Above is a pic of Lt. Colonel James Galbraith, Regimental Colour in hand, alongside Bobbie the regimental dog and some of the other "Last Eleven" survivors of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, making their last stand in one of the walled gardens just South of Khig village, a few miles West of the Afghan town of Maiwand.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

JAI HO SINGH'S RIDE

MAP SHOWING ROUTE OF JAI HO SINGH'S RIDE
FROM CHARASIAB TO DARGAI...

(Courtesy of Google Sahib)


JAI HO SINGH’S RIDE

by Reginald Winkie


(with apologies to Henry Wodsworth Longfellow)


LISTEN, my children, as to you I sing

Of the three day ride of Jai Ho Singh,

On the fifth of August in eighteen-nine-oh:

Hardly a man is still on the go

Who remembers that event occurring.

 

He said to his sister, Maryam,

“If the Iron Amir has conveyed

Breechloaders to the Yusufzais, as you say

Then I must ride to the sahibs and spread the alarm,

Before the Tribesmen strike with those modern arms!” 

 

Then he climbed on his horse and said farewell

To his beloved Habibi, with whom he did dwell.

His comrade-in-arms wished him Godspeed,

He hoped & prayed Jai Ho would succeed,

And return home alive, a living monument to Khalsa pride.

 

For three days on rode Jai Ho Singh, 

While Jezails and Sniders took shots at him,

A wound he sustained, yet he stayed on his game--

Then from one jagged cliff a Ghazi charged,

Attempting from his saddle Jai Ho to dislodge,

“Allah Akbar!” the Ghazi cried as he raised his Tulwar over his head,

But Jai Ho thrust his saber up and his own eyes saw red,

And before his Tulwar could strike, that Ghazi fell dead.

 

Jai Ho Singh rode on, under cliff and over hill,

Still bleeding from the Jezail bullet wound, until--

A kindly Mussulmaan took pity on him,

And gave Singh thirst-quenching water to regain his trim,

And on August the 8th, at long last,

Jai Ho Singh reached the Malakand Pass!

 

Then thanks to that same uniform which drew so many foes,

The picquets of 9th Gurkhas waved for him to go through,

To the Dargai Cantonments of 2nd Brigade Peshawar Field Force,

Where with little ado he made his report, 

Concerning news from the Iron Amir's court,

Of trading rifles for a prisoner he could use to extort,

To which Brigadier Stewart Ruff-Husband did retort:

“Jemadar Jai Ho Singh, 2nd Punjab Cavalry, Piffers, Retired…

I salute you—truly you are the Khalsa’s pride!”

A report that shall echo on into time!

For borne on the hot-wind of the Past,

From the dawn of the Raj, until the last,

In the hour of darkness and peril and need,

Sepoys and sowars, both active and retire-eed,

Shall accomplish their mission, on foot or by steed,

No matter the odds, no matter how slim,

They will get the job done--as did Jai Ho Singh.



*  *  *  *  *  *


SPECIAL RULES FOR THIS SOLO GAME:


Jai Ho Singh has to cross 3 tables (each 10' long) worth of ground before reaching the North end of Malakand Pass.


Flip 3 cards per table for POTENTIAL EVENTS with following results:


RED card = no interference, Jai Ho Singh RIDES ON

BLACK card = some form of enemy presence/interference/action


LOW # BLACK CARD (2-6) = low threat (1-3 shooters)

HIGH # card (7-10) = moderate threat (1-6 shooters)

FACE card = severe threat (2-12 tribesmen or Ghazis or tribal cavalry, depending on further die roll)


Black low threat = die roll-off, one black die vs. 2 red dice, if Black wins, triggers an AMBUSH

Black moderate threat = die roll-off, black die vs. red die, if Black wins, triggers an AMBUSH

Black high threat = die roll-off, two black dice vs. 1 red die, if Black wins, triggers an AMBUSH


BLACK JOKER = ADDITIONAL EXTREME THREAT (avalanche or quicksand or blunder into Afghan Regular Army unit or Mullah’s caravan, depending on further die roll)


RED JOKER = SOME SURPRISE HELP/RELIEF (lost patrol of British or Indian troops, horse farm with sympathetic Native owner who provides fresh horse, sympathetic Native Healer who helps tend a wound, depending on further die roll)

 

AMBUSH = roll D6 (2 D6 for severe threat) for number of tribal ambushers (all shooters unless rolling 2xD6 for "severe threat", then 50/50 shooters/sword-&-shield)









2 TRIBAL AMBUSHERS/SHOOTERS...




ROLL 1 x D20 FIRE DIE FOR EACH AMBUSHER,
HITTING ON 1-4:


1 HIT!
CASUALTY CARD FLIPPED:


NON-HEART # CARD = WIA
USING SPECIAL RULES FOR THIS LOW-LEVEL SKIRMISH GAME
THE LOW # CARD = LIGHT WOUND. SO...

Jai Ho Singh rides on...




RED EVENT CARD = NO INTERFERENCE...



BLACK EVENT CARD = ROLL THEM BONES 
TO SEE IF JAI HO CAN EVADE/AVOID THE ENEMY...


NO SUCH LUCK!
TRIBAL DIE BEATS ANGLO-INDIAN DIE, SO...
ROLL 1D6 FOR # OF TRIBAL AMBUSHERS/SHOOTERS...


2 TRIBAL SHOOTERS
(Do I detect a pattern here?)



ROLL D20 FOR EACH SHOOTER, 1-4 HITS...


BOTH SHOTS MISS THIS TIME.

JAI HO COUNTS HIS BLESSINGS & RIDES ON...


MORE EVENT CARDS ARE FLIPPED...



UH-OH -- A BLACK FACE-CARD = SEVERE THREAT!

STILL, WE DO THE BLACK/RED D6 ROLL-OFF TO DETERMINE
"ADVANTAGE"...


RED DIE WINS!
SO INSTEAD OF ROLLING 2 x D6 FOR # OF GHAZI ATTACKERS
WE WILL ROLL ONLY 1 x D6...


JAI HO LUCKS OUT AGAIN -- HE WILL FACE ONLY 1 GHAZI.
STILL, THAT COULD VERY WELL BE DEADLY...


THE GHAZI LEAPS UP OUT OF HIDING
& ROLLS HIS 4 x D6 CHARGE MOVE DICE...
(1 pip = 1" allotted movement)


Oooo.  Just 9".  Not so great for the Fanatical Faithful.
On his galloping horse Jai Ho may be able
to evade this charge with his own 5 x D6 of
CHARGE MOVEMENT DICE, but he's in
ROUGH TERRAIN, so he'll LOSE his HIGH DIE.

If he attempts to evade it could go either way...
he might get away clean, or...
 get caught from behind & suffer a -2 modifier for
"CHARGED IN REAR."

Jai Ho opts to COUNTER-CHARGE,
Which makes his die roll mostly a technicality
He rolls his 5 x D6 CHARGE MOVE DICE...


DROPS THE HIGH DIE FOR ROUGH TERRAIN PENALTY, LEAVING 11"...


AND MEETS THE GHAZI ON THE ROCKY SLOPE...



The Ghazi's MODIFIERS:
+1 Charging,
+1 Higher Elevation
+1 Native vs. Cav in Rough Terrain
TOTAL: +3

Jai Ho Singh's MODIFIERS:
+2 Mtd. Leader
+2 Regular Cavalry
TOTAL: +4

Taken together this results in a +1 MODIFIER for Jai Ho Singh.


FIRST ROUND MELEE DIE ROLL-OFF...


In TSATF losing a melee with a 3 or above = "FALL BACK";
Losing with a 2 = WIA;
Losing with a 1 = KIA.

So the Ghazi is dead.


Jai Ho RIDES ON...



ANOTHER EVENT CARD IS FLIPPED...


RED = NO INTERFERENCE.

JAI HO RIDES ON...


ANOTHER CARD...


RED JOKER!  


RESULTS IN SOME BENEFICIAL SURPRISE...


IT'S A KIND LOCAL WHO TAKE PITY ON THE
WOUNDED TROOPER & OFFERS HIM FRESH WATER...



WHICH HELPS JAI HO SUSTAIN HIMSELF DESPITE
HIS WOUND FROM THE JEZAIL ROUND...

Having ridden across 3 tables, flipping a total of 10 event cards (an extra got thrown in somewhere!), engaging 3 enemy units (albeit all small ones due to low die rolls) and 1 local friendly (courtesy of the RED JOKER), Jai Ho Singh reaches the North end of the Malakand Pass, picqueted by troops of the 9th Gurkha Rifles...





Who recognize his uniform and allow him to pass...


At the top of the Malakand he is struck by the view of
1st Brigade, Peshawar Field Force's Cantonments...


And the CHARRED HUSK OF DARGAI VILLAGE...


Along the bank of the Swat River...




He descends the South side of the Pass,
follows the road and reaches the gate...


Tells the sentries he has vital information for
Brigadier Ruff-Husband
(his former Colonel)
And is admitted at once...



He quickly rides through the camp,
catching sight of something odd as he goes...


A large tent filled not with British or Indian soldiers,
but a LOCAL FAMILY...


It is Nazim Gul, former Headman of Dargai Village, his wife
Farrah Akbar, & their 3 comes, Raza Muhammad, Baba Muhammad,
and Gaza Muhammad.  Farrah Akbar is the sister of Black Mountain
Amir Gul Akbar, one of the leaders of the current Frontier Revolt...


It was Gul Akbar's vile effronteries & crimes
against all that is decent and human, which led 
Brigadier Ruff-Husband to torch Dargai
in punitive retribution...


But these are not sights for an interloping visitor to see,
even a highly decorated retiree from 2nd Punjab Cavalry...


And so the tent flaps are closed by the officer & men on watch.


Jai Ho Singh finally reaches his old regimental commander,
now serving as CO of at Brigade, Peshawar Division...


BRIGADIER RUFF-HUSBAND: "By god, I thought they were pulling my leg when they said it was you, Jemadar Jai Ho Singh!  How the blazes have you been?"


JAI HO SINGH: "I abide, my Colonel -- forgive me, Brigadier.  I enter my house justified, as does Risaldar Major Habibi."


BRIGADIER RUFF-HUSBAND: "You fellas still pitching your tents at the foot of  Diwaalya Pusht Pahaarh*, on the Afghani side of town?"

(*Brokeback Mountain)

JAI HO SINGH: "Yes.  That's why I'm here.  I bring important news from across the border..."


BRIGADIER RUFF-HUSBAND: "I say, Jai Ho, are you wounded?"


JAI HO SINGH: "It's nothing, my General, just a scratch from a jezail ball on my left shoulder.  It did not  hinder me from wielding my saber in my right to dispatch a Ghazi who tried to interrupt my journey here."

BRIGADIER RUFF-HUSBAND: "Can't say I'm surprised, Jemadar.  You always were a good one in a fight.  So what's this news then, eh?"


JAI HO SINGH:  "Colonel-turned-Brigadier Ruff-Husband, I've learned the Iron Amir has traded 200 Martini-Henry rifles to Sarban Khan of the Yusufzais, at Kunar Caravansary in Goshta -- in exchange for the British subaltern captured at the fall of Chakdara."

BRIGADIER RUFF-HUSBAND: "And you're quite sure about this?"

JAI HO SINGH: I wouldn't be here otherwise, sir.  I trust the source as if they were my own family -- and they are placed within the Arg Palace in Kabul."

BRIGADIER RUFF-HUSBAND: "Good god, man... this will complicate things!  Still, you've certainly earned supper on the Queen Empress tonight -- and a look-see from old Doc Watson our old regimental surgeon and now my brigade medical officer for that shoulder!"

JAI HO SINGH: "Thank you, my Colonel -- sorry, General."

BRIGADIER RUFF-HUSBAND: "No, Jai Ho Singh, thank you!"

* * * * * * 

SUMMARY OF THE GAME:


Out of 10 potential events, Jai Ho Singh was shot at twice by 2 shooters each time.

He was hit once, sustaining a LIGHT WOUND.

He was Charged by one Ghazi.  He chose to countercharge and in the resulting melee he killed the Ghazi – melee dice: 4 vs. 1.


On his very last event card (red joker) he was then aided by a kindly local who gave him water, which helped him recover from his light wound and continue on to the Malakand Pass.