Monday, May 7, 2012

Ruminating on Elephants

Elephants at Mess

I've been doing a little supplementary reading about logistics in Indian campaigns, in the vague hope of perhaps integrating it into a campaign game. The key points appear to be...

1. Once you can get the Brinjarries (travelling grain wholesalers) onside, the supply of food is not a problem so long as one has money to pay for it.

2. European troops and sepoys eat differant food. Indian food is available locally, but ensuring that Tommy Atkins gets his salt beef and arrack as sudden changes of diet can incapacitate, albeit briefly.

3. Transport is the main issue, bullocks are used for the most part and as pack animals rather than pulling carts.

Player Briefing Note

Horses - Faster than bullocks when drawing artillery pieces ,can at a pinch act as remounts for the cavalry. They do require more looking after than bullocks.  Consumes  one fodder.

Bullocks - Slow, but strong and dependable. Relatively easy to feed and can pull carts as well as operate as a pack animal. They carry more than horses.  Consumes one fodder.

Elephants - Very expensive in terms of fodder and feeding,  elephants simply can’t be bettered for tasks requiring sheer strength. Useful for drawing siege artillery and engineering tasks, they require careful handling.  Consumes two fodder.

I also came across this article, "Britain's Fighting Elephants" while looking for information online, some nice pictures.


  1. Fascinating link Sir, the trouble with elephants is that while they lift, pull, push and knock-over with great effect, they aren't hot on carrying stuff which is why I argue against heavy war-gamers towers at every opportunity.

    Somewhere in my elephant research archive (a bit of a misnomer for a disorganised mess) I have a 'stat' that an elephant can carry about 4 times the load of a camel (over a similar time/distance trial).

    Given that a camel will carry a couple of bales of something or a handful of carpets all day in exchange for a long drink while an elephant has to be let-off to forage for two hours at lunch-time and again in the evening...

  2. Thanks maverick, I reckon that they are more of an adjunct to the bullocks.