Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Sikh War Campaign Ends

 Last week the Battle of Ludhiana was paused at nightfall.  A feature of the campaign was the lack of coordination of the several Sikh armies whose commanders had varying agendas.  One Sikh army faced the British garrison at Ludhiana.  A second Sikh army arrives to attack the British from the west, but while it was moving into position to attack a British relief force arrived on its flank.  In typical Sikh fashion the first Sikh army failed to move to assist the second until late in the day - too late to stop the British coordinating their two forces to destroy the second Sikh army.

Overnight the British reorganised their forces ready to renew the attack  The British force, though victorious on day 1 had significant casualties & faced a fresh Sikh army. (The defeated Sikh army had retired over the river & was regrouping).

Position at dawn.  The Sikh army is on the left in the pics.
On the far flank a Sikh irregular infantry brigade has advanced through the wood past the fort & is moving towards Ludhiana.  In the centre the British infantry (mostly loyal Sepoys) are advancing on the Sikh Sepoys.  The Sikhs have moved half their artillery to their right to support their infantry while the other half continue to bombard the fort.  On the near flank the truly British cavalry have charged with their Sepoy & irregular cavalry following up.   
The British cavalry continued their poor dice rolling of the previous day & failing to break through. They have pulled back, now shaken, as their allied cavalry take over the attack. 
The British Sepoy cavalry continue the cavalry fight.  In the centre the infantry are slugging it out.

Some of the British cavalry have been rallied & returned to the fray & the Sikh cavalry brigade on the near flank has now broken.  
In the centre casualties have mounted on both sides, but the Sikhs have the numbers to absorb the losses & the truly British infantry Brigade has broken.
On the far flank the Sikh irregulars are passing Ludhiana & are advancing on the British flank. On the near flank, one Sikh cavalry brigade has been broken, but the British cavalry have taken heavy losses & now face a fresh Sikh cavalry brigade.
The British decide they will be destroyed if they continue the attack & order a withdrawal.

The British attacked a Sikh force of about 40,000 men with only about 7,000 men, but the British had some advantages  to counter the numbers:
- strategic surprise
- fewer irregular troops
- some very high quality truly British troops 
- poor coordination of the two Sikh armies
The Brits could have won this battle, but a number of opportunies to make decisive breakthroughs were thwarted by the dice gods.  

Left unsupported, the fort will fall within a day or so.  The Sikhs have already taken & held Ferozepore.  As a result the campaign is over & the Sikhs have won the war this time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Sikh War Campaign: Battle of Ludhiana continues

 This Tuesday the battle continued with 9 move left until nightfall.

On the near flank the Sikhs are trying to make an orderly withdraw as the Brits prepare to renew their attack.  On the far flank the two Sikh divisions have finally got moving.  (Failure of divisional commanders to coordinate their efforts because of their own rivalries was a feature of this campaign & is reflected in the campaign rules - causing much frustration to the Sikh players, but it is what makes the campaign a fair fight despite the huge disparity in over all numbers between the two sides).
The British have renewed their attack on the Sikh right.  The Sikh cavalry has been broken & their infantry is about to follow suit.
On the other flank the Brtish have abandoned their defences to support their left leaving only the fort garrison.  The fort is invulnerable until the walls are breached by cannon. One Division is advancing around the fort.  The other is moving to shore up the Sikh right where only the infantry & artillery of one Division is left.
The position at night fall: The British are in the foreground & hold the fort on the far flank.
The Sikhs are bombarding the fort & are wrapping troops around the far flank.
The Sikhs have had one & half of their 4 Divisions broken, but still outnumber the Brits who have lost only 2 units, but have significant casualties.
Presumably both sides will reorganise overnight & the battle will continue in the morning. 


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Some Bolt Action

 Chris's Soviets v. Jim's DAK. 1,000 pts. Key Positions scenario, Germans defending.

The DAK won the dice-off to decide who defended & had no hesitation chosing to defend.
the DAK are on the left defending 3 objectives
The Soviets threw a lot of good dice, but the DAK threw their fewer good dice where it mattered.  The MkII won the face off with the T34.  The DAK mortar ranged in 1st time twice.  And their MG42's just loved the target rich environment as the Soviets attacked.  The Soviets were annihilated except for an immobilised truck.  The Germans lost a LMG squad & held all 3 objectives.

On Thursday we had a training game for PeterC with his British 8th army v. Jim's DAK on desert terrain.  1,000pts No Mans Land.  Our reporter forgot to take any pics, but it was another decisive victory for the DAK.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Sikh War Campaign: Battle of Ludhiana

At last the campaign has moved on from Ferozepore to another location.
The British hold Ludhiana with 5,000 men. 
2 Sikh divisions (about 20,000 men) face that force on the banks of the river north of the town.
2 more Sikh divisions (similar numbers) have arrived from the west to attack the position.

Pic taken from behind the British position turn 5 of 24 for the day.  The Brits have a fort & 3 redoubts.
With the Sikhs to the north inactive, the Brits redeploy to face the Sikhs coming from the west. (The campaign includes  provision for the historical lack of cooperation between the different Sikh armies).
The Sikhs get a nasty surprise when another British force appears on their right flank.
With their poor command factors, the Sikhs struggle to form a new line to face the British flank attack.
The Sikhs put a good fight with hot dice partly making up for lack of skill.  Their infantry is still holding on, but their cavalry is hit from two sides as the Ludhiana force's cavalry joined in & broken.
The Sikh infantry on their right flank has fallen back still capably of fighting after inflicting high casualties on the British British infantry.  British Sepoys are now taking over the front line.  The British cavalry is running out of steam against the centre Sikh division's cavalry & more hot Sikh dice.
It is mid afternoon when we called time for the night.  At this stage, both sides are reorganising their forces on this side of the battlefield.  On the far side, the Sikhs are finally showing some signs of movement.



Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Sikh War Campaign: Third Battle of Ferozepore

The battle continued into its 2nd night of play.  The British continued to attack the dug in Sikhs with artillery & musket fire. The Sikhs returned fire.  Casualties mounted on both sides without decisive result.

 Late in the afternoon, with artillery ammunition running low the Brits decided they couldn't risk an all-out attack & withdrew outside artillery range in good order.  TheSikhs had no appetite for a counterattack, so the battle petered out in a draw.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Sikh War Campaign: 3rd Battle of Ferozepore

After two failed attempts to retake Ferozpore, the British have received reinforcements & came back for anther go.  

The Sikhs have strengthened their defences & reduced the length of front by pulling their left back behind the wadi.  
The Brits have formed up with their infantry & most of their artillery on their left & theri cavalry on their right.  This time it seems they intent to attack the Sikh's right.
The battle commenced with the British deploying their batteries while some of their cavalry advanced on their right.  The Sikhs pulled back the infantry from the trench line out of artillery range resulting in an artillery duel.  In this the greater number of British guns countered the Sikh defences & some of the Sikh guns were put out of action.
Later in the morning the British infantry (mostly Sepoys) began their advance. The Sikh infantry returned to their front line to meet them.
On the other flank the British cavalry deployed to pin down the Sikh left so it couldn't reinforce their right.
Next to the river the British Sepoys got the worst of the musket exchange & have fallen back behind their artillery which had advanced behind them.  A Sepoy attack on the redoubt was beaten off but  British unit has now attacked it's weakened garrison.  An exchange of musketry is continuing on the rest of the infantry front. 
We paused the battle until next week at 10pm.  That was after the 14th turn so 1pm battle time.  The Brits have so far taken only one short length of trench & the fight remains very much in the balance.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Devonport Bolt Action Tournament

Chris' Soviets, Mark's Italians & Jim's DAK made the trip to Devonport for their Operation Kamplinjer Bolt Action Event. The quality of the terrain on the 10 tables was as always at Devonport a feature as was the standard of modelling (though definitely not Camp Cromwell's best suit).  There were 3 rounds with matches as much as possible Axis v. Allies.  While the event was characterised by having a good time rather than winning, Team Cromwell had a successful day.  Our 9 games gave us 7 wins, 1 loss & 1 draw.  Mark won Best Minor Power general & Jim was 2nd Best Axis general. 

The armies were 1250 pts with 2 platoons allowed, one of which could be armour, with entries scrutinised for excess cheese.  The result was some interesting challenges - like infantry forces with little anti-tank v. forces with several tanks (and it wasn't always the armour that won).The venue in the Nixon St Primary School Gym.Two examples of the 10 tables.Many thanks to Acktar & co. for another excellent event.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Bolt Action Practice Match

With a Bolt Action Tournament coming up this weekend we had a practice match to refresh us on the rules.  Double Envelopment scenario 1250 pts, Jim's Afrika Korps v. Chris Soviets.

The German battle plan was assisted by a couple of lucky breaks which lead to the Soviet force being totally destroyed at the cost of one German unit.  I'm hoping I didn't use up my ration of sixes.