After receiving my orders to advance into the province of Yoursore to probe the local Indostanis, I soon received intelligence that the Indostani troublemaker Ali Harshit was close by with his newly trained contingent. My Indostani scout, Runoff, informed me that my old foe, had a European adviser, from where we are not sure, but Runoff was adamant that a white man was drilling Harshit's men.
I gave orders that the men would advance on the enemy at first light. The regiment was in fine fiddle, a company of line, commanded by Lt. “Chinstrap” Sutton with Sergeant Nobbs and a half company of grenadiers, commanded by Lt. Smallgoods with Sergeant Uppem.
At Dawn we struck camp and I, mounting my faithful steed, Clag, ordered the men to march towards the camp of Harshit. Runoff soon returned after his early morning scouting mission to find the enemies camp, with news that the Indostanis were drawn up in battle line and awaiting our advance. I asked if there was any sign of cavalry, as you know the sight of horses makes one very nervous, and Runoff had reported he had seen none.
So I drew my men into battle line placing my grenadiers at the front to act as skirmishes followed a few yards behind by the line infantry. The plan was simple. March up give them a volley and then charge with the bayonet. The grenadiers would push through their lines, allowing the troops to charge through and harry the enemy as he fled. Well it was a good plan....on paper
I was in high spirits, as were the men. The Indostani had deployed in a long line and the battle appeared to be a set piece one with whoever could lay down the bigger volleys would win, the sort of warfare we British are excellently trained for. The enemy had taken a position next to a road, with a thicket of jungle on my right, but open ground in the middle. To the left lay the road with a small rude hut. We would advance straight up the middle and give the Indostanis what for.
Things didn’t go according to plan.
The grenadiers and infantry advanced in fine spirits, the Indostanis itching for a fight, also advanced and through my spyglass I saw Indostanis in faded and dye run jackets of our own sepoys! Deserters! The grenadiers advanced until the jungle thicket was on their extreme right and then from those leafy depths a volley rang out causing the men to halt. The Indostanis had deployed men into the jungle and were now pouring fire on the grenadiers. I ordered Nobbs to take a detachment and clear the jungle. He seemed quite grateful for the job which left me wondering.
The cavalry on our left had stalled our attack and the Indostanis took the advantage. Slowly they advanced and I could see they were starting to form a great crescent around my grenadiers, who were suffering fire on all sides. The only glimmer of hope was on my right where Nobbs had taken his men into the jungle and the sounds of a fierce fight had erupted. Soon Nobbs had successfully forced the Indostanis from the jungle with little losses, however his men were weakened and disorganised after the fight and milled around, quite some distance away.
Meanwhile the cavalry on the left started to advance and the grenadiers were taking serious casualties. A cheer went up from the Indostani line as the grenadiers first retreated and then ran through the lines of the infantry. It was at this point that I had had enough and raising my sword I rode forth with my infantry, taking them into the attack, to teach the Indostani rabble whom their betters were! The line infantry bravely advanced and then opened fire on the Indostani line. A furious exchange of volleys opened up and soon those dastardly sepoy deserters broke and ran. My men seeing a ray of hope charged, were repulsed and were counter charged and bravely fought off the attack. A desperate melee had broken out.
On the left things were teetering back and forth. The cavalry advanced but were forced back by a hail of shot. However , those infantrymen were soon forced back by shot from the the Indostani line. The cavalry seeing my grenadiers in the rear shaken and unorganised renewed their attack and were soon bearing down on Smallgoods and his men. Bravely the grenadiers faced the charge and even though pushed back took down a few riders. The battered, bleeding and bruised grenadiers charged and after a bloody skirmish saw off the cavalry for good.
Our casualties by this time were great. The dead and dying littered the field. Our lines were in tatters and the Indostani fire and charges had been brutal, but still we stood and faced the enemy. Through the smoke I saw Harshit himself on the back of his horse. He seemed to be having some bother with a tiger that had appeared close by. However he ignored the beast and advanced through his men waving his sword and calling me out. Amused, for Harshit wasn’t a big man and appeared quite comical astride his horse, I advanced, spurring Clag through my men. Honor is honor.
My men offered up a great cheer, including Nobbs and his men who had appeared out of the jungle onto the field, and seeing their leader fall the Indostanis who could turned and ran. Those who could not surrendered on the spot.
We achieved victory but at such great loss. We are going to have to review our tactics for fighting the Indostani forces, especially those who are trained in our drills. At least my antagonist, the wily Ali Harshit, will no longer trouble the Crown in Indostan.
|The Indostani lines.|
|The grenadiers revealed.|
|The infantrymen form up behind them.|
|Chase directs the troops.|
|Sergeant Nobbs moves in to address the hidden threat.|
|Harshit orders his men forward and...|
|...they open fire.|
|Their cavalry show themselves.|
|The grenadiers respond.|
|Meanwhile, Nobbs moves through the jungle under fire and...|
|...charges the enemy...|
|... pushing them back!|
|He pushes his advantage and...|
|...expels them for good.|
|Still, the grenadiers continue to exchange volleys.|
|But bringing less muskets to bare...|
|...suffer under the hail of fire.|
|The cavalry advances and...|
|...Chase orders men to counter the threat...|
|...whos firing sees the horsemen off!|
|The grenadiers can take no more - they falter and fall back.|
|Smelling victory, the Indostanis close in.|
|A terrible exchange ensues...|
|...that sees heavy losses...|
|...on both sides.|
|The cavalry returns to harass the British rear!|
|And charge the retreating men behind the front lines.|
|They fail to finish the fleeing grenadiers and must retire with heavy losses.|
|Chase throws his lot in and gives them the bayonet - CHARGE!!!|
|A vicious melee is joined.|
|The British hold, but just!|
|Ignoring the Indostan tabby, Harshit calls out Chase and...|
|...the two meet in mortal combat.|