Battle of Aliwal - Sikh Wars
Hi folks, Eric here! We are doing tons of gaming around here, but this is my first miniatures battle I have hosted in months. I hope to do this much more often. As usual, click on the individual photos to enlarge them. The game was played Saturday, February 10th, 2024.
See British Battles Website: Battle of Aliwal (britishbattles.com) for details.
This battle is from the First Sikh War between Britain and the Sikh Army of the Khalsa.
The British won this major battle with the 16th Lancers earning glory in the victory. Would they be covered in glory in this battle?
Rules and Miniatures
Rules: Battle Command (BC) from Piquet Inc. This was our first time playing these rules and they are very different than what Michael and Rich are used to playing. It took about a full turn for them (and myself) to grasp the concepts of the rules and turn two went twice as fast even though we did more things in turn two! I will be playing BC again in the near future. Likely with my SYW collection. There are some truly clever concepts in the rules.
Miniatures: 15mm figures from Michael's collection. This is likely less than 1/3 of all the figures he has for this war! Most figures are the old Freikorp line, plus Minifigs, Essex, etc.
Game mats: Cigar Box Sicily maps x 2. These will be great for Boxer Rebellion, Maximilian in Mexico, Punic Wars, Greco-Persian Wars, and Russo-Japanese War collections! Love them,but I sure wish they would make one 10' x 6' cloth! That would be perfect.
Special Rules for this Scenario:
Sikh Militia Infantry (Jagirdari) get no First Fire Bonus on the Fire table.
British auto-win first initiative and it is a single initiative turn. Their first card is automatically the MOVE card.
I tried my best to map out the battlefield according to all online and book research I could do. One interesting thing is that the British deployed their entire army in one long line with no reserve. Would that be a problem in our game?
Sikh defensive works (class II) on the left and the entire British in line on the right.
I used mostly default charts to roll up the unit and leader qualities. I think I will need to make some adjustments for this period of warfare in the future.
British Army Roster
16th Lancers with their white helmet covers:
Sikh Army Roster
I would likely tweak some of these values if I fought this battle again. However, since this isn't my figure collection and I have to return them (had them since March 2023!) I likely won't fight any more Sikh battles.
Above: another view from the Briths left flank looking at the entire battlefield.
Casualties & Conclusion
We completed two turns of the game and the British had broken through in several locations and the main Sikh defensive line had been torn to pieces and turned. The third turn would have truly resolved the game. The British had 2 AMPs left out of 25, while the Sikhs had just 12 of 40 so it could be anybody's game at this point.
It was interesting to watch the British commander lose his personal morale check in turn one, only to go on a tear in turn 2 and nearly destroy the Sikhs as he got more and more familiar with the rules and how to maximize his troops effectiveness. He loved the British Horse artillery once he understood how to use them per the rules.
Many of the Bengal Native Infantry (BNI) were roughly handled in the game (2 to 3 UI losses), but none were currently routing.
53rd Foot currently routing (likely to rally, but essentially out of the action)
Gurkha Sirmoor Battalion destroyed.
Brigadier General Wilson of the 1st Brigade was mortally wounded.
Just a caveat. None of us have played Battle Command, however I'm very familiar with Piquet and Field of Battle. Teaching this unique set of rules to newbies is a challenge and it took us longer with our first run of this ruleset than I thought. We started playing at 10am, broke for a quick lunch, then finished at 3:30 and folks had to leave for other commitments.
The players and I truly enjoyed ourselves despite to bumpy rules start (I just had to look up too much stuff!)
Can't wait to try BC with my Seven Years War 15mm collection next!