Friday, March 9, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe - JUN-AUG 1756

French retreat following loss of Fort William-Henry
Following the loss of Fort William-Henry, the two regiments of French Regulars retreat back into the woods with hopes of reaching Fort Carillon before being caught by any pursuing British.  Having lost a regiment of colonial militia and being bloodied by the French defenders, the British were in no mood to pursue.  For an accounting of the battle, see Peter's BatRep of French Indian War Campaign Game 3.

For reinforcements, the British received a regiment of Regulars at Fort Edward but the Oneida marauding near Lake Erie return home.  For the French, the two defeated regiments return to Fort Carillon.  Dieskau, one Regular, and one militia hurry by bateaux from Isle aux Noix to bolster the defenses of Fort Carillon.
Reinforcements and Retreat
July 1756
July begins with much activity from both headquarters.  The British, wanting to accomplish a lot in the heat of summer, roll on the Command Table and receive five activations.  With those activations, Braddock and one Regular march from Fort Cumberland into the wilderness followed by one Regular regiment marching from Carlisle.  One British Regular regiment arrives at Fort Cumberland as a reinforcement.  Is Braddock considering a cross country march to launch an attack upon Fort Duquesne before winter? 
July 1756 Maneuvers
Johnson travels from Fort Stanwix to the Cayuga settlement in an attempt to win over the Cayuga.  That effort failed.   Finally, Shirley with two regiments of Regulars marches from Albany to Fort William-Henry.  Having handed over the two regiments to Monckton, Shirley returns to Fort Edward.
July 1756 Maneuvers
For the French, a warband of Huron join the French cause and travel to Fort Carillon.  With all troops either on supply sources or immune (single Regular regiment cannot fail forage roll), no attrition.
Situation end of July
August 1756
The British, wanting to press on, roll on the Command Table receiving three activations.  With these three activations, Braddock's force lumbers forward towards Fort Duquesne.  This is a risk.  If Fort Duquesne cannot be taken before winter, much of Braddock's expedition will likely be lost.  Johnson succeeds in winning over the Cayuga and the warband sets off for Fort Stanwix.  The British receive one Regular regiment at Albany.
British maneuvers August 1756
The French, seeing that Fort Duquesne is isolated and not defensible by one unit of Regulars, abandon the fort and withdraw to Fort Le Boeuf.  Knowing that a long war is not in French interests as the balance of power shifts to the British, Dieskau strikes out from Fort Carillon with the largest force gathered for battle yet in the war.  With the Mohawk Valley securely in British hands, the only avenue to gain advantage is the Lake Champlain-Lake George corridor.  Once more Fort William-Henry finds itself at the center of a storm.
French maneuvers August 1756
Third Battle for Fort William-Henry
OB:
British: Monckton (A2D1), 3 x 5-6 Regulars, 1 x 3-8 Ranger, 1 x 3-5 Militia
French: Dieskau (A2D2), 3 x 5-6 Regulars, 1 x 3-5 Militia, 1 x 3-8 Huron Warband.

Same bloodied ground as the previous two battles at the fort.  This time, the British are defending.  In the previous two battles, the defenders were thrown out of the fort.  Will we see the same outcome this time?  This looks like an even match up with the French led by a slightly better leader.

With a minimum of four units and a leader for each force, the Third Battle of Fort William-Henry will be classified as a Major Victory for the force holding the ground at the end of battle.  A Major Victory shifts the Political Track two spaces.  A Major Victory for the French could push the Political Track into a situation whereby the French could end the war by holding onto all gains until the end of September.  Had the French Regulars remained to garrison Fort Duquesne, Braddock could have bypassed the fort and threatened Fort Le Boeuf anyway.  A difficult choice for the French to make.  With Fort Duquesnes likely to fall, the French would need a political gain on another front.  Not a likely outcome but possible.  A chance the French believe worth the risk.

Peter, you can probably set this battle up in your sleep after two previous outings!

18 comments:

  1. A battle of some importance, will it be enough of itself to define how the rest of the campaigning year plays out?

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    1. Good question, Norm, and not an easy one to answer.

      As for the remainder of the campaign year of 1756, winter approaches soon and with that, most campaigning grinds to a halt.

      A French victory at W-H puts added pressure on the British to make a gain elsewhere to knock the French from the possibility of an automatic victory. Fort Duquesne is likely the best target for that. With the Spring arrival of huge British reinforcements, an amphibious assault on Quebec is possible.

      With a British victory, the situation for the French is much worsened especially given the arrival of a vast number of British in Springtime. Even holding gains on Lake Champlain may be challenging.

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  2. An entertaining read. I am feeling inspired to try this with another period. Perhaps it is a good way to use my fallow game table?

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    1. Glad you are enjoying the campaign, Jake!

      A campaign might be a good way to keep your table in use. With weather improving, opportunities for FtF play ought to be increasing too.

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    2. That would be fun. I am still getting caught up from my business trips of late.

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    3. For me, there is little joy in business trips.

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  3. A question - does the campaign game's units/regiments include artillery units? Given the coming game is representing a major battle I am considering including an artillery unit.

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    Replies
    1. The campaign game does NOT include artillery units in the game. Since the terrain was unsuitable to lugging much artillery through the difficult going, artillery mainly saw action during siege operations. With a major operation against a fort, the French bringing along artillery in anticipation of a siege seems reasonable.

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    2. Excellent, this will add another dimension to the 3rd Battle of William-Henry Fort.

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    3. Perhaps the warband of Huron are especially savage? Those are the rumors coming into Fort W-H anyway...

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  4. You guys are really putting in the games! Especially Peter who has to set up miniatures.

    I’m sorry if I missed it, but is there an expected turn limit? I suppose if I knew my FIW history better I could just tell by the year. 😀

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Peter, is really moving through the battles at a rapid clip!

      As for game length, the game can go into 1760 which is still a long way away.

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  5. Interesting that the French have abandoned the main link to Louisiana and a major group of Indian allies (who have presumably gone neutral) so early in the war. Exciting stuff.

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    1. Hi Ross. Getting the Natives to throw in with one of the European powers is difficult. Without moving a French leader off map to the Native entry points, convincing a tribe to commit to the French cause is only 40%. Since only one activation attempt is allowed per turn, the French felt getting the Huron into the action was important. With Fort Duquesnes under threat, I wager the French try to get soe Natives allies on that front.

      Glad you are enjoying the game!

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  6. Game 4 completed and battle report posted.

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