Last Saturday saw 4 of our group meet for a game in our new venue in the town of Stanley Co. Durham.
We are still settling in here, but it is going well.
This time I was in the chair and decided to go for another attempt at an Anglo-Sikh War game. Now last time had been a bit of a frost as picking your way through Black Powder second edition is a decided chore. So we packed it in after a couple of moves and repaired to the bar.
Well this time it was different. No Black Powder- no straining my eyes on the brown print on cream paper. I decided to go with Warfare in the Age of Reason as a base since it is very open ended and the simple mechanisms allow easy period specific amendments which , done with care do not unbalance the game.
This would be a relatively small game with about 300 or a few more 28mm models on the table. So while not a big battle a bit more than a mere skirmish.
The British had 4 cavalry units each of 10 models - 2 'wings' of 3rd Light Dragoons and 1 unit each of 3rd Bengal Light Cavalry and 2nd Bengal Irregular cavalry. 4 battalions of Infantry of which HM31st foot at a mere 21 models was the weakest (I didn't get the flank coys finished in time !) 2 Bengal Native Infantry battalions and the Sirmoor Local Battalion - which despite its name are Ghurkhas.. The Brits were lacking in artillery having only a single gun and crew of the admittedly elite Bengal Horse artillery.
The Sikh force was slightly the larger but of more mixed quality. Their best troops were their 4 12pdrs which I rated as medium field guns with elite crews in AOR. As for regular infantry they had 2 units one of 'line' from the Fauj-i-Ain and one Purbeah unit of the Fauj-i-Khas in shakos carrying a French style colour. The remaining half of the Sikh infantry were irregulars or at best 'semi-regulars. A battalion of Muslim najibs and 3 small bands of irregulars one of which was Akhalis. . For cavalry the Sikhs had a single unit of regular Dragoons and 3 units of Ghoracharra Irregular cavalry of which the largest was 15 strong the other two 10 models each.
Most of the models were, of course Old Glory 28mm with a Foundry BNI unit (25th BNI with its unique unique - to the Bengal line- blue facings). The Bengal Horse Artillery are 'Willie'30mm with an Eagle gun. Otherwise aside from a few Redoubt Maratha interlopers making up the numbers in one of the Ghoracharra units and a couple of Studio Miniatures Officers then everyone else on both sides was Old Glory.
|The table as the action opened. Sikh on the left of the picture|
The table was on the small side being just over 6 feet long by about 3and a half feet.. We can go bigger but to do that we have to leave the bar!
So the action commenced with a spirited British advance- commanded by Steve who donned Sir Hugh Gough's white fighting coat for the afternoon.. Sikh artillery opened up early, knocking holes in 36th BNI and smaller holes in the 25th. Indeed so bad was the damage to the 36th that they halted disorganised and by the end of the fighting would have lost 30% of their strength..
|The Sikh left. In the middle distance 36th BNI are taking a pasting from the Sikh Guns|
|The Sikh left- their stronger wing- one unit of cavalry has already been pushed back but the guns will give 36BNI many an anxious moment.|
The British cavalry however moved in swiftly and in two moves of sabre slashing havoc eventually pushed back the Ghoracharra facing them- even 3 BLC doing reasonably well.- Steve's dice rolling was just a tad above average. Both sides were taking losses- the Bengal Horse Artillery doing some counter battery fire at medium range managing to reduce one Sikh gun crew by 2 figures.
HM31st Foot advanced on the Sikh right where the scrub jungle was filled with irregulars. These skirmishers has proved a minor nuisance The 31st delivered a perfect volley which sent numbers of these pesky fellows scuttling behind the small fort that was the right flank anchor of the Sikh line.
|'Those pesky fellows' Sikh Irregulars- some being Rohilla Mercenaries- in the scrub jungle.|
|A pensive Steve wonders what to do about those terrible Sikh guns.|
The decision came on the Sikh right centre where 25th BNI went in against the najib battalion. the fight was close and for a move it looked as if the najibs would actually prevail ( 3 sixes for their defensive volley from Andrew helped!)but in the end discipline told and the najibs retreated - disorganised taking the Sikh regular dragoons with them. It was now all over bar the well not shouting but post game discussion.
|25th BNI followed by the Sirmoor battalion go in against the Najibs.|
|The Najibs strivinh manfully against the 25th BNI.|
All four of us Steve as Gough and Shaun and Andrew as the Sikh commander as well as me Umpiring had enjoyed this first proper outing for this new collection. AOR had performed well - though I shall have to add a few more 'in-period' tweaks as I paint more units. The rules were certainly easier to navigate than Black Powder but then over the years I have played many more games of AOR than I have Black Powder so this may be simply a matter of use..
Thanks go to Norman Oyston for the use of the venue and to Ros for the beef butties and chips. The beer as usual was very drinkable and fun was had by all.
Next game should be in April.