Tag Archives: Black Powder

August 25th 1857 – Battle of Najafgarh

      Battle of Najafgarh

August 25th 1857

On 25th August a British force led by Nicholson engaged a Mutineers force around 30 kms west of Delhi in a pre-emtive strike.  The Mutineers sought to intercept the siege train heading towards the Delhi ridge and then to come upon the rear of the British positions on the Ridge.

The British march towards the Mutineers has been treacherous as the ground had turned to a quagmire in the rain.  Nicholson came upon the enemy at 4pm but despite the time decided to push on an attack.

The Mutineers had occupied an old serai with infantry and 4 guns.  On either side and to the rear of the serai  were three villages which the Mutineers had occupied with infantry and more artillery.  A deep drainage cut or ‘nulla’ went around the Mutineers right and on around their rear with a stout bridge crossing directly to their rear.  The nulla was swollen with the recent rain and even at the ford the water was chest high.

The Battle

The British forces advanced across the ford and deployed to the south of the serai. Nicholson sent the infantry brigade of the 61st Foot, the EIC 1st Bengal Fusiliers, and the 2nd Punjab Infantry to capture the serai. He kept his cavalry along with elements of the infantry in reserve whilst he split his limited artillery between facing the serai and the remainder addressed the enemy to the west.

Despite the muddy ground significantly impeding their advance in the face of the Mutineers artillery the British forces stormed the serai and routed the enemy. The fighting in the villages was more sustained but within an hour the enemy had been routed and their guns captured.

“As the Infantry were about to advance, Nicholson thus addressed them: ‘Men of the 61st, remember what Sir Colin Campbell said at Chilianwala, and you have heard that he said the same to his gallant Highland Brigade at the Alma. I have the same request to make of you and the men of the 1st Bengal Fusiliers. Hold your fire until within twenty or thirty yards, then fire and charge, and the serai is yours.’ Our brave soldiers followed these directions to the letter, and, under cover of Artillery fire, carried the serai. Front was then changed to the left as had been arranged, and the line swept along the enemy’s defences, the rebels flying before them over the bridge.”

Frederick Sleigh Roberts

Forty-one years in India – From Subaltern To Commander-In-Chief

With the enemy routed Nicholson consolidated his position before heading back to the Delhi lines the next day.

Nicholson’s force captured 13 enemy guns as well as large quantities of ammunition, stores and animals; all of which were sorely needed by the British troops on the Ridge.

Mutineers Force – Commander Bakht Khan

  Bareilly Brigade

    4 Regiments of Mutineers – each of 6 bases

    2 Artillery

  Nasirabad Brigade

    4 Regiments of Mutineers – each of 6 bases

    3 Artillery

  Nimach Brigade (General Sudhari Singh & Brigade Major Hira Singh)

    4 Regiments of Mutineers – each of 6 bases

    3 Artillery

Estimated Strength 8,000 troops and 13  to 16 guns

British Force – Commander Brigadier Nicholson

  61st Foot (Colonel Rainer)

  1st Bengal Fusiliers (Major Jacob) – 5 bases

  400 of Cokes Rifles (400 Men) – 5 bases

  Punjab Infantry (Green) (400 men) – 5 bases

  1 Sqn 9th Lancers (Captain Sarel) – 3 bases

  Linds Multani Horse (200 men) – 5 bases

  Sqn Guides (Sandford) – 3 bases

  Troop of 2nd Punjab Cavalry (Charles Nicholson) – 6 bases

  3 Troops of Horse Artillery (Major Tombs) (16 Horse Artillery) – 8 guns

Approximately 2,500 ‘good troops’ – 1,600 infantry, 450 cavalry, and 16 guns.

Game Length: 7 Turns

Initiative: 1st turn British

Set-up

Mutineers deploy 1 of their brigades in and around the Serai.  The Other 2 Brigades deploy into the 2 villages nearest the Najafgarh Drain.  2 Sepoy units may be detached to occupy the village of Nagli.

The British set up is assumed after they have started to cross the ford across the nulla.

Battle Najafgarh Map

Notes about the terrain

Bridge – 84 foot long and 27 foot wide.

Nulla – can only be crossed at the ford, and even then difficult going due to the high flood.  The Najafgarh Drain can only be crossed at the bridge.

The Serai is on a slight rise

Scenario Special Rules – The Sword and the Flame (The Sword in India variant)

The Serai counts as class IV cover, whilst the villages and sandbagged artillery are class III. The treed garden is class II.

The Mutineers have limited ammo.

The Mutineers deploy their entire force first.

Scenario Special Rules – Black Powder

The British European troops are treated as ‘Elite’ to represent their continued advance through the Mutineers defensive fire.

For Queen and Company Rules (and Fast and Furious)

Special Rules:

I think I need to be somewhere else‘ – As soon as the British get troops between the Mutineers positions and Delhi the Mutineers suffer a -2 to all subsequent Moral tests.

It’s bloody wet!” All movement should used the variable movement rates due to the waterlogged and flooded ground

 

Winning the Game

British Major Victory – The British must occupy uncontested the Serai and the three villages, as well as hold the bridge 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 both the Serai and the bridge uncontested and ensured that none of the Mutineer guns are in operation (captured, or either un-manned or reduced to one crew)

Mutineer Minor Victory – Hold the bridge and one of the villages uncontested

Mutineer Major Victory – Mutineers hold the bridge and both the Serai and two of the Villages uncontested.

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

Black Powder

Old Rosters created for Black Powder soon after it came out – I’d do them differently now and fix the org and command structure for the Brits, and address the overly generous command ratings at the same time.

Battle of Najafgarh Rosters – British copy

Battle of Najafgarh Rosters – Mutineers copy

Notes:  

Indian Forces: I’ve made estimates about the Indian forces by dividing down the 8,000 strength estimate across 3 brigades to get approximately 12 units at an assumed strength of approx. 600 to 700 men per unit.  You could easily modify this by having more units if desired.  I’ve taken the higher estimate of 16 guns and assumed that 3 were removed or destroyed before capture.

British force numbers based upon Roberts and Trotter

Fighting the Battle

This battle was fought using Black Powder with the British being ably led by Paul ‘Nicholson’, whilst the Mutineers were commanded by Steve ‘Bakht Khan’. We used an 8’ by 6’ table and 28mm figures in units of 24 infantry and 10 cavalry.

The Indians were deployed across their wide front with the major blocks of units being situated between the three villages. The guns were deployed in the sandbagged defences before the serai, as well as between the villages on either side the bridge. The British placed their cavalry on the right of their deployment zone with their artillery facing the serai. The infantry were placed to the left of the artillery.

The first turn opened with the Indian artillery bombardment doing little in the way of casualties but managed to disorder the 61st Foot. With the British movement Paul successfully passed the ‘Elite’ test a cleared the disorder from the 61st who were then able to advance towards the bridge whilst the remainder of the British foot advanced towards the Serai. The cavalry started to loop around the serai to the right. British fire managed to cause some casualties to the units within the serai as well as disorder one of them.

Turn two saw Steve attempt to move some of his infantry from the East towards the British but failed his command roll. He then started to take out his frustration on the British with his artillery. One unit of the Native infantry became disrupted whils the 61st took some casualties. The Briitsh responded and successfully charged the serai.

Within the next two turns the serai had fallen and the Indian brigade holding the area was broken. The British then focussed their attention on the forces around the bridge. Within a couple of turns the bridge was taken but not before the British 3rd Brigade was shaken and the the majority of the cavalry were also shaken following an ambitious attempt to confront the third Indian brigade to the east whilst unsupported by infantry. The end of the game all came down to Steves attempts to reinforce the troops around the bridge which unfortunately failed to recapture the bridge or force the British back. He did take some consolation from the situation when he finally broke the British cavalry brigade.

As the dust settled the Mutineers still had their third brigade almost intact and their second one was just hanging on but they were forced to concede a minor victory to the British having lost the serai, the bridge and all of their artillery.

Battle of Ghaziabad – 30th May 1857 (and again on 31st May)

    May 30th 1857 – Battle of Ghaziuddinnagar (and again on 31st May)

Also known as Battle of Ghaziabad

or the Battle of Hindun River (Hindon)

Background

As Barnard led the Delhi relief force from Simla be met up with Wilsons force from Meerut.  As they headed towards Delhi they encountered a Mutinous force at Ghaziuddinnagar (now called  Ghaziabad).  The Mutineers had secured the opposite bank of the river around the only iron bridge in the vicinity so denying the British a route for getting their siege artillery to Delhi.

The Indians engaged the British as they sought to secure the bridge.  the British sent the 16th Rifles to secure the bridge whilst the artillery engaged the Mutineers guns.

The horse artillery and the Carabiniers sought to find an alternative crossing to outflank the Mutineers position.  Before they had arrived the remainder of the British force had been ordered to engage the Mutineers and the 60th Rifles were ordered forward and directly engaged the enemy.  After a fierce fight the Mutineers fled abandoning their guns.

The British failed to consolidate on their position as the following day the Mutineers returned in force and again attacked the British position.  The British successfully saw off the attack but were not in any position to pursue the enemy.  Whether the Mutineers ever expected to defeat the British outright isn’t know but it should be noted that they did manage to recover their lost guns from the day before and take them from the battlefield before the British could stop them.

Situation

Iron Bridge across the River Hindun (river runs 18 inches into the table parallel from the Mutineers table edge).  The Mutineers hold one bank.  The British set up 6 inches into the table.  The Bridge is 100mm wide (2 bases) and set up 18 inches in from short edge.  A ford is placed 1 foot from the opposite short edge.

Objective

The British need to secure the bridge as well as capture the Mutineers siege guns before the game ends.

Special Rules:

If any British cavalry cross to the Mutineers side of the river then all Mutineers suffer from the ‘I think I need to be somewhere else‘ special rule for all subsequent Moral rules (-2).

British Lethargy: The British force was suffering from various malaise and are unable to pursue fleeing/faltering Mutineer forces.

Game Length: 7 turns

Initiative:  British have initiative for first turn

After deployment the Mutineers get two rounds of firing with their siege artillery

Forces

British under Wilson 

Wilson

16th Rifles – 6 bases (24 figures)

60th Rifles – 5 bases (20 figures)

6th Carabiniers – 5 bases (20 figures)

1 Horse battery – 3 horse artillery

2 x 18lbs Siege Guns – 1 siege gun & crew

Sappers & Miners – 5 skirmish figures

(probably best ignored for the game)

 

Mutineers

Heavy Artillery – 3 siege guns

3 Native Infantry Regiments – 6 bases each (24 figures)

Game Notes
Due to the small size of the forces involved this game is very suitable for The Sword and the Flame or other similar large skirmish sized games
Design Notes
As I didn’t have any real guidance to the Mutineers forces I took a guestimate to give a force which would provide a suitable opposition to the British forces to reflect the struggle which occurred on the first day whilst reflecting the fact that the Mutineers felt strong enough to attack again the next day and were able to retrieve their guns.  By all means balance however you feel fit.

Wargames Illustrated February 2015

I’ve just finished reading through this months Wargames Illustrated and thought I’d offer a quick synopses of the articles included.

Second Ypres – 6 page article with three pages of history and three pages of wargaming interspersed with glorious maps, interesting short history sidebars, and related war-games photos.

Defending the Reich – 2 page overview of the new Flames of War Nachtjaeger supplement.

A Largely Unknown Corner of a Foreign Field – 6 page WW1 article about German South West Africa. 3 pages of historical overview leading to a scenario I believe based around Sandfontein using the Setting the East Ablaze rules from Partizan Press.

The Disinherited – 6 page article about assembling and painting a retinue for the Lion Rampant rules from Osprey.

Greyhounds Against Wolves – 6 page article about the Battle of Dogger Bank on 24th January 1915. A nice historical overview with notes about wargaming the action.

Infra-Red Night Hunters – Another 4 page article covering the Flames of War Nachjaeger supplement – this time addressing the night fighting rules

Painting 1915 – a great 8 page reference article about painting most of the major infantry types from 1915 with lots of step by step painting notes.

They Don’t Like it Up ‘Em – 4 page interview commentary with the authors of the Blood on the Nile supplement for Black Powder.

But Not a Man Was Lost – 8 page article about the Allied evacuation from Gallipoli in 2015.

Americas First Vietnam – substantial 12 page article about the American wars in the Philippines 1899 to 1913.  A lot of history with relevant photos as well as wargames scenarios.

The Battle of Long Tan – 6 page article about the Vietnam Battle of Long Tan between the 1st Australian Task Force and the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces.

Prowling Panthers – a 2 page modelling info-advert for the Battlefront Panther/Jagdpanther models for the Nachtjaeger supplement…

The Battle of Dresden 1813 – 2 page intro with 8 page photo spread of a massive game hosted at Fall-In 2014.  Full of lots of glorious pictures.

How to Make Wagon from Lolly Sticks – 2 page modelling article about making wooden wagons.

Warfare 2014 – 6 page coverage of the 2014 Warfare show with many photos of the games on display. (Includes our SAD Battle of Cremona though with the wrong date – ah well)

Introducing Bluecher – 4 page introduction to Sam Mustafas new Napoleonic rules in his Honour series called Bluecher. (Once I work out how to type in umlauts I’ll fix the spelling correctly).

A Celtic Tragedy – A 2 page chatty article by Barry Hilton about improbability within war-games.

All in all a fairly broad range of articles although I could help but notice the push on the Nachtjaeger supplement, though this wasn’t as blatant and heavy-handed as previous editions have been in pushing their sponsors products.