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Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Khalsa and the first Anglo-Sikh War

The first Sikh War was as anyone interested knows was a narrow run thing.  The Sikh high command (none of whom were Sikhs) were determined to ensure a British victory had it been otherwise history may have been changed.

So bearing in mind the treachery of the high command how are we to game the first Sikh War?  I use Piquet Field of Battle and it offers a simple but elegant solution. The Sikh commanding general can be rated as abysmal which ensures frequent gaps in the flow of orders and subsequent disruption of the Sikh Battle Plan.  The opposing British general I rate as average. I find it works well.

The Sikh army was good even by European standards and comprised of regular, the Khalsa, and irregular troops. Taking the regulars first we can note the Sikh artillery was first rate, the infantry was as well trained and equipped as the British and highly motivated. 

The regular cavalry although well trained was not as well mounted as it could be and lacked the prestige of the other two arms. It fielded in the European fashion lancers, dragoons and cuirassiers.

The irregulars consisted of three elements firstly the Gorchurra cavalry raised from the rural gentry, brave, skilled, well equipped and often armoured.

Secondly the Alkali devotees of a Sikh religious sect and thirdly Sikh irregulars who rallied to the cause.

For my Sikh list, to be published next, I have drawn on Amarpal S. Sidhu’s The First Anglo Sikh War a must read for anyone interested in the period.  Its currently in paperback and so is very affordable.


  1. Looking good OB, very interesting as I don't know much about this war.

  2. It is an interesting one and could easy have gone the other way as we will see...

  3. Unusual and beautiful looking troops!

  4. Yes it was one of those armies I bought because of the figures rather than a burning desire to game the war. Once I found out more I was hooked.

    Most of them are from Steve Shaw Feudal Castings later sold to QRF. I saw a photo in a magazine...

  5. Very nice blog, one of my long term projects is this war but in 28mm. Can I suggest you add a 'follow' widget to your blog page.


  6. Thanks Matt I'll do that.

  7. A cheerful-looking band, indeed. May I ask whose figures are the regular cavalry, and what is the source of the Gorchurra flags?

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Those figures are available at QRF Giffy and the flags are from Victorian Steel.