Monday, December 10, 2012

French & Indian War Action - Part Deux

The game reconvened on DEC 08 and we picked up where we left off on Thanksgiving.  After a prolonged clash at the stream, the natives scatter the survivors of the frontiersmen.  With the frontiersmen eliminated, three of the warbands begin working their way through the woods to envelop the British right.
Earning their moniker, the coureur des bois make a wide sweep around the British left and prepare for a rear attack.  Ever vigilant, the British lights spot the trappers and turn to engage.

The 1st Royals advance to the stream bank and begin exchanging fire with La Reine.  To anchor the British right, one coy of militia advances into the woods unaware of the dangers lurking, therein.
With a whoop, the natives strike into the surprised militia cutting them to pieces.  Massacre!  
Failing to stem the panic, the remaining two coys of militia fall back upon the Royals.  As the militia retreat, only the rangers stand between the Royals' flank and the natives.  Despair grows among the colonial commander.
Continuing volleys between the Royals and La Reine witness bending but no breaking of the lines.  The Royals are able to cycle fresh troops into the firing line while exhausted companies regain their cohesion.

With the sense of catastrophe mounting, the British lights attack and then scatter the courer de bois.  Having eliminated the threat from the rear, the light infantry hustle to counter the native threats.  Failing to surprise the militia, the natives are repulsed and then counterattacked by the light infantry and rangers.  All natives on the British side of the stream are scattered and the immediate crisis is averted.
  

The light coy retraces its path back to the stream and then crosses to threaten the French right.  Order is restored to the regulars and the advance upon the French positions is resumed.

Climbing the hill on the French right, the lights catch one of the La Reine companies in the woods.  Better able to operate within the confines of the woods, the lights eventually succeed in scattering the French.  Victorious, the British commander joins the lights from their vantage spot to direct the advance.  Remnants of the French withdraw back into the safety of the woods.


Thus ended the game.  

The French held the upper hand throughout the early and mid game while the British were completely frustrated by the natives in the woods.  Once the close-order troops pulled back into the clearings, native surprise attacks diminished.  Using the rangers and light infantry in the woods against the natives turned the tide in the game.  Had the French pressed the attack across the stream with their regulars while the Royals were wavering and militia encircled, the game may have ended with one hard push. 

This scenario produced a hard fought battle with both sides believing they were winning one turn and then losing the next.  With terrain dominated by woods, the irregulars become quite powerful when used to their best advantage.  Rapid movement through woods, ability to thwart surprise attacks, and their prowess in woodland close combat all combine to produce tough adversaries.  As the British player discovered, militia in woods are no match for natives.  Likewise, the French player discovered that natives in the open are no match for regulars.  

Although I didn't count the number of turns played, we must have completed at least a dozen turns.  Le Petite Guerre rules worked well and allowed a smooth running game with few questions.  I did make some notes during the game for later consideration and possible adjustments.

While I only moderated this game, it was great fun to deploy the FIW collection on the gaming table and watch the battle unfold.  With very little pre-game preparation needed, hopefully, we'll return to the frontier soon. 

4 comments:

  1. Battle looks great and the report very fun to read! It did at first sound like the British were going to routed, but they kept their cool it seems.

    Christopher

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    Replies
    1. You are not alone in thinking the British were on the verge of collapse. The situation was quite dismal. The British commander's morale (the player's morale not the figure's) was nearing the breaking point as the natives kept applying pressure and hitting his militia again and again. British grenadiers were likewise hit hard by French volley fire.

      But, the success of the rangers and light infantry gave the British commander a new lease on life. Those successes formed the basis for a complete turn-around in the game.

      Appreciate your comments.

      Jon

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  2. Great AAR and a fun 2 days of gaming. And an interesting note on the commander's morale. We've all played long enough to know when we're cycling down and off the board. Like you pointed out, sometimes the my morale breaks before the troops!

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  3. Thanks for the comments, Monty. As a follow-up to your "cycling down" comment, familiarity breeds, well, familiarity. When faced with the same group of opponents over time in many different situations, player tendencies can be qualified. In some instances, breaking your opponent's morale early in the game can lead to victory even when the opponent's game pieces may hold the advantage.

    Which is easier: to know thy self or thy opponent?

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