Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chapter 53: 2nd Battle Of The Amla

Date: 30 June 1900
Location: Main Army At The Amla River
Situation: Major Thugee Attack
Recommendation: See Chapter 52
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From 28-29 June 1900 General Pettygree's Main Body of The Surajistan Field Force reinforced Captain Bartlett's Advance Guard at The Amla River. On the 30th. Thugees doubling the size of Pettygree's force hurled themselves against the Imperials.

Thugee estimated strength was 168 riflemen, 60 more with jessails, an additional 70 carrying muskets, 250 swordsmen, 96 horsemen, 13 artillerymen serving three old smooth bores and four senior leaders totalling 661 combatants.

This is the story of the 312 Imperials who fought them.
Action commenced immediately on the western flank where a host of Thugees {Der Alte Fritz Jim P. and Derrick N.} broke cover and splashed across The Amla.

Colonel Smythe {Randy F.} formed the 66th Foot Berkshires {72 in the upper right} to face them supported by Brigadier Blackiston's cavalry reserve {Bill P.} riding fast to support them from central reserve; 9th Bengal Lancers {35} and 10th Hussars {20}.

Horsemen of both sides collided in the first mêlée of the day. Left-most Berkshire companies took cover behind breastworks as enemy footmen moving rapidly forward skirmished with them.

Enemy infantry crashed into the breastworks as more arrive not knowing their horsemen had been bested in the cavalry fight.

The Berkshires fell back under intense pressure. The Imperial Cavalry Brigade {not shown} rallied back at the gallop to reform behind them. The foe continued to surge forward, unstoppable with overwhelming numbers and zeal.

Again the cavalry came forward to the charge on both flanks of the Berkshires whilst the infantrymen met the foe with the bayonet.

The Berkshires reduced to company strength finally routed to an Imperial square on the back table. Imperial horsemen {not shown} though victorious in three mêlées were ordered to break off and rally back again. The original Imperial left flank was destroyed.

A brigade square meant to be unengaged unless attacked. Mission: Protect supplies, etc. and act as a final rallying point in case of disaster on the main table. It was not allowed to advance onto the main table but could fire onto it using the most negative range modifier. The remnant of the Berkshires {not shown} rallied here as did some of the 9th Bengal Lancers {not shown} near the end of the game.

Col. Buckingham {Keith L.} commanded the 1st. Sikh Infantry {66}, Bombay Miners/Sappers {40}, Royal Artillery {8 crew} with 1x Old 12 Pdr. and 1x Light Howitzer plus baggage, the hospital, engineers and heliographers here. All unengaged - by scenario design.

Colonel R. Savory {Curt B.} held the eastern flank of the Army closely hugging The Amla River in a dog leg. He deployed the 2nd. Sikh Infantry {94} and Royal Artillery {8 crew} servicing 1x 15 Pdr. + 1x 2.5" Screw Gun there.

 Initial Sikh positions facing north along The Amla.

Later in response to a large Thugee surge {Earl K.} across the eastern Amla, Savory reformed facing east to....

Receive a charge across open ground.

The right flank held and the enemy retreated back across The Amla.

Colonel Sinclair's command {Keith L. and acting CinC} faced north on the the south bank of The Amla. At his disposal were the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders {68}, 1x 15 Pdr. + 1x 2.5" Screw Gun {8 crew} and a Naval Gatling Gun {8 crew}. These silenced enemy artillery and riflemen across the river but later ....

As worsening conditions on the left flank became apparent, Sinclair retired from the river to face threats from the west.

An immense body of enemy horsemen heading for a large Imperial gap was one of them!

Most of the enemy horsemen were knocked out and routed by clever combined arms fire from Imperial rifles and artillery after crossing the river {not shown}.

Some got through but were checked by the 9th Bengal Lancers.

72nd Highlanders move out to reform a new line facing west.

Steady laddies!

The Seaforths facing west were not tested. The foe elected to withdraw. The remnant of Blackiston's Cavalry Brigade can be seen. Off image to the right are Colonel Savory's 2nd. Sikhs similarly watching the foe retire.

Colonel Sinclair {upper left} rides in front of his regiment whilst General Pettygree on the grey observes the enemy withdraw back over The Amla.


79 KIA, 161 wounded carried away for help and 67 lightly wounded returned to duty.

13 KIA, 90 in hospital and 17 lightly wounded returned to duty.

66th Foot Berkshires {72 at start}
-6 KIA, -57 wounded +10 Back To Duty = 47 in hospital
Effectives At Evening Parade = 19.
The sacrifice of the Berkshires saved the Army.

72nd Seaforth Highlanders {68 at start}
-0 KIA, -1 wounded +0 Back To Duty = 1 in hospital
Effectives At Evening Parade = 67.

1st. Sikh Infantry {66 at start}
Effectives At Evening Parade = 66; Unengaged.

2nd. Sikh Infantry {94 at start}
-2 KIA, -19 wounded +5 Back To Duty = 14 in hospital
Effectives At Evening Parade = 78.

9th Bengal Lancers {35 at start}
-3 KIA, -13 wounded +1 Back To Duty = 14 in hospital
Capt. Dyce-Powers in hospital
Effectives At Evening Parade = 20.

10th Hussars {20 at start}
-2 KIA, -12 wounded +1 Back To Duty = 14 in hospital
Supernumerary Capt. Verbeek in hospital
Trooper Ham in hospital for those interested in him
Effectives At Evening Parade = 7.

Bombay Miners/Sappers {40 at start}
Effectives At Evening Parade = 40; Unengaged.

Royal Artillery {24 at start}
Effectives At Evening Parade = 24}

Naval Gatling Contingent {8 at start}
Effectives At Evening Parade = 8.


1. Colonial tabletop gaming presents players with a unique form of tension not present in horse and musket games. Both sides worry about the other in terms of numerics and firepower. In addition more than a few Imperial missteps can lead to disaster; especially if natives have long movement rates. Players on both sides often think they have insufficient numbers of miniatures which is part of the genre. A good thing.

2. This was The Second Battle Of The Amla. Interestingly, Chuck L. and Todd B., in the smaller battle on the 24th of June 1900, attacked Captain Bartlett's Advance Guard from the west too.

3. From 1:30 to 2:00 pm we adjourned upstairs for "Low Tea" in the Living/Dining Room. Menu: Earl Grey tea with milk {plus sugar if desired}, varieties of scones, clotted cream, whipped cream cheese, Wilkin & Son, Ltd. orange tawny jam, Walker's shortbread, butter pickles, three kinds of cheese and small sandwiches featuring roast beef or turkey accentuated with mustard and Romaine lettuce. Light music played in the background as we companionably enjoyed polite conversation and each other's company.  

4. Game start 11:00am. Game finish 3:30pm. Chit-chat till near 5:00pm.

5. Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien Régime {BAR} modified for 1880-1910 approx.

6. We sure had fun!

7. Singular comments are welcome, if you please, just below. Comments from participants are welcome too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chapter 52: Amla Battle Report

Date: 24 June 1900
Location: Main Army Encampment
Situation: Captain Verbeek's Battle Report
Recommendation: See Chapter 51
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Captain Verbeek's Battle Report
24 June 1900:
Left to right: Capt. Verbeek, Gen. Pettygree and Col. Sinclair.

Verbeek: : "After the Advance Guard Camp was established, we noticed activity in the hills across the river. Late on the 22nd. our western piquet was surprised and overrun. Thereafter the Thugees immediately moved to our fortified buildings at the ford. Their sudden audacity and impetuosity was a shock. They moved with lightning speed!"

Verbeek: "Captain Bartlett withdrew the men into and on top of the main building. Entrances were heavily boarded and defended. The western door held for a long time before collapsing. Luckily the foe lost heart in the ensuing melee there and fell back to regroup - uncowed."

Verbeek: "The eastern door collapsed almost immediately. Our men were thrown back waiting for l'coup de grace when almost as suddenly the entire enemy force retreated and vanished. A miracle General!"

Verbeek: "Before sunset the Captain Bartlett asked if I might ride to report the news to you General and request immediate assistance. Naturally I agreed."

General Pettygree: "Well then. The Army will march before sunrise to rescue Bartlett."

Colonel Sinclair: "General. My Seaforths are itch'n tay have at the vexing Thugees more than most an' they're rested. We can leave at sundown and force march arriving in two or three days instead of the four it will take the Army to arrive at the Amla. The laddies can steal a march during darkness just like the Bonnie Prince did in the '45 and...."

Pettygree: "Confound the foe. Agreed. Alright Sinclair. Alert your regiment, march near sundown and take Colonel Preece and his 10th with you. The rest of us will march in the morning,"

At dusk the Seaforths briskly departed the Main Army Camp reinforced by 2/10th Hussars trotting out in style. Good luck men!


1. The Battle of the Amla was fought on a weeknight evening from 7pm to the turn in progress at 9:15pm.

2. At 9:20 the game was stopped. The next morning was a workday.

3. The garrison was in a bad way but there were more doors to knock down.

4. A D6 decided door strength. The western door required six turns to knock down; the eastern door needed only two turns to collapse.

5. The attacking force was decided by Todd and Chuck each throwing 2D6.

2 or 3 = 10,  4 or 5 = 15, 6 or 7 = 20, 8 or 9 = 25, 10 or 11 = 30 and a 12 resulted in 35 miniatures.  Result: Todd's 15 + Chuck's 25 = 40 miniatures. They picked whatever they wanted from the collection. It was about 50/50 rifles and swordsmen.

6. The Imperial Force was thought to be 41 miniatures but due to confusion it was only 35 miniatures strong.

7. The foe was told to attack from anywhere along the river. They had to cross it. Todd and Chuck cleverly agreed to use cover, cunning and a mass attack to overwhelm Bartlett's western piquet of eight lancers.

8. Rules? Batailles de l'Ancien Régime {BAR} modified for year 1900 AD weaponry and more. BAR is not just a BIG battalion game. The author was satisfied with how the rules worked with under 80 miniatures on the table.

9. Both sides lost about 1/3 of their combatants.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chapter 51: Advance Guard Camp

Date: 19-24 June 1900
Location #1: Main Army Encampment
Location #2: Amla River Camp
Situation: Advance Guard Is Attacked
Recommendation: See Chapter 50 The Sketching Patrol
Right Click Images To See More

24 June 1900:
The Surajistan Field Force is four days behind Captain Bartlett's Sketching Patrol (Advance Guard) up north. Above is the camp belonging to the Berkshires, 66th Foot. The rest of the Army is encamped closely nearby. No one has heard from Bartlett yet.

All was routine and quiet when....

Captain Nightingale (center): "Gallopers com'n in ... an' fast.
Lt. Bracegirdle (right): "Must be news from Bartlett."

Nightingale: "Its the Belgian supernumerary volunteer Cap'n Verbeek with a trooper from the 10th Hussars. Raising a lot of dust."

Captain Verbeek (in blue) was immediately taken to General Pettygree's command tent.

General Pettygree (center): "Captain Verbeek. Welcome. What news of Bartlett?"

Verbeek: Moi Général, J'ai l'honneur, ah, excuse report that five days ago ... on the 19th ... we arrived at the Amla River and as ordered established the...."

19 June 1900:
Sketching Patrol senior officers top a rise of ground viewing their final destination at the Amla River. From left to right: Political Officer Major David Faraday, Supernumerary Captain Verbeek of Belgium, Captain Dyce-Powers 4/9th Bengal Lancers and Captain Bartlett 1/10th Hussars commanding.

Broken country has finally given way to more open and somewhat flat ground. A camp will be established somewhere on the plain.

Scouts ride ahead to reconnoiter in case an enemy is hiding along the riverbank.

Sergeant Bourne: "Forward lads. Let's see what there is to engage our attention then."
Trooper Ham: "Yes Sergeant."
Trooper Corey: "An' confusion to 'em I sez!"
Sergeant Bourne: "Quiet now."

Trooper Corey: "Nuth'n as usual."
Trooper Ham: "We ain't done yet, Trooper Corey."
Sergeant Bourne: "Turn to your right. I think a ford is yonder by some buildings."

The trio trotted to the buildings finding them abandoned.

Trooper Corey: "Sergeant! A ford is just below us."
Trooper Ham: "And buildings across the river might conceal them Tugs."
Sergeant Borne: "Aye. Time to report back to Cap'n Bartlett."

19-22 June 1900:
From the 19th to the 22nd instant, Captain Bartlett's command settled into two buildings above the ford. Construction of breastworks commenced utilizing trees from wooded areas nearby.

 A troop of 9th Bengal Lancers encamped to the east overlooking the Amla River.

As did another troop about one mile to the west.

22 June 1900:
Most of the officers posted themselves on the second story roof looking outwards for trouble when....

A body of Red Sash riflemen splashed across the Amla in the west taking cover behind the slope of the riverbank. Their fire was erratic but it did cause two lancers riding toward the river to hastily ride back to their camp.

Green Sash swordsmen and riflemen surged from the woods at the top of the photo whilst the Red Sash Riflemen came on in support. 

The lancers mounted up but could not get away. They were forced to fight hand to hand without any momentum.

The Green Sash swordsmen cut down the lancers. Only a few escaped. Then the victorious Tugs immediately headed for the buildings and....

 A great many crossed the breastworks to....

Batter down the door. Realizing he could not hold the outer perimeter, Bartlett had withdrawn all personnel into the main building in the nick of time! The enemy immediately set to battering in the door. Slowly it began to break. Its destruction was certain. Splinters and bullets flew as crazed combatants hammered away with intensity.

Other audacious Tugs attempted to break into the eastern door of the main building. Lancers from the eastern piquet camp temporarily discomforted them but....

The foe broke down the door, hurled defenders backwards and surged within!

Great Scott!

Bartlett's easwtern door is breached; the enemy is within.
His western barrier is about to be shattered.
The mounted lancer troop outside disappeared due to withering fire.
What is Bartlett's fate?
What news has the galloper Verbeek brought to General Pettygree?


Closing Remarks:

1. Todd B. (left) and Chuck L. (right) commanded the natives whilst Bill P., yours truly (center), nervously took the role of Captain Bartlett and the outlying piquets.

2. Tune in next time to find out what happened!

3. What will General Pettygree do when HE finds out?

4. Your comments, exclamations and exhortations are welcome below!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chapter 50: The Sketching Patrol

The Expedition To Alexandrapour Story Is Paused
Because We Are Returning To....
Date: 5-17 June 1900
Location: To Kordofan, Surajistan And Beyond
Situation: Sketching Patrol
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Chapter 50 resumes the photo story of General Pettygree's campaign to suppress the secretly revived and changed Tug cult. Thought to have been extinguished and/or peacefully assimilated by Colonel Sleeman a half century ago, the revived cult shockingly flooded out of The Hidden Valley into Surajistan in 1898-1899 to spread their beliefs by the sword, rifle and rumaal (strangling cloth) in an unexpected avalanche of mayhem and terror.

The Surajistan Field Force will soon depart from Fort Grant to stop the insurrection for all time. Preceeding the Main Body by a few days is Captain Bartlett's Sketching Patrol. Let's press on with them, shall we?
June 5, 1900:
Captain Bartlett's Sketching Patrol departs for the interior of Surajistan. The expressed mission is to enhance maps of the region and return to base in a fortnight. However, this is a ruse to least alarm the foe. What you actually see is a screen covering the march of the main body of The Surajistan Field Force scheduled to depart Fort Grant in a few days. Scouts are even farther out.

June 9, 1900:
Troopers Ham and Corey, 10th Hussars scout the right flank.

Ham: "Go up there in them rocks the sergeant sez an see wot there is..."
Corey: "It's us then, always us in this wretched heat an dust lead'n the rest."

Ham: "Dead end. Back to the column to report."
Corey: "Aye and nuth'n liv'n anywhere to be seen."
Ham: "Hid'n they are. Why don't they come out and show themselves?"

June 13, 1900:
The Sketching Patrol approaches the friendly village of Kordofan. The Imperial force consists of 1st Squadron 10th Hussars and 4th Squadron 9th Bengal Lancers. This time the ever vigilant Troopers Ham and Corey are in front.

Ham: "Two to four. Bad odds for them, I'd say."
Corey: "Sergeant sez Cordowham is a friendly village, you know."
Ham: "We've heard that afore. Alright then, let's have a chat with this lot up 'ere."

Kordofan was a friendly village; friendlier still when Captain Bartlett and Political Officer David Faraday paid respects with a gift of 5,000 rupees before passing through.

June 16, 1900:
After Kordofan the road ended and the column moved into regions of sparse forest, hills and less open country.

Ham: "Well Trooper Corey, today we have the honour to eat the dust of the column."
Corey: "Quit yer bellyach'n Trooper Ham. It's a presdigeeous honour be'n the rear guard you know. Not everyone gets a chance to follow from the most dangerous position."
Ham: "Dangerous! Still not a vexing Tug in sight. No place fer 'em to hide I see."

Corey: "They're out there me fine cavalier - somewhere - watching - I'm think'n."
Ham: "Aye."

1. The watch tower was scratch-built by HG Walls, Herb Gundt.
2. The road is from JR Miniatures.
3. Other structures are from Miniature Building Authority.
4. 10th Hussars painted by John Preece.
5. Comments are welcome below.