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.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Night Attack at Chakdara

FROM: Sgt. Oliver Crood, Yorks & Lancs, Acting Commander Chakdara Outpost

TO: Higher Echelons Concerned

RE: Status Report

DATE: July 18, 1890


I regret to inform you that the Outpost at Chakdara is no longer in our hands.  Last night under cover of darkness a force of Ghazis crossed the bridge and launched a surprise attack on us.  

Despite my orders for the entire garrison (8 of our 10 men, with former Hospital Corps Stretcher Bearer Cpl. Golightly inside the Outpost Bldg. tending to the sick Lt. Fitzroy) to stand to throughout the night, at the time of the attack (owing to a bad die roll) only one man -- Pvt. Wilkes -- was still awake standing his post in the courtyard. Pvt. Hudson was sleeping in the Bldg. and the other 5 men and myself were in our tents (I believe the others were all asleep but I was comparing rule-books for TSATF & TMWWBK... which as things turned out might not have been the best use of my faculties at that time). Of equal misfortune (and owing to yet more bad die rolling) Pvt. Wilkes did not manage to spot the approaching attackers until they were virtually upon the Outpost wall. At that point he opened fire, rousing the rest of us.

The ensuing action was fought by very dim moonlight, which proved a challenge for our musketry.  At first it appeared that with Pvts. Wilkes & Hudson defending the wall and myself and 3 other men enfilading from the enemy's right while Pvts. McGurkin and Lampert moved to reinforce the Outpost, we would keep the enemy at bay. The first round of melee at the wall resulted in the DEATH of the Ghazi Leader, which I hoped might lead his followers to turn tail, despite their fanaticism. Unfortunately their fanaticism won out.  Even at pointblank range our "in the dark" musketry (-1 modifier) continued to prove wanting, and in the next round of melee the half-naked hostiles redoubled their efforts and KILLED Pvts.  Wilkes and Hudson both.

This is when the wheels really came off the penny-farthing as the Ghazis got the jump on us (BLACK CARD FLIP to start new turn), allowing them to swarm over the now undefended wall and into the building. In several ensuing melees we lost one more KIA. 

From within the Outpost Building we heard Cpl. Golightly putting up a desperate fight, first with Lt. Fitzroy's pistol and then hand-to-hand.  By the sounds of it he was not successful in either endeavor and it is my considered opinion, despite not seeing the evidence with my own eyes, that the fight inside the building resulted in him being KIA. But in regards to our Subaltern, the infirmed Lt. Fitzroy, I have no hint of any idea what became of him.

At this point I gave orders for the remaining effectives to withdraw to the South, along the road to the Malakand Pass and then Dargai.  Including myself, FIVE of us remain present & accounted for.  We loosed a last volley in hopes of giving the shaggy-bearded b@astards something to remember us by... but sadly our musketry fared no better than before.


Regretfully Yours,

O.C.

Sgt. O. Crood, Yorks & Lancs, Regt. # 201


PS. By the numbers, I tabulate the results of the action as follows:

BRITISH: 8 engaged + Cpl. Golightly engaged at very end inside the bldg. to defend Lt. Fitzroy.

KIA: 4

WIA: 0

RETREATED OFF THE FIELD IN GOOD ORDER: 5

MIA: 1 (Lt. Hampton Fitzroy)


GHAZIS: 20 engaged

KIA: 3 (including their Leader)

WIA: 3

STRAGGLERS (from initial charge): 4*

FALLBACKS FROM MULTIPLE MELEES: 5*

*Following the battle these Stragglers & Fallbacks rejoined their unit in good order.


* * * * *

By dark of night uninvited guests cross the bridge over Panjkora River...


Pvt. Wilkes stands his lonely sentry  post. The entire
unit was supposed to stay awake and on guard
all night but the dice told a different story...


The target visible atop the low sandy hill in the distance...


The uninvited guests approach, sadly for
Pvt. Wilkes, he still has yet to notice them...


Finally, the jig is up! Wilkes espies the guests and 
instantly knows they ain't there to sell pomegranates!
Wilkes OPENS FIRE but misses.



But the shoots ROUSE th rest of the garrison, who,
led by Sgt. Crood, move to engage the enemy...






With their leader, Mullah Khamsin, taking point, he
& one of his Faithful Ghazis ascend the Outpost wall...


Both are KIA!
Surely he belongs to Allah,
and to him he shall return...


The fight goes on without him...




Pvts. McGurkin & Lampert climb the South
wall, en route to reinforce the Outpost...


The Garrison keeps pouring on the fire...



But even at their CLASS I TARGETS, in the dark of night
it has little effect (consistently awful die-rolling)...



The melee at the gate goes to the Ghazis...


And it's the beginning of the end...



Faithful Ghazi Mirza Hamid charges into the Outpost bldg...







Corporal Golightly uses the indisposed
Lt. Fitzroy's sidearm to defend them both...


But fails...


Sgt. Crood weighs his options, gives the order to withdraw...



Sgt. Crood & co. prepare to loose a farewell volley...


Which does not disturb the Ghazi stragglers and fallbacks, nor anyone else...







The Sgt. turns and leads his four remaining
men South along the road to the Malakand Pass 
and then -- if they're lucky -- Dargai...


To the victors go the spoils -- and the rooftop celebration...


fin.






Tuesday, July 27, 2021