Tuesday, 6 March 2012

28mm French & Indian War battle

It's funny what can result from a little light-hearted banter between mates. Over the festive season I threw a few tongue and cheek comments at one of the Southern Strategists talented terrain builders that perhaps he should put his talents to good use and build a frontier fort. Not having the time or skills to do it myself, I was keen for someone in our group to produce a fort that we could use in scenarios for our 18th century games. To my surprise when I arrived at the Redwood Redoubt last week for the planned French & Indian War encounter Rodger Wood produced a superb stockade and blockhouse that proved the centre-piece of the game layout. I felt a bit guilty when he said he spent two weeks putting it together...but I'm pleased he did as I know it will get plenty of use in the future.Well done Rodger, have you ever thought about throwing together a fortified manor house for our English Civil War games?

The scenario for the game was set during the French & Indian War where a strong British raiding force was to attack a French lakeside village on the border with New France and the English colonies in an effort to capture a cell of Jesuit priests who had been encouraging the local native population to raid British settlements and farms along the frontier. The village where the priests were established was protected by a nearby fort that housed three battalions of French infantry and a battery of colonial artillery. The village was initially defended by local militia and coureur de bois as well as a fortified blockhouse.

The British raiding force consisted of three battalions of regular infantry, accompanied by a battery of artillery, as well as companies of Gorham's and Roger's Rangers, together with a warband of Mohawk indians.

The Black Powder rules provided a fast and blood-thursty game that certainly provided an enjoyable and colourful encounter. To summarize......the game began with a party of Mohawk indians directly attacking the village of St Denis, where the Jesuits were hanging out. The local militia had been alerted and attempted to hold off the savages long enough for a force of French infantry to come to their rescue. Fortunately for the French, a battalion of the the La Reine regiment arrived just as the militia force was overrun. This allowed the priests and their flock to flee from the village and attempt to reach the safety of the fort via the lake shore.

In the meantime the rest of the British force had arrived, with the Highlanders of the 42nd Foot cutting off the military road and the retreat of the French regulars. To counter this the two remaining French battalions left the fort and established a battle line to challenge the Highlanders. It was at this point that the La Reine regiment also began to withdraw along the shore line to protect the slow moving priests from the advances of the indians and the companies of rangers who were now established in support of the Highlanders.

The battalion of French Compagnie Franches, under the direct command of the French commander, the Maquis de la Porte, now advanced in support of the La Reine regiment and engaged in a fire fight with the rangers. it was at this point that the valiant Highlanders charged the Royal Rousillon regiment. The charge was halted by the effective canister shot of the French colonial artillery that force the Scots to retreat after they had destroyed the Royal Rousillon battalion through volleys of musketry.

Much to the frustration of the British commander, Brigadier General Horatio Hogsnort-Rupert, the 1st Foot and 48th Foot battalions refused to enter into the fray and remained in a static position and out of support range of the Scots. This allowed the priests sufficient time to safely enter the fort and thus end the game.

French militia at St Denis

The French fort and battery

La Reine battalion marching along the military road to St Denis

The French defenders of the fort

The British foot regiments refusing to move in support

The battalion of Compagnie Frances holding off the valiant 42nd Foot
The start of the game

The French frontier fort made by Rodger Wood

La Reine regiment outflanked by the Mohawk warband

Brigadier General Horatio Hogsnort-Rupert encouraging the 1st Foot forward

The Jesuits and La Reine regiment withdrawing along the shore line, supported by the battalion of Compagnie Franches
The Highlanders engaged with the Royal Rousillon battalion and colonial artillery

The Jesuits and followers reach the safety of the fort
The troops of La Reine battalion off for their first taste of battle 

The Mohawks advancing on St Denis

The hardy Highlanders emerging from the forest
No quarter given to the unlucky militia and coureur de bois
This was the first time any of the troops on the table had been used, even though some have been painted for years. Rodger, Gavin and Geoff are to be congratulated for the superb layout they had produced and I'm sure it has inspired the rest of us to have more such games in the future.