David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Great Siege of Bhyklabad

John came up from Cheltenham recently for one of our semi-regular all day games. We had agreed on an Indian Mutiny game and as a scenario was called for which would entertain us both, give us both a chance of a win, and have a bit of an unexpected twist. I decided to set the game in the context of a besieged garrison of HEIC troops and some loyal Native Infantry. These brave fellows would be heavily out numbered by the attacking Pandies who had to carry the walls of Bhyklabad before a relief column under Major General Archibald Huttless could come to the aid of the defenders. Stealing an idea from Phil, I decided that this could not happen until the afternoon session to give an edge to the morning's struggle. The object of the Mutineers is to carry the walls and capture or destroy the garrison, while the local native Prince, the Nabob of Nham, is charged with protecting his treasure from the marauding British relief column. Hence, some of the Mutineer forces have half an eye on both objectives and also their flanks and rear! For the brave lads of the Bhyklabad garrison, well, they need to hold their lines until relieved! The first photo shows the overall situation in Bhyklabad: the native quarter on the right is defended by Neil's Bluecaps, the European Quarter around the Residency by the Bombay Fusileers. Each European Regiment is supported by a Loyal Native Battalion. In addition the Royal Navy and Royal Artillery man heavy guns, rockets and a battery of 9lbers ~

The Residency is defended by a loyal battalion of Gurkhas who are supported by a 64lb naval gun. From the rooftop the enemy can be seen in the distance massing for the attack ~

The gunners of the Royal Navy prepare to engage the enemy under the watchful eye of their commander ~

The attackers are drawn up ready for the command to move forward and attack the substantial defences of Bhyklabad. The Nabob of Nham can be seen in the middle distance with his guard carefully protecting his treasure convoy ~

Their attack develops under the cover of a bombardment from the Mutineers' heavy artillery. Their task is to silence the HEIC's artillery and then batter the walls to create an opening for their massed ranks of infantry ~

The Mutineers are supported by the hill local tribe of Bhurpas who amongst their forces have the antiquated 'Great Gun of Bhyklabad', so large and cumbersome it only fires in alternate turns. The task of this behemoth is to batter open the gate into the city ~

Inside the besieged city hasty preparations for defence are accompanied by reading the women, children, sick and wounded to be evacuated should the relief column arrive. The defenders are thinly stretched along the walls but are manfully prepared to do their duty to the Queen and to God ~

Drums beat, trumpets sound, banners wave and the attack gathers pace. The defenders open fire at long range in an attempt to neuter the Mutineer artillery before they can deploy or do much damage to the walls of the city. Early turns mostly consisted of Mutineer cautious advance supported by heavy fire from their big guns while the gallant defenders replied in a largely successful attempt to render the enemy guns ineffective. The RN Rocket battery was especially effective in disrupting the advance of the Mutineer Horse Artillery and supporting cavalry ~

The Mutineer artillery is also successful as it smashes round after round into the RN 64lber battery. Manfully the surviving crew stick to their task in the best tradition of the Service, trading blow for blow with the enemy's heavy guns on the ridge ~

Unable to advance due the disruptive effect on their 'Pluck' of the repeated rocket strikes, the Mutineers' Horse Artillery deploys at long range in an attempt to support the infantry advance on their flank ~

On the Mutineers' right more infantry, supported by local Badmash ner-do-wells and Bhurpa horse advance to assault the defenders of the Native Quarter ~

Although more concerned with protecting his treasure convoy than fighting the enemy, the Nabob of Nham's force moves cautiously forward as strains of the pipes are carried faintly to his ears on a passing breeze ~

At this stage of the game, after eight turns and with the Mutineers paused to enter the next phase of the attack we broke for lunch. When we resumed fortified, fed and watered the Relief Column could test to enter the table. John threw two D x 6 at the start of each turn, which I needed to better by four in order that the column could march onto the table. Their were six turns that the Relief Column could test to appear, after that it was assumed their advance had been blocked by other mutinous Pandies! In the meantime the Bhurpas had made their way through the mountainous terrain and were poised to assault the defenders of the Great Mosque in the Native Quarter ~

With no sign of early relief, the defenders prepare to repel the enemy with repeated volleys of musketry, shot and shell, and cold steel if necessary ~

As the Bhurpas rush the walls of the Great Mosque, the Mutineer infantry and their Badmash supporters advance enthusiastically against the walls and the battered gateway into the city ~

Despite heavy fire from the defending Loyal Native Battalion, the Bhurpas reach the walls of the Great Mosque and attempt to force a way in through the weakened defences ~

The hand to hand fighting is bitter and confused, but one Bhurpa unit breaks under its heavy losses, though the second fights on tenaciously ~

Away on the Mutineers' left flank, despite heavy losses from the defenders' fire, the Infantry close to attack the battered RN battery and its supporting infantry~

Still with no sign of the approaching Relief Column the situation is looking serious for the heavily outnumbered defender of Bhyklabad ~

Although all hope of relief is now over, the defenders fight on tenaciously. The remaining Bhurpas are driven off, but at the cost on the native defenders of the Great Mosque when their pluck finally snaps and they flee deeper into the city ~

The Union Flag still flies over the city's gates, but masses of Mutineers are pressing the defenders closely all along the walls ~

To the right of the gate the defence suddenly crumbles as the remaining Fusiliers are overwhelmed and the Pandies flood over the walls into the city ~

Disastrously the depleted RN gunners are put to the sword and more Mutineers flood into the city ~

The remaining defenders take refuge in the walls of the Great Mosque and in the Residency, determined to fight on until relieved by Hutless ~

After 21 enthralling turns we called a halt to proceedings. Clearly the Mutineers had achieved their objective, as had the Nabob of Nham, despite the defenders being still in possession of the Native Quarter and the Residency. No doubt scenes of looting and debauchery would ensue amongst the indisciplined Mutineers and their allies, but we can draw a veil over those aspects of warfare in a wargame ~

I plan to play a follow up to this game with Jon, probably next week, when Hutless' Relief column will appear in the Mutineers rear and attempt to rescue the survivors of the battle holed up in the Native Quarter and the Residency. We shall see how things pan out then for the Nabob and his cronies!
For those who like to know these things: the walls of Bhyklabad are from Ian Weekley's Battleground range; the native buildings scratch built by Phil; the European Quarter buildings from Mutineer Miniatures: the figures almost all from my collection of Wargames Foundry Indian Mutiny range; the palms from Tiger Miniatures; while the shrines in the ruined outskirts of Bhyklabad were scratch built by me. The hills are a combination of scratch building by Phil and Jarvis hard foam scenics.


  1. Splendid collection, splendid rules of course and a spiffing game by all accounts, great stuff. Roll on the sequel says I.

    1. Glad you liked it Phil! If Jon does n't make next Thursday you'll be playing the sequel anyhow!

    2. Is that a threat or a promise ....

    3. Well, we'll see how you do on Thursday first,shall we?

  2. This is one of those periods that have been tempting me for some time now and this post isn't helping me to resist David! Fantastic looking terrain and figures plus the scenario sounds like a real cracker!


    1. Thanks Christopher! I expect to see your first units for the Mutiny any day now...

  3. Do you have a Bicklesworth the tiger figure yet? Seems you should. Though where it would fit in this fine game is unknown.

    1. Well, Greg, I have a tiger, so its a start I suppose...

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Darrell, glad you enjoyed the Blog!

  5. Excellent stuff, sir! So tempting to add this period to my own gaming collection.