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Duty & Honour

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Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 364
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:35 pm    Post subject: Duty & Honour Reply with quote

Bengal Borderers

The Bengal Borderers is an irregular regiment of the Bengal Army, consisting of one troop of irregular cavalry and two companies of infantry. The regiment was raised to support the invasion of Afghanistan. The Borderers accepted many men who did not fit into other regiments and, to some extent, misfits were welcomed as it was believed that they were likely to be more resourceful and offer unique skills. Typical traditions of dividing companies and troops along caste lines were not followed in the formation of the Borderers.

During the Afghan War, the Borderers performed reconnaissance and special operations, though also being involved in several of the major battles. They performed admirably in the capture of the fortress of Ghazni. After Dost Mohammad was overthrown in Kabul, the Borderers returned to Peshawar. From there, they worked to ensure that the Kybher Pass remained passable. During the evacuation of the British forces from Kabul, the Borderers were ordered to move up through the Khyber Pass to assist the retreat. However, a delay in leaving meant they arrived too late.

In 1842 the Borderers moved their barracks to Ambala.

Raised: 1839 (as Peshawar Borderers)
Barracks: Ambala (formerly Peshawar)
Commander: Major Bernard Paine. A long-serving officer, but unpopular with the higher ups. Has gone native and mucks in with the troops. Military skills questionable.

Officers of note: Captain Higgins. Commands an infantry company. Aging. Quite gullible. However, as an impeccable memory, notably manifesting as an ability to recall the batting and bowling averages of all regimental cricket players as well as the team and individual scores in all cricket matches the regiment has played.
Captain Arthur Mosley. Quartermaster. Has absolute disdain for the native troops.
Rank & File of Note: Daffadar Prakash (Peter) Chandragupta. A very fine, decorated soldier. However, has very bad temper and does not suffer fools gladly. He is, though, quite an Anglophile and is the driver behind the regiments cricketing traditions.

Sowar Ram Narayan. Messanger. A very fine horseman.
Napi. Nappywallah. Obsequious and timid.
Traditions: Bugle signal.
Sunday cricket practice. Regimental cricket bat engraved with centuries and considered as important as regimental colours.

Uniform: Pale blue, white and silver.
My favourite roleplaying memory - "Daisy at Colonus", two drunk cowboys and a pantomime cow in a 'reinterpretation' of Sophocles greatest play.
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Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 364
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Bengal Borderers were moving slowly towards the North-Western frontier when the British officers decided to engage in a little hunting. Our brave heroes, Daffadar Singh (a Sikh lancer), Lance-Daffadar Samir (a Rajputi cavalryman) and the sepoy Wasim (a Punjabi rifleman) were assigned to beating duties. As well as flushing out prey for the officers to hunt, this group also managed to flush out an armed scout. This figure was somewhat more difficult to catch than the wild-life, but was eventually bought to bear and returned to camp in chains.

A combination of threats and kindness from Singh and Samir saw the prisoner eventually reveal that he was a bandit, and that he and his companions were hoping to pick-off stragglers in the baggage train for loot. In return for his life the prisoner agreed to lead a squad to the bandit’s home base.

Singh, Samir and Wasim were rode out of camp as part of a small punitive expedition against the bandits. They travelled for a couple of days’ across hot and dry terrain before they were startled to hear the sound of gunfire ahead. Scouting indicated that a group of bandits had a unit of British soldiers pinned in a ravine. Daffadar Singh did not hesitate and ordered his men to charge the bandit’s position.

While the Borderers held the element of surprise, they were quickly distressed to find that the enemy was present in much larger numbers than their prisoner had claimed. Their initial charge took them through the enemy lines and allowed them to join up with the British unit – which was part of the 42nd company that had been assigned to accompany Mrs Jennings and her daughter to join Colonel Jennings in Ambala. Not relishing the death-trap which was the ravine, Lance-Daffadar Samir led a break-out by riding his trusty mount up an almost sheer cliff-face. This allowed him to fire into the bandit’s positions and the resulting chaos provided the Borderers and the 42nd with the chance to escape the ravine and flee the battleground. Wasim was badly injured during the flight. Samir then rode hard to seek reinforcements from the company, while the remnants of the two British units paused in their retreat and set-up camp for the night on the slopes of a scrub-covered hill.

Over the following two days Daffadar Singh and his men bravely held their position on the hillside against repeated attack by the bandit forces. The Daffadar and sepoy Wasim were surprised to find that Mrs Jennings provided stout and no-nonsense assistance.

At the end of those two days’ Lance-Daffadar Samir returned with reinforcements from the company, and the bandits were broken up and put to flight.

The following day, grateful members of the 42nd gamely responded to a challenge from the Borderers and bats, balls and stumps were produced and a wicket laid out. Samir cunningly asked Captain Higgins (who mistakenly believes that he owes his life to the Rajputi scoundrel) to stand in as umpire and promptly ripped through the 42nd’s top-order with a variety of scandalous lbw and caught-behind decisions.

Several days’ later the Borderers arrived at their home barracks at Ambala and were horrified to find these occupied by British soldiers. Major Paine sought to have the interlopers evicted, but was instead instructed to house his men in tents. The Borderers accepted this decision with some grumbling. A group of soldiers then pooled their resources and dispatched Samir and Wasim into Ambala with 10 rupees to buy some brandy.

The town of Ambala was not officially off-limits to Indian personnel, but the two sepoys definitely felt eyes upon them as they wandered amongst promenading officers and ladies. The two decided that the best way to cope with the situation was to look officious and purposeful. Striding towards a bottlestore Samir suddenly realised that his purse – and the unit’s 10 rupees – had vanished. Spinning around his eyes immediately fell on a fellow Rajputi dressed in flowing white robes. Instantly suspicious of this figure, Samir yelled at him to stop. The man fled and the two soldiers followed. The pursuit led them across rooftops and over walls and they became increasingly disorientated. Eventually however, they spotted the man on the other side of a rather impressive window. The two soldiers knocked on a nearby door, which was then opened by General Gough. Startled, they realised that one of the walls they had just scaled led to the Club – and that they had just intruded on the evening’s festivities. As apologetically as he could Samir asked to speak to Captain Braithwaite, but General Gough himself demanded to know what on earth was so important that the two sepoys had thought that they could enter the Club’s inner sanctum. Samir pointed to the thief and explained that he had stolen 20 rupees from soldiers of the Borderers, and that they had followed him here. General Gough harrumphed and refused to allow the soldiers to lay hands on the governor-general’s own personal assistant – but agreed to compensate the 20 rupees out of his own purse. He then asked the two soldiers to join him for a drink. It transpired that the general and the governor-general were discussing how to persuade two Punjabi generals to defect and thought that some native advice might be useful. After offering some thoughts, Samir was then dispatched to fetch Daffadar Singh – who was himself from the Punjab.

The Daffadar found Samir’s invitation to join the general and the governor at the Club somewhat fanciful, but was persuaded to attend. While the Daffadar provided some insight to the British, Lance-Daffadar Samir chatted to Mrs Jennings and her daughter about life in England and then convinced a native waiter to slip him two bottles of brandy. Eventually, with the assistance of Daffadar Singh, Wasim and Samir – the British high command decided to dispatch their squad into the Pubjab with orders to slip through enemy lines and persuade the two enemy generals to withhold their troops from the forthcoming battle.

On returning from the Club Samir and Wasim pocketed the general’s 20 rupees and gave the two bottles of brandy to the men back at camp. It transpired that the brandy was vile – but thankfully none of the soldiers sought an explanation or a refund.

The next day Daffadar Singh led his squad out of Ambala and towards the Punjab. At the Tangri river they changed out of their uniforms and tried to purchase passage on a ferry across the border. Unfortunately, with tensions rising on the frontier, the ferrymen refused to oblige – and did not accept the soldiers’ claims that they were deserters from the British army who wished to join the (extremely well paying) Punjabi army. This argument was perhaps not helped by the presence of two British officers. Samir and Singh tried to convince the ferrymen that these were French engineers who wished to offer their services against the British as well, but to no avail.

The soldiers crossed the river on a stolen boat late that same night.

After successfully navigating the lands of the Punjab they came to the city housing the more distant of the two enemy generals the soldiers tried to talk their way past the guards, but with no success. Retreating from the gates they went into a huddle to decide what to do next…
My favourite roleplaying memory - "Daisy at Colonus", two drunk cowboys and a pantomime cow in a 'reinterpretation' of Sophocles greatest play.
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Joined: 20 Jan 2006
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Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Punjab was afire with intrigue. Jawahir Singh, the maharaja, had been murdered, and a younger wife sat as regent for his infant son. The regent, Rani Jindan, was a figure of scandal to many – a dancer with a reputation for vice. She was also struggling to deal with the Khalsa Dal, the massive army of the Punjab which was attempting to exert more and more control over the nation’s affairs - and which was rumoured to have ordered her husband's assasination.

British authorities were concerned that the instability of the Punjab, and the swelling of the army of the Khalsa might pose a threat to British interests. Although there was no desire to expand British dominions into the Punjab, a council involving Gough, Hardinge, Jennings and Sale - assisted in their deliberations by three sepoys from the Bengal Borderers - had formed the view that military action may be required to prevent the Khalsa from launching its own attack.

The three sepoys were then dispatched to the Punjab to make contact with Teg Singh – a commander of the Khalsa Dal – and Lal Singh – grand vizier and a regimental commander within the Khalsa. Their mission was to see if either could be bribed or persuaded into holding their forces back during any action between the Khalsa and the British. They were advised that limited help could be expected from Major Broadfoot – the official British representative in Lahore – and Harminder Singh – a merchant and British agent. They were also warned that Major Broadfoot would be constrained by his position, and that some officers had expressed a concern about Singh’s loyalty.

After failing to gain entry to Lahore by pretending to be merchants, Daffadar Singh, Lance-Daffadar Samir and Rifleman Wasim instead searched out a captain who was known to be loyal to Rani Jindan rather than the Khalsa. They confided their identities to this officer, and told him that they sought contact with Rani in order to offer her British support. The officer took the sepoys at their word and allowed them into the city, and found for them a place to stay within the palace.

Once installed, Samir began finding out what people in Lahore thought of Rani and the Khalsa Dal. He found out that Rani indulged in alcohol and opium, and that she was having an affair with Lal Singh – and that only his influence kept the Khalsa at bay. Meanwhile, Wasim resumed old contacts in the city and tried – without much success – to purchase some opium. He did, however, succeed in observing soldiers from the Khalsa out on drill, and noted that these were impressively well armed and disciplined.

While walking the city the sepoys were set upon by thugs, who seemed affiliated with the Khalsa. They managed to emerge from this scrape with dented pride and empty pockets – courtesy of a “tax” imposed by the ruffians.

It quickly became apparent to the sepoys that their presence and their identity had quickly become an open secret in the court. They began to become concerned that the Khalsa would be alerted to their purpose. One of their visitors at this time was Major Broadfoot – the British representative – who offered his assistance. They also managed to gain an audience with Rundan Khan Singh, the governor of Srinagar, who agreed to act as their intermediary with Lal Singh in exchange for the promise of future bribes and concessions.

The sepoys were not getting much traction in the court, and their time there was coming to an end – so they asked Major Broadfoot to arrange some accommodation in a safe and secure location within Lahore. The need for security quickly became apparent when Samir was captured by members of the Khalsa who locked him in a room and threatened him in an attempt to discover the purpose for his presence. Samir managed to convince the soldiers that he and his companions were corrupt merchants trying to gain trade concessions and escaped without harm, but it was clear that he and his companions were being watched carefully.

Later that same evening, the sepoys were approached in their new rooms by a veiled woman. She told them that her name was Anjali and that Major Broadfoot had sent her, and that there may be a chance for them to speak to Rani Jindan. She had bought courtiers’ clothing and insisted that the sepoys change into these in front of her – and that they leave any weapons behind. Daffadar Singh found this a difficult request to adhere to due to his Sikh faith, but he was eventually convinced to leave his kirpan dagger behind.

Anjali then smuggled the disguised sepoys into the palace and through back-rooms until they came into the hall where Rani Jindan was in receiving guests. Guests were forbidden from laying eyes on the Rani, but from their elevated position the sepoys could see her sprawled behind a curtain wearing a scandalously thin dancer’s silks – and half-listening to a pleading courtier on the other side of the curtain while paying greater attention to an opium pipe and a glass of brandy. Their guide motioned the sepoys to silence and indicated that she would leave them in a position near the Rani – and where they might have a chance to steal a word with her.
My favourite roleplaying memory - "Daisy at Colonus", two drunk cowboys and a pantomime cow in a 'reinterpretation' of Sophocles greatest play.
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