Again the British attempt to cross the North Central Frontier, into Ahoogastan to put down the Pathan tribesmen. This time Lord Sterling's trusty right arm, Colonel Campbell has prepared more carefully. His engineers cleared the road through the Augur pass, and his trusty Ghurkas and Indian Sepoys advanced with the British cavalry scouting before them.

Game 2 in our North Central Frontier Campaign

The Road to Barfus!

Played January 3, 2004

Photo by Ed Sansing

The battlefield - looking from the north. The rock strewn trail winds between the hills. How peaceful it looks before the start of the battle. The British/Indian forces have not yet entered. The Pathans are (as usual) hidden, waiting for someone to come along so that they can ambush them.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The British Commanders. Front Row - Left to right: Jim Pitts (commander), Robert Whitfield, Bryan Thompson, Rick Loveday. In rear at left, Eric Betts.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The British and Indian forces in khaki enter the table along the road to Barfus. They are jammed into a small area between the hill on the right and the edge of the table on the left. Pathans in white.(Sean Pitts' command) pour down the hill on the right, to attack the Ghurkas, dimly seen in green climbing the steep slopes.

Just after this shot, the Pathans unleased their most fearsome tactic - rolling huge rocks down the slopes!

Photo by Ed Sansing

Jim Pitts (on left) the British commander and Eric Betts (standing in white shirt) attempt traffic control with the mass of units coming through the pass. Robert Whitfied (seated, mainly obscured behind Eric) whose real-life job is roadway design (& traffic flow) watches his Indian troops try to make thier way through the congestion. Bryan Thompson (in background) seems to have given up and just waits for the road to clear.

Colonel Campbell's Report

For those who weren't there Saturday, we had the second in a series of five games on the North Central Frontier. The Game Master (Jay Stribling) was his usual devious self and forced the Anglo-Indian force to clear big boulders from the road through the pass before they could move their artillery forward. Till they reached the second level of the terrain (about 4 feet along the road) the guns could not go off the road.

Since this took the whole game, the guns never fired a shot. Herculean efforts were made by the Bombay Miners and Sappers and an Indian platoon, aided at times by gunners and Highlanders, to clear the road through the pass (and secure a British victory).

The British cavalry squadron of two 12-man troops was used in a scouting role ahead of the main column and got cut to tiny pieces with only the squadron commander, both troop commmanders, and one troop colour sergeant remaining.

The Ghurkhas were instrumental, along with a platoon of British in clearing one side of the pass, while an Indian company successfully cleared the other. The Highlanders and an Indian platoon were in the main body protecting the road clearing teams, the guns, and the supply train.

The Anglo-Indian players were:
Col Campbell, column commander -- Jim Pitts (also the Highland Company Commander)
1st Indian Company Commander -- Eric Betts
2nd Indian Company Commander -- Robert Whitfield (also commanded sappers clearing road)
British-Ghurkha Company Commander -- Bryan Thompson
Cavalry Squadron Commander -- Rick Loveday
Artillery Commander -- Bill Estes (also managed the supply train)

The Pathan players were:
Head Chief - Fred Diamond (The evil Khan Abbis himself)
Hill chief - Sean Pitts
Hill chief -Bill Reiman
Hill chief -Ed Sansing
Hill chief -Jody McDonald

The GAMEMASTER- Jay Stribling

Reported by Jim Pitts (AKA Col Campbell of the Duke of Argyll's Highlanders)

Photo by Ed Sansing

A company (2 platoons) of Indian infantry is clearing the hill that stands to the left of the road, as it makes a 90 degree turn after passing the first, large, hill. Note the mass of infantry, pioneers, guns, wallas and camp followers still milling about, trying to get forward. One brave Pathan officer waves a flag, but will eventually fall back with his men after the Pathans exchanged fire and fought a savage close combat with the Indian troops.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Indian troops that have secured the hill on the left, watch the Pathans, which they just forced off the hill, continue to retreat across the small valley. One unit in scrub brush attempts to make a stand, but was forced back by the sepoys' rifle fire.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Having gained some maneuver room, the Anglo/British force deploys. The highland company (2 platoons), previously untouched, has formed line and is in the process of shooting down the gunners on a native gun that appeared on the next hill.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The Gurhkas reached the top of the hill and drove off the Pathans they found behind the crest. After two vicious close combats, only a corporal's guard was left of the little brown men, but they secured the army's left flank.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The British cavalry move forward to scout, and almost immediately find riflemen at the edge of the hill. The Cavalry company commander has dismounted part of his me to form a fire base, and keeps a few men mounted. The Pathans shot them all to pieces, and, to add insult to injury, giant rocks pushed off the steep hills to the right rear smashed 5 cavalrymen who had survived the bullets!

Photo by Ed Sansing

Almost clear of the pass, almost to the higher ground, the remaining cavalry unit encounters a group of Pathan riflemen in a brushy depression. Many saddles were emptied and at the end of the game, only the officers (brave and LUCKY men) survived uninjured.

Photo by Ed Sansing

near the end of the game, the Highlanders and and an Indian unit (nearest the camera) push hard towards the last hill. Unlike the first game, the British rifle fire was deadly. The Pathan riflemen and Jezail-men could not stand against the imperial troops' fire.

You can see a Pathan cavalry unit which has just ridden around the hill, and later broke through between the Highlanders and the Indians. Attempting to do mischief in the road, they were driven off by a charge of only three remaining British cavalrymane. One last desperate Pathan charge was driven off, and the day was over.

Alos, you can see a knot of pioneers laboring to remove a large rock from the road. A red dice in the road to the rear is a marker showing how much work remains to remove another rock.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Highlanders with cold steel assault the last Pathan position that can attempt to obstruct the road-clearing detail. The "man on the white horse" cannot hold his men in the face of the wild Scotsmen.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Another view of the same thing, but from the rear of the Pathan position. Note the road clearing details laboring over the rocks. Only two remain, and already the road is clear onto the higher level. Note the crease in the ground-cover about half way in the photo. That is the start of the higher ground. Once the road is clear to that point the Imperial forces can deploy their artillery.

At this point, the Pathans decide to fade away, to contest some other rocky worthless piece of high ground, in a later game.

Lessons Learned in our second Campaign game
On the North Central Frontier

  1. The British/Indian forces have to go up into the hills after the Pathans. This worked much better than in the first game, when the Imperial forces made little effort to gain the high ground.
  2. The Imperial troops used massed rifle fire to eliminate each unit as it was discovered.
  3. Less reliance was placed on the cavalry, and it was employed more carefully, to discover the enemy, rather than just being a target on a horse.
  4. The British cleared each hill in turn, moving forward only when the hill was clear of enemy.
  5. The pathans are going to need either more fire power, or more numbers, or more ability to hide units and pop up when the Imperial forces least expect them.

Soon we will fight our next game on the North Central Frontier. A quite different game:

The Defense of JellyBad

Go to "Blast those Pesky Tribesmen" - Our first "North Central Frontier" Battle

Go to "The Defense of JellyBad" - Our third "North Central Frontier" Battle

Go to "The Assault on Khan Abbis' Lair - Our fourth "North Central Frontier" Battle

Go to our Colonial Period Page

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