Thursday 23 January 2020

Gurkha Christmas special!

For the sixth year running, Mark continued his splendid tradition of running a Christmas special BBB game for us. His theme this time was the Gurkha War of 1814-1816.

Anglo-Nepal war.jpg
Ayo Gorkhali!

The format was his tried and tested one: we had three or four players a side, competing not only to see which side won overall, but also which individual player on each side could achieve the most of his personal objectives - which of course conflicted to some degree with those of his team-mates.

Our action was the battle of Jaithak. Historically, two British columns tried marching up two ridges at each end of a mountain with a Nepalese fort on the top, and were bloodily repulsed. Our game emphatically reproduced this bloody repulse.

It fell to me to play Bal Bahadur on the Gurkha right. My personal objectives included holding the Nauni hilltop on our right, capturing British supply columns, but especially defeating their ally Krishna Singh. My fellow Gurkha sub-commanders Jaspao Thapa and Ujumba Punt were mainly focused on holding ground and/or preserving their forces, while our CinC Ranjoh Singh Thapa (Jaspao's big brother) was all about the central fort, wells and supplies.

For the British, CinC Martindell needed to protect his own base and preserve his core of regulars while taking part of the Gurkha position. Major Richards leading the right column and Major Ludlow on the left were rivals, wanting to take several locations, and losing points if the other won the race. Their ally Krishna Singh on their extreme left had to make a show of strength by taking locations, hurting the Gurkha army and preserving half of his own rabble.

Nothing really went right for the British. They were surprised by the arrival of Gurkha forces on their right flank and especially by most of mine turning up actually behind their left. This was a bold choice by me which could have gone wrong, had the enemy's dice been kinder. As it was, they were consistently dire, so the opportunities the British had to trap my troops in enveloping assaults or to mow them down with enfilading volleys were lost. I was therefore able to wreck several of Ludlow's and Krishna's units and take a supply column, while with Ujumba's help I repelled Krishna from Nauni hill. My counterpart Jaspao on our left likewise drove back Richards's column.

The net result was a clear win for the Gurkha side. I thought I had done rather well, but it turned out that our collective defence of our positions plus my capture of the supplies added up to a personal victory for our CinC; while despite the beating I gave Krishna, he had still managed to do least worst by comparison with the three Brits, so was the individual winner for the losing side!

As ever, it was a joy to have Mark educate us about a forgotten corner of history. (I knew the war had happened, but that was about it.) The festivities were enhanced as usual by having to pull Christmas crackers to resolve certain events during the game. A fine end to another fine year's gaming.

Previous Christmas specials:
Khoosh-Ab (1857)
Amoaful (1874)
Java (1811)
Caucasus (1845)
The first one Mark ran was Magdala (1868) but sadly I don't have a record of that.