|Overwhelming Indian forces determine the day|
Played over two Skype sessions with Wayne Baumber. In this, our 4th game of the Indian Unity module, we continued our campaign started over 2 years ago.
The Hyderabadi setup with Razakars on the edge of both forests on board 14 and a few platoons of Infantry at the top of the mountain, straddling the road to the fort. 3 platoons of Rifles and HMGs dug in and set in each hex of the bridge and both flanking hexes and the remaining units were setup in the fortress. The Indians massed the rifles, HMGs, Mortars and a SAP unit on the edge aimng towards the road and spread out along the entire mountain south of the forest. Finally, the Stags and a SAP platoon with a leader set up to skirt the mountain and make a dash for the river north of the bridge.
The Indians swiftly moved units in large groups over the mountain, keeping a chain of command relatively intact while the Hyderabadi attempted to pick off units. THe main thrust moved over the mountain and down the road and within a couple of hours (9 turns), were able to sweep the main RIF units off the mountain with 3 assaults and positioned themselves on the western edge of the mountain. In addition, the leader of the Razakars in the forest on the mountain was killed in a mortar barrage, rendering them ineffective for the time being. Meanwhile the Stags and ENG in the north raced around the mountain to try and create a bridgehead for units should the bridge be destroyed.
At this point, The Indians attempted to move some units with the other SAP unit through the lower forest to try for another bridgehead there while the main army began to slowly move just outside of visible range of the bridge. During this time, the SAP in the north established a bridge and was able to assist a LT, the Stags and a Bren over the bridge before being demoralized by the 25-pdr spotted by a LT. Near the bridge, a CAPT decided to get into a position to spot for artillery fire directly on the bridge. The battle at this point became a maneuvering exercise, with the Indians attempting to get into spotting and eventual launch positions, actually getting units within firing range of the flank units, and the Hyderabads trying to stem the tide.
Finally, on turn 14, after an hour of fruitless shelling, the artillery finally found its mark and was able to disrupt the units in the bridge hex. combined with fire on both flanks, an opportunity was realized to storm the bridge and hopefully take it intact and move on to the fort. This was the turning point of the battle as the realization sunk in that if the bridge was blown up, there would not be enough time for the Indians to cross via the SAP units. There were eight RIF and 3 HMGs present along with several leaders that could assist in combat. The Indians rushed in and were able to clear the north flank and maintain a presence on the bridge with a single demoralized, reduced infantry unit defending. As this assault proved successful, the SAP unit south of the bridge assisted an RIF unit in assaulting the south flank of the bridge and were able to destroy the RIF unit and reduce and demoralize the remaining HMG. After all these battles, the one thing that surprised me was that the step losses were at Hyderabadi 12, Indians 0 at the end of 15 turns. After looking over the board for a while, Wayne decided to concede the game as the next few turns were guaranteed to remove at least 4 more steps for Hyderabad an secure the bridge for the Indians, leaving the Step loss count at 24 - 0 in favor of the Indians (both assaults only had demoralized Hyderabadi units and the Indians were rolling on the 24 or 30 column, hence the unlikely loss of any steps for the Indian.
Despite the score, the game was close and tense at points, and had the Hyderabad Captain on the Bridge been given the chance (and succeed) to blow the bridge, an Indian victory would have almost been impossible. The remaining units would have stayed on their side of the bridge and there would have been no chance for getting the required margin in step losses.
In all, it was a fun game to play but at the point we were at, I agreed that the remaining few turns would have been anti-climatic.