Somewhere on the North West Frontier 1897.
Due to recent hostile activity by some of the local tribes, letters were sent out for the surrender of the tribal leaders and a fine of 10,000 rupees. The deadline came and went without reply.
Orders were issued for the assembly of a small field force under the command of Major Mathias, 1st Battalion Gorden Highlanders. This consisted of the following:
1 x company Gordon Highlanders
1 x company Sepoy's - 45th Regt Bengal Infantry
1 x reinforced platoon Gurkha's
1 x 2.5" RML screw gun - 6th Bombay Mountain Artillery Battery
Punishment needed to be dealt out, sooner rather than later and the mud villages along the tribal territory were destroyed in retribution. The valley was inhospitable and barren, rugged and bare hills on either side and stifling heat, flies in plenty.
The Gurkha's were scouting ahead of the column and came upon a goat herders hut. Lieutenant Cavendish sent a Naik (corporal) and a couple of men ahead to check out the hut, whilst he ordered the rest of the platoon to man the wall and give covering fire.
Apart from some goats, the place was deserted. Cavendish didn't like it, it was just too quite and he had an uneasy feeling that they were being watched.
A short while later the rest of the column arrived. Lieutenant Cavendish updated Major Mathias and orders were issued to press on up the valley.
The spoils of war and curried goat for supper.
The column started to move out with Lieutenant Faversham's platoon leading the way for the company of Sepoy's.
The second platoon of Sepoy's, led by Lieutenant Fonthill and his second in command, Jemadar (2nd Lieutenant) Sharzad.
Close behind were the Gordon's.
The Khan (leader) raised his tulwar (sword) and sprang his trap on the invaders. The hills overlooking the valley erupted with gun smoke as they poured fire into the flank of the column.
The column turned to face the threat and the screw gun was hastily deployed to give supporting fire.
Lieutenants Faversham and Cavendish lead their platoons of Sepoy forward towards the shelter of a Nullah (dry watercourse or ravine) but on reaching the lip, were horrified by what lay in waiting..... The trap was well and truly sprung.
Meanwhile, Major Mathias and his company Sergeant Major got themselves into a better position to assess the situation. Things were not looking good, as from their elevated position they were able to see another Nullah West of their position, crammed with Pathans about to erupt over the lip and into the Gurkha's.
At the rear of the column, the company of Gordon Highlanders responded to the threat on their flank with superior firepower ( bolt action, magazine loaded .303inch Lee Metford rifles) and then rushed forward to clear the hillside.
Back at the ravine, the Sepoy's are in hand-to-hand combat with the Pathans. The Sepoy's have their discipline and the height advantage of the higher ground, whilst the tribesmen have the surprise, numbers and their natural ferocity in close quarter fighting.
Cavendish organised his platoon into a defensive line and the Gurkha's met the Pathan charge with equal ferocity.
Lieutenant Jennings-Bramley and his sergeant lead the Gordon's up into the hills in a bayonet charge.
Well, what would the outcome have been for this little engagement? I guess it would have been a close run thing and depended on the quality and stats you had given the units and of course what rules you were going to use.
Two sets of rules with a little adaption spring to mind, that I think would be suitable for this period and size of game. Too Fat Lardies 'Sharpe Practice' and also Dadi & Piombo 'Smooth & Rifled'.
I recently painted some Sepoy's, so I thought this would be a good way of showing what I have done, along with experimenting with the terrain, trying to give it a more dry, barren look. The figures are mostly Wargames Foundry from their NWF range, Empress Miniatures 'Jazz-Age Imperialsim' and Perry Miniatures British from their 'Sudan' range.
I was also very lazy with the Pathan flags and used the sheets from the Perry Plastic Sudan box set. I thought they would do at a push for a tribal flag if I gave them a bit of a ragged look with battle damage and a few bends and folds in the flag. They are still a bit too obvious and need to be wrapped around the pole more, so you can't make them out.
Hope you enjoyed the narritive, rather than just showing pictures of a bunch of figures and terrain.