Another of my books, with interesting information about Afghanistan and other small wars of the first years of XX Century. When "Small Wars and Skirmishes 1902-1918", from Edwin Herbert, was announced by Foundry, I was one of the first subscribers, and I was really pleased when the book arrived at home. It is a really solid (and big) book with a great quality.
It is full of wonderful small colonial campaings around the globe, and one of them has been very useful for me in this moment, "The Zakha Khel and Mohmand Expeditions on the North West Frontier 1908".
In this moment, I´m painting some Afghan figures from Foundry, and waiting for more models from Empress Miniatures and Gripping Beast. Thinking about how to begin the gaming of this project, I finally took this book thinking about to begin the project with a previous campaing also centered in Afghanistan. And this particular chapter of the book is perfect!
Between 1901 and 1908, "the seven years of peace", there was only a military campaing in the North West Frontier, the Zakha Khel Expedition of 1908, but there was also a police action in November 1902, when the Deputy Commissioner for the NWFP, Captain J.S. Donald, went to attack a bandit stronghold at Gumatti, in tribal territory, with a colum consisted of the III/4th Sikhs, 80 men from the 21th Punjab Cavalry and two guns under the military command of Colonel Tonnochy. The leader of the outlaws was a Pathan called Sailgi who had murdered several people in the Bannu district (Gumatti was eight miles from Bannu).
The outlaws´ fort was soon encircled, but they refused to surrender, so the guns were emplaced to fire, with little effect, against the mud-brick walls. In fact, the outlaws were able to shot dead one Sikh gunner and wounded another. Colonel Tonnochy went froward to see if the guns had created a breach but also fell mortally wounded. A party of sappers then went forward and laid time fuses from a ditch to explote guncotton packs against a bastion of the fort. Then, an storming party under Lt. White rushed forward to exploit the new breach. White and his subadar were shot dead, but the rest of the forlorn hope pressed on, assaulted the fort and killed all the outlaws, including Sailgi.
A perfect, really perfect small police action in the Frontier that I´m going to use to write my first scenario to test the period and the ruleset.
This small campaing shows also the new problem found by the British Indian Army in the Frontier, created by the advent on a large scale of modern, breech-loading, magazine rifles firing smokeless powder. Now, it was not possible to send only a handful of men to deal with an hostile stronghold; it was necessary to send a full inter-arms column and then, the result of the fighting depended upon discipline and individual training and initiative.
Interesting from an Afghan player point ov view...
These are the first Afghan tribesmen I have painted. They are 28mm miniatures from Foundry, wonderful old Perry figures: