Northwest Frontier by GASLIGHT

Buck

The initial setup with the Pathans springing their ambush on the Brits

The initial setup with the Pathans springing their ambush on the Brits

Yesterday I hosted a GASLIGHT game in my basement / war room.  One of the cadets who was in the wargaming club when I was teaching at West Point, Chase, is now in the State Department and getting ready to head to his first posting in Venezuela.  I wanted to have him over one last time before he deploys, and I invited a number of the HAWKs who would have met Chase when I was helping out with their gaming convention, PointCon.  I also invited another of the cadets from that same period, Colin.  Both Chase and Colin left the army as combat decorated captains.  I also invited Nick, who is the son of one of my high school buddies, and is near Ft. Meade on a co-op from school.  Finally, many of the HAWKs attended:  Dave, Greg, Eric, and Chris on the Brit side and Bill, Rob, and Duncan on the Pathan side.

The battle heats up around the hill where the Brits chose to anchor their defense

The battle heats up around the hill where the Brits chose to anchor their defense

In a previous convention scenario, a British punitive expedition had succeeded in reducing Wee Willie Winkie from the clutches of the evil Pasha Chrismajadeen.  In this scenario, the expedition is taking her back to their fort when they are ambushed by the Pasha’s men.  Typical in my Northwest Frontier by GASLIGHT games is that the Russians supply some “advisors” in the form of two units of infantry and several steam-powered vehicles.

Colin and Chase move their forces

Colin and Chase move their forces

Dave had a couple good volleys with the British infantry that neutralized the Russian steam lorry, but Borris “the Bear” re-manned the battling gun, inflicting some damage on the British and eventually shooting down the Female Hussars’ helicopter.  Dave charged forward with his light tank, running over a couple of Chase’s Russian infantrymen, but the Russians climbed aboard the vehicle and eventually subdued it. Meanwhile Colin’s slow-footed Pathans took their time joining the battle, eventually occupying a couple of hills.

Russians close assaulting a British light tank.

Russians close assaulting a British light tank.

Another view of the main hill as the Female Hussars join the fight in force.

Another view of the main hill as the Female Hussars join the fight in force

The British plan was to create a perimeter defense and keep Winkie far from the fight.  They anchored their defense on this central hill, where several groups of Sikhs and the Female Hussars held against repeated assaults.  In the picture above you can see three infantrymen near a timber-clad Russian / Pathan tank.  They had once been the crew of a tricycle mounting a cannon.  When the chain broke, Eric spiked the gun and ran these three men forward.  They eventually close assaulted that timber-clad near them in the picture, but were eventually cleaned off by supporting Pathans.

Brigadier Smythe rode in and out of the Pathans, bravely holding them off, but eventually he succumbed to numbers.  Victoria Hawkes on horseback rode out ahead of her unit of Female Hussars to engage in melee herself.  She rolled a 20 and fell off her horse.  When she regained her footing, she rolled another 20 and fell again.  (We decided that she was not expecting a battle today and was wearing high-heeled shoes, which don’t work well in desert combat.)  By the end of the fight, Victoria Hawkes had been killed.

Victoria Hawkes didn't survive the fight...

Victoria Hawkes didn’t survive the fight…

While I didn’t get any pictures of that side of the table, on the British left, Chris and his Punjab units fought bravely against Duncan’s and Rob’s Pathans.  Chris also close-assaulted a timber-clad tank.  There was lots of carnage on that side of the table.

The safety of Winkie was never in question.  By the end he was not only being protected by Captain Caruthers, but a unit of Highlanders was posted nearby.  While the Pathans had most of their timer-clad tanks, most of their infantry had been wiped out.  The British took many casualties themselves, but it was a clear British victory.

I think everyone had a good time — even Eric who failed his player morale and spiked his own cannon on the second turn of the game.  We followed this harrowing battle with chili dogs and post-game kibitzing.  All in all, it was a good time, and it was good to see Chase, Colin, Greg, and Nick again.

This makes my tenth miniatures game of the year.  I am on track to meet my fifty game goal.

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