Sunday, February 25, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe - Battle for Fort William-Henry

French Maneuvers SEP 1755
After the defeat of the French at Fort Oswego, the campaign continues with the French September 1755 turn.  See Peter's account of the battle for Fort Oswego at: Battle of Fort Oswego.

The success of Shirley's attack on Fort Oswego holds strategic as well as tactical implications.  With the British holding Fort Oswego, the door has been slammed shut on any direct marches down the Mohawk Valley.  For the French, Fort Oswego was an ideal jumping off point for forays into the interior.  Without that base, the French have a difficult task.  Even attacks upon Fort Oswego, itself, are perilous with a defended fort.  An attack will now take at minimum two months to execute and attrition will likely be high.  That loss puts even more pressure on a successful campaign along Lake Champlain, Lake George, and the Hudson.

After marching out from Fort Oswego unmolested, having been defeated by Shirley and his Cayuga allies, Contrecoeur ponders his next move.  With winter approaching and needing to make haste, the French CinC rolls on the Command Table.  Fortune smiles on the French this day drawing five activations.

Contrecoeur and his regiment of irregulars return to Fort Niagara in anticipation of winter. The regiment of regulars in the mountains near Fort Cumberland do likewise and return to Fort Duquesne. Approaching winter does not dampen the raiding Tuscarora's spirits.  They make a raid upon the settlement of Carisle.  Finally, Rigaud and two regiments of regulars march on Fort William-Henry hoping to make one last attack before winter arrives.  The capture of William-Henry would provide the French with an important forward base at the beginning of the next campaigning season. 
Rigaud marches on Fort William-Henry
With Fort Willian-Henry only recently completed, a number of defenses are untried and still require attention.  Perhaps now is the perfect time to attack before the defensive works have been made true?  

While Rigaud had the command capacity to take along the two militia stationed in Fort Carillon, the slow moving militia were not up to the fast pace of the regular infantry.  Knowing this, Rigaud left the militia behind.  Stationed in the Fort William-Henry outpost along with Johnson are two militia and a regiment of rangers.

Battle of Fort William-Henry
Situation: Fort William-Henry sits at the southern end of Lake George.  Besides the large clearing where the fort is situated, the Hudson River protects the eastern approaches while mountains abut to the west.  Space exists to deploy for battle on all but the northern face of the fort.  The French approach from the north on their march along Lake George.  After Contrecoeur's loss of Fort Oswego on Lake Ontario, the capture of Fort William-Henry would do much to erase the sting of that loss.

British: Johnson, (A0D1), 2 x 3-5 Militia and 1 x 3-8 Ranger regiment.
French: Rigaud (A0D1), 2 x 5-6 Regular regiments. 

Suggested Force Multiplier: 3 (as in Fort Oswego battle) or 4.

Recall, the CE of Regulars > Irregulars > Militia/Rangers/Warbands.  That is the French Regulars are two grades of CE superior to their opponents.

Over to you, Peter, for scenario setup and combat resolution.  If you have questions, let me know. 


  1. Excellent - can troops over-winter without attrition in Fort William-Henry?

    1. Thanks, Norm. Attrition, especially during winter is harsh in MW. All units regardless of location must forage unless in a settlement or fort. Two, Non-militia units in a fort (including Ft WH) are exempt from attrition; all others must roll on the Forage Table. For militia, winter is even more harsh. EVERY militia unit must roll during each winter turn to determine if it demobilizes. Keeping militia from demobilizing during winter may be a tough task. Since there are two winter turns each year, odds are not in militia's favor for sticking around.

  2. Fine narrative building up here!
    Best Iain

  3. Cool stuff. I am enjoying watching this unfold.

    1. Very good that you find this exercise entertaining!

  4. The campaign is progressing in style :)

  5. Hi Jon, the game is setup and on the table with a post of the plans.


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