Alas, good readers, it seems that there shall be no photostatic images from the Second Battle of Ghola. Our intrepid reporter on the scene seems to have not taken his camera equipment with him on the expedition.
And his notes on the action! Barely deciphirable, and incredibly incomplete. His - for lack of a better word - mind must have been focussed on something other than his duty to report the situation in an accurate and timely manner. Needless to say, the incompetent fool has been sacked. I don't care what my wife - his aunt - says! Harrumph!
I have been able to make out a few details. Our forces advanced from the south, taking fire from a Martian gun. A second gun fired on the French, who advanced from the north of the village. The first shot from the Martian cannon struck the French steam walker, but failed to penetrate. A few half-hearted shots came from the rooftops on the northern end of town as well, felling a single French legionnaire.
Our brave lads continued to press forward on the western side of the village, heading for an incomplete section of wall to cross. Meanwhile, ASA #27 stalked the Martian cannon through the town, finally roasting the red crewmen with his Grenville-patent Firethrower. Unfortunately, at the moment of his victory, he lost steam pressure and was out of commission for quite a few minutes until pressure could be restored.
The wily Martians sprang an ambush on both sides of the village, with wild-eyed swordsmen charging both the French and our stout-hearted sepoys. Both ambushes were seen off after a few desperate moments of melee, with the natives virtually wiped out to the last man. Our own troops did not escape unscathed - seven sepoys and seven Legionnaires lay dead in the red sands at the end of the fierce scrap!
A well-placed shot from the French walker and a series of volleys from the second squad of Legionnaires eliminated the majority of the Martian riflemen. The Emerald Legionnaires tried to sally forth from a building into the decimated French first squad, but were destroyed by volley fire before they could come to grips with their foes. The French occupied a large building adjacent to the shrine just as Lieutenant Popinjay arrived with his fresh squad at the gate of the shrine.
The French officer called for a truce, to allow Popinjay and his men to retrieve the Orb of Ghola from the shrine, apparently unwilling to shed European blood and cause an incident that might lead to war with Britain.
Inside the shrine cowered the few remaining native troops - six men. Popinjay's men fired into the shrine, seeking to kill the foe without having to enter the shrine, where the long halberds of the natives might chop them to bits. One by one, the enemy fell, until only one man, the native commander, remained inside the building.
At that critical moment, ASA#27 suffered a second pressure failure. With that threat eliminated, the French struck! Firing from rooftops into the backs of our brave sepoys, the treacherous dogs killed all but one our men, including Lieutenant Heribert Q. Popinjay, late of Her Majesty's First Britannia Rifles and Chelmsford. The French steam walker slaughtered the remnants of Sergeant Fitum's squad, leaving only ASA#27 to take vengeance.
With the Imperial powers occupied, the Martian commander seized the Orb and made a brave but foolhardy dash for the hills. He was shot down by French Legionnaires exiting the building adjacent to the shrine. At the same time, ASA #27 roared back to life and attacked the French walker with its powerful claw, causing a massive boiler explosion and destroying the French machine!
ASA#27 then attacked the Legionnaires attempting to escape with the Orb, killing several, but failing to stop them from carrying off their trophy.