Battle of Badli-ke-Serai – 8th June 1857

Battle of Badli-ke-Serai – 8th June 1857

With the fall of Delhi to the Mutineers in May 1857 the British scrambled around to assemble a force capable of dealing with the threat. Sir Henry Anson, the commander of the British forces, was based in the cooler climbs at the Simla Hill Station over a thousand miles away from Delhi. He hastily cobbled together a relief force at Ambala. Unfortunately Anson died from cholera a little over two weeks later and command of the the assembled relief force fell to Sir Henry Barnard. In an attempt to regain the initiative Barnard set his force marching towards Delhi with the intention of linking up with the Meerut garrison under Archdale Wilson.

The two forces met on 1 June at Alipur and headed towards Delhi to confront the Mutineers holding the city. Before they had advanced very far though their force came upon Mutineer forces on 8th June dug in at Badli-ki-Serai (alt. Badlee Serai). Whilst estimated for the Mutineers strength vary wildly from a conservative 4,000 men up to a significant 30,000 it would be safe to say that the British force was likely outnumbered by the opposition in their defensive positions. The inflated numbers were likely a due to large numbers of ‘native rabble’ joining the Mutineers. The Mutineers were also supported by a few batteries of very proficient heavy artillery which was to prove to be a significant obstacle to the British during the battle.

The Mutineers had established themselves within the village of Badli-ki-Serai which included a walled caravanserai. The infantry had taken up position within the village behind the perimeter stone walls outside the periphery as well as the caravanserai which was on the British left flank. The majority of the Mutineers guns were positioned within the caravanserai which was on a slight rise above the trunk road to Delhi.  A separate section of guns consisting of 4 heavy artillery pieces and a heavy howitzer had been situated behind hastily erected sandbag earthworks on the British right flank outside the village walls. The land to the east and west of the village was boggy and considered a likely obstacle to any British attack, though the area covered was fairly limited which was to be later exploited by the British when they finally assaulted the Mutineers positions.

The initial British attack was launched in the morning but due to the Mutineers effective use of their emplaced artillery the initial attack faltered. The British cavalry was ordered around to the Mutineers rear, whilst an infantry brigade was dispatched around the opposite flank. With the forces redeployed Barnard renewed his assault and his infantry brigades stormed the village and took the enemy positions after severe fighting among the buildings.

Once the Mutineers became aware that their route to Delhi was soon to be cut off by the flanking cavalry the defense quickly dissolved as the units abandoned their positions and fled back towards Delhi rapidly pursued by the British horse. Unfortunately, for the British, the Mutineers were able to evade the British pursuit and joined the defenders in the city whilst the British were forced to clear the Mutineers from the Delhi Lines on the escarpment outside the city and settle in for a long siege.


The British have deployed outside Badll-ki-Serai where the Mutineers have taken up defensive positions with support from local mobs. The British must take the Village and Seria within 7 turns before the mutineers are reinforced by further troops on their way from Delhi.

Game Length: 7 turns


Battle of Badli-ke-Serai - map

The Mutineer deployment zone is 4 foot across by 18 inches, with a 6 inch gap to their rear.

The British may deploy anywhere along their baseline up to 6 inches in.

Delhi Board Edge

The Serai counts as class IV cover, whilst the walls around the village and sandbagged artillery is class III. The Marshy ground provides no cover but is rough ground for movement purposes.

Scenario Special Rules

The Mutineers have limited ammo.

The Mutineers deploy their entire force first.

Wavering Mutineers – Whenever a Mutineer unit wishes to move (or not move) during the movement segment of a turn it must check to establish whether any British forces are between it and the Delhi Board edge. If there aren’t any British troops in the way then the unit may act as normal. If there are British troops between it and the Delhi Board edge then the Mutineer unit most take a Major Moral test. If passed then the unit moves as normal, if failed the unit breaks and heads towards the Delhi Board edge avoiding British troops.

British Flank Marches – The British may detach two flanking forces. One can consist of either one or both of the British Cavalry units, the other may consist of one of the Native Infantry Regiments. These are identified before the game starts and are designated against one of the flanks, either ‘A’ or ‘B’. If two flanking forces are taken they must come on upon different flanks. From the start of turn 3 onwards the British may attempt to trigger the arrival of these reserves on any one British unit movement card (max one attempt per turn per flanking force). A roll of 4+ is required for the troops to arrive. The troops are positioned up to 2 inches into the table and may move and charge as normal.

Winning the Game

British Major Victory – The British must occupy uncontested both the Serai and the village at the end of the game. To be uncontested no steady Mutineer infantry or artillery units can be within the serai or village.

British Minor Victory – The British hold one of the Serai and village uncontested and none of the Mutineer guns are operation (either un-manned or reduced to one crew)

Mutineer Minor Victory – Contest both the Serai and Village

Mutineer Major Victory – Mutineers hold both the Serai and Village uncontested.

Otherwise a draw which would be a Mutineer moral victory and still able to claim bragging rights.


Forces – The Sword And The Flame – The Flame in India Variant Scenario

  British Mutineers
Commanders CIC Major General Sir Henry Barnard2IC – Wilson CIC – Unidentified
Cavalry 1 EIC Cavalry Regiment6th Carabiniers     (includes Hodsons horse)

– 9th Lancer Regiment (lances)

    (includes elemnts of 4th Lancers)

1 Mutineer Cavalry1 unit camel guns (1/2 unit)
Infantry 1st Infantry Brigade– 75th Foot

– 1st Begal Fusiliers (European)

2nd Infantry Brigade

– 2nd Bengal Fusiliers (European)

– 60th Rifles

– Sirmoor Battalion of ‘Ghoorkas’

6 Mutineer Infantry Regts. 
Artillery 3 Light Guns – 

3rd Brigade Horse Aty.(Includes EIC horse artillery as well as 2 18lb guns but treated as 2 light guns for scenario)

2 Heavy Guns1 Heavy Howitzer

2 Medium Guns

 The EIC Fusiliers, HM 75th Foot, the Ghoorka Infantry and the Mutineers are armed with Muskets

The British HM 60th Rifles are armed with the Enfield rifle.

The Mutineers Camel Guns are classed as Gingals

Despite the common missconception, the British forces in India were not universally armed with the Enfield Rifle (and so not better armed than their Mutineer opponents); it was only later in the war with the arrival of troops from Britain that troops arrived with the rifles.

Unit Treatment for Black Powder

Unit Armament Range H2H Shooting Morale Stamina Special
6th Carabiniers Swords 8 4+ 2 Ferocious Charge, Marauders, Small
9th Lancer Regiment Lances 8 4+ 2 Ferocious Charge, Lancers, Marauders, Small
75th Foot Smoothbore Muskets 18” 6 3 4+ 3 Sharpshooters, Stubborn
1st Begal Fusiliers (European) Smoothbore Muskets 18” 6 3 4+ 3 Sharpshooters, Stubborn
2nd Bengal Fusiliers (European) Smoothbore Muskets 18” 6 3 4+ 3 Sharpshooters, Stubborn
60th Rifles Rifled Musket 24” 6 3 4+ 3 Sharpshooters, Stubborn
Sirmoor Battalion of ‘Ghoorkas’ Smoothbore Muskets 18” 6 3 4+ 4 Tough Fighters, Sharp Shooters
EIC Horse Artillery Light Smoothbore 1 3-2-1 4+ 2
Mutineer Foot Smoothbore Muskets 18” 5 3 5+ 4 Wavering
Mutineer Cavalry Swords 8 3+ 3 Ferocious Charge, Marauders
Mutineer Heavy Artillery Heavy Smoothbore 1 3-2-1 4+ 2
Mutineer Medium Artillery Medium Smoothbore 1 3-2-1 4+ 2
Mutineer Camel Guns Gingal 24” 1 2 Marauders, Wavering, Small


Force Commander Command Rating
British C-I-C Sir Henry Barnard 8
British 2IC – Wilson 8
Mutineers Mutineer C-In-C 7
Mutineers Mutineer Sub-Commander 6


Note for Black Powder table set-up. If using largish 28mm units (20+ infantry figures) then use 6’ by 8’ table and adjust terrain placement and deployments accordingly.


Fast and Furious and For Queen and Company Special Rules

I think I need to be somewhere else

– if any British units get behind the Serai then Mutineer Infantry units holding the Serai suffer a -2 to all subsequent Moral rolls.

– if any British units get behind the Village then Mutineer Infantry units holding the Village suffer a -2 to all subsequent Moral rolls.

Marshy areas – all troops use variable movement

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