Monday, May 19, 2014

Montcalm & Wolfe - Battle for Fort Carillon

French Ready for Attack

When we last checked in with the campaign, the British under Shirley had stolen a march on the French and interrupted the construction of the French fort on Lake Champlain.  Knowing the importance of the fort and in an attempt to restore the balance, Rigaud quickly countered by preparing an attack on the British.
Operational Situation SEP 1755
For the action, Shirley had two militia regiments and one regimental equivalent of rangers.  The French, under Rigaud, brought to battle two regular French regiments and one militia regiment.  Shirley held the fort site which, at this point, only had modest defenses constructed.  With the fort on higher ground, the French would be attacking uphill but would hold a qualitative advantage.  While the area surrounding the fort had been cleared of most vegetation, woods were not far off to the west of the fort site.

Shirley deployed his militia in and around the fort site with the rangers taking up positions in the woods to prevent the French from outflanking the entrenchments.  Having disembarked his men, Rigaud advanced on the British positions from the north and northwest. 
Having little regard for the quality of the enemy opposing him. Rigaud closes on the high ground in serried ranks for a frontal assault.  As the French close, militia musketry disrupts the steadiness of some of the attackers.

Choosing not to waste time with softening up the colonial militia, French regulars attack the defenses
and are quickly thrown back down the hill with casualties.  Cheers from the colonial militia echo against the woods.
Rigaud rallies one unit while other attacks are launched against the breastworks.  The French regulars are determined to press home the assault
with adjacent attacks going in against defenders simultaneously. 

Colonial muskets ring out as the French attackers waver.  Some attackers are turned away through musketry alone while others press on even as casualties mount.  Another French wave of attacks breaks against the entrenchments and the French tumble back down the hill.  Another cheer from the defenders of the crown.
Shirley steadies his militia and awaits the next French assault
as another assault party forms up on the west and north approaches to the British positions.
This time, however, Rigaud, tired of having his assaults checked, halts within short musketry range and pours fire into the defenders.  Success!  Some of the colonial militia have had enough and they fall back to the rear to escape the firefight.
Attaching himself to one of the French regulars, Rigaud guides his troops around the entrenchments in search of a weakly fortified position.
While the French left is turned and infantry are in retreat, Rigaud makes a last attempt to wrest control of the fort from British hands. 
Colonial militia await and brace themselves for the assault that appears imminent.
Under Rigaud's guidance, the regulars are eager to make one more attempt against the fort.
Rigaud's attack is successful in driving the militia back.

Success! But is it too late?  Erupting from the woods, rangers attack the militia holding the French right.  
The militia panic, turn tail, and run.
With the loss of four of his six units and adversaries pressing in on both flanks, Rigaud gives the order to retreat and preserve that which he can.

The battle of Fort Carillon ends with the British in control of the site.  For the French, the loss of battle poses two immediate problems.  One, no fort will be built on this site in September and, two, the remaining French must forage.  Also, one French regiment of regulars was destroyed in the contest.  Rigaud was counting on defeating the colonials so that the construction could be completed and stores could be brought up from which to supply his troops before the onset of winter.  Now, Rigaud will be forced to make his way back to Isle aux Noix for the winter.

Jake was victorious in the role of Shirley while Kevin went down in defeat as the French commander, Rigaud.  The game was resolved using Le Petite Guerre and took only about three hours to play to conclusion.  Thanks to Jake and Kevin for their assistance in resolving the battle.

18 comments:

  1. Great post, Jonathan. Love the figures, terrain and campaign shot

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    1. Thanks, Dean! I always appreciate your comments.

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  2. Beautiful minis and great report...I would not have liked to be on the hill!

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    1. Thank you, Phil. I thought the French could push the colonial militia around a bit more. I guess not and now the French will suffer.

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  3. Jonathan, nice looking game and very entertaining AAR. That result is going to give the French a few problems.
    I got a copy La Petit Guere, are they your preferred rules for French Indian War?

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    1. Yes, the French will have some trouble now in the Lake Champlain region. As for the rules, these are not the commercial rules but a set of rules that I devised myself based upon a loose adaptation of Whitehouse's Old Trousers.

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  4. Great looking battle and interesting read!

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  5. It was a very interesting game. I was fortunate in that the French focused on assaulting across my walls rather than trying to get around to the back. The stout walls really helped overcome my qualitative inferiority.

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    1. I, too, was surprised that Kevin didn't try to either soften you up or bypass the entrenchments (or both!). Repeated frontal assaults really knocked the shine off the French regulars and they quickly became no better than your militia.

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  6. Nice looking game a great report Jonathan!

    Christopher

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  7. Fascinating and colorful! I like to see other people's playing style and the French player was very aggressive. At another place or time, that might have paid a handsome dividend but not on this day. Now he's in a jam!

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    1. The French are, indeed, in a jam now. Very aggressive play. Had it worked it would have been a glorious French triumph. Now, we need to see how successfully they can forage...

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  8. Interesting, attarctiove game! The French behaved the way we (mythologically) tend to think of the British behaving during the Revolution and French and Indian War - bull headed attacks expecting their natural superiority to overcome terrain, supply issues and other factors.

    Of course had it worked, all to the Glory of France and King Louis! :-)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! The French, having little respect for their militia-heavy adversaries, definitely led with their chin in the numerous assaults against the earthworks. Given adequate protection, militia can perform useful service on the battlefield.

      You are quite right! Had the French prevailed, the bold tactics would have been highly praised!

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  9. Thanks to this campaign, I might have to break down and scale up my 7YW forces after all . . . .

    FMB

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    1. Marcus! Glad you stopped by! It has been a long time. Happy to provide a bit of inspiration for your project.

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