Battle Report: 11th September 1993
Early Russian & Afghan ~vs~ Early British Indian
Avery & Rupert Avery ~vs~ Robert Avery & Nog Norgren)
The British forces were out-pointed but defending a river that had only 3 crossing points.
The British set up first, with the British infantry defending the left flank bridge, the Sepoy forces defending the right flank ford, and the naval brigade and medium artillery defending the town that stood by the central bridge.
The allied force set up with the Afghans on the right, facing the British regulars, and the Russians splitting their force between the central town and the ford.
Although a very large battle , the action was quite simple on a strategic scale. On the British left, the Berkshires and half the Guards watched the Afghans creep slowly forward: held back by their slow moving heavy gun. Indeed, it was not until the battle had been largely decided elsewhere that the Afghans did anything constructive at all: perhaps cunningly leaving their Russian allies to take all the casualties whilst they remained fresh to loot at their will!
On the British right, the Russians advanced strongly on the ford. A massive firefight began between the 3rd Russian Line Battalion and the Sepoys: won by the Sepoys as they had the initiative on the advancing Russians.
Seeing his infantry retreating, the Russian commander slammed his Hussar cavalry into the ford, who were promptly counter-charged by the Bengal Lancers. With a massive splash the two horse units met in the middle of the ford, with the Hussars being bounced back shaken, unable to penetrate the moving abattis of lances.
Unfortunately, this left the Bengal cavalry under the guns of the Cossack Militia who, after working out which end of their muskets went ‘bang’, blew them away at point blank range.
Under cover of this action, the Russian commander then moved his 1st Battalion into a firing position on the Sepoys. They exchanged volleys - both sides taking horrendous casualties - and the Sepoys, shaken by the decimation of their cavalry, turned and fled! As the battle ended, the Sikhs were preparing to enter a firefight with the Russian first battalion.
It was, however, in the centre that the battle was to be decided. The two Naval Brigades, the medium artillery battery, and half the Guards watched as the Russians advanced towards them. The Russian second battalion, supported by Cossack cavalry, advanced into range, but were routed by heavy defensive fire.
The Russian commander, seeking to find an opening, sent the Cossack cavalry over the bridge, but they were repulsed by fire from one of the Naval Brigades. It seemed impossible for the Russians to shift the defenders of the town and bridge.
Unfortunately, however, the Naval Brigade defending the town had been so scared by the Cossacks coming over the bridge that, despite the fact that the Cossacks had been driven back, fled the town in full rout: taking the guns with them!
Quickly the Russian commander lined the river bank with his infantry: getting into position where he could prevent, with covering fire, any British forces safely occupying the town.
At this point, the battle ended: it being 1.30am!
The Afghans lost 273 tribesmen: symbolic of how little a part they played in the battle.
The Russians lost 652 line infantry, 14 Cossack infantry, 200 Cossack cavalry and their CinC.
British lost 61 artillery crew, 41 sailors, 50 Berkshires and 16 Guards. The
Bengal Lancers were nigh on annihilated.
Although officially a draw, it was agreed that the allied forces would eventually have carried the day. A winning draw to the allies.
The battle was a very good one, with fortunes swinging backwards and forwards throughout.
Firstly, it must be said that the Afghans advanced too slowly. They let about 110 points worth of British troops hold up an army of 3000 points. When, at the end, they slammed forward, it was immediately obvious that they could have forced a British retreat from the bridge.
Otherwise, the British would probably have repulsed the Russian attack in the centre if they hadn’t had the incredible bad luck to have the naval brigade and medium artillery rout straight off the field! The central troops could then have reinforced the flanks.
Having said that, the Russian commander was tactically very sound: sending his troops forward in extremely effective waves always threatening a firefight that he would have won through weight of numbers.
In all, it can be seen how fair the points system is: the difference between the forces points-wise really showing. Overall, the allies beating the British; but, tactically, 3500 points of British holding off 3000 points of Russians until bad luck left them with only 2800 points.