Readers may recall this series that were suspended after December 2019. I never actually abandoned the thing, but I realised the Second Battle of Khandibar would take some setting up. Serves me right for adding that complication to Bob Cordery's original concept.
Here is a link to that last action: 'Return to the Station'
Following the successful recapture of the vital rail nexus at Maibad Station, something of a lull descended over the country, as both sides in the civil war (as it had become) felt the need to draw breath after such a whirlwind campaign so far. The government forces had just barely saved the Nawabate of Tchagai from the Revolution; following a tide of unbroken success, the Baluchistan Armed Revolutionary Front (BARF) were finding the ebb hard to arrest. Much hope they placed upon the arrival in the sea port of Khandibar of a consignment of weaponry from the Confederated Community of Cooperative Peoples (CCCP - KKKH in Cyrillic capitals), the arrival of which was not expected, after the Battle of Maibad Station, for several weeks yet.
|18th Siliputti Rifles advancing to battle. In the distance,|
22nd Punjanajoodi Infantry. Figures mostly Airfix,
with some Matchbox.
As word of this anticipated weapons import gradually trickled through to the Nabob's intelligence network, it became clear that the Revolutionaries simply had to be deprived of the sole sea port in their possession. Major-General Lord Redmond at once led a powerful column south, entrusting the railway station's safety into the hands of the hitherto unfortunate Lt-Col Ebenezer Mugglethwaite, with the newly reconstituted 17th Choklit-Ghandi Battalion, two armoured squadrons and assorted support and LOC troops. Lord Redmond took with him (42 + 6D6 = 68SP):
- Lord redmond's staff, with Dingo scout car vehicles = 6SP
- 18th Siliputti Rifles
- 3 rifle companies @ 4SP
- 1 machine gin platoon @ 2SP
- 1 medium mortar platoon @ 2SP = 16SP
- 22nd Punjanjoodi Infantry = 16SP
- 31st Kashinkari Rifles = 16SP
- 5th Aagravaa Dragoons
- 2 squadrons, A and C, M4 Shermans @ 3SP = 6SP
- Bty/ 1st Tchagai Artillery
- 2 troops, 25pr field guns with Quad prime movers = 8SP
20 Units, median = 10 (Average commander)
68 Strength Points (good dice roll!), exhaustion point = -23SP
Meanwhile, a certain Major Sher Liwih Khann had been placed by the Revolutionary leadership in command of the BARFist garrison at Khandibar, with strict instructions to hold the place at all costs. He was to await the arrival of the vital arms convoy already on its way from Archangelsk. This convoy was still days way, if not weeks, somewhere in the Mesogesean Sea, approaching Port Did, and the Sezu (or Taofik) Canal. He had to hand (30+3D6 = 43SP):
- Sher Liwik Khann, staff, hangers on, camp followers, assorted bandits and badmashes as well as genuine patriots, jeeps = 6SP
- 6th BARFist Volunteers
- 3 Rifle Companies @ 4SP
- 1 Mortar Platoon @2SP = 14SP
- 7th Khandibar Volunteers
- 3 Rifle Companies @4SP
- 1 Mortar Platoon @2SP = 14SP
- A Sqn/ 2nd 'Tulwar of the Revolution' Armoured Regiment
- 1 M3 Stuart light tank =2SP
- D Sqn/ 2nd 'Tulwar of the Revolution' Armoured
- 1 M3 Grant Medium Tank (poor) =3SP
- 2 fixed anti-tank posts with 6pr AT guns @2SP = 4SP
13 Units, median = 7 (Average commander)
43 Strength Points (another pretty good dice roll), exhaustion point = -15SP
The difference in SP being 25, the Revolutionaries received 13SP in augmentations to their defence, in the form of 2 minefields (@2SP), 3 barbed wire emplacements (@1SP), 4 field works (@1SP) and a fortification (2SP).
Now, before beginning the brief narrative - and in partial explanation why it is so brief - I should mention that,
owing to a glitch in my note taking in preparation for this battle owing to an egregious staff error, the armour, detached eastwards along the coast for some reason, was not present on the battlefield as the Government attack began. By the time I realised my mistake the armour arrived, it was far too late to affect the outcome of the action. I could, of course, have let it go as though the Revolutionaries had rolled '8' on their 3 dice, instead of 13 - the probability of having done so, coincidentally enough, being precisely the same.
|25pr field artillery in action...|
The action opened with the rapid advance on foot of the 18th Siliputti and 22nd Punjanjoodi battalions sweeping forward, both with A and C Companies leading, supported by B Company and the mortars and machineguns of HQ Company. The main immediate objective being the Central massif, C Coy Siliputti came in on the right of Punjanjoodi, all supported by the 25-pounder gun battery, where Lord Redford had also parked his Brigade HQ, and the Punjanjoodi mortars and machine guns.
|... and on target! A Coy, 7th Khandibar Volunteers|
taking some stick...
The support from the machine guns didn't last long. The Rebel mortars quickly found their range, and wiped them out in short order, but the attack carried on unabated.
|... and receiving the close attention of C Coy, 18th|
Rifles and A Coy, 22nd Infantry...
The two company attack overran the fieldworks on the Massif, and drove the defenders quite off the feature and into plain in front of the town.
|Central Massif overrun, Government troops attack |
Revolutionary positions beyond.
Meanwhile, to the west of the central Massif, two companies of Siliputti Infantry stormed the ridge on the other side of the pass. The pass itself being mined and barbed wired, the approach was somewhat constricted (1 hex only), forcing the attack on a single company frontage. The first attack was easily repulsed, but when it could be supported by the battalion's mortars, and machine guns from beyond the wire to the left flank, A Coy finally carried the high ground.. B Coy soon joined them there to consolidate the position, before pressing on into the coastal plain.
|The early attack on the western ridge repulsed, A |
and B Coys of 18th Rifles at last capture the heights...
|Already the western half of the Revolutionary |
forward defences have been overrun or driven in.
The general picture was now the Rebels having lost the position upon the high ground along the entire left half of their front. So far they had had few opportunities of bringing up supports or to mount a counter-attack. For their part, the 31st Kashinkari Rifles hadn't passed beyond the wadi - then in spate from an overnight deluge. However, the two Sherman squadrons coming up the Maimajikwand road, though hardly engaged, tended to discourage 6th BARFist Volunteers on the right from offering much aid to their colleagues under close assault on the other flank.
|The fortification that was home to a 6pr troop|
has new occupiers...
A company of Government infantry forced the evacuation of the fortification covering the Maimajikwand pass from close by the town. The Rebels managed to extricate the guns, but then came under fire from the lost redoubt. The reserve company from BARFist volunteers counter-attacked from the town, but were unable to make progress. Instead, they themselves were driven back into the place.
|The belated arrival of Revolutionary armour |
is too late to retrieve their fortunes.
Already it was plain that the sea port could not be saved for the Revolution. Although somewhat depleted, the Siliputti Rifles overran the fieldworks that were home to a fixed troop of 6-pounder anti-tank guns, and pressing into the built up precincts along the coast. To the east, the revolutionary armour arrived too late, and too distant from the decisive sectors to change the course of the battle. A brief exchange as the Government Shermans nosed their way over the less steep slopes and crests of the coastal range led to the loss of a few tanks on both sides.
|Revolutionary forces driven right back into the town.|
Though facing sturdy and steady resistance, the victorious Government infantry began forcing their way into the town, clearing the railway station and pushing on to the wharfs along the waterfront. Having reached that point, of a sudden, Revolutionary resistance slackened appreciably, as the local commander ordered the remnants of the garrison to pull out along the east coast road.
|Government attacks continue unabated. The Rebels|
fought gamely until the Government forces reached the
waterfront docks, whereat the defenders melted
away into the desert eastwards.
The sea port captured, Lord Redmond lost no time in installing a garrison organised around 22nd Punjanjoodi Battalion, and set off with the rest of the Brigade, post haste, to rejoin the troops about Maibad Station, thence to resume the advance to Maimajikwand, the capital of the province - the vipers' nest as far as Lord Redmond was concerned - in which the Revolution began.