Friday, December 30, 2022

1st Lacolle: From Small 1812 Action To Generic Scenario.

My Boxing Day scenario wasn't plucked out of thin air but was based on the small but important action along the LaColle River that took place on November 20, 1812. It's not even mentioned in many books or websites on that war but the small post at LaColle, 10 km from the US border, (and about 40 km from St Jean sur Richelieu where I spent spent 5 years at Military College) was all that stood between General Dearborn's  6,000 man invasion force, heading for a nearly undefended Montreal a mere 65 km away. (40 miles) in the direct road cutting cross country rather than following the Richelieu River.

The outpost was defended by about 200 Canadian regulars, embodied militia, and Mohawks, reinforced later by 300 more men under Lt Col. de Salaberry. The American Advanced Guard under Col Pike consisted of 600 men, a mix of Regulars and Militia.

This article  on the  1st Battle of Lacolle Mill   at the  War of 1812 Website  provided the numbers I mentioned above but George Stanley's book "The War of 1812 Land Operations" provifed more detail on the units involved, and a slightly different variation on what happened. 

Various books and websites provided various other tidbits like the US dragoons crossing the damn. Unfortunately I didn't think to keep track of what bits came from where since I was aiming for a generic scenario.

Somewhere in the West Indies, a Republican force approaches a British outpost guarding a river crossing....

I'll post the scenario once I get it written up and test it in the West Indies. 
Oh yes, and I've been asked why I called it the Sticky River. Essentially  "la colle" transates to "glue" "paste" or "teaser", the first two may have referred to the swampy banks of the river, while the last seemed appropriate for a Tabletop Teaser but I didn't want to have the teaser confused with an attempt at a refight of the historical engagement.

In the more immediate future I wish all my readers and those dear to them a....

 Here's to 2023 being a good one!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Newport Noodle: Action Along The Sticky River


An illustrated eye witness report! 

It was on Boxing Day of all days that the Origawn hordes attacked the improvised blockhouse on the Sticky River. The weather was cold but not freezing and the marshy banks of the river, saturated after days of rain, gave ample evidence of where the river's name came from.

The battle began with a column of the Greys trying to force their way straight up the road and across the bridge. The bridge had been barricaded and was held by a comany of Voltigeurs who put up a tremendous fight.

While all eyes were fixed on the defence of the bridge, a second, larger column attacked up the far bank, slogging through patches of knee deep water, old dead trees and tangled vegetation. It was impossible to maintain formation so each company struggled forward on their own. Colonel Ross, in command of the post, had not expected the main attack to come that route but he had guarded against the possibility anyway and the Kree volunteers who had just joined with the regulars, put up a stiff fight, flitting from cover to cover and putting up a deadly fire. Numbers told though and slowly they were forced back.

Downstream from the bridge, there was an old sawmill with a damn across the river. Since it seemed unlikely that enemy infantry in any force would march the circuitous route to crawl across the damn, let alone cavalry leading their horses across it, the bridge had been left unguarded. The old Second Cavalry were used to rough country though and made that long detour.

By the time the rebels finally made it through the woods and swamps and began to form up to attack the blockhouse and clear the bridge from the rear, Dominion reinforcements finally began to arrive. There was a tense moment when the Black Hat cavalry charged into the Dominion infantry but these held their ground and sent the cavalry reeling back with heavy losses. They had done their job though and stopped the advancing redcoats from reinforcing the bridge defenders and these had been forced back, leaving the way for the Bluecoats to attack the blockhouse directly. 

One assault after another went in on the blockhouse but with the help of the supporting redcoats they were all  driven off with losses. 

Two assaults had already been repulsed but as the sun touched the horizon, the Origawners prepared for one last, desperate attack. 

The fighting was fierce but at last the Bluecoats were repulsed and their army began to fade back through the woods and swamps, heading back to their base.


Ed note. This news clipping  will be followed by a post discussing the events and so on. 

Monday, December 26, 2022

1st Battle of Sticky Mill Crossing

 Coming Soon: An Account of the Recent Battle at Sticky River Mill. 

Watch this space!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Boxing Day Is Coming!

And with it will come the traditional Boxing Day game!

Christmas was green this year, but cold and wet and the news that there was going to be a fight was almost welcome.

The Treaty feast was not quite over when a messenger rode in. The Origawn Rebels were on the march. A small guard post of Voltigeurs from the Blue River District was already posted by the bridge at Gluepot Mill and with the change in the alliances, they would resist the Origawners but they were going to need reinforcements. A party of Kree warriors were on the path within minutes. Within an hour, a column of Dominion soldiers followed.

Scouts estimated that enemy would take until Boxing Day to be ready to attack. It was going to be close.

Wishing all of my friends and readers a Merry Yuletide.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The Enemy of My Enemy

The current fighting over control of the "Origawn Territory",  was triggered when an expedition by forces from the self proclaimed Origawn Republic was sent into the native lands between Faraway and the Mountains, an area inhabited largely by native tribes such as the Kree. (See a report on this incident by some foreign journalist who got a few names wrong.) Faraway had claimed this area to its north as a Protectorate at the end of the 1st Origawn War which had been fought between Oberhilse and Faraway and soon moved to secure the territory and squash this troublesome new self proclaimed Republic. 

The new republic sent envoys to offer the Kree arms and ammunition to help them maintain their independence but the arms largely remained promises and though Kree warriors occasionally travelled to assist the Origawn Republic, none of the promised soldiers ever showed up in Kree territory and rumours abounded that elements in the Republic were already hatching plans to push their boudaries all the way to the west coast. 

After the Kree victory over a Dominion column at Goose Lake, Father Black was able to open negotions, hoping to persuade the Dominion that they would be better off finding common ground with the Kree and helping to defend them against the unwelcome Origawn settlers who had been pushing west, than fighting the Kree on one front and Origawn on another.

With due ceremony, a treaty of mutual defence and respect is made.

The treaty had barely been signed when news arrived that a column of Origawn soldiers was approaching. The new alliance was about to be tested. 

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Done and Dusted

The last three stands have been painted and these lads can go back in the cupboard until a time should come when they are called to action.

For now, some bigger lads are preparing to march onto the field as soon as the pioneers get the terrain rearranged.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

The Battle of Nolac Hill: Day 2

 It was delightfully cold, wet and windy this morning so I was able to throw together a new version of the draft of my gridded medieval/fantasy rules (All of the backup copies seeming to have gone astray.) followed by a test game of the same scenario.

Turn 2 and the opposing Generals seem to have made better plans and discovered different mistakes to make.

Turn 4 and the hill is being contested.

Turn 5 and the Red General has again learned to beware of fickle dice.

Turn 7 and the Red Duke has been gravely wounded and escorted off the battlefield  while his remaining units are starting to crumble. The battle is lost again!

This game was much more engaging and this One Hour Wargame scenario took a full hour to resolve. A few more turns were played, roughly 1/2 the alloted turns, ut more imoortantly, the advantage flipped back and forth and this time, my decisions had as much influence as chance did.

When I get the rules done and proofread, I'll post a link but now, its time for another, bigger, game.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Battle of Nolac Hill: Day 1

I had been planning to play this game using my own rules but it occurred to me that given the idea of a game in a box that I could take with me and talk someone into playing a game, using a published set of rules might be a good idea. Since I had my copy of Developing the Portable Wargame on hand, it made sense to try that.

The Attacking force moved quickly, hoping to take the hill before reinforcements could arrive. The infantry launched a direct assault while some cavalry turned the flanks, while others,backed by archers, moved to intercept the defender's reinforcements.

Several turns later, the hill was still holding while beyond the hill, the attacking Knights were having a hard time breaking the enemy shieldwall.

By turn 6 of 15, the attacking army was 'exhausted' and unable to attack. The only units to have made it onto the hill had been forced back and no others could advance onto it. The game was over. 

Well, that worked, but it was a little quick for my tastes. The combat was very attritional but what I noticed most, was that despite being very simple, there are some important rules tucked away here and there that are easy to miss or forget, especially since some things are done differently from what is intuitive to me. I'll have to make a 'cheat sheet', arranged for how my mind works, before I play another game. 

Before that happens though, I should replay the scenario using a gridded version of my own rules, and just maybe, try playing the scenario using the One Hour Rules, maybe.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Too Few Have Come!

 But we will defend the hill anyway!

I thought by now I would have two, twelve stand, armies but, well, "Winter is coming!" and there's been an awful lot of chores to do and errands to run.  Still, I've managed to work up to two, nine stand, armies which is enough for my gridded, homegrown rules version, of the One Hour Wargame version, of CS Grant's classic "Reinforcements On The Table" scenario.

"Prepare for battle!"

Sunday, December 11, 2022

A Bit of Progress

At last, a windy day below freezing, just right for painting.

I was a bit taken aback when I started adding a few figures to the red coat contingent and realized that their white cross on red would work better for French troops than some fictional power. So, I've erased the white crosses and will replace them with,.......something, .......might be just a stripe or something on the shields to enliven them. Time will tell.  

Yeah, I know, most of these figures still need some detailing done. 

I've also decided to do two of the stands of heavy cavalry as individuals or small contingents, in case I want to do some civil war engagements between factions as a break from  knights vs barbarians. 

The whole unnecessary mob should be table ready by next weekend.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

And I'm......Back!

Last weekend, I was away visiting family, followed by some recuperating before returning to routine.   (Jeez, its only a 6 hour drive each way, you'd almost thing I was getting.....) Anyway, with chilly showers outside today, I stayed inside and painted Lady Violet. 

Not looking so bad for a hastily dressed, 100 year old lady really.

My plans for a Cross Border, "Post the worst of Covid", return to Huzzah in May, have hit some wrinkles and I'm now examining the possiblity  of a first visit to Havoc in the Boston area at the beginning of April. If it works, she'll be there with me.

Uhmm, no, that's not me escorting Lady Violet...

More bad weather on Thursday if I'm lucky.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Distracted By A Lady

 My friend Rob Dean (Sharp End of the Brush blog) (who got me into home casting last century) has developed an urge to collect old German moulds. Here's a sample of one of his latest.

She's a tall lass on a tall horse but the latest PA cavalry are big enough to court her

Now to clean off the flash and paint her up. The question will be: "Is she a Lady of influence and curiosity touring the front? Or a French spy?”.