Saturday, January 22, 2011

Battle of Wandewash - 22 January 1760

British officers consult with sepoys behind

Today marks the 251st anniversary of the Battle of Wandewash (in Tamil:.வந்தவாசி - Vandavasi)





French East Indies Regiment with sepoys in support (an old picture - and Hawkwood, I know the colours are in the wrong spots. That has been remedied!)

Wandewash was Lally's last play to defeat the British. He attempted to recapture the fort at Wandewash which had fallen into British hands. He feinted towards another British held fort at Conjerverum, hoping to draw the British away from Wandewash.

Map of the battle
Eyre Coote, in command of the British followed, as Lally turned and headed back to Wandewash. Coote realised his mistake and returned to Wandewash, which was now besieged by the French.

Sepoys with French NCO
The British army was approximately 4,150 foot, 1,280 horse and 16 artillery. The French army comprised 3,100 foot, 3,300 horse and 16 guns.

Coote was met with a charge by Mahratta cavalry, allies of the French. The Mahrattas suffered heavy casualties and disbursed. Lally then drew his army up to meet the British, leaving only 300 men surrounding the fort.

Article from Military Modelling
The battlefield was a flat plain, with some rice fields near the fort.


Fields at Wandewash today

The northern end of the field was dominated by Wandewash Hill or Mountain.


Wandewash Hill - Steeper than the above map would indicate

My gaming version -  too stylised?

Lally immediately took command of the 300  European cavalry and charged, only to be met with artillery fire ( I know a few gamers who use those tactics!). The French advantage in European cavalry over the British force of 80 troopers was lost in minutes.By the time the French cavalry rallied the battle was over and it covered the retreat.

British officer
Lally then ordered the Lorraine Regiment to charge the 84th foot. A melee resulted with the French routing. The Lally Regiment also broke under musket fire resulting in the French army routing. Bussy was wounded and captured whilst leading the Lally Regiment.
French officer

Eyre Coote

The French lost 600 men, 19 field artillery and 5 siege guns. The British lost 190 Europeans and 49 men of the Native Horse.

Regiment Lally - Crusader Miniatures
What of the scene today? Taken from an edition of the Hindu Times of January 2010:

...little is being done to protect the remains of the battle, the mutilated earthen walls of Vandavasi fort, the disfigured moat which serves as a storage for sewage and is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and a number of cannons scattered around the town.

Camel jingal in trouble - nothing to do with the battle at all!
I haven't been able to locate any contemporary sketches of the fort.Google Earth isn't much help regarding its status today. It would appear that you can see the watertank and ridge referred to on the map. There is also a lighter colour area in the approximate area the fort is positioned on the map, but after that resolution doesn't assist. The link is http://www.maplandia.com/india/tamil-nadu/tiruvannamalai-sambuvaray/vandavasi/vandavasi-google-earth.html. Then go to the north of Vandavasi which is marked and the Hill is easy to distinguish.

Regards
gwz

2 comments:

  1. by my reckoning all your colours are "in the wrong spot"..nice as they are ..

    ReplyDelete
  2. who cares conrad the figures and colours are amazing keep up the great work

    ReplyDelete