Sunday, June 10, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe: Ambush & Amphibious Assault

Ambush!
The trap is sprung!  Caught on the march through the mountains, a regiment of British Regulars is surprised by Rigaud and his mixed force of militia and Regulars.  Peter details the battle account of the French ambuscade at Grid Based Wargaming FIW Game 14. 
Rigaud ambushes British Regulars in mountains
With a BMU multiplier of four for this battle, each regiment on the boardgame translated into four stands on Peter's gaming table.  The British regiment, caught in ambush, lost three of its four stands in the action.  The only stand to escape destruction was the light infantry stand.  In the campaign, regiments not completely destroyed in the tactical combat are assumed to come back up to full strength in the next turn.  What this means is the the British infantry cadre of one stand, having suffered 75% casualties, returns to full strength when play returns to the campaign map.  Perhaps a unit losing more than 50% of its strength should be eliminated instead?  Something to think about. 

NB:  Having given it some thought, I propose the following amendment for consideration:
A BMU having retired from battle must pass a cohesion test.  To pass, a BMU that has lost component stands must roll less than or equal to the percentage of stands remaining from the original BMU.  For example, a BMU with four component stands, having sustained three stand losses in combat and retiring, has a one in four change of returning to battle next turn at full strength.  If the roll is failed then the BMU is removed from play permanently.  

June 1758
There was a good reason why Wolfe was gathering a large force of Regulars at Trenton.  That reason?  Wolfe has gathered his force for an amphibious assault on Quebec!  Loading the ships with five regiments of British Regulars, Wolfe sets sail for the hub of New France.
With the British fleet packed with troops preparing to disembark its holds, the French under Montcalm has some tough choices to make.  Does he sally forth from the citadel and confront Wolfe and his army or remain inside the citadel and subject himself to a siege?  Choices that Peter will make when he sets up and plans the battle.  The Battle for Quebec provides Peter his first chance to bring his mighty fortress into the game and give his siege rules a test.  The two best leaders of the war face off against one another.   Should be an interesting battle.
Battle of Quebec:
OB:
British: Wolfe (A4D4), 5 x 5-6 Regular Infantry Regiments
French: Montcalm (A4D4), 2 x 5-6 Regular Infantry Regiments, 1 x 3-5 Militia Regiment

Could this be the deciding moment of the war?

28 comments:

  1. That does seem a little unreasonable to let a unit that lost 75% back up to full strength and function so fast ,plains of Quebec?
    Best Iain

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    1. Yes, we may see a repeat of the Battle for Quebec on the Plains of Abraham.

      I have a proposed change for consideration regarding unit battle losses translated back to the campaign.

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  2. It's really impressive how Wolfe used various modes of transportation. I recall a young and future Captain Cook participated in the naval operations.

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    1. I did not know that about the future Captain Cook. Thanks, Dean!

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  3. It does seem that the situation may have pointed out an anomaly in the campaign rules when small forces are engaged.

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    1. Ed, I have amended my thoughts on this in the note above.

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    1. Glad you are enjoying following the campaign. Be sure to pop over to Peter's blog to follow along on the individual battles.

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  5. This could indeed be the climax Jonathan. My recollection is that Cook was scouting the river and observed either civilians or French troops usung a track that led up the cliffs to the Heights of Abraham that hitherto had been thought unscalable. It was this track that enabled Wolfe to ascend the heights, forcing Montcalm to fight him in the open field and ultimately win the battle for Quebec.

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    1. Interesting history lesson, Mark!

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    2. Mind you more recent research has shown that this "track" was a wagon road which is not nearly as romantic. Not much in the way of a fortress at Quebec either but I'd be all for letting the French improve the defences as an excuse to see Peter's fort on the table!

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    3. In the board game, Quebec is considered a fortress so I am happy to let Peter bring out the fort and offer us a siege game.

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  6. A valid point about formation destruction and it would be interesting to see retrospectively how many regiments each side would have actually lost over the course of the campaign with such a proposal, with a perspective of whether it would shorten the war or make a fought for advantage more significant in terms of swings of player fortune.

    I played a campaign in which routed units were not available until the turn AFTER the next.

    If it is felt that complete destruction is too severe (I don't know) as a balancer, would it be worth allowing the remaining fraction of a 'destroyed' unit to be used at some future point as a sort of replacement point. So if 75% loss resulted in unit destruction, the remaining 25% would be eventually usable, whether as a Cadre or replacement.

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    1. Your last point is a very interesting one, Norm. It would require additional bookkeeping and step outside the bounds of the original boardgame. In the original, a player may withdraw from a battle at any time thus saving his force. The units depleted but not eliminated during battle I consider as a temporary loss of combat effectiveness. My rationalization is that this temporary loss may be regained as morale is recovered, troops rally, stragglers and others return to the colors, etc..

      With attrition harsh for those not fortunate enough to find themselves sitting on a supply base, losing even more units to the ravages of war might denude the continent completely!

      I appreciate your thoughts on this topic and for following this lengthy campaign.

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  7. Jonathan- Recently I gamed with a good friend who was using the ACW Rules ('On To Richmond') for his 7Yrs Wargame. OTR Rules allows for the re-building of Regiments from the main Brigades which are deemed no longer in the firing line of Battle on the Games Table - each game turn at rest the Unit/Regiment has a certain D10 % chance of re-gaining a 'Stand' (100 Infantry or 40 cavalry)..these Rules works well for very-very large ACW Brigade sized Armies and Battles - however it seemed most unrealistic for 7Yrs War. During the course of the 7Yrs War game by TURN 9 a number of cavalry Regiments (4 in fact) that were reduced to 1 'Stand' each managed to Re-Build themselves back to full strength of 6 Stands each by the ending of the Battle - a mostly rediculous outcome and totally absurd....I think that for a Campaign in the 7Yrs War theatre- those Regiments which suffer losses of up to 70% should be dissolved outright...the remaining 30% that survive go into building other 'depleted' Regiments ready for the next encounter...to be specific - if the British in your campaign for example find themselves running out of troops -then the only way to gain more is to wait a long time for extra Troops to be sailed out to the Colony by ship from England. Just an idea. Also- a Regiment suffering 70% Casualties - is totally unrealistic- there would be no troops able to withstand such punishment on the field of battle - they would have retired long before this figure was ever reached. Something to consider. Regards. KEV.

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    1. Hi Kev! Your thoughts on campaigning are much appreciated. See my reply to Norm above on my thoughts on unit combat effectiveness and recovery. I agree that 70% losses would render a unit combat ineffective, for sure.

      Another consideration to keep in mind for my FIW campaign game was the original purpose of it. The campaign is meant to be a battle-generating engine for Peter's tactical tabletop battles. In Peter's earlier FIW campaign game, he felt context from an overall perspective was lacking. I offered to run the campaign you see here as a means of providing that historical context.

      With a primary goal of generating tabletop battles within a historically viable context, the campaign game is doing its job. Montcalm & Wolfe may be a simplistic approach but it is accomplishing its expected objective. Well, at least I think it is. Peter would be a more appropriate better person to ask that question.

      Thanks again for your thoughts on the process and your experience.

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  8. Looks like the denouement is imminent. I am definitely enjoying watching the back and forth between the board and the tabletop.

    Speaking of which, I am still looking for the free time to test out 5th Corps to try the same thing for the modern age. My initial read through did seem promising however.

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    1. It could be end end or Wolfe could get tossed back into the sea. We will see.

      I look forward to seeing your progression on Fifth Corps campaign. Perhaps we should give the board game a try on a Friday Night at the Fights just to get the mechanisms down?

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    2. I was thinking about that piece. I am just finding time to do a solo playtest to see if it will generate the right number of battles per turn. I looked at using NATO, but it would requires too many tabletop games per game turn to be viable. The other part is seeing how the rule system translates to using other tech. 5th Corps was written in the early 80's for units with the M60A1 and A2 and Mech Infantry with M113s. I want to see if it will work if I advance the timeline to 1984-87 to incorporate the Reagan era build up. The late 70's/Early 80's always seems to be a time period where the liberal application of Tactical Nukes seemed unavoidable.

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    3. Let us know how your solo play test works out. Early 80s was probably the last time this series saw action on my gaming table. I vaguely remember friction, tac nukes, and helicopters as playing an ever present role. Will be fun to see this in action again.

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  9. Looking at the odds 5 regiments to 3 regiments (and one being militia) I think a siege is likely.

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    1. I didn't see how you could pass up a chance at conducting a siege.

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  10. It’s amazing that this series is still providing as much as fun as it is and that it’s still going on. You and Kevin have shown some real dedication! 😀. I congratulate you. I might need to rethink my reluctance towards campaigns.

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    1. The campaign has been entertaining, for sure. Peter has done a terrific job of working through each engagement with miniatures and reporting back the outcome to be fed back into thew campaign.

      Perhaps, give it a try, sometime, Stew?

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  11. An intriguing campaign. Looking forward to the Battle of the Plains, or will it be Les Chutes Montmorency?!

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    1. The campaign has been interesting with neither Peter or I having any control over what the other is doing at their level of campaign. To get a field battle, the French must come out and fight!

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  12. I think the outnumbered French are definitely going to be making use of Peter's Fort here!

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