Sunday, 26 April 2020

Jhamjar Rising - background information

As a diversion from COVID19 isolation, I am planning for a wargaming campaign to be set in the Salute State of Jhamjar, as a gaming event or series of events to play once restrictions on gatherings are lifted. 

Jhamjar is a princely state governed by a hereditary prince known as the Djelli.  The current Djelli, as with all stereotypical Indian princes from the movies, was educated at Eton and Cambridge.  However, rather than learning about his place in the British Empire, he instead returned home to Jhamjar with ideas, thanks to President Wilson, of self-determination for Jhamjar.  Now, in 1919, the Djelli has determined that the time has come for Jhamjar to set its own path in the world.  He has decided that the time has come for the British to 'quit Jhamjar'.  He started recruiting Indian veterans of the Great War to Jhamjar's army.  This army, which was supposed to be little more than a police force and a ceremonial bodyguard for the Djelli, gradually grew into a sophisticated military force, manned by veterans of the recent Great War and equipped with modern weaponry.  After the notorious Amritsar Massacre, the Djelli determined that the time had come to declare his independence from the British Raj.

While my focus so far has been on the actions involving the Army of the Djelli, I can see this overall alternate history as being a sort of Second Great Indian Rebellion, the first being the one in 1857, variously known as the Sepoy Mutiny, the First War of Independence and by other terms as well.  I envision The Second Great Rebellion as an alternate history where Gandhi's ideas of non-violence were overtaken by a combination of nationalist forces, Communist agitators, and more.  The inspiration is sort of a Very British Civil War by way of Carry On Up the Khyber and Peter Hopkirk's books Setting the East Ablaze and The Great Game.

As such, a variety of factions can be imagined, including, but not limited to, the British Indian Army, the Army of the Djelli of Jhamjar (or other Indian princely states), Pashtun tribesmen, or Indian revolutionaries associated with either the Communist Party (with possible support from Moscow!) or the Indian nationalist movement, or possibly mercenaries, adventurers, thugs, dacoits and other ne'er-do-wells.  Other interested parties are certainly possible, and I'm interested in suggestions!

In Bolt Action terms, Jhamjar can field troops mostly using WWI British army lists as developed by GAJO games, see link here.  Most soldiers are Regulars, but newly raised troops may be Inexperienced.  Jhamjar has infantry, cavalry and artillery.

Many Pashtun tribesmen were drawn to the Djelli's banners.  Pashtun Tribesmen are based on the Native Irregulars from Empires in Flames BA supplement.  They may use 'hidden set-up' or 'setting up observers and snipers' rules from the Scenarios chapter of the BA rulebook (p.131), and when 'outflanking' (p.132) they do NOT suffer a -1 penalty.  Will typically be equipped with rifles.

The British Raj has a mixed bag of soldiers available.  The Djelli's rebellion came as the Third Anglo-Afghan War was beginning, so the Raj needed to scramble to find troops to fight the Djelli's army.  The forces available included British regulars stationed in India, ANZAC veterans of the Great War whose troop ship was intercepted and diverted to Karachi (while the soldiers aboard wanted nothing more than demobilization and repatriation to Australia and New Zealand after enduring war in France, Belgium, Gallipoli and Palestine), Gurkha Rifles, and even a platoon of King's African Rifles.  The British also have access to some armoured vehicles and aircraft.

Other forces that could potentially get involved may include Enver Pasha and his Pan-Turkic Movement, M N Roy and his Bolshevik supporters of a revolt against British rule in India, nationalist revolutionaries eager to disregard Gandhi's call for non-violence and take up arms against the Raj, or other 'interested parties' that could be nominated - let me know what you want to bring to the table and how you can justify their participation in this revolt.  The main restrictions are that forces should have only weapons and equipment suitable for India in 1920, so basically WWI era or earlier.

1 comment:

  1. First update: Doug has posted about his force for this campaign, a group of South African adventurers or mercenaries led by Major V.G. Might: