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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Indian colonial BBB game: Punniar 1843, Gwalior Campaign

This week I donned my turban to take the part of Colonel Secunder, commander of the Maratha forces facing Sir John Grey's British column in the Gwalior Campaign of 1843. This is one of those wars I know nothing about, the subcontinent never having been a major interest of mine, but Dr Mark Smith has done the research and ran a scenario for us. This is likely to be in his Colonial & Imperial scenario book (in preparation).

The first four or five turns there was no fighting as the two armies start divided by a mountain range, and both are racing west to reach a pass. As BBB uses dice to decide whether units move and how far, this resulted in my Indians being badly strung out and separated, while the better commanded British arrived at the key hill after my vanguard but in greater force.

British and Indians race for the objectives

Indians strung out on the march
(Figures are Mark's rather nice ready-painted 6mm armies from Irregular Miniatures.)

I got a gun line set up on the dominant ground, but their fire was ineffective (i.e., my dice were dreadful). The British stormed the hill and drove off my first line. Fortunately I had a second line which maintained a toehold on this objective.

Awaiting the British onslaught

Mark's scenario really brought out the different qualities of troops and armies. The British (non-sepoy) infantry, with their Skirmisher and their Devastating Volleys rating, are truly fearsome foes. The British cavalry, being Aggressive, are worth twice their number of Fragile Maratha opponents. As the Marathas, I felt thoroughly outclassed (and out-rolled) but of course this was balanced by the Brits being outnumbered 3 to 2.

I lost some guns (a British objective) but did manage somehow manage to hang on to 3 of the 4 objective locations, while the British failed to get their baggage convoy into Punniar. Thus even though I felt rather well beaten, per the victory conditions I achieved a win. Hard luck, John!

Score for 2015 now:
Games played to conclusion - 11. (not counting ones I referee)
Won - 4.
Drawn - 2.

Lost - 5.