Friday, March 16, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe: Battle of Fort William-Henry and the Approach of Winter

Huron harass defenders at 3rd Battle of Ft William-Henry
(from Grid based wargaming - but not always)
Following the British defeat at Fort William-Henry, Monckton withdraws back to Fort Edward.  The battle was close but Dieskau persevered and took control of the fort.  Please visit Peter's blog to follow the battle (3rd Battle of Fort William-Henry).

September 1756
Rather than launch another counterattack against Fort William-Henry, the British prioritize pushing Braddock toward the lightly defended Fort Duquesne.  The British roll on the Command Table.  They receive two CPs.  Braddock and one Regular reach the fort as does a second regiment of Regulars trailing Braddock.  Fort Duquesne falls with no loss to Braddock.  The Political Track shifts one space in the British favor.

Needing to get more than one task accomplished, the French, too, roll on the Command Table.  The French receive three Command Points.  With these commands, the militia at William-Henry returns to Fort Carillon, one Regular stationed at Oswegatchie travels to Fort Frontenac.  No losses from attrition although the British Regular in the mountains north of Fort Cumberland had to rely on foraging to sustain itself.  With winter approaching, the Huron, Cayuga, and Illini return home.
Winter 1 1756
In Montcalm & Wolfe, there are two turns of winter between September and May.  Winter turns see more harsh attrition and Native and militia demobilization.  Tough to accomplish an extended campaign in these conditions.  Still, fighting over a supply source makes good sense if the supply source can be captured.  Anyway, on to the Winter Turn bringing 1756 to a close.

Pressured by the French, the British roll on the Command Table to get more than one activation.  The result?  One activation for the French!  With that activation, Drucour, one Regular, and one militia take bateaux from Fort Frontenac and come ashore to the east of Fort Oswego.  Drucour has stolen a march on the British!  Perhaps not in sufficient force to pull off a successful attack against Oswego but the ungarrisoned Fort Stanwix is within a march of Drucour's raiding party.
The British face a dilemma.  Do they opt to roll on the Command Table and risk another failure or take the guaranteed one activation?  A single activation allows the garrisoning of Fort Stanwix at the expense of all other operations.  The British choose the latter strategy and use their one activation to move one Regular from Oswego to Stanwix arriving ahead of the French.  
The French, likewise, take no risk on the Command Table making one automatic activation.  With that activation, Drucour and his force attack the recently garrisoned Fort Stanwix.
Attack on Fort Stanwix
OB:
British: 1 x 5-6 Regular
French: Drucour (A0D1), 1 x 5-6 Regular, 1 x 3-5 Militia

Fort Stanwix is situated at a key carrying place between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek. By portaging from the Mohawk River to Wood Creek via Fort Stanwix, a water-borne journey to Lake Ontario is possible.  If Fort Stanwix falls to the French, the French receive a favorable Political Track shift.  The loser of this action will be without supply during winter.  Attrition may be harsh and the loser may perish in the wilderness before reaching safety.

Peter, over to you for resolution.

22 comments:

  1. A small action, but one with risk and the full attention of both sides. I think it was the right call for the British to ensure the garrisoning of Fort Stanwix. The severity of winter and all that it entails with supply, location and attrition, brings a nice dynamic to this campaign.

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    1. Taking the automatic one CP for the British to get a jump on the French to Stanwix was probably the correct choice. Given that the last Command Table roll resulted in a French activation, it could have happened again or the Brits could have rolled zero activations. Either way, Stanwix would fall without much of a fight. At least this way, Stanwix has a chance to stay in British hands. Attrition can be brutal in this game especially in winter.

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  2. A very interesting campaign! the next stages are read with great joy and curiosity.
    Thank You Jonathan!

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    1. Glad you are enjoying this! Be sure to visit Peter's blog for battle details.

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  3. Fascinating campaign continues, I am glad we're not getting the battle of fort William Henry 4!
    Best Iain

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    1. A fourth battle of William-Henry certainly looks likely, does it not? Pleased to see you are enjoying the campaign.

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  4. Excellent running narrative Jonathan!

    Christopher

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  5. An excellent and enjoyable read.

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    1. Thanks! The M&W boardgame makes a nifty campaign game for generating tabletop battles.

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    2. I'd like one for the Italian wars, I think I'm going to get James Roach's pike and plunder campaign but really an appropriate board game would be good, any ideas?
      Best Iain

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    3. Iain, I am surprised that I can think of no campaign game for the Italian Wars. This requires further investigation!

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    4. 1) Machiavelli (my copy is the Avalon Hill version)

      2) All is Lost save Honor (Europa Simulazione)

      3) Pike and Plunder of course is designed with a miniatures campaign in mind, though.

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    5. Thanks Peter, I'll look into those.
      Best Iain

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    6. Thanks for the tips, Peter! I am surprised there are not more options for gaming the wars. Perhaps, there is an opportunity here?

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  6. Great narrative Jonathan. The images of the campaign map are particularly effective when played as a slideshow.

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  7. Very much appreciated, Mark! Good to hear the scepreenshots are useful in recounting and tracking game developments.

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  8. Very cool, Jonathan. F&IW makes for a great campaign game.

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    1. Glad you enjoy the campaign! FIW is a good candidate for a campaign.

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  9. Really enjoying this, Jon. A campaign like this is a great way to get some varied actions on the table!

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    1. That is great, Peter! With the difficult terrain and supply rules, all battles thus far have been centered on the taking of forts.

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  10. The game report for the attack on Fort Stanwix is now posted.

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