Le 21 mars 2017, 04:26 dans Humeurs • 0
Upon resuming his march the colonel divided the infantry into three bodies of equal strength. The first, which was accompanied by the guns, was to move by the path straight up the hill; the others, between whom the cavalry force was divided, were to ascend it a few hundred yards to the right and left of the central column, so as to flank the village on either side. For a time the enemy kept up a fire from the brow of the hill, but this died away as the troops, pressing rapidly forward, neared them, and in a short time the top of the hill was gained. The village stood a quarter of a mile away. It was surrounded by a high wall, above which could be seen the tower of the chief's fortalice.
"These little four-pounders will not be of much good in breaching that wall," the colonel said. "We must attack by the gate and batter that down. Percy, do you ride round to the column on the left, and see if there is any gate on that side. Do you, Nand Chund, do the same on the right. If there are gates there I will send some of the camel guns to try and beat them down. If they can't do it the gates must be blown in, there are men with powder-bags in each column. Let the cavalry work round behind the village, and see what the ground is like there. It looked to me as if it broke away on that side. If there are no gates in the side walls, let the right column move round to assist the cavalry to cut off the enemy's retreat. Let the infantry of the left column join us here for the attack on this gate. The fellows are evidently in strong force."
Indeed the wall was fringed with smoke, and the bullets were pattering round thick and fast. The men, however, had at once been placed in shelter behind a stone wall, and remained inactive for half an hour. When Percy and Nand Chund rode back within a minute or two of each other, their reports were similar. There were no gates in the side walls, while behind the wall on the other side there was a deep precipitous ravine, with but a few feet between its upper edge and the wall. The colonel gave the order that fifty of the infantry should remain on either side to fire down into the ravine as the enemy retired across it, and the rest should join him. The cavalry were to take post just out of fire on both flanks, to cut off any fugitives who might drop from the walls, and endeavour to escape from the top of the hill.
The time had not been lost, for the four mountain guns had kept up a steady fire at