foe touches routers, the routers are all cut down. Let's throw for morale.

Two dice are cast into the air, spinning, descending and finally crashing onto the tabletop. After modifiers are applied the result = 5.                    ROUT!

My heart sinks. My eyes close. I can't look. This means utter disaster. Pettygree is in extremis. He might even be lost. Chuck is politely expectant and kindly sympathetic. There is one last desperate measure to apply. We do not yet know what the general's charisma value is. Throwing a 1D6 will determine this. 1 = -1 (no good!), 2-3-4 = 0 (unhelpful), 5 = +1 (oh pah lees!) and 6 = +2 (yes!)

Searching for the right die, I hold it, look at it silently telling it what to do, pausing twice to throw it. I breathe deeply and cast. It soars into the air several feet. The familiar arching apogee is attained and it begins a tumbling descent to the ground. It hits, bounces and comes to a stop. A 6 shows for a +2!

I'm saved. Chuck groans.The Berkshires can continue where they are. Huzzah!
However, given losses to both sides Chuck and I decided this third game session should end. Another round of melee would prove nothing and with KHAN's allies in flight there seemed no point to continue. The game was stopped with the Imperials holding the field whilst KHAN withdrew with the satisfaction he has probably ended the campaign of 1899. Imperial losses are severe.

Contributing to the decision for KHAN to withdraw was the sudden appearance of an Imperial Relief Column on his left rear flank. You may remember seeing them in the previous chapter. 

Here they are again; 2nd Sikhs in square, 3/9th Bengal Lancers and a 7" Mountain Howitzer.

KHAN committed his reserve to oppose them. The Imperials formed line to fire. Your view is from the main table looking onto the side table. The gap between the two means nothing. It is solely a convenience so Chuck and I can walk around without needing to climb onto tables to move miniatures.

Had the Imperial flanking force not arrived, KHAN's reserve of Red Sash Horsemen (48) and Household Rifles (36) and Swordsmen (36) would have been used against Pettygree in the center most likely with very unhappy consequences for the General.

No serious fighting happened here because the end of the battle was near and KHAN needed his reserve to cover the orderly withdrawal General Pettygree was content not to dispute.
1. While all the above was going on, a last stand was being formed around the baggage way back in the rear of the Imperial Center. A company of 1st Sikhs was already there. Soon to arrive would have been:
Seaforth Highlanders, Lt. Gill's 9th Bengal Lancer Troop, the 10th Hussars already nearby guarding the rear and the 9th Bengal Lancer remnant retreated from the side table. You can see this eight and ten photos back.

2. There were three random events enclosed in as many envelopes given to Chuck. He only knew one was good for him, one was good for me and one was neutral. He had the option to fully determine when to use them. His method was to pick an envelope one at a time and dice for when to open each envelope. Luckily for him the first was the arrival of KHAN's Allied Host of 126 warriors, the ones who tumbled Blackiston's Right Flank. These arrived in Session #1. The second envelope message selected said "Nothing" early in Session #2. The third allowed the Imperial Flanking Force to arrive late in the game mid-point in Session #2.

3. From a design perspective, this turned out perfectly for the scenario though other results might have been almost as good. Imagine the above in reverse order. What might have happened?

4. Chuck plays his KHAN aggressively making for fun and unexpected tension and surprises, the kind so vital in Colonial tabletop gaming! He runs rings around me!

5. In a way, one die throw, the one for General Pettygree's charisma, decided the game. Well done General. Lucky fellow! 

6. Post battle topics will appear soon; casualty reports, what nots and a few more photos. Your comments are welcome below. Thank you for looking in. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chapter 34: Khan's Counterattack!

Date: 16 October 1899
Location: Two Miles From The Escarpment Camp
Situation: Imperial Battle Line Formed Nine Hours After The Sunrise Battle Of The 16th
BTW: Images expand amazingly if clicked 1-2 times
In Chapter 33 The Imperial Army saw the Tugs forward of the stream remove themselves to the other side. In Chapter 34 below read about their shocking counterattacks.

The Imperial Left Flank

Seaforth Highlanders guard the Imperial Left Flank supported by Lt. Gill's Troop of 9th Bengal Lancers. Lt. Col Archibald Sinclair, " Laddies! They're com'n ag'in. BATTALION MAKE READY!"
Sixty Red Sash Swordsmen cross the stream, pause to reorganize and move toward the Imperials.

They were unstoppable. (Hard to stop a unit of 60) They crashed into the Scots. Turbulent hand-to-hand combat ensued. The Scots lost more men, were shoved back six inches but held morale. In the next turn....

A second round of melee was fought. Lt. Gill worked around onto a flank with his lancers whilst previously unengaged Seaforths closed open gaps in the line. The foe lost heavily and routed. Seeing his moment....

Lt. Gill threw 1D6 to pursue. He pursued! But at what speed Gill? He threw 1D6 and was able to gallop. He therefore contacted the fleeing swordsmen - enough to remove them from the game.

Afterwards Sinclair ordered everyone to retire. He had a good reason. For that story we fly from The Imperial Left Flank crossing The Main Table to a side table whereupon was The Imperial Right Flank.

The Imperial Right Flank

Here Brigadier Blackiston commanded most of The 9th Bengal Lancers, a two-gun 15 Pdr. Elephant Battery with a guard of Bombay Miners and Sappers. Their immediate foe previously withdrew behind a hill because of grueling fire from the aforementioned guns. But now....

The foe reappeared, descended the hill and started crossing the stream. Face those guns properly, will you! Here they come!


The foe continues forward. Blackiston ordered the guns to retire and continue to fire.

Blackiston orders the guns back even more. They've now retired and fired twice. The foe's numbers are enormous. It's KHAN's major counterattack! There is only one thing to do.

Blackiston: "Col. Lawford. You must charge the enemy. If they get 'round us, it will be...."
Lawford: "Aye Blacky. --- LANCERS! --- Forward at the TROT!"
Blackiston: "I will join you James."
Lawford: "Our honour Sir!."
Blackiston's ADC Forsythe: "I'm in as well."

What Blackiston and Lawford do not know, you, the Tugs and their Allies do know. Go back to the prior image. At the top left you will see an Imperial Relief Column arriving. Above is a close-up. Will they arrive in time to matter. For now they do not matter because....

The lancers charge home and....

Lose! Lose?! Yes lose!  --- The lancers are forced back, Lawford is lost, survivors somehow make morale and choose to abandon the field to reform farther back.

Leaving the enemy far behind. This saved the survivors for later eventualities. But....

The foe reorganized and turned right. Why? To cross to the Main Table to attack General Pettygree's Main Body in the flank. Clever KHAN! Will it be curtains for The Imperials? Will KHAN triumph? Return soon to read and see the exciting and desperate conclusion.
Closing Remarks:
1.  Chuck's (KHAN) counterattack was well done and quite a shock.
2.  Unbeknownst to anyone General Pettygree's plan called for a surprise flanking force to assist in the destruction of The Tug Army. Like Crassus waiting for Pompey in the final battle with the slave army of Spartacus, Pettygree hoped to end the campaign before the century ended.
3. Your remarks are very welcome below at the word Comments.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chapter 33: Battle Commences

Date: 16 October 1899
Location: Two Miles From The Escarpment Camp
Situation: Imperial Battle Line Formed Eight Hours After The Sunrise Battle Of The 16th
BTW: Images expand amazingly if clicked 1-2 times

KHAN'S Left Flank: Safe and secure on a ridge above a shallow stream. Combatants crossing the stream will become disordered. Clever KHAN!

KHAN'S Center: What's this? Riflemen across the shallow stream benefiting from a reverse slope! The previous photo is off screen at the bottom of this image.

KHAN'S Right Flank: As the Red Sash Rifles mass on the right. They will cross in a moment. After they do....

The 1st Indian Mountain Battery fires at them in the distance (upper left) while the ancient 12 Pdr. nearby fires at the enemy center. The Seaforth Highlanders ready themselves.

The Red Sash Rifles continue forward using cover along the creek. Their purpose? A spoiling attack. (The 1st Indian Mountain Battery and Seaforths are off screen upper right.)

Imperial artillery continues fire into The Red Sash Rifles (off screen upper left). The 12 Pdr. shifts to fire into them as well. The rear of the Imperial left flank is guarded by the 10th Hussars.

We shift our viewpoint to the center. Note the 12 Pdr. in the upper left as your reference point. The 1st Sikh Battalion has marched forward in the Imperial Center.

And in a moment gives fire at The Red Sash Rifles with the two left-hand flank companies. Imperial artillery also continues to fire.

The Sikhs and Seaforths (bottom) press forward. The Red Sash Rifles fall under 50%, lose morale and rout back to the stream.

The Red Sash Rifles fall back behind the shallow stream and....

KHAN'S center has fallen back as well to conform and establish a new battle line.
Let's now turn our attention to the Imperial Right Flank, if you please where....

A bit earlier the 66th Berkshires formed square preceded by a screen of Bombay Miners and Sappers. To their right on a side table we find....

The 15 Pdr. Elephant battery screened by more Bombay Miners and Sappers and most of the 9th Bengal Lancers. The wing is commanded by Cavalry Brigadier Blackiston (binoculars).

Blackiston's wing moves forward and gives fire.

Blackiston's opponents open fire.

To Blackiston's left, the square presses forward.

Back in the Imperial Center, The Bombay Miners and Sappers attain the reverse slope of the ridge adjacent to the shallow stream and....

We turn back around concluding this episode from KHAN's perspective. In the foreground are the Bombay Miners and Sappers. Behind them the Berkshire square has crossed a ridge into the center of the battlefield whilst the 1st Sikhs (upper right) continue to fire. Return soon for the next installment.
Imperial Losses: (7)
1st Moutain Battery: 5 crew caused by murderous fire from The Red Sash Rifles.
Bombay Miners/Sappers: 2 caused by fire from the Tug left flank on the side table.
Tug Losses: (30 + one small smooth bore cannon)
Red Sash Rifles: 14 from Indian Mountain Battery, The Seaforths and Sikhs
Artillery: Gun destroyed and 9 crew caused by the ancient 12 Pdr.
Gray Sash Jezails: 2 caused by the 12 Pdr.
Green Sash Rifles: 5 caused by the 15 Pdr. Elephant Battery
1. The Imperials deployed for battle in full view by yours truly on 8 April 2010.
2. Chuck freely deployed the Tugs on 9 April 2010 starting Game Session #1.
3. Seven turns were played from 7:30pn to 09:50pm.
4. Session #2 is scheduled for 13 April 2010.
5. Come back soon forour exciting conclusion.
6. Remarks welcome below. Click on the word comments.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chapter 32: Imperial Deployment

Date: 16 October 1899
Location: Two Miles From The Escarpment Camp
Situation: Imperial Battle Line Formed Six Hours After The Sunrise Battle Of The 16th
BTW: Images expand amazingly if clicked 1-2 times

Left Flank: Seaforth Highland Battalion refused wing, 1st Indian 2.5" Mountain Battery, an old 12 Pdr. smooth-bore and Lt. Gill's troop of lancers forming a screen on the stream's left bank.

Left Center: 2/10th Hussar reserve behind the Seaforths and the 1st Sikhs in the upper right.

Center: 1st Sikh  Battalion with baggage behind a reverse slope.

Center Right: 1st Sikhs still in view with the 66th Berkshires in square. General Pettygree is in the upper center listening to his ADC Major Mitchell as Lt. Col. Preece (10th Hussars) rides up.

Major Mitchell: "No enemy in sight General except...."
General Pettygree: "Except for that cheeky KHAN and his standard on the ridge."
Major Mitchell: "A point de veu, surely?"
General Pettygree: "Aye."

Center Right: Berkshires in square.

Right Flank: On a side table a detachment of 9th Bengal Lancers, the 15 Pdr.. Elephant Battery with a screen of Bombay Miners and Sappers await orders.

While KHAN watches the Imperial deployment apparently with unconcern. 
1. Seaforths kindly on loan from Der Alte Fritz.
2. The first part of the battle has been played and photographed.
3. Return soon to learn what happened.
4. Remarks welcome below. Click on the word comments.