The Sword and the Flame - Rearguard

The sun had long since began its descent toward the western hills when commanding officer Lt. Colonel G. R. Hennessy ordered his expeditionary force to vacate the Pathan village and head back to base. "Bloody hell!" exclaimed a trooper of the mounted Irish Lancers. "Don't we get to have a go?"


It was true. While the blue-turbaned Rattray's Sikhs and the commander's orange and yellow turbaned Ludhiana Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry were able to pillage and plunder the village at will, most of the trooper's fellow Lancers were ordered to the village rooftops with piquet duty... while he and two others were stuck holding the horses in the village square. "What sort of commander orders his cavalry to dismount and take positions in buildings?" he muttered. "The cavalry ought to be riding about and scouting... that's what's proper."


The troops had just finished a successful raid into enemy held territory. Valuables were pocketed, goat pens opened and their occupants scattered, food was pillaged and furniture was broken up. But it was high time to leave. The Pathans scattered quickly when they first appeared, but the enemy would circle back and return in greater numbers. He saw Hennessy was already marching away with the Sikhs when the commander turned in his saddle and barked a quick order for the Ludhiana to investigate some scrub to the northwest before they began their march down the road.


The 5th Lancer trooper saw the Ludhiana dispatched scout disappear into the scrub. All was quiet... and then a shot came from the dense rocks and foliage! The Bengal Native Infantry were all nerves. They anxiously pointed their muskets toward the scrub. It was still. Suddenly the foliage moved and the nervous Ludhiana fired! When the smoke cleared they realized that they had killed their own scout! What rotten luck. How could this have happened? There'd be half rations back at base for sure!

A sharp crackle from behind startled the Lancer. As he spun around to find the source he heard the wet smack of bullets hitting horseflesh! Pandemonium ensued as three horses dropped thrashing to the dirt. He was lucky not to have been struck by the flailing hooves!



What was that in the scrub? No! A horde of Pathans were coming from the south toward their unguarded flank. All of the other troops were either to the north or marching east. What would happen next?

Comments

  1. Great report Jeff! Hitting that scout from the Ludhiana's was a very bad luck...and a bad omen of things to come.

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  2. Very nice looking figures; I like the highlighting. Best, Dean

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  3. Michael - Yes, drawing a Queen of Hearts was the only card that would hit and kill the scout... a one in 52 chance! Ouch!

    Dean - Thank you! Those figures are from Ioannis' studio over in Leuthen Journal and they are beautiful!

    - Jeff

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