Wednesday, November 13, 2019

1st Afghan War: A Battle Using Commands & Colors

Afghan Natives man the outpost
As a follow-up to the game two weeks' prior (see Commands & Colors: EIC 1840), Kevin reset the table and the same battle was tackled this past Sunday.

A refresher from the earlier game shows the initial setup and deployments.  Almost all would remain as before in this contest.  Almost all.  The differences from the first game are that EIC firepower has been reduced for infantry and the Natives have upgraded one of their batteries from light to heavy.  The EIC will be attacking in the face of three heavy batteries.   
The Table
The Natives
The East India Company
With the EIC winning the two previous battles 8-7, 8-7, Kevin chose to take command of the Natives.  Since both games were very close, he figured it was about time for the Natives to taste victory.

The battle opened with a protracted long range artillery duel.  Both sides held a seemingly handful of Bombard cards.  When the smoke and dust settled, two Native heavy batteries had been knocked out of action.  The EIC suffered one damaged battery in their center.
Gaps in the Native line where two batteries stood
On the Native left, the heavy battery caused more than its share of destruction among British  formations to its front.  The British light infantry screening to the fore was obliterated and three infantry battalions were severely mauled.  That one gun and crew were deadly.  Hey!  Those guns look like a couple of my old Frontier Miniatures' cannons.
Native heavy gun on the left
Having silenced the opposing Native gun line in the center, the British step off on their advance to defeat the enemy. 
British advance begins
As the British advance, their guns keep a lively fire upon the enemy line.  The Natives, being composed of a mix of drilled and undrilled troops, are forced to withdraw to avoid the constant harassing fire from the guns.  Natives holed up in the Mosque on the Native right cause a number of casualties to the advancing British regulars.  With casualties mounting, the British veer off to bypass the Mosque in the main assault.
The British advance
Frustrated by the English guns, the Natives have had enough.  First, a Short Supply card is played forcing one British gun to fall back to its baseline.  Second, they launch a cavalry charge against the weakened battery in the center.  Unsupported, the British guns are able to repulse the hard-charging Natives with a great loss of horsemen.
Tribal cavalry charge the guns
The battle rages for more than two hours as units are destroyed and the banner count climbs.  Not a one-sided banner escalation at all. Quite an orderly back and forth advance in the casualty count as each side takes opportunistic volleys to wipe out an opponent.  The Natives continue falling back in the center as pressure mounts.  With the Native militia suffering a two-grid retreat per flag, more than one unit is destroyed as is runs out of real estate in which to retreat.  
Center belongs to the English
When a Native leader falls in battle, the EIC scores its last needed banner.  EIC wins eight banners to five.  The Natives are still searching for their first victory in this encounter.  Maybe next time?

Another interesting clash.  The game was a long one with each side likely playing at least 30 activation cards.  With the to-and-fro of the banner count and the pushing and shoving of troops, this contest felt like a real chess match as each maneuvered in an attempt to gain the upper hand.  The kaleidoscopic grid added to the feel of chess.

The British came out on top in the early artillery duel and their early success may have set the stage for the direction of battle.  Can the Natives stand up to the EIC in a toe-to-toe clash?  I hope to find out.

After the game, talked turned toward another refight.  Having built up a Russian and Native force for a potential Great Game project years ago, perhaps, my Russians and their native warlords will take to the field some day?  With two gun models per battery deployed, I need to increase my Russian artillery arm if I want to approach parity with the English.  

30 comments:

  1. Very nice armies ..... I would have give up all thoughts of victory conditions and just played around that outpost :-) Super!

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    1. The armies are nice, for sure. Our resident expert painter painted many of these for Kevin. I ought to take some better close-ups to highlight some of this fine brushwork.

      You would be amazed at the piles of terrain Kevin has squirreled away. Shelf upon shelf of forts, hill towns, rugged terrain, mountain passes, etc. A marvelous collection that ought to see action more frequently.

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  2. Great looking battle especially the table!

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  3. Soldiers of the Queen, well done lads. Great report.

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  4. Very cool use of those rules, Jonathan! Figure and terrain are great.

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    1. Thanks, Dean! Kevin will be pleased to read your kind comments.

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  5. So many beautiful units on this table, looks great!

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  6. Replies
    1. Kevin has a HUGE assortment of nifty colonial terrain. Maybe one day, I can share more of this fine stuff.

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  7. Very nice, I've just started getting into Command and Colours myself. Interesting to see it played on a grid rather than hexes.

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    1. Commands & Colors is a great game system. Fun when using blocks made even better with the use of miniatures. This is the first time of playing on a square grid rather than a hex grid.

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  8. Once more a lovely looking game and nice to see it wasn't one sided!
    Best Iain

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    1. Had the Natives not lost two batteries in the initial bombardment, the outcome may have been very different.

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  9. One day the natives will get their revenge!

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  10. And yet another victory for the hated Imperialists!

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  11. Kubla Kevin has been looking over the battle and believes the Infidel can be chastised in the next encounter.

    Great coverage of the battle. Appreciate all the comments.

    Kevin

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    1. Hi Kevin! I believe the Natives can be victorious too.

      Thanks for hosting!

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  12. Battles are always better the second time around. Better luck next time for the natives. 😀

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    Replies
    1. I agree! Playing a battle more than once provides added enjoyment and insight.

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  13. Very nice looking armies Jonathan!

    Christopher

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  14. Nice report. The table was cool looking.

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