Somewhere in the outer reaches of the Moghul Empire, between Bihar and Bengal, two rival prince-lings found the only resolution to their dispute was a force of arms. Both, minor princedoms, through coercing distant family ties were determined to build a sizeable force to overawe their rival.
In Calcutta, Not wishing to miss out on an opportunity to further their sphere of influence within the Moghul Empire, Archibald Claude proposed that the Company should send a representation to assist one of the parties. The French attaches were also alert to British plans made similar overtures to the opposition. The start of the 18th century in India began with a clash of arms around the little known village of Moniepoor.
The Company had send Claude with a small brigade (5 Ms, 1 Art) to show the colours and beat the drums. No daring do they said, “As that would cost” the Company dearly. The French managed a similar strength and so on that bright sunny day; both European forces would find themselves participants to a huge battle.
DBA-HX big battle.
Aside from the small European contingents, the Indians were rich with an assortment of weapons and units. Cavalry, Mercenary light horse, trained musketeers, and matchlock armed infantry, archers, Ghazis and hordes of followers. Adding the artillery, this brought the Indian total to 30 elements including two generals.
My war-game comrade and friend chose to defend and so had the option to add his magic to the terrain placement A large hill on the left and a smaller hill on the right secured his flanks. The village on Moniepoor was situated in a “no man’s land” between both forces. I had a hill within my own deployment area, but this would offer no advantage as we were moving forward.
18 elements of various infantry plus 2 LH were under the central command and these deployed on the left of the battleline To their right, the British contingent was augmented with the entire Indian artillery bringing their total command to nine elements. On the far right the Sultan’s cousin assembled all the heavy cavalry.
Facing the cavalry and British were my Prince’s main command of 20 elements. From the village to the central hill were 5 Ms in line with 3 Art situated in between. Directly behind the guns were the hordes. The remaining six elements of matchlocks, bow and Ghazi faced the Djinns, while the only LH were set in a rear position to function as a reserve. Like our rivals, the French and cavalry mirrored their deployment by facing the Sultan’s main command.
Both sides moved forward at infantry speeds with respective cavalry wings keeping pace; the defender’s main command settling into position about the large hill. I edged my main battleline to use the village as flanking cover. Second turn, my two smaller commands advanced toward the enemy on the hill, while the our main battle split in two formations; all bow, shot and Ghazi trotted off toward the British columns while the remaining battleline of 5Ms and 3 Art began wheeling to the left.
My opponent could see the wheeling line would eventually deny him space decided to peel off two elements of horse to circle the village. Meanwhile, the British moved toward the cloud of bow, shot and Ghazi. The main command redressed their position on the hill and threw out the LH to harass the enemy right. On my bound, we wheeled further bring the guns in range of my opponent’s cavalry, my cloud of irregulars started shooting at the British columns, while the French and the first line of cavalry edged closer toward the Sultan’s main command. Directly behind, the second line of cavalry extended the flank while our LH screened the formation change.
During the exchange of fire between the Djinns and my “cloud” we lost an element.
In the next bound, the increase in fire exchange did nothing more than send elements recoiling, however, two events provoked the Sultan’s defensive position into action. My light horse charged his LH screen while supported by the second line of Cv. This prompted an adjustment of his defensive position.
Second, the “cloud” of irregulars overlapping the British column provoked them to charge. The British, with better factors were denied the expected result and remained locked in combat. The Ghazi bested their opposition and lack of space for the recoil sent one British element off to even the score.
This was critical, as both our flanks were exchanging fire with little results to show for the effort, but in the center, hampered by lack of space, Claude was cut down during a recoil. Oops!
In the subsequent bound, the British had one element remaining and the Indian artillery under their command was looking to return home, the cavalry wing was paralyzed by the lack of space. We stopped the game as my opponent had a long drive back home and although the casualties were not excessive (my 3, his 8), enveloping the Sultan’s hill position was the final stroke.
We shall definitely play this game again and keep the same composition. The array of weapon types, bow, shot, muskets and artillery kept us on our toes with the unexpected. My cloud of irregulars held the British and that was not expected. Killing their General was more surprising.
History had never recorded this minor clash and the loss of Claude and so many British troops. The bookkeepers at the East India Company were still able to keep things straight and as for Claude, well he had been given an attaché position to the Imperial court at Nippon. All, at the Company wished him a Bon Voyage.