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    malc johnston

    Retreat from Chinhat 1857


    Great game and very different from what we have done before, this is one scenario which will be in the PDF Vol One at the end of the month available free of charge to download from http://www.victorian-steel.com/ and quickly followed by Vol two. There will have order of battles and maps ect.More photos of the battle at http://www.victorian-steel.com/

    The beginning of the British retreat

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    The British column fighting the rearguard

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    The Battle of Chinhat was a much miscalculated effort by the British to show military might. Acting on intelligence received through native spies that a small force of insurgents was approaching Lucknow and it would be a quick way for the British to score a quick victory, Sir Henry Lawrence bowed to the pressure exerted upon him by his advisers and ordered three companies of the 32nd Regiment of Foot, several companies of the 13th NI , some detachments of other regiments, a small force of Sikh and European volunteer cavalry, as well as Bengal and Native Artillery to proceed along the Faizabad road to intercept, what he had been led to believe was a force no more than several hundred strong.

    The British artillery, kept on unlimbering then open fire, then back to limber, depending on the dice roll orders of course, worked really well for a couple of moves.

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    As it turned out, Lawrence (and his advisers for that matter) had been sadly deceived. The insurgents outnumbered the British by approximately 6’000 to 600 – they fired on the British as they approached Ismaelganj close to the village of Chinhat- holding strong positions behind stone walls and in the village they soon inflicted heavy casualties on the British forces, especially on the 32nd Foot. The 13th NI attempted to attack to the right of village but the rebels were well entrenched and their leadership flawless. These insurgents were not a mindless rabble – consisting of retainers of local landowners and men of the East India Company Army they were led by Barkat Ahmad, a mutineer officer of the Company’s army – they were not only British trained, but to some extent “British” led. The British on the other hand were exhausted before the battle had begun – the merciless June heat and the fact that the soldiers had been sent out into the field without food or adequate drink, many soldiers died of heat stroke before a shot was fired and precious more were to die in the retreat from the same cause. It quickly turned into a rout for the British and was one of the few victories the mutineers ever obtained against them throughout the Mutiny.

    The British mortar, at a good distance also gave good fire support while the retreat continued.

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    Horse limber doing the works

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    We came up with a game of what would of happened if the British column under the command of Sir Henry Lawrence decided to order a retreat rather than attack. As we know his men were exhausted and he could of easy gone against his advisers and taken this action which would of seemed to be a better judgment after the observation of the enemy.

    Gentlemans Horse with a couple of Bengal cavalry, got to carried away and made way for the bridge leaving the column with no cavalry support – the big mistake.

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    Mutineer Sepoys enter the table on the flanks, because of the British Gentlemans Horse making ground for the bridge, this gave the Sepoys a great advantage of a flank attack, they rolled well on where they came on and they rolled in front of the British column on the right flank, they would cut off the path to the bridge.

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    So the British in our game decided to fight a rearguard action, it was a 18ft table at one end lay a bridge which Sir Henry Lawrence had to reach and cross.They began in column formation, orders are of “Victorian Steel rules” they were outnumbered 10-1 so the Mutineers had a choice of what brigades decided to follow at the rear of the British column, but also deciding what brigades were trying to outflank the British.

    We came up with a number for each brigade that tried to outflank the column, each game turn a dice 6 was rolled for each brigade and this mounted up as the game advance, (example first turn brigade one – dice six rolled = 4, turn two = 3 turn three = 2, by turn three the total was 9, this brigade needed 18 before it could enter the table)

    Once reach the brigade number, the brigade could enter on a random roll on a dice six, which could be in front,side or rear of the British.The game was one of the best Indian Mutiny we have had at the club and with luck the Mutineers managed to mostly get the brigades in front and flank of the British, Sir Henry never did make it to the bridge and the game itself could so easy of been very different.

    Part two next week – the flank attacks. Scenery by G.W.S.



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