Sunday, August 21, 2016

Chapter 78: The Fate of Mary Pettygree


Date: September 9, 1904 (2015)
Location: Ramanujam Village
Situation: Replenish Locomotive 1300's Water 
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Chronology
Sept. 25, 1900: Thugee armistice, recall from India and retirement.
April 30, 1903: Learns armistice broken by resurgent Thugee Army.
May 9, 1903: Recalled to duty in India to break the Thugees.
June 1903: Assumes command in Egypt as a ruse.
September 1903: Secretly departs Egypt for India.
Next four months: Assembles the Army.
Feb. 22, 1904 Gen. Pettygree Arrives at Tapi River Camp near Burhanpur.
Feb. 23, 1904: Battle of Burhanpur.
Feb. 23, 1904: Skull fracture caused by sniper
Mar. 4, 1904: Arrived at St. George Hospital, Bombay, India
Sept. 7, 1904: Train Back To The Field Force
Sept. 9, 1904: Station Stop To Rewater Engine 1300
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See Previous Chapter 77 here:
http://generalpettygree.blogspot.com/2016/06/chapter-77-no-not-mary-pettygree.html
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SEPTEMBER 9, 1904
PREVIOUSLY 

Very early in the morning General and Mary Pettygree's train stopped at the village of Ramanujam to water the nearly dry locomotive. Infernal heat since departing Bombay had evaporated more water than expected. Further travel would seize up and stop the black behemoth.

Thinking she might find fresh fruit at the station stop, Mary rose telling a very sleepy William Pettygree her intention. "I'll dress and be...."

"Back soon dear with something scrumptious --- I daresay."
"Mary darling, though trouble is far to the north....have a care and...."

But seconds later, the General saw Mary abducted from the train!

Disappearing into the bush.

Crushing darkness overcame his senses immobilizing every muscle. 
He was breathless as torrents of sweat drenched his clothing.
Utter helplessness and mortification tormented him.

"Oh Mary!"


MEANWHILE 

Conductor Prettie, American Game hunter Mr. Winslogic and the station master had other troubles. The track ahead was blocked with felled trees. No forward progress would occur until the massive entanglement could be cleared. 

"Conductor, we must tell the General there is serious trouble."
"Right, let's go."

"Sorry to trouble you General, but the track ahead is badly blocked."
"Winslogic's my name, Sir, at your service. An attack may be imminent."
"Assemble all armed men in the station. I'll be a few minutes."

"I'm glad you never got dressed and left the train, Mary."
"Your bad dream --- a premonition?"
"No. Dress quickly. Then get into the station."

"Your wife, General?"
"Right behind us."


THE TRAIN STATION

Villagers gathered to gawk at the obstruction.

As seven armed men from the train assembled on the station roof.

Even Siraj Jafer came to view the incident.

"How many more armed men do we have Conductor?"

Before he could answer, Pettygree exclaimed....

"Look. All the locals have disappeared. What shook them?"

"Load your weapons men and make ready."

Fortunately more travelers from the train gathered on the balcony.



THE ATTACK

"Here they come!"

Siraj Jafer's men.

Taking care to use covering terrain.

Knowing the Europeans would not fire on the water buffalo,
swordsmen shielded themselves behind it.

Arquebusiers approached the station behind buildings.

Then opened fire from front and....

Obliquely

Defenders spread out onto an adjacent roof to compensate.
None too soon because....

The swordsmen bolted into a charge....

Covered by arquebusiers on their right and left.

The charge was hopelessly suicidal. What could they hope to accomplish under the withering fire coming from the station? Much I'm afraid because the charge and covering fire was a ruse de l'guerre.

Diverting defender attention from the hidden menace creeping beside cover to the right.

They intended to scale the station....

Hopefully unnoticed.

The storming party could not believe it's luck coming this far without loss.


The ladder rose and the raiders climbed as their allies died for them.

Mr. Winslogic! Turn about Sir!
General Pettygree. You too!

Is this the end for the General?

But just then a slender arm fired a revolver through an open window.

Causing a devastating blow to one of the climbers.

Hearing the shot, General Pettygree whirled about. He fired into the body of a raider brandishing the yellow rumal of the Thugee strangling cult whilst another strangler killed Winslogic.

But he did not live long enough to earn the promised reward from his goddess Kali. Meanwhile, from that second story window below another shot fired.

Toppling another cultist to his death.

Nearby deadly comrades finished off a defender fallen from the balcony.

Then in an instant --- the storming party fled.

Followed by the swordsmen routing as well.
Siraj Jafer's attack had failed and the battle ended.


SIRAJ JAFER'S CAPTURE

"Mary, you saved us. Had you not fired that first shot, I might never have turned about. God knows if the cultists would have swept us all from the roof. A proper thank you must wait my dear because the foe may rally and attack again."

"I don't think so William because Siraj Jafer is coming in."

"The General Pettygree, I beg your forbearance."

"For what, I dare say?"

"The Thugees live here --- farm here --- some are relations.
They would kill all of us had I not attacked you."

"Siraj Jafer, my politicos pay you a handsome annual subsidy to keep the peace and the track open."

Shah-an-Shah Pettygree, you can rent us, but not buy us."


"You are a scoundrel. I should order you shot on the spot for this betrayal."

"Gladly Bara Sahib. --- If it is the will of Kali."

"Rubbish."

"No Siraj Jafer. You will not be shot today. Execution may be your fate but only after the divan decides your guilt or innocence."

"It will be the welcomed gift of Kali for my failure."

"Conductor Prettie, take him away and get the track cleared. Let's get underway again." 



CLOSING REMARKS
1. Thank you for your previous expressions of concern and alarm about the fate of Mary Pettygree. I appreciated that very much.

2. So no cliff hanger this time. All is well for the time being.

3. Please continue to follow the Pettygrees in their journey to Delhi.

4. Kindly place your remarks below at the word Comments. We all enjoy reading them.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

54mm Battle of Tokar


Date: 23 July 1898/2016
Location: Near Dongala, Sudan - Home of Jim P., Der Alte Fritz
Situation: Battle of Tokar AAR
Turn 1: 9:30am
Finished: Circa 3:30pm after 12 turns.
Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien Régime 1740-1763 {BAR COLONIAL}
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AFTER THE BATTLE

Back home again, it's time to put soldiers, terrain and rules away,
but someone....



These companions agree.
Seated from left to right: Jim H., Keith L., Morgan E. and Dan E.
Standing left to right: Yours truly Bill P., Jim P. Der Alte Fritz, John B. and Chuck L.


THE ADVANCE TO THE WELL AT EL-DUBIE

Camp Dongala on the Nile River.
The Army has already departed to capture the well at El-Dubie.

General Pettygree looks in and rides past Sinclair's square. 

Farther into the desert is Barlow's Square.
Squares and horsemen are carefully covering each other.
Someone must have studied Vauban's covering fire tactics.

Dervish scouts observe oncoming Imperials from El-Dubie.

Dervish infantry eventually appear on Barlow's right flank....

As Barlow reinforces his right flank. El-Dubie is closer now; upper right. 

The 21st Lancers support Barlow at the top by facing the same Dervishes. 


CHARGE OF THE 21st LANCERS

General Pettygree observes the charge start at the trot, then canter into....

Melee and charge through the Dervishes --- stopping their advance.

The foe will turn to engage the lancers but....

The greatly reduced cavalry gallops away leaving a side table....

Eventually entering Barlow's now contracted square for protection
back on the main table. It was the last many saw of Barlow's men.
The Dervish broke the square.


THE BROKEN SQUARE

The next day.
"Waverleigh. Do we know exactly what happened to Barlow?"
"We do now, Sir."

"Dervish horsemen gathered on the far side of El-Dubie...." 

"Staying carefully out of sight of Barlow's weapons. To the right [4-5' away], a large mass of Dervish assembled in the village of Tokar. Their astonishing numbers washed over Barlow --- not without difficulty."

"One moment Barlow's men were blazing away. Then not a man stood where he had been. So, you gave orders for the rest of the army to pull back to the River Camp."

"Sinclair's men had been roughly handled."
 "They gave better than they received. No shape to press on."

"So we began to retire into the camp."

"Sir. This is Winston's tent. He was there. Why not speak to him?"

"Lieutenant, give me your account of Colonel Barlow's last stand."

"Sir, as the Dervish approached from the northwest, the remnant of the 21st rallied within the square. Then Colonel Barlow opened the square, we trotted out...."

"Formed line and engaged the foe then attacking the square in prodigious numbers."

"Though I was hotly engaged, I happened to turn about seeing only a section of the Black Watch who had beaten off the Khalifa himself and his bodyguard. The Marines had been cut down to a man and the Gardner crew was in great distress."

"Later I found Naval Detachment, Black Watch and Gordon's Highlanders men who had escaped. They returned to camp. From them I learned the fate of Colonel Barlow. Most likely dead Sir."

"Thank you Lieutenant. We must and will do better next time."

CLOSING REMARKS

1) Dear readers, you now have the story of the Battle of Tokar from the standpoint of the 54mm soldiers under my command. Frankly I can't wait to take the field again. I'm already making plans. 

2) By now many of you have seen Jim's AAR on his Der Alte Fritz Blog. If not, please go there for the rest of the story soon.

3) This game featured a new way to use charismatic officers. We thew a D6 per officer. Officers with a Charisma/Skill rating of 2 were able to fire three individual revolver shots and count as three men in melee. Officers valued at 1 fired one fewer bullet and meleed as one less man. 

Shots hit targets in open order or cover on a D6 throw of 6. If the target was a mass, a 5-6 hit home. Hits got saving throws. This was a fun way to easily introduce heroic or professional skills for Imperial leaders. 

4) See you next time, perhaps at the club in Cairo. Meanwhile, why not leave a remark below at Comments? Later we can talk about it in the Mess. Tally Ho! Respectfully, Bill P.
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