Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe: French Lose Oswego

British May Reinforcements
After losing Fort Oswego to Amherst, Drucour and his regiment of Regulars are given the Honors of War and march out from the fort.  For details on how the French lost Fort Oswego, see Peter's account of the battle at Grid Based Wargaming.  Peter continues to modify the tactical combat rules with refinement in the use of leader ratings.  I think his modifications work well and more closely incorporate the spirit of the boardgame.

If the victory on the battlefield is not enough to sway opinion in favor of the British, May 1758 sees a large influx of reinforcements into the colonies.  Six regiments of Regulars arrive and are allocated as 1 x 5-6 Regular to Fort Stanwix to thwart any thought of Drucour making an attack against the undefended fort, 2 x 5-6 Regulars to New York joining Wolfe, 2 x 5-6 Regulars to Trenton, and 1 x 5-6 Regular to New Haven. 

May 1758 French:
The French opt to take no chances and choose the automatic one Command Point.  With that one CP, Rigaud and the 1 x 4-7 regiment of Irregulars travel by bateaux from Montreal to Oswegatchie.  The arrival of a garrison to the settlement of Oswegatchie trumps the British from slipping into the settlement without much of a fight.  Now if the British want the settlement, they will be forced to fight for it.  In addition, the Oneida ally with the French and move against the lightly garrisoned Fort Le Boeuf.  The fort falls to the Natives.  For May reinforcements, the French receive two regiments: one Regular and one Irregular.  The Regulars are sent to Oswegatchie while the Irregulars are sent to Fort Niagara.
French Maneuvers May 1758
June 1758:
The British roll on the Command Table receiving only one Command Point.  With that one point, Wolfe, 2 x 5-6 Regulars and 1 x 3-5 Militia march to Trenton.  Trenton now has a force under Wolfe's command of four regiments of Regulars and one regiment of Colonial Militia.  What are the British planning?  The Seneca near Fort Niagara rally to the British flag.
French Maneuvers June 1758
The French choose to roll on the Command Table as well.  They have better luck scoring three Command Points.  With these, Drucour and his regiment of Regulars march toward Fort Niagara.  With the Seneca blocking the main line of advance, Drucour attacks.  From Fort Niagara, Contrecoeur sends out the regiment of Irregulars to join Drucour in his attack against the Seneca settlement.  From Oswegatchie, Rigaud and his newly gathered force of one Irregular and one Regular attacks the British Regulars in a mountain ambuscade to the south of the settlement.  The French have returned to the offensive with two battles in June!

Drucour's Attack Against the Seneca:
British: 1 x 3-8 Seneca Warband 
French: Drucour (A0D1), 1 x 5-6 Regular, 1 x 4-7 Militia
In defense of their settlements, the Seneca are prepared to fight savagely despite being attacked on two fronts.

Rigaud's Ambush of the British Regulars in the Mountains Near Oswegatchie:
British: 1 x 5-6 Regular regiment 
French: Rigaud (A0D1), 1 x 5-6 Regular, 1 x 4-7 Militia
Caught on the march through unfamiliar mountains, the British are surprised by the French attack.

Two more interesting battles for Peter to resolve.


  1. Interesting stuff Jonathan - are you using the board game to generate scenarios for wargames with figures? Many years ago, a friend and I used a VERY simplistic boardgame system from the Canadian Wargames Group plus a set of rules called Habitants and Highlanders to fight the entire FIW year by year. It was your reference to the reinforcements that reminded me of it - at the start of each new "year", the British would receive ever increasing reinforcements whilst the British could prevent ANY French reinforcement by capturing Newfoundland. It took us a couple of months - maybe a total of 10-12 games - to complete the whole thing - great fun!

    1. Yes, the boardgame is being played by myself at the operational/strategic level to generate tactical situations for play with miniatures. Peter, at Grid Based Wargaming has been taking these boardgame-generated situations, translating them to the table top, and fighting them out in miniature. See Peter's blog for all of the 12 games played out thus far in the campaign. The link to Peter's blog is embedded as a hyperlink in this blog post.

      Canadian Wargames Group's Habitants & Highlanders is an excellent reference. I considered using the campaign in it but opted for Montcalm & Wolfe since I was familiar with the game and VASSAL module existed to show each turn graphically, M&W got the task. If you are interested in another FIW campaign, consider Markam's Montcalm & Wolfe as a battle-generating engine.

  2. It looks like the French might pull off a few surprises yet.

    I had forgotten about Habitants and Highlanders. I picked up the three book set (with Rockets Red Glare and the AIW game) years ago, but never got them onto the table. Excellent resources though.

    1. Right. For now, the French may have to be content in a spoiling role.

      The Canadian Wargames Groups' guides you mention are excellent resources. I refer back to the AWI and ECW volumes often.

  3. Nice to see the campaign developing, a lovely period

    1. In game terms, the campaign is in year three with twelve tabletop battles having been fought. Two more battles are in waiting for resolution. The British seem to be gaining in dominance and French strategy must change to accommodate this situation.

  4. I am sure that Peter will be happy to play out not one but two games with nary a Fort in sight! :-)

    1. Peter may be giddy with excitement for not having to fight over a fort!