Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe: The Winter of '56

Attrition is harsh during the early stages of winter
After the fall of Fort Stanwix to French assault (see: Peter's Battle of Fort Stanwix), the defeated British Regulars were allowed to march out of the fort and into the wilderness.  Without resources, the Regulars would face foraging during winter.

In Montcalm & Wolfe, winter is especially hard on troops.  In addition to each turn's Supply Phase where units not on a Supply Source forage, winter has its own Attrition Phase.  In winter, even stationed on a Supply Source is no guarantee of making it through winter.  In winter, settlements can only exempt one non-militia from foraging while a fort or port can guarantee that two, non-militia units will not have to forage.  Militia have a special demobilization roll where every militia must make this roll regardless of location.

With those preliminaries out of the way, how did the armies far during the 1756 Winter 1 Attrition Phase?  The British Regulars marching out of Fort Stanwix were successful but one Regular in Fort Edward and one Regular in the Cumberland Wilderness succumbed to the ardors of winter foraging.  No British militia demobilized.  For the French, two militia demobilize and head back home.  Those militia were garrisoned in Fort William-Henry and Quebec. 
Winter 2 Movements
For the second winter turn of 1756, the British roll on the Command Table.  Again, the British CinC rolls one activation for the French!  The French use this single activation to march one Regular regiment from Fort William-Henry toward Fort Stanwix.  It appears the French prefer reinforcing and holding Fort Stanwix than garrisoning William-Henry in strength.  After the French complete their interruption of the British player's turn, the British again roll on the Command Table.  This time three Command Points are drawn.  With these three activations, the Regulars on the march to Fort Oswego reach the fort, Shirley returns to Albany, and Monckton, seeing the garrison drawn down, once more descends upon Fort William-Henry.  Yes, Fort William-Henry is the site for another conflict.

Battle of Fort William-Henry
British: Monckton (A2D1), 2 x 5-6 Regulars, 1 x 3-8 Ranger, and 1 x 3-5 Militia
French: Dieskau (A2D2), 2 x 5-6 Regulars

Can the French hold the fort or will it change hands once again?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Battle of Bunker Hill BatRep

Prescott's militia garrison the redoubt
Scott offered up a chance to return to a familiar time and ground.  The time and place?  June 1775 at the start of the American War of Independence and the heights of Bunker and Breed's Hill.   Bunker Hill has been refought on more than one occasion using a variety of rules and scales.  The last time the Battle of Bunker Hill saw action on the gaming table was in 2014 using Land of the Free rules and 28mm figures.  That game ended in a British victory as the grenadiers took the redoubt.  That 2014 action can be found at (Battle of Bunker Hill).

Today's game features Scott's wonderfully painted 28mm AWI collection and the rules, British Grenadier.  Kevin would command the British while I commanded the colonials.  Scott would take the role of umpire and game facilitator since both Kevin and I are quite rusty with our memory of British Grenadier.  While we managed to get through the scenario twice in about four hours, I am recounting the effort in Game 1 pitting Kevin vs myself.  To see details of Game 2, please visit Scott's MacPhee's Miniature Men blog.  On to the game!

The battle began with the British stepping off with the historical plan of attack.  That is, Howe approaching the colonial positions from the north towards the rail fence while Pigot demonstrated with a frontal assault against the redoubt.  
Initial Deployments
Prescott manning the redoubt
Howe advancing on the right
Pigot advancing upon the redoubt
Stark defending the rail fence
While Pigot brought his command slowly forward in column toward the redoubt and Charlestown, Howe led his command forward toward the rail fence.  The weak spot in the Rebel line appears to be the fleches, manned by a single unit of Prescott's militia.  With the fence well-defended and an attack upon it likely to suffer enfilading fire from the fleches, what will Howe do? 
Howe advances upon Colonial positions
Prescott need not wonder for long what the British have planned.  With the British grenadiers preparing for a direct assault on the north end of the redoubt, the other two regiments have their eyes set on an attack against the fleches.  The Stark orders one of his regiments to move to support the fleches.  The British begin taking a few casualties from the American 3-pounder.
British attack begins
Without much softening up and perhaps under-estimating the resolve of the colonial militia, the British grenadiers crash against the redoubt.  The militia maintain their ground not flinching from the fearsome Grenadier attack.  Coolly discharging their muskets into the face of the Grenadiers, the British assault is stopped.  Huzzah! 
Grenadiers assault the redoubt
Surprised by the determination and good marksmanship of the militia, the grenadiers break and run for the rear.  Huzzah!  Against the fleches, casualties mount to both the militia and the 43/52 Foot.  Harassing fire continues from Gridley's 3 pound guns.
Grenadiers break for the rear!
With the grenadiers in flight, having been repulsed by the stalwart Americans, Howe's remaining two regiments press on.  While remaining on the right flank of the 43/52, the light infantry battalion has angled itself into long musketry range of Stark's colonials lining the fence.  With guns and colonial muskets sending volleys of lead into the lights, casualties increase rapidly.   
Casualties mount on Howe's regiments.
The Lights have had enough!  Not expecting the fight to be so hotly engaged, the Light Infantry battalion routs.  Having both flanks uncovered by routing comrades, the 43/52 appears to waver in its mission.  On the south against the redoubt, Pigot experiences a similar fate.  The 38th, discounting the abilities of the colonial militia, approaches the redoubt while still in column.  As may be guessed, Prescott's boys unleash a deadly volley causing the 38th to run tail and withdraw.  
British Light Infantry battalion break for the rear!
One more exchange of musketry and the 43/52 is put to flight too! Huzzah!  Howe's entire command is in flight, likely heading back to their transport barges.
Howe's command flees the field of battle
Howe attempts to rally his routing command but to no avail.  Both the Light Infantry battalion and the 43/52 foot disperse.  Excited by the sight of the running Redcoats, Stark orders his command to jump the fence in pursuit.  Stark will never catch the fleeing British since "they ran so fast, the hounds couldn't catch'em."  Wait.  That's a different war.  Seeing his command disintegrate on the slopes of Breed's Hill, Howe calls off the attack and heads back to the landings to re-embark what remains of his command.
Howe calls off the attack
A quick and decisive result in the Americans' favor.  Great fun to be an American on the battlefield this day.  With Scott at the helm running the QRS, play progressed at a rapid pace.  Kevin and I only needed to concern ourselves with tactics and objectives.  The details of combat resolution were left to Scott.  The rules worked well and brought about a decisive conclusion in a reasonable amount of time.  Great fun!  I look forward to the next AWI battle.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

CGM's Austrian Dragoons

Napoleonics from Campaign Game Miniatures keep creeping into the painting queue.  Since only two packs of dragoons (eight figures total) were ordered in the last restock from Barcelona, only six of the eight figures crossed the painting desk.  These six provided enough figures to field two squadrons of Austrian dragoons. 
Mustering out as the green-jacketed 6th Dragoons, a few more packs from CGM are needed to bring the 6th up to its full complement.  While all of the CGM bicorned French infantry have been painting and fielded, two battalions of helmeted Austrians remain to work into the queue.  Two battalions of Grenz lay in wait too.  Great figures and a great value.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe: Battle of Fort William-Henry and the Approach of Winter

Huron harass defenders at 3rd Battle of Ft William-Henry
(from Grid based wargaming - but not always)
Following the British defeat at Fort William-Henry, Monckton withdraws back to Fort Edward.  The battle was close but Dieskau persevered and took control of the fort.  Please visit Peter's blog to follow the battle (3rd Battle of Fort William-Henry).

September 1756
Rather than launch another counterattack against Fort William-Henry, the British prioritize pushing Braddock toward the lightly defended Fort Duquesne.  The British roll on the Command Table.  They receive two CPs.  Braddock and one Regular reach the fort as does a second regiment of Regulars trailing Braddock.  Fort Duquesne falls with no loss to Braddock.  The Political Track shifts one space in the British favor.

Needing to get more than one task accomplished, the French, too, roll on the Command Table.  The French receive three Command Points.  With these commands, the militia at William-Henry returns to Fort Carillon, one Regular stationed at Oswegatchie travels to Fort Frontenac.  No losses from attrition although the British Regular in the mountains north of Fort Cumberland had to rely on foraging to sustain itself.  With winter approaching, the Huron, Cayuga, and Illini return home.
Winter 1 1756
In Montcalm & Wolfe, there are two turns of winter between September and May.  Winter turns see more harsh attrition and Native and militia demobilization.  Tough to accomplish an extended campaign in these conditions.  Still, fighting over a supply source makes good sense if the supply source can be captured.  Anyway, on to the Winter Turn bringing 1756 to a close.

Pressured by the French, the British roll on the Command Table to get more than one activation.  The result?  One activation for the French!  With that activation, Drucour, one Regular, and one militia take bateaux from Fort Frontenac and come ashore to the east of Fort Oswego.  Drucour has stolen a march on the British!  Perhaps not in sufficient force to pull off a successful attack against Oswego but the ungarrisoned Fort Stanwix is within a march of Drucour's raiding party.
The British face a dilemma.  Do they opt to roll on the Command Table and risk another failure or take the guaranteed one activation?  A single activation allows the garrisoning of Fort Stanwix at the expense of all other operations.  The British choose the latter strategy and use their one activation to move one Regular from Oswego to Stanwix arriving ahead of the French.  
The French, likewise, take no risk on the Command Table making one automatic activation.  With that activation, Drucour and his force attack the recently garrisoned Fort Stanwix.
Attack on Fort Stanwix
British: 1 x 5-6 Regular
French: Drucour (A0D1), 1 x 5-6 Regular, 1 x 3-5 Militia

Fort Stanwix is situated at a key carrying place between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek. By portaging from the Mohawk River to Wood Creek via Fort Stanwix, a water-borne journey to Lake Ontario is possible.  If Fort Stanwix falls to the French, the French receive a favorable Political Track shift.  The loser of this action will be without supply during winter.  Attrition may be harsh and the loser may perish in the wilderness before reaching safety.

Peter, over to you for resolution.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lancashire Games' 1859 French Infantry

Returning to one of my favorite lines of figures today.  That is, Lancashire Games' 1859 15mm range.  Solid figures with good anatomical proportions, easy to paint, and not too expensive.  A combination I enjoy!  
Off the painting desk is a French Line Regiment consisting of 3 x 12 battalions.  These 36 figures muster out as the 5th Ligne as the French contingent in the 1859 project gets some attention.  While 2017 saw only a handful of units cross the painting desk for this project, a return to a 15mm focus has me ramping up the production line to push our more figures for 1859.
Expect more to come from the 1859 project in the months ahead.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Austrian IR16 Terzi

Two more Austrian infantry battalions for the 1799 Project muster out from the painting desk.  These 2 x 13 figure battalions are called up as IR#16 Terzi.  Seeing action during the 1799 campaign,  these violet-faced battalions will add some color to The White Menace.  Figures are AB Miniatures
While a number of units are making their way through the painting queue for the 1799 project, I have been thinking about turning the project clock back two years and having the collection see action in the earlier Northern Italian campaigns of 1796-1797.  At the top of my list of battles to refight is Rivoli in 1797.
Without the presence of Russians, more Austrians will need to find their way into the painting queue if Rivoli is, indeed, chosen.  While I could field both French and Austrians in their 1809 uniforms to reduce the need to paint, that is not my nature.  For a proper Rivoli, I want French in bicorne and most of the Austrians in casquet.  Yeah, that is what I want!

My 2018 Project Plan included a major battle for this project in fourth quarter.  That provides plenty of time to produce the needed figures for the Rivoli OB.  With such a unique geographical situation, custom terrain would enhance the appearance of the game.  Having always kept to the notion of using generic, modular, and multipurpose terrain, a one-off terrain piece may be more than I want to tackle.  Recreating the steep and narrow Adige Valley and the Rivoli Plateau would be cool, though.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe - JUN-AUG 1756

French retreat following loss of Fort William-Henry
Following the loss of Fort William-Henry, the two regiments of French Regulars retreat back into the woods with hopes of reaching Fort Carillon before being caught by any pursuing British.  Having lost a regiment of colonial militia and being bloodied by the French defenders, the British were in no mood to pursue.  For an accounting of the battle, see Peter's BatRep of French Indian War Campaign Game 3.

For reinforcements, the British received a regiment of Regulars at Fort Edward but the Oneida marauding near Lake Erie return home.  For the French, the two defeated regiments return to Fort Carillon.  Dieskau, one Regular, and one militia hurry by bateaux from Isle aux Noix to bolster the defenses of Fort Carillon.
Reinforcements and Retreat
July 1756
July begins with much activity from both headquarters.  The British, wanting to accomplish a lot in the heat of summer, roll on the Command Table and receive five activations.  With those activations, Braddock and one Regular march from Fort Cumberland into the wilderness followed by one Regular regiment marching from Carlisle.  One British Regular regiment arrives at Fort Cumberland as a reinforcement.  Is Braddock considering a cross country march to launch an attack upon Fort Duquesne before winter? 
July 1756 Maneuvers
Johnson travels from Fort Stanwix to the Cayuga settlement in an attempt to win over the Cayuga.  That effort failed.   Finally, Shirley with two regiments of Regulars marches from Albany to Fort William-Henry.  Having handed over the two regiments to Monckton, Shirley returns to Fort Edward.
July 1756 Maneuvers
For the French, a warband of Huron join the French cause and travel to Fort Carillon.  With all troops either on supply sources or immune (single Regular regiment cannot fail forage roll), no attrition.
Situation end of July
August 1756
The British, wanting to press on, roll on the Command Table receiving three activations.  With these three activations, Braddock's force lumbers forward towards Fort Duquesne.  This is a risk.  If Fort Duquesne cannot be taken before winter, much of Braddock's expedition will likely be lost.  Johnson succeeds in winning over the Cayuga and the warband sets off for Fort Stanwix.  The British receive one Regular regiment at Albany.
British maneuvers August 1756
The French, seeing that Fort Duquesne is isolated and not defensible by one unit of Regulars, abandon the fort and withdraw to Fort Le Boeuf.  Knowing that a long war is not in French interests as the balance of power shifts to the British, Dieskau strikes out from Fort Carillon with the largest force gathered for battle yet in the war.  With the Mohawk Valley securely in British hands, the only avenue to gain advantage is the Lake Champlain-Lake George corridor.  Once more Fort William-Henry finds itself at the center of a storm.
French maneuvers August 1756
Third Battle for Fort William-Henry
British: Monckton (A2D1), 3 x 5-6 Regulars, 1 x 3-8 Ranger, 1 x 3-5 Militia
French: Dieskau (A2D2), 3 x 5-6 Regulars, 1 x 3-5 Militia, 1 x 3-8 Huron Warband.

Same bloodied ground as the previous two battles at the fort.  This time, the British are defending.  In the previous two battles, the defenders were thrown out of the fort.  Will we see the same outcome this time?  This looks like an even match up with the French led by a slightly better leader.

With a minimum of four units and a leader for each force, the Third Battle of Fort William-Henry will be classified as a Major Victory for the force holding the ground at the end of battle.  A Major Victory shifts the Political Track two spaces.  A Major Victory for the French could push the Political Track into a situation whereby the French could end the war by holding onto all gains until the end of September.  Had the French Regulars remained to garrison Fort Duquesne, Braddock could have bypassed the fort and threatened Fort Le Boeuf anyway.  A difficult choice for the French to make.  With Fort Duquesnes likely to fall, the French would need a political gain on another front.  Not a likely outcome but possible.  A chance the French believe worth the risk.

Peter, you can probably set this battle up in your sleep after two previous outings!
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