Saturday, August 4, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe: French Gain a Major Victory

Battle for Fort Oswego
As set up in the last Montcalm & Wolfe post, Contrecoeur and Drucour converge upon Fort Oswego in an attempt to wrest control of this key outpost from British hands.  To follow the action of this Major Battle, please visit Peter's Grid Based Wargaming.  In the action, Contrecoeur was wounded and carried from the field.  In the end, the French persevered but it was a near run thing.  The French Irregulars were destroyed but the fort fell.  Defeated in battle, Amherst's militia had enough and disbanded.  With the Cayuga eliminated in battle, only Amherst and one regiment of Regulars escape.  With a French Major Victory, the Political Track shifts two spaces to the left in favor of the French.  With winter approaching, all Natives disband and return to their settlements.  
Winter 1 1758
With snow blanketing the ground, campaigning slows to prevent severe deprivations.  Britain rolls on the Command Table receiving one CP.  Amherst and his one regiment of Regulars slips past the French at Fort Oswego and returns to the lightly garrisoned Fort Stanwix.  Overpowering the garrison, Amherst prepares for winter within the safety of the fort.  The French move Drucour and one regiment of Regulars back to Fort Niagara before Braddock can respond.
Winter 2 1758
In the second winter turn, the British roll on the Command Table and the French get to interrupt with one activation.  With that, the militia in Fort Frontenac travels by bateaux to Oswegatchie to join Rigaud.

Rolling on the Command Table a second time, the British receive four activations.  With four activations, one Regular regiment moves from Albany to Fort Stanwix to join Amherst, Johnson moves to Fort William-Henry, one Regular regiment moves from Fort Edward to Fort William-Henry, and finally, the lone regiment of Regulars stationed at Fort Cumberland for most of the war marches to Baltimore.  The French remain inactive. 
Strategic Phase
Winter is mild and neither attritional losses nor militia disbandments are seen.  French receive one militia as a reinforcement and Contrecoeur returns to the field.  Both make their way to Fort Oswego.  The British receive one militia and Abercromby.  Both of these reinforcements march to Fort Carillon.

May 1759
With the end of winter, fresh reinforcement arrive.  One more colonial militia marches to Fort Stanwix to bolster Amherst.  The French receive two regiments of Regulars; one marches to Trois Rivieres to augment Montcalm's garrison while the other arrives at Fort Oswego.  Contrecoeur is amassing a sizable force on the banks of Lake Ontario.

To begin the campaign year, the British choose to roll on the Command Table.  Three CPs are received.  One Regular regiment marches from Fort Duquesne to Fort Le Boeuf; the Regular regiment in Baltimore is shipped to Quebec; and Loudoun and two regiments of Regulars converge upon Oswegatchie to attack Rigaud.  The British strike north in an attempt to isolate Montreal!
The Battle at Oswegatchie
OB:
British: Loudoun (A0D1), 2 x 5-6 Regulars
French: Rigaud (A0D1), 1 x 5-6 Regular, 1 x 3-5 Militia

With a river to his back, Rigaud must defend the settlement of Oswegatchie from Loudoun's bold attack out of the wilderness.  A British victory here could threaten Montreal from a second front.

16 comments:

  1. Jonathan, Do I have it right that overall - while the British are quite well positioned, the greater strength is with the French?

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    1. Hi Norm, The British not only appear to hold a positional advantage but also a numerical one. British count 17 regiments to 10 for the French. The French are concentrated in a few pockets while the British are strewn hither and yon on garrison. British are making build-ups at Fort Carillon and Quebec.

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  2. Wow, I was well out in my thinking re strengths, I didn't think that a tipping balance had been reached …. or has it :-)

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    1. 1759 was a lean year for reinforcements. The French may be able to take a good stab into the Mohawk Valley from Oswego but I expect the French to feel pressure on Lake Champlain and Trois Rivieres soon. Both sides are experiencing the fatigues and difficulties of waging a long war along the frontier.

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  3. This battle was a big lift for the French... but I'd still rather be the British!

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    1. This victory helped the French in pushing the Political Track back to neutral. In that situation, fewer colonial militia are eager to join the British cause. That, and the British rolled very poorly in the annual recruitment phase.

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  4. Interesting update to the campaign, Jonathan. I read somewhere in a history class that the French assimilated easier with the natives than the British. Which may have assisted their cause with fewer actual Frenchmen.

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    1. That may have the French but the odds were stacked heavily against them.

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  5. Still got to be the British odds on favourite but the French have done well to still be in it!
    Best Iain

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  6. Have you defined victory conditions for the two sides?

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    1. Yes. If Britain controls Montreal and Quebec and no British port is in French hands, Britain wins. If France controls Montreal and Quebec and two British ports are in French hands, France wins. If neither of these conditions are met, the Political Track is checked. If the Political Track is at either '4' or '5' in a player's favor then that player wins. Otherwise, game is a draw.

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  7. The French are definitely making a strong case for a rally. They may yet pull out the draw at least.

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    1. If the French can hang onto Montreal, a draw is a very real possibility.

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  8. This has been great fun to keep track of Jonathan. I have posted most of my comments on your colleagues table top game site but you have obviously contributed a huge amount to this campaign through the board game side of things too - great stuff!

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    1. Very pleased to read your comments about your enjoyment of this exercise! This has been a fun collaborative effort.

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