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Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Khalsa Part 2

Khalsa Cavalry, Gorchurra and the irregulars

The Khalsa regular cavalry were trained by veteran soldiers who had military experience in European wars.  Accordingly, they could carry out all of the evolutions and manoeuvres expected of their European counter parts.  There were three branches of the Khalsa cavalry, cuirassiers, dragoons and lancers all fully and appropriately equipped.  They could be supported by Khalsa horse artillery.



The Punjab was horse territory however the numerous and more socially prestigious Gorchurra seem to have had their pick of the horse flesh available.  The Khalsa cavalry chose from what was left.  It also seems clear that the cavalry was the least prestigious branch of the Khalsa.  This inclines me to rate them all simply as regular – if you disagree upgrade or down grade some of them.



Unit
Armament
Combat Die
Defence Die
Short Range
Medium Range
Long Range
Cuirassiers
Sword
D10
D6
-
-
-
Lancers
Lance
D10
D6
0-1
-
-
Dragoons
Carbine
D8
D6
0-1
2-3
-
Dragoons
Carbine
D10
D6
0-1
2-3
-


The Gorchurra were the nobility and gentry of the Sikh kingdom and their immediate followers.  They were well equipped, often armoured and sometimes rode barded horses.  Their weapons were of good quality and included lances, swords, axes and long Jezzail like matchlocks.  They were all excellent horsemen.  

Before Ranjit created the Khalsa they had been the mainstay of the army and with the Alkali its battle winners.  Their favoured tactic was to wear the enemy down by firing from the saddle in a skirmishing or caracole fashion followed up by a fierce charge.   

Such tactics were less effective against European regular infantry who could both out shoot and out range the Gorchurra.  That said there is no reason to believe that a new tactical repertoire was adopted and so my Gorchurra may both charge or skirmish or both if they carry matchlocks.


The question arises of how to model the effect of armour in respect of the wealthier Gorchurra and Khalsa cuirassiers.  Plainly this is an advantage in melee and we should also note that even unarmoured Gorchurra were reported by British cavalry as very difficult to hurt as they leaned over their horses presenting only a thick turban and a shield on the back as a target.  A unit of Bengali irregular cavalry proved to be the British exception (as Brent Nosworthy noted) and caused havoc among the Gorchurra with their razor sharp swords.

Unit
Armament
Combat Die
Defence Die
Short Range
Medium Range
Long Range
Fully Armoured
Lance
D12
D10
-
-
-
Armoured
Matchlock
D12
D8
0-1
2-3
-
Unarmoured
Matchlock
D10
D6
0-1
2-3
-

Let’s look at the remainder of the irregulars now.  Many of them had previous military experience and all owned and practiced with weapons. For convenience I have divided them into matchlock infantry and melee infantry in reality the division would not have been so hard and fast.  Also it seems a good place to include the camel gunners.

Unit
Armament
Combat Die
Defence Die
Short Range
Medium Range
Long Range
Matchlock men
Matchlock
 D8
D4
 0-2
3-4 
 5-6
Swordsmen
Sword
 D10
D4
-
-
-
Camel Guns
Up to 3lb Gun
 D8
D4
 0-3
4-5 
 6

There are a couple of points here that could be reflected in the rules to add flavour when gaming Sikh War battles.  I'm minded to adopt the following:
  • British cavalry,except lancers and a single unit of irregular cavalry, are down 1(in FOB terms) in melee against Gorchurra or Cuirassiers
  • The Matchlock was clumsy compared to the Musket so down 1 (FOB again) for all firing
Finally a word on the Sikh command, treachery only infected the highest level of command below that officers were as able or otherwise as in any other professional army. 

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