A North West Frontier Action

This 25mm game, played at Tom's in late July 2023, was a six hander, representing a 1920’s British expedition on the North West frontier against Pathan tribesmen supported by Afghan regulars. My thanks to Tom for sharing it.

The British plan was to refuse their left flank while the C-in-C with all the artillery, MG’s and armoured cars was to advance and form a fire base on the large hill in the centre right (30 points) while one brigade is deployed on the right with orders to advance to the large hill on the Afghan right (45points). The second infantry brigade was to form on the left of the C-in-C to protect the left flank.

The Afghans deployed their third command with two groups of Pathans on their left with orders to hold the rocky hill (30pts) then advance over the steep hill on the centre line (45points), outflank the British right and threaten their rear. The artillery and one brigade of Afghan regulars with Afghan C-in-C were deployed around the home village with orders to hold. The third Afghan group were deployed on the right and the regulars were to defend the first hill (25 points) , The Pathans had orders to advance to the hill on the far side of the table to dispute the hill in case the British put points on it.

In the game, the British C-in-C takes the hill and deploys his artillery and MG’s in time to shoot off the advance of the Pathans in front of them with the help of an Indian unit from the infantry brigade on their right.

The British right hand brigade advances with the Ghurkhas taking the steep hill. The Ghurkhas stand off repeated charges from the Pathans, but are eventually pushed back off the hill. They manage to rally and counter charge, supported by the other units in the Brigade and force the Pathans off the hill.

The British officer on the left misunderstands his orders and advances too far to the left, leaving a gap between him and the C-in-C. Due to a series of low initiative rolls and being shot twice he got stuck defending the wrong hill. The Ghurkhas and Highlanders manage to deploy on the rocky hill and have a long fire fight with the Pathans and Afghan regulars before finally forcing the Pathans to fall back.

In the centre the Afghan artillery spend the whole game shooting ineffectively at long range but the Afghan C-in-C, seeing the gap in the British forces, changes his orders to advance to attack the British C-in-C in the flank. Luckily for the Brits they had already forced the first Pathan attack back and managed to re-deploy to defend against the Afghan attack with the aircraft, armoured cars, MG’s and artillery. They manage to cut the Afghan regulars to pieces, routing three of the four units.

At the end of the game the Afghans had managed to take two objectives worth 55 points by failed to take their third worth 45 points so had a net of +10 objectives. However, they had suffered 70% casualties so had an net +40 points. The British had taken their one objective worth 30 points but failed to take their second worth 45 point so had a net -15pts. The British had only suffered 27% casualties so had a net 58 points - so a narrow victory for the British.