Sunday, 25 February 2018

Montcalm-Wolfe Campaign - Game Report

This game report is game 1 in the Montcalm-Wolfe campaign relay. For a quick reminder on how this campaign relay works and the background can be found here Palouse Wargaming Journal.

Fort Oswego and garrison ready for battle.
The British battle plan was to use Cayuga native war bands to move forward and contain the French irregular units in the woods. While the main force of regular units push on quickly with a breakaway group to remove the French irregulars on their left flank positioned in difficult terrain.

Once reaching the fort the units were instructed to attack the corner and artillery piece.

Battle plan
A quick reminder on the units involved:
  • British - 6 regular units and 3 Cayuga native Indian units.
  • French - 3 regular units and 3 irregular units.
A quick dice roll gave the first move to the British.

Cayuga war bands quickly engage French irregular units in the woods. While the main force advances.
On the other flank an irregular unit harass advancing British units
The view from Fort Oswego
British regular units push forward while Cayuga war band units continue to contain French irregulars in woods.
The Cayuga start to suffer casualties.
Fighting on the far flank has held up and disrupted the main British advance.
French irregulars are finally eliminated, but the British line is fragmented and units not adjacent to their commander will  have a lower unit resolve.
The assault on Fort Oswego begins with the British targeting the corner.
The British commander managed to reorganise his second line and move up to support attacking units
The Fort wall is breached with a British unit scaling the walls after eliminating the artillery unit.
Cayuga units retire to avoid being eliminated and reducing the army resolve further which was looking rather perilous.
French attempt to repulse British regulars from the fort using their commander's sustained attack options
French irregulars having seen off the war bands begin to attack British flank. At this point the game was finely balanced.
The British are forced out from the fort, but the defenders are almost exhausted
British scaled the defences for a second time and the French surrender the fort.

This was a close and edge of your seat game played over 14 turns. The British plan did come off in the end, but not without a few challenges along the way.

The Cayuga war bands did their job containing the irregular French units in the woods. It was only in the last couple of moves, after the Cayuga unit retired to avoid elimination, did the irregulars harass the main British force.

The main British force had a few problems with the irregular unit on the other flank. This one unit caused heavy casualties to one regular unit and disrupted the British advance placing the front rank units at risk as they detached from their commander. They would not get the additional unit resolve and could have been eliminated by shooting from the fort.

The Assault and scaling the walls on the fort corner with the artillery piece was eventually successful.  The French commander Contrecoeur used his 2 sustained attacks to drive the attackers out. The sustained attack rule was a late addition to the rules (see previous blog) and allows a commander to double the hits for an adjacent regular unit.

In last few turns the army resolve for both sides was exhausted and another unit elimination would result in an army retirement or surrender. The British had suffered high rolls for a number of their unit losses and their army resolve had been quickly whittled away.

In the end it turned out to be a British victory. The casualties are:

  • British - 2 regular regiments both depleted with casualties and the Cayuga war band also depleted.
  • French - Irregular regiments depleted and the regular regiment eliminated during the taking of the fort.
For this game each regiment or war band was represented by three units on the tabletop.

The two British regular regiments represented on the tabletop - all old plastic Spencer-Smith figures.

So the campaign relay it is now back with Jonathan at Palouse Wargaming Journal.


  1. Engaging battle report, Peter! When I saw the setup with the French regulars in the fort and a gun, I figured the British might have a tough time especially with Contrecoeur's leadership advantage. In the end the Shirley was victorious but the outcome looked like the battle could have tipped either way. Fort Oswego is back in British hands. Contrecoeur and the irregular must retreat with their comrades dead on the field. The loss of a Regular regiment is going to hurt.

    French September move is next.

    1. Also appeared that your rules played out to your satisfaction even with the late amendments. Knowing that these forces may meet again add depth to your gaming experience?

    2. The rules played out well. Very pleased. A rule note that I forgot to include when I wrote them up was that units in fortifications get to re-roll shooting, but must stick with the second dice roll. So scaling those walls was important for Shirley and his troops.
      The amendments work and will be keeping them.
      Question - If Contrecoeur surrendered earlier and before losing the regular unit, would this have made a difference to the campaign?

    3. Had Contrecoeur abandoned the fort before the elimination of the Regulars, the Regulars would have lived to fight another day. I assume Contrecoeur and the irregulars were given the Honors of War and allowed to march out of the fort. Is that correct?

      Question for you: If the Irregulars had been dispatched and the French Regulars remained in the fort, the defenders would have been outnumbered by their attackers. With that a siege is possible. Can your rules resolve sieges?

    4. Correct - Honors or War applied, but Shirley did have to keep the Cayuga war band in check to ensure they were upheld.
      I believe the rules should be able to cater for a siege providing some additional siege specific rules are added. I have a book on sieges of this period with a set of rules in the back. I will post on the question sieges this over the next week, as it is an interesting area of wargaming and one I have not really investigated.

  2. Peter- A most interesting and well thought out Scenario/Battle. Well done. Do like your Spencer Smith figures and a great job on building Fort Oswego. Cheers. KEV.

    1. Thanks KEV. The scenario came from Jonathan's campaign description. While the fort is painted strips of MDF which show up remarkable well in photos.

  3. Good narrative and a tight battle to kick the campaign off.

    1. Yes, a good tight battle and the last minute rule additions for commander quality fortunately worked out.

  4. Intense and beautiful looking game, this fort, and these armies, are superb...I enjoyed!

    1. Thanks. Very pleased with how the fort looks in the photo.

  5. Replies
    1. It was a good close game - most enjoyable.

  6. Quick on the heels of Oswego, another battle for you to resolve, Peter. You could probably use the same tabletop!

    1. Thanks. Will be interesting to see how militia go in this game.