With the pressure mounting on the Chitral garrison
Colonel Dano MacGurule orders a sortie to clear out the Chitralis and allied Pathan tribesmen from the fort's outbuildings and surrounding gardens. The tribesmen have been sniping the defenders from sangers they had built in the vicinity of the fort, as well as from the gardens walls, and from the fort’s outbuildings.
“What is the current situation Captain Lucas?”
“Colonel, we've spotted tribesmen to the south of the fort manning sangers sah! I'm sure that's where we're taking so much of the accurate musketry from.”
“Lucas old boy, I need you to organize a sortie to clear out those troublesome tribesmen from the area.”
“Yes sah, I've already ordered the Gordon's and the 40th Pathans to each have a platoon meet me at the main gate on the double bayonets at the ready, Sah!”
“God speed Captain! I'll see you in the mess later for supp and a whiskey.”
“One more thing Colonel, we have some disturbing news sah, a patrol of ours has taken a prisoner that is not Chitrali! The man apparently is a Pashto allied with the infamous Umra Khan.”
“Oh my word Capt, that is a certainly a game changer. We may be up against Ali Razah Khan and the whole bloody territory by our lonesome! General McGuinness better make haste. Prepare a messenger.”
Harold and Nigel man the north tower.
“Did you volunteer for the sortie Harold? I want to give Johnny Pathan wot for! Cold steel and all, right, eh.”
The Gordon’s muster in the courtyard for the attack led by their fiery young officer, Lt. Boddington.
Lt. Boddington leads his squad to the left while Lt. Harp takes his squad of the 40th Pathans to the right. Prepatory artillery fire is provided by a mountain gun from the Bombay Artillery.
Deadly accurate artillery fire kills and drives off several of the Pathan defenders. Even the true rule can’t save these faithful followers of Umra Khan, Ali Razah Khan, and the Mad Guru!
This game is part of the larger epic NWF Campaign being run on the Lead Adventure Forum by our friends Piero and Giorgio in Italy, LINK: “Never trust anyone on the Frontier” an ….epic NWF Campaign. There are currently active gamers in Europe and across several states in the USA. My personal Area of Operations is the District of Chitral in the NWF.
This sortie scenario from the Chitral Fort was played out using Larry Brom’s iconic colonial rules set, THE SWORD AND THE FLAME.
The action continues.....
The Highlanders advance in open order on the Anglo-Indian left flank towards the sangers built by the Chitralis near the out buildings. The 40th Pathans advanced through the gardens in open order using the trees to screen their attack against the tribesmen in a fortified position amongst the outbuildings
Colonel Dano MacGurule observes the attack from one of Chitral Fort watch towers.
Pashto defenders eagerly await the oncoming ferenghi invaders attack.
As the cards are pulled the Anglo-Indian troops close in on the Chitralis and Umra Khan’s Pathans. The glint of the early morning sun on the approaching bayonets must’ve unnerved the waiting Pathans as their musketry was ineffective.
The Highlanders get danger close without suffering any casualties but in turn fail to cause any casualties on the Pathan tribesmen defenders.
On the other flank the 40th Pathans reach the fortified position but take a casualty in the process, however it took several turns to get a hit. Umra Khan’s men can be seen rushing in to reinforce the position.
With the movement phase over the first card is pulled for firing, it's a black card giving the Pathans first fire this turn. The dice are rolled and with the imperial 40th Pathans being in open order a 1-3 is needed for Pashto troops with Jezzails to hit, and once again, no hits!
The British platoon of the 40th Pathans returns fire and rolls a “1” on a D20! That’s always a hit no matter the cover and modifier. A card is pulled to determine the status of the casualty, it's a Heart, which means it's a kill.
NEXT TURN:A movement card is pulled and the 40th Pathans advance to the wall. This situation will give both forces a cover benefit for musketry fire in the Fire Phase.
On the left flank the Highlanders keep advancing, albeit very slowly, the poor movement dice rolls are attributed to unforeseen rough ground or the leadership of an inexperienced LT.
With the movement phase done a black card is pulled and the fist fire goes to the Chitalis, thier Khan / leader chooses to fire at the Highlanders with the unit sheltering behind the sanger. Once again no hits!
The next firing card is pulled and once again, it’s another black. The tribesmen facing the 40th Pathans fires and scores a hit against the unit taking cover behind the wall opposite them. This time the hit is a wound, Jack of Spades.
With all of the eligible native forces having fired the British return fire. The Highlanders let loose with a deadly volley killing all of the defenders manning the sanger.
The 40th Pathans return fire and miss. The cover of the walls or the anticipation of close combat causes them to miss.
None of the forces took enough casualties to cause a morale check so it’s off to the next turn.
The movement phase begins with the British and they elect to move the Highlanders towards the fortified outbuildings since they cleared their first objective. But once again thier movement is abismal! RIGHT FACE, HARCH! A total of 4" on 3 dice...
The next card pulled was also red. The British commander decided to charge the Pathan tribesmen holding the wall. Since the imperial troops (40th Pathans) had moved up to the wall with their last move as a regular move they were able to charge this turn. In TSATF any unit charging over a defended wall must fight the first round as if on top of the wall with a -1 to their die roll.
With the movement phase complete the firing phase begins. The Chitralis get the 1st and 2nd firing cards and wisely fire at the advancing Highlanders since the 40th Pathans cannot fire since they charged.
Two native firing cards are pulled, the 10 of Clubs then the 10 of Spades back to back for a total of (5) shots, ALL MISSES! The Gordon Highlanders seem to be touchable this day.
Another black firing card is pulled and Umra Kahn’s Pashto tribesmen manage to hit one more of the 40th Pathans so only 8 men are left to charge their positions.
The Highlanders are next to fire, LT Boddington halts his men and orders, Load, Aim, FIRE! As with their last encounter they scored multiple hits on their fire card.
The Highlanders are doing Sterling work this day. Col MacGurule can be heard cheering “HUZZAH!” in Fort Chitral as he watches the battle unfold.
With the Fire Phase over next comes the Melee / Close Combat phase. The 40th Pathans rolled successfully to close into melee and the tribesmen also rolled successfully to stand and fight, so the melee commences. The 40th Pathans charged in close order so win ties but are at a -1 disadvantage for charging over a wall. The tribesmen are at a +1 for defending a wall or barricade.
The 40th Pathans do not fare well at the beginning of the melee, losing one man wounded and 2 pushed back. However in the next round of melee their veteran officer LT. Harp shows great elan by killing 3 of the remaining tribesmen himself urging his men up and over the wall to victory!
The few surviving Pathan tribesmen who were forced back
route towards the rear 4D6.
The 40th Pathans regroup and take the position.
The Highlanders start the movement phase with another bold movement straight into the teeth of the enemy.
The Pathan tribesmen furious over loosing the last melee charged the remaining troops of the 40th Pathans who took the position.
The tribesmen get the first fire, desperately loading their jezzails they shoot at the bold Highlanders. Through the puff of the black powder smoke discharging from their ancient weapons the tribesmen can see that none of the Highlanders drop! The Highlanders continue to stoically advance in open order towards the enemy, fire back on their card, and miss.
The fanatical tribesmen charge home and the brave 40th Pathans stand their ground.
A brutal melee ensues, the 40th Pathans are defending in close order so are a +1 to their D6, the tribesmen are charging in mass so win ties, both units leaders get a +1 as well.
Round 1 of the melee results in 4 imperial win vs 3 tribesmen wins.
Round 2 is a unanimous win for the imperial forces, 4 to 0.
However they sustained serious loses which brought them below 50% causing them to check Critical Morale, with the encouragement of their Lieutenant they passed! They refuse to give up, are victorious, and maintain control of the position.
The few surviving tribesmen on the other hand are forced back 4D6 (4 six sided dice) and are shaken. They can attempt to rally.
On the opposite flank the Highlanders advance once again directly towards the enemy, though at a more determined pace! That’s 17” on 3D6.
The Chitralis and Umra Khans Pathans try to rally during their movement card to get back into this fight. Unfortunately they fail to rally and are forced back and out of cover.
The strong advance of the Highlanders took them through the fort’s out buildings and into the rear of the enemy positions.
The above noted tribesmen’s failure to rally and forced back result put them right in the gun sites of the swiftly Highlanders.
Back to the right flank, the tribesmen here also failed to rally, causing them to move off the table and out of the game.
This effectively ends the resistance on the imperial right flank.
In the fire phase the Highlanders fire at the routing tribesmen causing multiple hits, bringing them well below 50% forcing a Critical Morale check, which they failed.
A hard earned victory beverage for the Gordon Highlanders who took fate by the throat! They have helped buy some time for Colonel Dano MacGurule and his beleaguered Fort Chitral Garrison.
Ali Razah Khan’s Chitralis and allied Umra Khan’s Pashto troops suffered 80% casualties this day despite being in fortified hard cover, while inflicting only 25% on their imperial opponents, some of whom will return to combat after convalescing. The imperial 40th Pathans suffered 6 casualties but only 2 men were killed with the Gordon’s taking NO casualties.
As previously stated, this game was played with my favorite colonial rules set, THE SWORD AND THE FLAME.
The campaign continues…..
General McGuinness and his 2 brigades are well enroute to relieve Fort Chitral. They are about to enter a narrow pass and possible ambush point on their way.
More on my blog: Sgt. Guinness