Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Montcalm & Wolfe Campaign SEP1755

September 1755:
In an attempt to stabilize the quickly deteriorating situation, Britain risks rolling on the Activation Table rather than taking the assured, one activation.  The Activation die roll allows the British three activations.  They needed that!

After the Braddock's disastrous expedition into the wilds of the Monongahela, he retreats back to the safety of Fort Cumberland with the remnants of his force.  Shirley, with one ranger and two militia strike out for Fort Carillon to deny the French player use of the fort when it becomes available later in September.  Using bateaux, Shirley's force hugs the shore and disembarks on the construction site of Fort Carillon presumably scattering the engineers and halting work.  Johnson finally convinces the Cayuga to ally with the British.  The Cayuga warband sets off to bolster the Fort Stanwix garrison.
With Shirley stealing a march on the French to reach Fort Carillon before it could either be completed or garrisoned, the British gain the strategic upper hand on Lake Champlain.  Since the lake is the main conduit in this theatre, Shirley's ploy may represent a major mistake for the French.  A better play would have been to place Rigaud and his force at Isle aux Noix on Reserve status.  That way, after Shirley moves into the Fort Carillon hex, Rigaud could make his reserve move and slip into the hex before combat.  Rigaud would be considered the defender and receive the woods benefit.  Hopefully, an oversight to which the French will not regret.

A question on the game concerns the status of Forts William-Henry and Carillon.  Both begin the game under construction.  Both forts become active "during the September 1755" turn."  At which point "during" the turn do these become active?  That timing is unclear.  For this campaign, I will rule at the end of the September turn both forts will exist.

The French opt to take only the guaranteed one activation and activate Rigaud.  Rigaud sets off by bateaux with two regulars and one militia to Fort Carillon in an attempt to intercept and thwart Shirley's strike.  Rigaud will be considered the attacker in the first major engagement of the war.   

With three regimental equivalents per side, I plan to resolve this action on the gaming table.  Three maneuver units (MUs) per side may not be enough to make much of a game so my plan is to double (or even triple) the number of MUs.  While the French will have a qualitative advantage, the British will be holding favorable ground.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Indian Mutiny British Infantry

As a change of pace, 24 Wargames Foundry British hit the painting desk.  After participating in one of Kevin's mid-19th century colonial games (Pasha in Egypt), I figured it might be a fun distraction to paint a unit or two for this era.  While these figures are listed in the Wargames Foundry catalog as Indian Mutiny British, seeing action during the 1st Afghan War would not be out of reason.  Decision on flag to carry is still undetermined but it will be one of the Royal regiments with blue facings.  Hopefully, these lads will see action in one of Kevin's upcoming colonial games. 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Montcalm & Wolfe Campaign

 The campaign game begins in May 1755 with dispositions as outlined in the initial campaign post.  After bolstering the French by two more irregular regiments, I am ready to step off on campaign.

May 1755: 
Wanting to seize the initiative, the British, under Johnson, strike out with forces to garrison Fort Stanwix.  Johnson brings along two regular regiments in bateaux up the Mohawk River and reaches the fort.  Similarly, Shirley leads the rangers and two militia up the Hudson valley to Fort Edward.  The British attempt to recruit the Cayuga in order to push a garrison into Fort Oswego but fail to coerce the natives.

The French erupt from Fort Niagara with Contrecoeur and two regular regiments in an attempt to steal a march on the British and take the ungarrisoned Fort Oswego.  Traveling by boat, Contrecoeur reaches the fort and after a skirmish, the French take Oswego.  Political Track shifts one in favor of the French.  
May 1755
June 1755:
British roll for activation and get three points.  One more militia marches up to Fort Edwards.  Leaving Fort Stanwix garrisoned, Johnson departs and heads to the Cayuga settlement.  Even with his presence, Johnson cannot persuade the Cayuga to join.  In the west, Braddock marches out of Baltimore to Alexandria with two regulars and one militia.

French roll on the activation table and receive no activations.  Tuscarora join the French and successfully raid Wilkes Barre.  Another Political Track shift for the French.  
June 1755
July 1755:
British choose to automatically activate one force only.  With this one activation, Braddock moves his force to Fort Cumberland.  Johnson still has no luck in convincing the Cayuga.

French roll on the Activation Table and get four activations.  One militia moves by boat from Montreal to Oswegatchie.  A second militia moves from Trois Rivieres to Isle aux Noix.  Rigaud and one militia move down to Isle aux Noix.  The rampaging Tuscarora move on to Easton but fail in successfully raiding the settlement.  Finally, one regular is transported by boat from Quebec to Montreal. 
July 1755
August 1755:
British roll for activations and receive two.  One activation is spent moving Braddock's force into the wilderness towards Fort Duquesne.  The second activation is used to send one militia from Albany to New York City.  Johnson still cannot convince the Cayuga to join the British cause.
August 1755
French roll on the Activation Table receiving three. One point is spent moving the militia in Oswegatchie to Fort Frontenac while a second point is spent sending the Tuscarora natives on a raid to Carlisle.  This the natives do successfully.  One more Political Track shift in favor of the French. Trying to get the Oneida to ally with the French was a bust.
August 1755
With Braddock out in the wilderness, his forces must forage.  One regular and one militia disappear into the wilderness never to be seen again.  Disaster along the Monongahela and history repeats itself.
August 1755
Thus far, no large actions have occurred but the British have definitely been pushed back on their heels.  September will likely see action along the banks of Lake George and Lake Champlain as both forts William-Henry and Carillon become active.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

French & Indian War Irregulars

After another week away from the painting desk, I returned Saturday morning to finish a couple of units in progress before my departure.  Needing more French militia or irregulars for my upcoming French & Indian War campaign, these two 12-figure units will add the necessary man power to begin.

The figures are all 1st Corps from the SYW range and comprise a mix of French regulars in campaign dress and coureur des bois.  I have a number of figures from 1st Corps' range already in the project and, to me, they have a certain charm.  The figures are on the larger side of 25mm and most have faces that even a mother might have difficulty admiring.  These 24 figures are in a mix of dress including regulation and campaign modifications.  A number of the figures are in waistcoat, pokalem, and and leggings; perfect for the de la Marines.
Irregular #1
Irregular #1
Irregular #2
Irregular #2
Irregulars combined

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

BatRep - Battle of Kolin using Maurice

Given the deployment for the Battle of Kolin detailed in an earlier post (Battle of Kolin Pre-Game), Scott and Kevin joined me on Saturday for our initial trial of Maurice (I hear Steve Miller's The Joker every time I say it).

Kevin took command of the attacking Prussians while Scott commanded the defending Austrians.  Both before and after the game we all wondered what prompted Frederick to attack such a defensible position against the odds.  Of course, he didn't have the helipoter view of both forces as did we.  The attack did not work for Frederick and it failed to work for Kevin.  History repeated itself but I am getting ahead of myself.

To begin the game, both commanders chose to activate their guns and form massed batteries in the center.  Bombarding commenced in order to soften the enemy while the Prussian advanced.
In between the cannonades, the Austrian cavalry on the Austrian left activated and moved down from the heights.  Not wanting to feel pressure from the cavalry, Frederick pushed his cavalry forward to cover the threat.
As Prussian infantry took control of the villages in the center, Prussian cavalry on the right pitched into the Austrian cavalry wing as FML Daun oversaw the clash of horse flesh and armored troopers.
At this point only the Prussian right was heating up with combat.  The Austrian center and left remained dormant, confident in their positions. 
In the cavalry clash on the Prussian right, both forces took casualties and fall back to regroup.
After a short pause to regroup, Austrian cavalry on the Prussian right pitched back into the Prussians.  Cavalry and infantry are targeted by the impetuous Austrians. 

While Prussian infantry initially drove off the cavalry, the unfortunate Prussians are hit again before they could regroup and are scattered to the rear.  With the infantry destroyed, the Austrian heavy cavalry reinforced the swirling cavalry battle on the right.  
 The Prussian infantry in the center advanced in an attempt to take Kreczhorz Hill 
 but the Austrian line remained solid and unmoving.
As the Prussian right continued to weaken from the pressure and success of the Austrian cavalry,  

Frederick began to pull back his right and consolidated his line as his right flank bends under the stress.


Frederick's army falls back to a rallying point beyond the villages and then disengaged from battle. 


The Austrians have gained their victory!


What did we think of our first game of Maurice?  Unanimously, we all enjoyed it very much.  The mechanisms are straightforward, easy to pick up, and play very quickly.  Even with a break for lunch, the game was fought to a conclusion in under four hours.  We went through the card deck four times (!!!) during the game suggesting that the turns were fast and furious.  Of course, the rapid play was due, in part, to action only taking place either on one sector or with one force at a time.  Everyone agreed that the action on one part of the battlefield while lulling on the remainder seemed reasonable and historical.

While we seemed to pick up on the rules after only a couple of turns, the Prussian player did not exploit his National Advantages.  I don't recall seeing either "Lethal Volley" or "Steady Lads" being used although after a few turns, Kevin employed the "Great Captain" card to keep Frederick in the action and to his full advantage.

Close combat resolution was quick and relatively painless.  Many games drag to a halt during melee or close combat resolution but not in Maurice.  Resolution was easily understandable and quickly resolved.  By mid and end game, we began to see tactics developing on the table.  I am sure mistakes in this first game will not be repeated in a second game.

Finally, it was terrific to get my SYW collection onto the gaming table for action.  This project has been a long time in work and Saturday they finally got a taste of battle.

I look forward to our next Maurice outing.  Great fun!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

1799 Suvarov in Italy - The Austrians

The third faction in the 1799 Project is that of Austria.  To date, eight battalions of Austrian infantry have taken the field.  All of these battalions are wearing the early casquet rather than the helmet that was introduced in the 1798 regulations.  My thought is that headgear would not be replaced when the Regulations were enacted but only introduced over time as the casquets wore out. I have a few battalions worth of Austrian AB in helmet that I may add into the project.  

Figures are all AB Miniatures.




Once I add in some artillery and a few cavalry, I should be ready to conduct a small game. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Battle of Kolin with Maurice, Pre-Game

I have not hosted a game at my place in a long time so the game room needed a bit of organizing before I could host the guys on Saturday (photo of cluttered table spared...).

Saturday's game plan is twofold: field my 18mm SYW collection on the battlefield for the first time and give the rules, Maurice a first try.  This combination allows me to check off two activities on my To-Do list effectively killing to birds with one stone.

Since Maurice contains the scenario for the Battle of Kolin, that is the battle I will stage.  Taking the rules' recommendation of bathtubbing the forces down to a manageable size, each infantry maneuver unit with represent about five battalions or about 3,000 men.  If we had more players than one per side, I might consider dropping the game scale and fielding more units to create a much larger battle.  For an initial game trial, these forces should do.  Given that, the forces are:

Austrian

  • 2 Grenz Irregular
  • 1 Grenadier Elite Regular
  • 8 Musketeer Trained Regular 
  • 1 Elite Cavalry
  • 6 Trained Cavalry (2 hussar, 2 dragoon, 2 cuirassier)
  • 5 Artillery 


Prussian

  • 2 Grenadier Elite Regular
  • 5 Musketeer Trained Regular 
  • 1 Elite Cavalry
  • 4 Trained Cavalry (2 hussar, 1 dragoon, 1 cuirassier)
  • 3 Artillery 
The battlefield setup will cover the Prussian initial attacks against the heights and be fought on the end of the game table.  Play area will only be a modest 6 feet by 4 feet.

Although outnumbered, the Prussians will enjoy an advantage in quality and maneuverability given the National Advantages of Oblique Order, Lethal Volley, Steady Lads, and Great Captain against the Austrians' only National Advantage of Skirmishers.

Scott will be commanding the Austrians while Kevin will be playing the part of Der Alte Fritz.  To give the fellas a sense of the ground they will be fighting over, following are a few snapshots of the initial dispositions.
Looking west, Austrians on heights
Looking south, Prussians in foreground
Austrian right wing, anchored in Oak Woods and Krzeczor
Prussian center with grenadiers in second line
Austrian center
Krzeczor Hill from behind Austrian lines
Austrian cavalry in reserve
Prussian cavalry on Prussian right
Austrian cavalry on Austrian left
Austrian battle line looking from left wing east
We will see what surprises tomorrow holds.
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