Monday, December 21, 2015

A Disasterous Victory

Last night Rob came over to learn how to play "The Sword and the Flame" colonial rules.  I had him take over the Tyger River District forces and he attempted to bring peace to the region of Ta'ish.

Capt. Robert Farrier deployed across a wide front

Above you can see the rolling terrain faced by Capt. Robert Farrier (who had replaced Capt. Peter Webley-Grant, when he was recalled back to Blighty)

On his left, Farrier deployed his platoon of Sepoys (45th BNI -- Ratray's Sikhs) in open order; next to them, his squad of Scots (78th Ross-shire Buffs -- which would later be known as the Seaforth Highlanders) in column;  behind them was the mule train (with wounded); a squad of Gurkhas (2nd) were in open order (with Farrier and Lt. Pete Kipling behind them); and finally on the right his platoon of British (88th Connaught Rangers) in column.

The small village ahead of them has been the focal point of rebellion in Ta'ish and Farrier's mission was to raze the village.

Early Ambushes by Dervishes failed to "complete"

The Tyger River forces walked into three ambushes . . . but the Dervishes lacked the commitment to carry them into the British.  Nevertheless there were  far too many "ones" thrown by Rob as British and Colonial casualties mounted.

Swords versus bayonets as Dervish meets the 88th

Of course the Natives took the worst of the damage and were eventually driven from the field . . . but with too many British forces falling to the enemy.  Then they reached the village:

The Hill Chief (in green) exhorts his riflemen to slay Imperials

Eventually the Hill Chief was severely wounded and enough of his riflemen slain that the rest turned tail and ran, so that Captain Farrier was able to raze the village and to stabilize the region (at least for now).

But the "butcher's bill" was way too high.  He entered the valley with about 60 men . . . and there were 21 dead and an additional 15 wounded.  Worst of all, it was the unit leaders who suffered the most.

Lt. Pete Kipling (Farrier's 2nd in command) was slain late in the battle after he had assumed command of the 78th after Lt. Christopher Stewart fell in action.  Also perishing was Lt. Hiram Peterson, commander of the 88th.

In addition, senior NCOs Havildar Dey of the 45th and Havildar Rawal who commanded the Gurka's were slain, as well as ten "other ranks".

Throughout the action, Gurkha Rai (#4) was outstanding and has been promoted to Havildar and assumes command of the few remaining Gurkhas.  We should note that with three dead and four more wounded, the Gurkhas, while willing, are not presently combat-ready.

With nearly 60% casualties, Capt. Farrier is expected to "take to the river" in order to get his wounded to Belhi for his June move.

-- Jeff


  1. Nice report Jeff.
    I'm still waiting for the arrival of the rules ... I'm eagerly awaiting the postman's knock at the door every day. In the meantime, battle reports like yours are making me desperately want to get painting Brits in pith helmets, and sundry tribesmen!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Huzzah! for the Ross-shires! A good if bloody start for the Captain.

  3. A bloody beginning to the campaign. There'll be a few questions about this raised in Parliament. I'm looking forward to more game reports.