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Ashanti Wars 1873-1874

Gerry Webb
General Sir Garnet Wolseley led a hand-picked group of outstanding officers (thereafter known
as the Ashanti Gang) and a mixed force of British egulars! West "ndia egiment! #aussa troops
and nati$e scouts on an expedition to the interior of Ashanti-land%
On the road to Kumasi.
After some hard fought actions the British led force succeeded in occupying the Ashanti capital!
&umase%
'or the ad$ance into the (ungle! Wolseley di$ided his army into mutually supporting columns)
*he 'ront +olumn)
*he ,-nd #ighlanders (*he Black Watch)
oyal Artillery with - x . pounder guns
*he /eft +olumn)
oyal 0a$al Brigade - 122 3fficers and men
ussell4s 0ati$e egiment
oyal Artillery with - x #ale4s ockets
*he ight +olumn)
oyal 0a$al Brigade - 122 3fficers and men
oyal Artillery with - x #ale4s ockets
eser$e)
-nd Battalion -5rd oyal Welsh 'usiliers
*he ear +olumn)
-nd Battalion ifle Brigade
"n addition oyal 6ngineers assisted by Sierra /eone labourers were placed at the front and
flanks of the columns to clear a way through the bush%
*he thick (ungle blocked $ision between units and made command and control difficult% *o
counter this! 0ati$e units were bolstered with extra 0+34s and 3fficers! " for e$ery 12 men in
the #aussa units! " British 3fficer to e$ery ,2 or 72 men in the nati$e scout units% *hese units
were drawn from different sub tribes and a company could not speak the language of the
company next to it% A few indi$iduals may ha$e had a few words of 6nglish%
/arge numbers of nati$e 4porters supplied the British force! approximately 1 porter for e$ery -
troops% *hese carried e$erything including the dismantled artillery pieces%
Tactics
"n the dense rain forest and swampland of Ashanti! actions were fought at close 8uarters and
were characteri9ed by sudden ambushes by Ashanti gunmen concealed in undergrowth or
occupying stockades or trenches%
*he Ashanti tactics were to attack suddenly with massed musketry sei9e whate$er loot they
could! then 8uickly melt away into the bush to strike again from another direction% *he Ashanti
were reluctant to engage in hand to hand combat and a British Bayonet charge often broke their
resistance%
*he British were initially shocked by the great $olume of firepower directed at them! but 8uickly
disco$ered much of the Ashanti fire was high and inaccurate%
A typical scenario would ha$e a British force trying to reach an ob(ecti$e through unscouted
country! with Ashanti units lying in ambush or trying to sneak around the British flanks% A
permanent trail is likely to be blocked at some point by an Ashanti stockade supported by troops
in trenches and concealed off the track%
*he British campaign ob(ecti$es were to capture the Ashanti capital and destroy their powerful
army%
British players should try to close with and destroy Ashanti units when they find them%