Sunday, July 28, 2013

Muskets and Shakos in India!

Decided to set a game in India today, or rather the fictional Inji as my figures are all Alternative Armies black powder fantasy figures. Still the rules used were my newly published Muskets and Shakos, which has no fantasy elements. All the figures in the game were treated as if they were humans.

The situation is based on the opening phases of the Fourth Mysore War of 1798. The forces I chose to use as the British were not exactly standard for the period in question but close enough.

In short I commanded a field force of one British (orc)  Rep 5. and two Native (1 otter, 1  goblin) infantry battalions both Rep 4, one regiment of light horse lancers (Skinner's Gnolls) Rep 5, and one battery of field guns (orc) Rep 4.

As a reminder you may left click on any of the photos to see an enlarged version of same.

The game was a Scout encounter from the rule book,. I needed to traverse the board, driving off any enemy encountered or at least drive them off enough to get one of my officers into the center of each board section.

The terrain ended up being largely hilly with a bit of flat ground in the middle of the far side of the table. I would take Skinner's Gnolls, the Native Infnatry, and the GOC as my starting force and hope the Crown infantry battalion and guns would arrive as reinforcements.

As usual three PEF's or Possible Enemy Forces were deployed on the table. I use little markers depicting startled birds taking flight. These were randomly placed resulting in two on my left flank, one on behind each hill, and one on my right flank behind the far hill.

My forces marched onto the board with Skinner's Gnolls deployed as three independent squadrons, two up front and one in reserve with the regimental commander. The Otter Native Infantry entered in column to Skinner's right. To be more precise, Skinner rode with the GOC, Wheeling-Turn, while the senior Risaldar took command of the regiment.

On their turn two of the PEF's moved forward and were revealed.

The PEF to my immediate right turned out to be six Rep 5 Otter skirmshers,

While that to my left turned out to be a battery of guns (Rep 4), and a battalion of Otter regulars (Rep 3) with a Dwarf officer and Algarvey Goblin NCO.

The infantry and skirmishers were out of range but the guns opened immediately on the nearest target, my left most squadron, causing 1 hit. The squadron only passed one dice on its reaction test and took another hit as some otters straggled. One figure down on the first turn!

The above photo shows the positions at the end of the first turn.

Turn Two

With a strong enemy presence on the left flank and the possibility of more enemy appearing on my right, it was essential to see to my flanks (witness this report of a game in sunny Spain).

First the Otter Native Infantry continued their advance while the Goblin Native Infantry came up on their right.

One squadron of Skinner's was sent forward to seek out the possible enemy position on the right flank, while the other two squadrons joined together preparatory to driving off the skirmishers on our left.

For their part, the skirmishers raced down the hill to bring the Gnolls under fire. Only two of the six moved far enough to bring them in range and opened a desultory fire.

While the guns continued to fire the Otter Regulars were ordered to form line, and promptly fell into disorder with two of their number taking the opportunity to make themselves scarce. 

Here the Dwarven officer can be seen trying to cajole his troops back into formation.

Above is the situation at the end of Turn 2

Turn Three:
My two infantry battalions continued their dogged advance. The advanced squadron of Gnolls continued to make for the last PEF behind the hill to my right. It was vital that this PEF be discovered before my infantry presented its flak to that position.

My left most squadron advanced on the skirmishers, with the center squadron in support.

Two of the skirmishers were driven off as the rest raced back up the hill.

Unfortunately the squadron lost another figure due to fire received on the approach.

For their part the Mysorians tried to bring their infantry battalion back under orders but the confusion only increased and two more figures ran off.

The guns continued their fire dropping an figure from the center squadron but  losing one gun of their six as it fell out of action.

Turn Four

My infantry continued to trudge across the table.

The right hand cavalry squadron finally manged to round the hill...

... and discovered six Rep 3 Otter skirmishers. Barring reinforcements, always a possibility in this game, I now knew the extent of the enemy forces that needed to be dealt with. These new skirmishers were likely to just be a nuisance, and the Rep 3 infantry battalion more or less easily overcome. The guns are Rep 5 skirmishers were the main threats.

The left and center squadrons of Gnolls combined and drove the skirmishers off the hill.

Once again losses were suffered but this time not enough to remove a figures. In Muskets and Shakos artillery and mounted figures take two hits to remove.

If all went well, by the end of next turn the skirmishers will have been driven from the field.

Above is another view of the end of my move this turn.

It was now the Mysorian go.

The infantry battalion finally sorted itself out in line.

The artillery now gave my Otter Native Infantry its full attention.

Shot ripped through the column, taking the Colonel's head with it, and removing two additional figures, worse yet the reaction test caused the loss of two more figures as the battalion fell into disorder.

Turn Five

The Goblin Native Infantry halted to avoid bunching with the Otter Native Infantry who promptly regained their dressing.

The right hand Gnoll squadron advanced on the skirmishers before them while the left hand squadron dove the skirmishers opposite them right off the table without incurring additional loss.

The Mysorians continued to fire, fortunately without effect.

Turn Six

On the right the Gnolls drove back the Rep 3 skirmishers. Four fled. The remaining two manged to score one hit on Skinner's Gnolls.

My infantry continued their advance.

My left flank cavalry maneuvered to turn the enemy position.

Relying on the guns to to the heavy lifting, the Mysorian infantry waited stoically in line for the inevitable assault.

Turn Seven:

The right hand squadron of Gnolls drove the remaining skirmishers off the board.

The Otter Native Infantry shook out into line, much the worse for wear from several turns of Mysorian bombardment. My plan now wast to march the Goblin Native infantry past the Otters to take up the brunt of the assault.

The left hand Gnolls continued to work their way around the Mysorian flank.

As it happens the Mysorians, seeing the peril of their situation endeavored to bring a section of guns to bear on the Gnolls. 

Time and angles were against them though as the Gnolls moved faster than the guns could be traversed.

The three guns still trained on the Otter Native Infantry fared considerably better, once again inflicting casualties and disorder.

Turn Eight:

The end was perhaps inevitable at this point.

The Gnolls rode into the battery from the flank.

The Otter Native Infantry once again regained their dressing.

In the ensuing melee the Gnolls prevailed but lost all order themselves.

And suffered more losses.

Seeing the rout of their battery the Mysorian regulars lost heart and once again fell into disorder. There was yet more desertion.

Turn Nine

The right flank squadron of Skinner's Gnolls crashed into the Mysorian Regulars, scattering them.

The rout of the Mysorian forces was complete.


With no enemy troops on the board it was only the work of a turn or two to get an officer to the center of each section and back

Throughout the game no reinforcements appeared to complicate matters.

Skinner's Gnolls lost five figures out of ten engaged.

The Otter Native Infantry lost one officer and ten Other Ranks.

The Goblin Native infantry suffered no losses.

The After Battle Recovery process provided one replacement and an officer for the Otter Native Infantry.

Skinner's Gnolls would miss the next action entirely, although it would return at full strength after that.

While it is clear that Skinner's Gnolls  won the day, if wasn't for the nice target presented by my plodding infantry battalions it is doubtful the Gnolls could have prevailed without support.

In a Scout encounter you never know what forces you will be facing. Still the chances of facing a battery of artillery are fairly slim. All things considered I got off lightly but the cavalry will be sorely missed if I press on.

Figures and Terrain:

The figures for this game all came from Alternative Armies and were painted by their wonderful in house painting staff.

The patches of vegetation came from The Terrain Guy and the terrain boards are from Old Glory.

The backdrop is from Lemax.

Hope you enjoyed this report and thanks for stopping by!


  1. Excellent. Now I, who shudder at the thought of Napoleonics, will have to buy the rules!

  2. LOL Napoleonics are great fun!

    Mentioned on the Yahoo Group but worth repeating here, ACW, Crimean, and several colonial wars will work with these mechanics too.

    The enhanced range of infantry will make things interesting when rifles become standard armament.

  3. Your games always look great. Oh, and I've been meaning to thank you for introducing me to the great Professor Elemental via your signature on the Yahoo Group. Great stuff!

    1. Thank you Chris.

      All credit to me dear lady wife for letting me indulge in my madness so freely!

      Glad to have introduced you to the Professor. I learned of him through another wargames blog, that of Conrad Kinch. The Professor is quite a joy to correspond with as well. Splendid fellah all around!

  4. Greeting squire, a fine looking game. I must say I'm very taken with your PEF markers, how did you come by them?

  5. Hullo! Good to see you here.

    The PEF's were an idea simmering for years waiting for the right miniatures.

    Splintered Light do a nice swarm of 15mm Ravens:

    With a few of those I had more than enough birds. They make proper black birds/doves/etc for 28mm figures. Most of them I just paint converted but one was modified into a pheasant. Trimmed the wings and added a longer tale.

    I made six markers each with one more bird than the previous one so there are 1 to 6 birds making for easy recognition if it is needed.

    Some static grass and florist wire and lichen all mounted on a 20mm round base.

  6. Great report and it's good to know that my suspicions about the use of the rules for other conflicts are substantiated. I will have to wait until I have read more of the THW rules I am sitting on before I reward myself with the latest set.

  7. I'm repeating what has already been said.....

    A great report. Thank you for posting it.