Tuesday, 4 February 2014

French and Indian Wars: An Engagement at Yellow Tree Farm- A Battle Report

Pulp Citizen and I got our first game of Muskets and Tomahawks in this week- it was a (just over) 200 point game, and featured British army vs French Militia. 

For the British Lieutenant George Whittington-Smyth led 9 Regulars, 6 Light infantry and 6 Mohawk scouts.

For the French-Canadians Achille Bonhomme, a well known fur trader, led 7 Couriers de Bois, 8 Canadian militia and 5 Huron warriors.

The British Army scout out the farm for signs of enemy activity
We rolled randomly for the mission, and both got scout- basically we had to scout out all four quarters of the table top, then get back of the board the way we came in, with ant least 1/3 of our models. It was also a night-fight, meaning spotting ranges were drastically reduced. 

Achille Bonhomme lead his men through the dense forest, avoiding the open ground as much as possible, while Wittington-Smyth moved his regulars confidently through the farmland, while his Indians and light infantry covered his flanks. 

British Light Infantry searching the farm buildings
The Indians got stuck in first, with the Mohawks running  into  the Huron in the depths of the forest. A protracted fire fight broke out between the two native forces, which was fairly inconclusive for a long time, as both tribes are adapt at using the forests as cover. 

The Canadian Militia advancing towards the light infantry

Upon hearing the crackle of musket fire from the woods, Bonhomme's Canadian militia worked their way forward to scout the farm buildings, where they ran into the British Light Infantry, who drove them back with some accurate musket fire. 

Lieutenant George Whittington-Smyth ordered his Line Infantry to advance 

Meanwhile Bonhomme and his Couriers de Bois took up position amongst the rocks to the south of the farm to ambush Whittington-Smyth the British Regulars. The exchange took place at quite long range, and given that the Frenchies were hiding in the rocks, and that it was very dark, the British Line Infantry had a hard time hitting anything, while the French hunters whittled down the British Regulars. After a few rounds of inclusive musket fire the British Line advanced towards the Frenchies. For some inexplicable reason Whittington-Smyth did not advance with the rest of his infantry- something that was later to prove to be his undoing...

At shorter range the British musket fire proved more successful, and the British drove the Couriers de Bois out of the rocks. The Couriers de Bois rallied and retuned to the rocks, only to be driven back again by the Regulars- the Couriers de Bois just didn't have the fight in them that day. 

Bonhomme being a fleet footed little bugger, made it across the open ground to the farm building and completed his objectives of scouting the British forces- while Whittington-Smyths men did likewise. Now all both forces had to do was disengage and make it back to their lines without taking too many casualties. 

The Huron Scouts drive off their hated Mohawk enermies

At this point things took a turn for the unexpected, as the Huron managed to break the Mokawks will and they fled. Deciding that there was no point in staying in the fight with the mission complete the remaining Mohawks withdrew. The British Light Infantry fired off another volley at the Canadians, wiping them out,  before withdrawing in good order without loosing a man. 

The Britsih Regulars drive the Couriers de Bois out of teh rocks for a second time

Bonhomme and his Couriers de Bois began to fall back, determined to get the intelligence he had acquired back to the French Army. It was at this point that the Huron, excited by their victory over the hated Mohawks, spied Lieutenant Whittington-Smyth on his own. They raced to the tree-line and fired a volley of shot into the English officer, cutting him down. The Huron, whooping like gleeful children raced into the open and scalped the officer, much to Achille Bonhomme's horror.

The Light Infantry start the withdraw in good order. 

The shock of loosing their officer caused the remains of his Regulars to loose heart and they routed off the board in disarray. Nothing remained to stop both sides withdrawing. 
Both sides had achieved their objectives, but at a cost. The Canadian Militia was destroyed, and the British Line Infantry was broken and routed off the board. The death, and subsequent mutilation, of the caddish George Whittington-Smyth will certainly have repercussions. 

This being our first game we made a few mistakes which might have impacted on the game play- but I felt that in general it was a fun game, easy enough to learn, with an interesting initiative system. It certainly felt right for the period and style of warfare it is meant to portray.  I think a bigger game would be a lot more fun- but I will need to prepare better next time. I also need to make some hidden markers and some smoke markers too. Pulp Citizen remains unconvinced (being a 'historical wargaming' scheptic) but I think with a few more games he will come round- though I doubt I will catch him painting a Mohawk warband any time soon-mores the pity.

1 comment:

Simon Quinton said...

Nice Game report Rob, The figures and terrain all look fantastic!

I often wonder about uniforms in these times as to how visible soldiers in white clothing would be even at night.