Warning, this is a lengthy post with lots of pictures. I may have gone over the top.
Deep in the jungle, a forward base had been built for the Vladislaus V Penal Battalion. Men from the penitentiary platoon under the watchful eye of 1st Sergeant Kővári were building redoubts around the walled camp. They had found an ancient, most likely Agytpian cannon as well, and set it in the center of the camp to examine it. Under a second lieutenant, a handful of men from the 1st and 3rd companies were also present. The camp was well entrenched already, and had an open killing ground stretching in all directions: any approach by the ever hostile natives or the Ruslander could have been perceived and met with musket fire.
Against the twenty men in the camp, a large Ruslander force and native auxiliaries marched in strength. Besides the core Marine company, there were thirty Agytpians and an old but well functioning cannon. Major Byelogorsky of the Blackguards was also present, as a little reminder to the commander of the field where his duties lay. Captain Volikov, on the other hand, was a trained leader and had a good relationship with the natives.
After a slow and cautious advance on the camp, firefight first broke out on the left end of the Ruslander line, with a native unit shooting at the camp from the bushes, the defenders repaying in kind.
Sergeant Kővári quickly ordered the workers inside, and began to examine the cannon. He finally deemed it fit to fire, and found stone balls the appropriate size near the carriage.
The Ruslander center force moved forward with continued musketry, and the first few casualties occured.
The cannon was brought forward to blast the redoubt open, but sharpshoteers of the 3rd company killed the crew.
The ancient dog-headed cannon was dragged into position and Sgt. Kővári used his pipe to light the fuse. Everyone stepped back...
And, although fresh men ran up to the cannon and they could bring fire on the redoubt, they were wiped out by the shot again.
The Marines now moved into close range, suffering from enemy fire. The Austro-Hungarians did not have to move, just man the walls, shoot and reload.
A marksman took out the commander of the natives on the left, so Major Byelogorsky had to act and take command.
A Marine platoon scaled the redoubt in the hail of lead, and pushed out the defenders.
The dog-headed cannon misfired this time, and it took a while to the penitentiary squad to gather courage and approach it to clear the barrel.
A trumper sounded: to the sound of the cannon, a group of the cavalry company was alerted: ten horsemen arrived.
But their first charge was disordered and fell short of the native line ahead. The natives were encouraged by Byelogorsky to charge, and poured close-range fire on the camp.
The Agytpians climbed the wall, but the Sergeant and his fellows knew well how to use their shovels and pickaxes to deter such actions.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, the men of the Vladislaus V pushed the Arabs back. 'Get down!', the Sarge shouted, and lighted the fuse again. The cannon was loaded with grapeshot, and it cleared the most part of the wall.
The Agytpians on the left resisted the cavalry charge, and the horsemen had to fall back and rally before the next attempt.
The field looked like a slaughterhouse now. and the defenders of the camp still held out. The Arabs attempted a second attack, which was also thrown back.
The Sergeant himself used his wheel gun with deadly accuracy. Imagine Bud Spencer with a Colt and very, very angry.
The Agytpians, the ground clear ahead, fired a volley at the horsemen, but in the excitement of the battle, most of them forgot to load the ball and the rest went wild.
The last Ruslander charge was thrown out of the camp again.
But the Captain of the Marines found a way inside, arriving at the back of the defenders.
The last cavalry charge was brutal: the frustrated cavalrymen forgot about carbines and went at it with sabres. The unit broke and fled. Major Byelogorsky decided to follow them.
Captain Volikov ordered the cannon to limber and retreat. The few men he had left did the same. However, a pair of marksmen in the camp had kept a keen eye on officers, and took out more.
The Marines stuck inside the camp surrendered when they saw their remaining comrades falling back. The KuK cavalry was too exhausted to run them down after three consecutive charges.
The field outside the camp was now littered with dead and it was the victorious penal platoon's men to remove them. A great pyre burnt that night in the jungle of Nova Hungaria, and the next day the clearing still stank in the heat. The Ruslander had only tried to bring the others together against the Austro-Hungarians: now the Governor knew that open hostilities commenced.
Notes: a very tough battle was fought, and only the exhaustion of the Ruslander prevented them to lead a last assault on the camp. The Marine company took great losses, so for a while larger Ruslander units are out of the picture again: it's time for skirmishes and raids on KuK outposts.