Wargame Warrior

Tabletop games with model soldiers.


Matelots and Mohawks - SYW in North America

Posted by Adam on September 28, 2015 at 5:20 PM

I have always been a sucker for combined operations in the days of sail and the French and Indian War in North American did seem to have more than its fair share. This is probably due to the importance of waterways as communications routes and the sparcity of good roads in many of the theatres for moving men, supplies and ordinance. How to incorporate this sort of element into a scenario in a way that added interesting choices for the players without totally dominating the game would be the trick.

The western end of the table, trees represent thick (type 3) forest, all the rest of the table is assumed to be covered in open (type 2 ) woods.

I decided on a scenario where a company of American militia were rebuilding Fort William Henry on Lake George but had been cut off by a French force sent to stop the works and regain control over the lake. A scratch British relief force mainly consisting of Provincials, militia and volunteer sailors would be trying to rescue the stranded Americans and if possible see off the French. The British would have a secret weapon to help their cause, the brig HMS Whilbrel with batteries of 4lb cannon and landing partied of sailors (heavily armed and keen as mustard!)  The French had a trick up their sleeves too; canoes hidden on the shore of the smaller lake ready to transport two cmpanies and steal a march on the enemy.

The eastern end of the table, Lake George in the foreground and a small lake the other side of Fort William Henry.

The French line of regulars deployed to stop the British advance.

Of course the scenario plan went out of the window on contact with the enemy players. My idea was that the French would await resupply of roundshot foir their guns before battering down the rebuilt pallisade and walzing in to capture the fort. Meanwhile the bulk of their army would be fending off the relieving British and occasionally being attacked by their own disgruntled Huron allies! Instead the French commanders decided on an all-out frontal assault on the undamaged (if unfinished) fort... The French also used their canoe transport to send two units around the back of the fort, through the swampy ground linking the two lakes.

French companies prepare to assault the ramshakle fort.

The poor militia company found themselves with swarms of indians and Frenchmen on all sides and it was only the support fire from HMS Whimbrel that was able to provide any assistance. The militia eventually abandoned the half-built pallisade and formed square next to the swamp.

HMS Whimbrel passes close to the shoreline to play her guns on the French infantry.

On the main part of the table the British column trudged through the woods towards the waiting French companies and Indians skulking in the thickest parts of the forest.Although inexperienced militia foot and horse got in each other's way, slowing down the advance, the companies of rangers were able to prowl through the rougher areas, roughly handling the enemy native allies and putting the masses of  Huron to rout!

The British column advances across the table, militia cavalry to the fore.

A cordon of Rangers sweeps through the woods.

Despite the lack of useful support from their Indian allies the experienced French regulars and Marines stood their ground and saw off the provincial light dragoons with much carnage. Then despite being peppered with musketry by the enemy rangers now in control of the woods, they gave the British 44th Foot a volley and charged with their bayonets putting them to flight as well.

The thin French line repels the few British regulars.

As the days light was fading the British had failed to break through to the aid of the fort, but even so the militia garrison was still holding out in its sqaure surrounded by the now chastised Indians. Sailors from HMS Whimbrel were landing on the beach but had not yet managed to escort the militiamen to safety. The French roundshot for their cannon had still not arrived allowing HMS Whimbrel to be anchored right on the shoreline blasting at anything that would come in range.

Indian canoes transport the French Compagnie de Marine to the open rear of the fort.

No one seemed that fussed about who had actually won the game at the end (which I took as a positive point.) The French players admitted to not having read the victory point conditions in fact. (Note to self: VPs at the START of briefings from now on!) When I calculated them the French won by a single point, mainly due to the helpful slaughter of the troublesome Huron by the British, which garnered a point for the French for every unit destroyed.

Categories: Battle Reports