|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 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|
|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.