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The Siege of Barwarie June 1857 – Indian Mutiny

This is one of a few participation games which I created for the Indian Mutiny.  Hopefully I’ll get the others up shortly.

 

The Siege of Barwarie

June 1857

Indian Mutiny

 

Overview

From 7th June 1857 until 9th June a small party of British railway officials held off a reported mob of 3000 Indian rebels from the rooftop of a railway water-tank before they were eventually rescued by loyal forces from Allahabad.

 

Background

On 10th May native troops rose up against their British officers in Meerut and their actions quickly encouraged others to join their cause as a general mutiny and popular revolt spread throughout the region. The revolt involved all levels of Indian society as well as all aspects of the British rule, both military and civilian.

Whilst much has been written about the significant battles of the war there is a vast source of untapped material covering the many small actions and incidents that occurred. This article covers one such small event.

 

The Siege of Barwari

In the small village of Barwarie about 23 miles from Allahabad the news that the 6th Bengal Native Infantry in Allahabad had mutinied and massacred their officers in the cantonment before rampaging through the town killing Europeans sent shock waves through the local British ex-pats. When they heard that the local inspector Mr Lancaster had been murdered near by

The local British residents assembled at the house of the retired Major Ryves as they hastily formulated a plan. The fort at Allahabad was assumed to still be in British hands even if the city wasn’t but getting there was going to be difficult for a small group of poorly armed civilians. They decided to find the strongest place in the vicinity that they could defend whilst they tried to get a message to the garrison at Allahabad for rescue.

As they were formulating their plan the local villagers were assembling so the Brits hastily escorted their families to the relative security of the water tank of the local station halt. No sooner had they got there than riotous mobs started to arrive so stopping any opportunity for them to get additional supplies.

The Indians quickly pillaged the British bungalows breaking anything that they couldn’t steal, then burning the remainder. After initial assaults against the station failed they started to throw bricks and stones to little effect. The British sought safety behind the walls of the water-tank as well as under a few mattresses that they had managed to carry there prior to the attack. The station was surrounded by a mob of 3000 rebels who were being directed by the local zemindars.

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The Indians tried other tactics to get the British down. They promised safe passage for money and after they were given all of the money the Brits had they reneged on the offer. They then promised that if the British converted to Islam they would be released. In the tradition of a Boys Own tale the Ex-pats shouted down their refusal and continued to hold out.

On the morning of the 8th another ex-pat arrived. Mr Smyth, a rail inspector, had left with two others but they had been set upon by rebels and killed. Only Mr Smyth managed to get to the station but he had suffered so many wounds that he was to prove to be of little help in the stations defence.

Over a total of 52 hours the British held out against assaults and missile file. The rebels even attempted to burn them out but were thwarted by the brick construction and simply caused a lot of discomfort with the smoke.

Eventually a troop of the 3rd Oudh Irregular Horse arrived from Allahabad and took them to safety. Unfortunately Mr Ryves died of her wounds soon after.

 

Recreating the Station Defence

This incident can easily be recreated using period skirmish rules such as Legends of the Old West (If you can get hold of them), or The Rules With No Name from Foundry. It wouldn’t take too much to alter the TV7 rules to run the game.

As an alternative a simple set of rules have been included below.

 Map

 The Scenario

Key Players

British

Major T.J. Ryves (retired of the 1st Madras Fusiliers)

Mr Ryves

Mrs Ryves

Mr PO Snow – Railway Engineer

Mr J. Rose

Mr. Mathers

Mr. Leithbridge – Railway employee

Mrs Laithbridge

Ms Laithbridge

Mr. J Keymer

Mrs Keymer

3 Children

Mr R Keymer

 

Late arrivals

Mr Smyth – Railway Inspector

Mr Lancaster

Mr Thomas

In the actual incident both Mr Lancaster and Mr Thomas were killed on their way to the Barwari station whilst Mr Smyth suffered such severe injuries such that he was not to play any significant part in the subsequent defence of the station.

 

Relief

3rd Oudh Irregulars – cavalry from Allahabad

British subaltern

 

Indian Villagers

3 Zemindars – local lords. These are single based commander figures, which should be suitably dynamic as they urge the mobs on.

10 Bases of Mobs – all unarmed

 

Each mob has three figures, and with the loss of the third figure the base is removed.

The mobs may acquire weapons by ransacking the bungalows.

 

Starting Positions.

The British all start in the Ryves Bungalow. The Indians all start off-board.

 

Objectives

The British must survive until they are rescued by the garrison at Allahabad. Each British figure who is rescued is worth 1 point to the British Player, however they lose 2 for each child lost.

The Indians gain 2 points for each Adult killed.

Whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins.

 

Key Events

The original siege lasted 52 hours, but for gameplay this has been compressed into 10 turns.

 

Start – Brits at Ryves Bungalow, Indians arrive from starting points

Turn 4 – arrival of the ‘Late Arrivals’ at eastern end of rail line.

Turn 8 – arrival of the Allahabad garrison at Eastern side of table.

Turn 10 – final turn

 

Between turns 4 to 8 the Brits suffer from the effects of the sun.

 

The Siege of Barwarie – Simple Skirmish Rules

Turn Sequence

The British

  • 2 Actions
  • Melee

 

The Indians

  • 1 Action
  • Melee
  • Zemindars rally and reform recoiling mobs
  • Generate more Indians

 

Actions

It costs one action to;

  • Move
  • Shoot (includes throwing things)
  • Search location
  • Reload Weapon

 

 

Movement

  • Foot            6 inches
  • Horse            12 inches

Rough = half movement

Buildings = 4 inches, cavalry must dismount

 

Weapons

Weapon Range Missile Value Melee Value Shots Notes
Cricket Bat 4 1 +3 2 Handed
Bricks 6 2 1 No reload
Fire Poker +2
Sword +4
Knife 8 3 +3 Lost if thrown
Stone 10 1 No reload
Hunting Rifle 32 3 1 2 Handed
Shot Gun 18 4 2 2 Handed
Blunderbus 12 4 1 2 Handed
Crockery 12 1 1 No reload

 

Shooting

Each figure has a shooting skill which represents the minimum number required to hit an enemy figure on a modified D6. Each successful hit causes one wound on the enemy.

  • Hard Cover                         +2
  • Soft Cover                        +1
  • Over half range            +1

Modifier amends number required to hit

Each weapon has a range and an associated shooting modifier.

When characters throw an item at someone and miss there is a chance that they will hit someone else near by. If a character is within 2 inches of the original intended target roll to hit again but modify the roll by +2. If there are multiple possible targets near the original intended target roll for each in turn until one is eventually hit. The throwing player determines the order for accidental tests.

Throwing items or shooting into combat is generally a bad idea. Unless the character is a ‘cad’ they are not permitted to deliberately throw or shoot into combat.

 

Combat

Each base rolls a number of D6s as defined by the character cards. Certain weapons allow additional dice to be rolled.

Each die which exceeds the highest die roll by the opposing figure causes one wound to the enemy figure.

Example

Major Ryves rolls 3 dice plus an additional 4 for his sword. He rolls 1,1,2,3,5,6,6

The enemy mob is armed with a cricket bat so roll their base 3 plus 3 for the bat. They roll 1,2,3,3,4,5. Major Ryves inflicts 2 wounds on the enemy mob as he has two rolls of 6 which are both higher than the highest roll by the Indian mob.

Unless otherwise stated a draw is a draw and no wounds are caused. However certain situations amend this.

If the figure is defending the water tower then it will win any draw.

If the character card identifies that it wins all draws, then they win any draws.

If the character card identifies that it loses all draws, then they lose any draws

Certain weapon cards also enable a draw to win unless overridden by the above criteria.

 

Moral

If a mob loses combat it takes a moral test based upon the number of figures remaining.

  • 3 – good, no test required
  • 2– breaks on roll 1 on D6
  • 1 – breaks on roll 1 or 2 on D6

Any Brit on the station roof does not take moral tests. Any Brit which takes a test and fails elsewhere will flee towards the station roof. If it reaches the station they will clamber onto the roof. A Brit takes a test whenever they suffer a wound, and fails on a 1 or a 2 on a D6.

Mobs which fail their test will head towards one of their village muster points. Once they arrive at the muster points the Zemindars will reinvigorate them. The Indian player consolidates the figures by merging the incomplete mob bases to make up complete bases. Once a base has been repopulated back to 3 figures it can re-enter the fray and act as normal in the next Indian turn.

 

The Sun

The siege lasted for some 52 hours. The Brits retreat proved to be a mixed blessing for although it provided them protection from the rebels it provided scant protection from the elements. To reflect this every British character must take a test against the effect of the sun. Roll a D6 and subtract their current number of wounds. If the number rolled is 3 or higher then they have overcome the debilitating effects of the sun. If the number is lower then the character suffers a wound.

 

Character Item Cards

Preparing the Card Decks

Each bungalow has a deck of cards specific to that building.

Any equipment carried by British Characters is identified on their character cards. If they wish to grab any other items they will need to search for them. Each Character knows where items are within their own bungalows (but not in anyone elses). They may go to their own bungalow and spend one action to retrieve any one item. They may spend multiple actions to retrieve multiple items.

Any character or mob which attempts to search a bungalow, which isn’t theirs, must take a random card from that bungalows deck. If they find an item they may retain the item, otherwise must follow the instructions on the card.

Ryves Bungalow

  • Hunting Rifle – Ryves Bungalow – 2 handed
  • Pistol – Ryves Bungalow – 1 handed
  • Sword – Ryves Bungalow – 1 handed
  • Helmet, – save wound on 4+ on D6.       Cancels effect of sun
  • Crockery
  • Fire Poker

 

Snow Bungalow

  • Shot Gun – Snow Bungalow – 2 handed
  • Crockery
  • Fire Poker

 

Leithbridge Bungalow

  • Parasol – cancels effect of sun on British (1 handed).
  • Broom
  • Rupees
  • Crockery
  • Fire Poker

 

Keymer Bungalow

  • Rifle – 2 handed
  • Parasol – cancels effect of sun on British (1 handed).
  • Broom
  • Rupees
  • Crockery
  • Fire Poker

 

Specific Character Cards

  • Bible – save wound on 4+ on D6, lost after first successful save
  • Hip Flask – save wound from missile on 4+ on D6, lost after first successful save

 

General Cards

  • Broom – may be used before melee to fend off attackers against the station roof. Roll as many dice as a mob base in contact with the wielder, each 5 or 6 dislodges an attacker before the melee round. The dislodged Indians are removed from the mob base and returned to the nearest Zemindar. – 2 handed
  • Rupees – attempt to bribe mob. On 5 or 6 on D6 successfully bribe the mob who then act as if they had failed a moral test. May be used multiple times however if any attempt fails the rupees are lost!

 

Character Traits

  • Commanding Voice
  • Child
  • Elderly
  • Military
  • Native Infantry
  • Unreliable
  • Wavering

Commanding Voice

Can issue a Command as an action. Any targeted military or native infantry figures must take an immediate Moral test otherwise will halt where they are for their entire next activation.

 

Child

The figure cannot fight or fire guns. Whenever confronted by a mob the child will flee towards a hiding place.

 

Elderly

Elderly figures fail sun tests on a 4 or higher

 

Military

The character may use any weapon without penalty

 

Native Infantry

May use muskets without penalty

 

Unreliable

Must take a moral test whenever wishes to advance towards enemy figures

 

Wavering

Suffers -1 to all moral tests

Operation Nighthawk – London Calling, London Calling

A joint action with Phil Wynne

A recollection of an excellent weekend of big battle gaming for the liberation of Picardy to celebrate Phils Stag Do (wargamers style)

The Saturday morning dawned bright and clear and outside the Moredon Community Centre in North Swindon a cluster of cars gathered stuffed with figures, food, and terrain. It was the start of Phil’s Stag Do.

Perhaps we were overly ambitious and certainly naive in our expectations but hopefully we can help others learn from our mistakes and successes.

The intention was to run a two-day Flames of War event for friends as part of Phil’s Stag Do. It was intended to be a somewhat light hearted affair involving a dozen or so friends and relatives of Phil for two days of wargaming. His choice of game was Flames of War, which was fortunate due to the high level of support it had within our club. This also drove the period as being Late War Western Europe to guarantee the largest number of figures being available.

Initially we played around with the idea of lots of smaller games on Saturday feeding into a larger game on the Sunday. This slowly evolved into a desire to run one large continuous game over the two days. The only issue now was just how large a table could we have? There were various models which we looked at from the linear types employed by facilities such as the Wargames Holiday Centre with it’s large twenty seven foot by fifteen foot tables split by walkways, to simply having a very long six foot wide table. Eventually we tried to maximise the table space to get the largest dimension table in both directions. Given that the longest realistic reach for most of us is around three foot we would be constrained to a widest table of six foot. Our other constraints were that we only had twelve six by four foot tables as well as the general constraints imposed by the dimensions of the community centre which we would be using. Our final solution was a cross-shaped ‘double H’ giving us a table eighteen foot by twenty foot at its extremes. This gave us four ‘cockpits’ that poked into the table space that addressed the three foot stretch for the most part. We did unfortunately have two zones where we weren’t quite successful, but for the most part players managed to cope.

Operation Nighthawk Map Base

The next step was to identify who would be coming as well as what troops were available. The participants were to be a mix of FOW ‘experts’ (people who had played the game previously at least once) as well as some complete wargaming novices. During the planning we had invited around twenty people, but what with summer holidays and other commitments we secured fifteen giving us seven and eight a side. Given the access constraints this ultimately proved to be the right number for the space.

To limit the breadth of units joining the fray we restricted unit selection to Infantry units from the Fortress Europe book. Some players were picked to provide specific units for the game scenario. Players were asked to provide unit lists and troops for each side such that most would not know which side they were playing for until the day. The scenario was kept secret until the morning, as was the final player split between the two sides. Whilst the location was based upon a real location the actual battle was completely made up (as will become apparent).

The premise for the game was to set the battle in the region of Picardy where a famous café was located in Nouvion. Liberties were taken to enable the introduction of scenario items such as locating a Prisoner of War camp nearby, as well as a V2 Missile launch site. None of these scenario elements were to be revealed until the game was underway.

The scenery had been amassed over the preceding months, with friends commissioned to construct the more elaborate structures, so the first time most of it was seen was on the morning of the event as we set up the game area. The multitude of towns and villages were identified by dragon clips holding their names aloft.

An hour later the players started to assemble and were soon separated into their two sides;

 

Germans Allies
Paul Nettle (Heer CiC) Graham Philpot (British CiC)
David Wynne (Heer) Peter David (British)
Glenn Foden (Heer) Manuel Boissiere (British)
Sean Walker (Heer) Derek Whittenbury (British)
Vince Prince (SS CiC) James Furnel (US CiC)
Mark Dodridge (SS) Simon Day (US)
Peter Becket (Heer) EJ Hanneman(US)

Special Rules

We introduced a few specific rules for the scenario

  1. All divisional support armour assets were aggregated into units
  2. Germans started the game dug in
  3. All immobile and heavy artillery had double range
  4. Blimps stopped air attacks within 12 inches of their locations but could be attacked themselves
  5. No-go and blocked lines of sight zones were defined to account for the board shape
  6. Air support and intercept rules were altered

Every German player was given a specific simple set of individual orders which identified their objectives, though these were sometimes at odds with those of their colleagues or their commanders.

The Allies were handled slightly different with two different sets of orders being given to the British and US commands.

The Germans primary orders were to hold the Somme lines, whilst the Allies gained points for capturing the towns and villages north of the river.

Deployment for the two sides was fairly relaxed which may have contributed to one of the problems encountered at the end of the first day (more of that later).

Operation Nighthawk Deployment

After a lengthy preamble with delays due to players arriving late and setting their forces out the first turn finally kicked off at 11.30am. The intention was to carry on until 6.30pm before heading off for an evening meal.

As the day unfolded the Allies initiated their attacks across the Somme. Large scale infantry assaults were made with massive artillery support and localised armour support over the different river crossings.

The British also initiated their first airborne assault with gliders to the North West, much to the surprise of the German forces in that sector. The airborne assault involved Graham throwing four glider models from a short distance away from the board to see where his troops would deploy. Any gliders landing on top of another, or hitting significant terrain features resulted in a potential crash with the consequential loss of the troops in that glider. Unfortunately as a result of some bad throws Graham lost most of his 6lbs and half of his 17lb anti-tank units.

The day progressed with the Allies slowly edging their way across the river. About half way through the day we implemented a 10 minute time limit for each side’s movement to curtail the lengthy discussions which were constantly taking place. If there is anything we should have taken into consideration it was this, wargamers like to talk (and then talk some more). We probably should have instituted this, a lot earlier in the game.

Through the day the first batch of game scenario events took place.

  • POW Breakouts
  • French Gendarme
  • Resistance
  • The Nouvion residents
  • Nuns
  • Refugees
  • Indiana Jones and Jones Senior
  • The Italian armoured cars (under a certain Captain Alberto Bertorelli)

By the end of the first day we had only seen four turns completed so the Allies hadn’t been able to progress as far as had been anticipated as we had originally planned for six turns to have been finished by this time. As I mentioned the first two turns took far too long.

Operation Nighthawk End Day 1

As the day closed the Allies front line was determined by the umpire (Phil). This then became the line behind which the Allies could re-organise their troops. The German command then chose where they wanted to re-establish their front line, and were able to re-organise their troops behind that line. Any Anti-aircraft or heavy artillery which was redeployed would not start the next day dug-in.

Once the players had departed the umpires then moved some of the troops around to represent miss-communication between commands, as well as to facilitate the introduction of new scenario events for the second day. These included;

  • Blown bridges
  • Kelly’s Heroes and the bank job
  • Zombies
  • V2 Missile site

And well as continuing events from day one which included

  • POW Breakouts
  • French Gendarme
  • Resistance
  • Nuns
  • Refugees
  • Indiana Jones

Fresh armoured forces for both sides were also deployed. These were to represent Allied forces sent to exploit the cleared river crossings, whilst the Germans represented forces quickly sent to patch the holes and hopefully launch a counterattack.

Everyone then retired for the dinner to discuss the events of the day.

The second day opened with a zombie attack in those towns which had been the scene of heavy fighting the day before. (I hope by now you’ve gathered that this wasn’t a completely serious event, though this event did cause some bemusement among some of the Allied players). The strict time limits from the first day were again applied. Whilst this did catch some players out initially as they attempted to dash to the various sectors of the board in the time limit by the second turn many of them were delegating troop movements to other players close by.

The second turn saw an attempted German glider rescue of one of their high command who had been caught behind Allied lines.

Subsequent turns saw further Allied glider assaults into the NW as well as the NE sectors, as well as a lot of confusion caused by the resident nuns.

Soon after 4pm we brought the game to a close with a brief synopsis of the game and commentary by the principal commanders.

Operation Nighthawk End Day 2

At the end of the weekend I was shattered, and I hadn’t even been playing. Some of the players looked knackered having been dashing backwards and forwards and any which way around the vast table throughout the day.

I’d like to give a big thanks to everyone who took part and subjected themselves to our somewhat perverse sense of humour. Most of the things worked as anticipated such as the Resistance, Indiana Jones, and the glider assaults, however some things didn’t really add what we had really hoped to the game such as the escaping POWs. Some of the scenario events didn’t even have the opportunity to be implemented such as the Italian Armoured Cars (destroyed by the Germans in the opening turn) or Steve McQueen being captured as he left the POW camp. Some were simply stymied by the initial slow pace of the game which meant that the German glider rescue found itself not behind the Allied lines as originally planned, but actually on the front line.

All in all I believe that the game went very well but there were some lessons learnt which hopefully you’ll be able to benefit from should you ever undertake something similar. (None of this is really rocket science)

  1. Plan for players not attending, sometimes events happen which will stop players attending, so make sure that there are contingencies in place so that their absence doesn’t kill sections of the game.
  2. Implement strict time constraints for movement and firing. We effectively lost two turns from day one.
  3. Pre-plan forces and special events but be prepared to re-plan and compromise.
  4. Umpires need to make rules decisions to keep the game flowing. It is important that this is explained to the more rules aware players so that they are aware that it is more important to keep the game moving than it is to get every rule interpretation absolutely correct.
  5. Players need to call for umpire decisions quickly where player discussions are delaying play.
  6. Players need to be made aware of the expectations on them to delegate responsibility of parts of their forces to other players to keep the game moving.
  7. Label troops so that other players can quickly determine troop types and support delegated play. In the main this was OK, but in those situations where troops were substitutes for others, or could cover a variety of troop qualities it became an issue.
  8. Stress that a 10am start is a 10am start…

The Clubs game at Warfare 2015 – Cremona 69AD

Four of us took a large 28mm Hail Caesar game to Warfare at Reading this year.  With over 1500 miniatures on a 12 foot by 6 foot table we had a great time.  Thanks to everyone who came over and said hi.

A lot more photos can be found on the SAD Wargamers website;

http://www.sadwargamers.com/warfare-2014-at-reading/

and a few more on the Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy Facebook page;