13/08/2023 at 15:05 #189520
I have been reading Lou Nolan’s Book, Cavalry, Its History and Tactics. It is particularly interesting on the experiences of British cavalry in India. One passage deals with the experiences of the 3rd Dragoons at the Battle of Mudki. Mudki is one of those battles that really repays study. Here is the first paragraph of what Nolan says:
“The 3rd Dragoons charged the Sikhs at Moodkee, and drove along the rear of the whole of their position : not only were they not supported, but our own artillery played upon them at one time, and occasioned them some loss. This gallant regiment returned to camp in the evening, having lost nearly -two thirds of their number in killed and wounded, and effected very little except inspiring a wholesome dread of English dragoons.”
I consider the whole passage in detail in a blog post. If its of interest here is the link.
http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/13/08/2023 at 18:43 #189523
Interesting. I’ve just been reading a couple of books on the first Sikh War. (Nothing deep – Osprey Campaign and Featherstone’s book).
I found it fascinating the different viewpoints on the battle, especially when comparing those two accounts to a scenario from a Mad Dogs & Englishmen rules scenario book. If they weren’t all titled “Mudki” I’d have trouble thinking they were the same battle!
To be honest, I’d strongly question Gough’s original decision to charge his exhausted and terribly thirsty infantry into an unscouted jungle against an unknown number of enemy. And then ordering cavalry as a flanking attempt into also unscouted jungle, doesn’t seem the epitome of military tactics.
Although, he did put on his white coat, so there’s that. 😉13/08/2023 at 20:17 #189526
Mudki was mythologised after the battle. The myth became the narrative so we see it repeated. It is one of the things that makes it so interesting to study.
I agree about Gough’s mistakes before engaging. He should have rested his troops. He should have scouted the ground too. Mind you the Gorchurra might have prevented or hindered that.
The whole British Command were wildly over confident that must have had an influence. They also knew the Sikh General was a traitor. Another reason to be cocky. Gough carried the can but Governor General Hardinge was with him and approved his decisions.
It’s possible that Gough knew the strength of the Sikh regulars and guns it is the sort of info’ you might expect a traitor General to supply.
Once the battle began Gough’s tactics were textbook.
http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/13/08/2023 at 21:12 #189530
Good point about the British knowing of the traitor generals opposing them.
Say, if you don’t mind me going slightly off topic, do you play this period? There’s a recent interest in this way among my group (hence my sudden reading of the period) but of course there’s the all important question of which rules to use.
I suggested Black Powder; usually I think it’s a trifle generic, but it’s fairly clean, simple and fast. With a few houserules of course. Mad Dogs and Englishmen were looked at, but I think it may be more suited to huge, huge tables and collections. Maybe Battle Command or FoB3?
Do you have any thoughts on suitable rules?14/08/2023 at 10:56 #189536Chris PringleParticipant
Naturally I commend to you Mark Smith’s scenario book for BBB, ‘Bloody Big Battles in INDIA!‘. It includes Mudki, of course, plus another 15 Indian battles. We have had a ton of fun with these. Even if the BBB rules don’t appeal to your group, you might find the scenarios useful to adapt for whatever ruleset you do settle on.
Good luck with finding something that suits you and your mates.
Chris14/08/2023 at 14:06 #189543
I completely forgot about that scenario booklet! I remember hearing about it, and being interested that BBB could stretch to cover non-European wars.
Even worse, someone the other day at the club mentioned BBB, and I offered to bring him my rules to read through. So, I appreciate the reminder Chris, because it would seem I certainly can’t remember on my own!
But then if I buy that booklet, I may just have to buy the Balkan Wars one too, on the principle that it’s obscurely interesting.14/08/2023 at 15:31 #189551Chris PringleParticipant
Well, I’m happy to have jogged your memory, then, Tony! If you search the BBBBlog for ‘India’ you should find a few game reports as well, to give you an idea of how the scenarios play.
I approve of ‘obscurely interesting’ as a criterion for purchase. It’s one that has served to empty my pockets and fill my shelves too.
Chris14/08/2023 at 15:39 #189552
I do Tony. In the past I’ve used Field of Battle and enjoyed it. I’ve not tried Battle Command for the Sikh Wars yet. That said it has a mechanism that would nicely model the shooting abilities of the Gorchurra.
The tactics of the Gorchurra are really what I need to capture. That’s what I’m currently working on. Nolan is a great help, practical lad that he was. I’m hoping I can produce a Sikh Wars adaptation of Barry Hilton’s Republic to Empire. I’ve a series of blog posts coming up on the theme.
The challenge is what the Gorchurra did when charged by European style cavalry. Briefly, they opened up, let them through, turned face and then struck. Republic to Empire maybe could accomodate that with a bit of tweaking.
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