woensdag 24 februari 2016

11. Discord in the Punjab (late 1830’s).

Readers, who have followed the rise of the East India Company during the 18th and 19th century, are aware of the methodical methods used by the company to undermine the various principalities. Through the use of subsidies and treaties, the Company ensured its continual expansion with a minimum of force.
Inciting rebellion to undermine the political strength was another method that delivered success. This is one such scenario which takes place in Northern India of the late 1830’s.

"Pope1880NorthWesternProv2" by W. H. Allen and Co. - Pope, G. U. (1880), 

Royalist troops (patterned after the Mysore & Coorg, 1700–1834) forming two commands.
6 x Cavalry                                       European trained cavalry.
4 x Light Horse                               Tribal horsemen.
6 x Conscript                                    European trained infantry.
4 x Warrior                                      Bow armed.
2 x Horde, (fast)                            Poorly-armed tribesmen.
2 x Light Artillery                          

Rebel troops (patterned after the Afghan list) forming two commands.
6 x Cavalry                                       Note; subject to compulsory pursuit.
2 x Light Horse                               Mercenary (Pindari).
2 x Warrior                                      Musket armed.
4 x Skirmishers                               Musket armed.
8 x Warrior                                      Melee weapons.
2 x Warrior                                      Rajput (compulsory pursuit).

Deploying for Battle.
In contrast to the previous battle, this one takes place in the highlands of the Punjab. Difficult hills cluster the centre of the board and surrounding them are woods. Coursing between the hills is a dry river bed essentially splitting the battlefield in two. This functions in the same manner as a standard river for this game with the first element attempting to cross must dice for its characteristic.

The rebel troops have split their forces into two commands, the larger of the two holding the cluster of hills and a smaller command positioned on the plain to the left. Predominantly cavalry, these would threaten the flank of the Royalist army. 

The Royalist deployment organized their forces in a similar manner with a small mobile command operating on the left. The plan was to anchor the central command on the hill to the right while assaulting the main rebel position. The European trained troops were split to cover the flanks of the central command. Further to the right was a mix detachment of cavalry to deter any crossing of the dry river. 

Opening moves.
The first three turns involve more maneuvering on both sides; the Rebels attempting to flank the Royalist right and the Royalist attempting the same on the opposite flank. In the meantime, the Royalist main body was forming at the base of the hills ignoring the incidental musket shots. The Royalist artillery was now firing at troops positioned on the crest. In the subsequent bound, the Rebels claimed their first victim.

Middle game.
Playing an aggressive game, the Rebels launched their infantry at the trained infantry of the main body. If these were crushed, the remaining infantry would become easy prey. Likewise, the Rebel left were crossing the dry river bed and encountering steeper banks than they had anticipated. This did not deter the Rebel LH as like a cobra they slipped through the Royalist line creating panic.

At turn 5 both sides were now engaged up and down the line. The Royalist cavalry were now stalled and the trained infantry had their hands full beating back successive charges by Rebel infantry. Through the tumult and din of battle a second column of trained infantry were moving on the Rebel rear ignoring the muskets shots coming from the hills.

By this time, the Rebel main command was down by 2.

End game.
Bringing order to the chaos, the trained troops were earning their roti and dispatched another two elements of warriors. On the Royalist flank, the Pindari LH recovered their wits and sent another Rebel element to the next world. The total losses were enough for the Rebel leader to sound a general retreat melt into the hills beyond.

Technically a Royalist victory, the Rebel leader did escape with the majority of his troops and would fight again another day. For this particular game, the Rebel forces with one command demoralized would break off the conflict and exit the field. With the Battle Map System, these small conflicts could form part of a mini-campaign with the Rebels forces becoming elusive and frustrate any Royalist punitive expeditions.

During these politically sensitive situations, the British East India Company was adept with their offers of assistance. Naturally, this came at a price. 

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