Wednesday 2 July 2014

Battle of Fort Louis - July 1758

Several members of Posties Rejects gathered together on Sunday for a very large Skirmish game set during the French and Indian War (which was part of the global Seven Years' War). When I say big, I mean we were using the full size table in Posties Shed-o-War, 6ft by 12ft (mostly covered with tress) and using over one hundred and sixty 28mm figures. The battle was fought with four players coming to a final conclusion only after fifteen turns and eight and a half hours of game play. It was a long an exhausting marathon but a brilliant game and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

Fresh from their victory twelve days ago at the Battle of Ticonderoga the French have sent a small force across Lake Champlain with the intent of building another Fort directly opposite Fort Carillon. This new structure will be called Fort Louis and will be another blow to British morale and prestige. The British commander in the area, Major General Abercromby, has dispatched a small force to try and disrupt the French plans. 

The French start the game busily building Fort Louis, some troops are on patrol, some resting, others being trained in fighting skills. The mood in camp is quite relaxed as no trouble is expected. Meanwhile the British start the game moving towards the French position but no French troops have been sighted yet. 

Order of Battle
French Forces - CO Surjit, 2iC Smiffy
  Leader Major - 1
  Guyenne Line (Muskets) - 18
  Compagrues Franches de la Marine (Muskets) - 12
  Quebec Militia (Muskets) - 10
  Indian Warband (9 Muskets + 1 Rifle) - 10
  Indian Warband (Bow/Hatchet) - 10
  Pioneers (Improvised Weapons)- 6
  Character (Rifle) - 1
  Camp Followers - 4
British Forces - CO John, 2iC Fran, 3iC Lee
  Leader Colonel (Mounted) - 1
  60th Line (Muskets) - 20
  80th Gages Light Infantry (Muskets) - 20
  55th Line Marksmen (Rifles) - 6
  Rodgers Rangers (Muskets) - 10
  Garhams Rangers (Muskets) -10
  Militia (Rifles/Muskets) - 12
  Characters/Indians (Rifles) - 2

The Action
The table layout when we first arrived in the Shed-o-War. Postie was utilising the full 8x12ft of his table and most of it seemed to be covered in trees! The game would be played down the length of the table with the French players Surjit and Smiffy on either side of the table at the far end, and the British players John, Fran in the foreground. 

The French camp. If the British fail in their spoiling attack this will be the site of Fort Louis.

The British start to advance into the woods. They have a lot of ground to cover and fully expect to encounter French scouts along the way. 

My Rangers (Rogers in Green & Garhams in White) advance into the woods, but there is a large clearing ahead and somehow we have to get across this without being slaughtered. 

The French players know they are outnumbered, but as defenders their position is not weak. They can fight and fall back onto fresh positions while the British must push on with increasingly weakened units. 

My Rangers reach the edge of the clearing...and wait. I know my fellow British players are pushing down the right flank and centre and these may draw French troops towards them before I have to expose my troops across the clearing. 

On the other side of the clearing French troops take up positions behind hard cover and ready to fire on the first British troops they see.

Neither side can see each other at this stage although we know the other is there. I know it will take two turns to cross the clearing during which time I will be exposed to fire from the French. 

French reinforcements begin to cross the lake towards the construction site of Fort Louis. It will take them a long time to get into the battle, if they don't sink first. 

Frans Gages light Infantry move forward towards the French centre. The French commander (Surjit) starts to move troops on his flank (facing my Rangers) into the middle to reinforce against the attack.

The French reinforcements land on the beaches, but one boat capsizes and five men drown within sight of dry land. 

With opposition thinned in front of me it is time for my Rangers to cross the clearing. The British win the initiative and we make the French go first first to waste their move/fire phase. Then its the British turn and my Rangers get most of the way across the clearing unhindered.

Fran continues to move his troops through the centre and a big firefight begins to develop in the woods. Its close range and brutal with both sides inflicting heavy casualties on their opponents. However Surjit is on a roll and seems to be hitting with everything he has.

Meanwhile Ray turns up (he missed the game because he was 'babysitting') and Postie decides to emulate Surj and hit with all he has as well. 

The British win the initiative again and this time we opt to move first so I get to cross the rest of the clearing and into Melee without loosing a single man to enemy fire. My Rangers swamp the defenders and wipe them out in short order.

In the centre Frans Gages press forward and engage in a close quarters firefight.l Weight of numbers should have given him the edge but French luck (amazing dice rolls) make this an even battle. 

Meanwhile Indians fighting for the French are giving Johns regular infantry a hard time in the forest. 

The Indians are lethal in melee and its only the combination of intense fire and greater numbers that gives the British the edge. 

After intense fire both sides move apart for a moment to reload and regroup. The white puff markers show figures that have fired this turn. The little orange markers show models that are reloading. 

The French reform their lines and fall back slightly. Some British units have failed moral tests and retreat for a single turn, temporarily putting them out of the game. 

Frans Gages move back into range and another lethal firefight ensues.

The tree scenery looked awesome, but the damn things were getting caught on clothing and snagged by tape measures. Many of the trees were moved around during the game to make measuring and movement a lot easier.

The French are thinning out and what is left of the British forces begin to move forward again...even if it is a bit of a stretch to the middle of the table. 

With lines reformed the British appear to have the upper hand
again, although its hard to tell which side is winning.

Rogers Rangers have taken a battering during the fight but are still holding the woods and are ready to press forward once again.  They have seen off to French units but now face fresh troops. 

Meanwhile panic is starting to grip the French camp. The fighting is beginning to encroach on the outskirts of the site and many of the civilian workers have been killed (the French commander sent them into battle with nothing but spades to defend themselves with!)

Darkness begins to fall and the game comes to an end. The British clearly control the Battlefield but have they done enough damage to the French to claim a victory?

Postie calculates the points...this is going to be close. 

Its a British Victory! The final score was 114 pts to the French and 126 pts to the British. A narrow victory but enough to convince the French to abandon their plans to build Fort Louis and row back across the lake as fast as they can. 

This was a really enjoyable game, even for the loosing players. We got to the end of the game with neither side assured of victory and so it came down to points. Posties skirmish rules are very simple and quick to play so despite the number of figures on the table we were able to play through 15 of 16 turns over the course of eight and a half hours. I think both sides fought very well with no major mistakes or blunders but with some amazing luck on the dice and - as always- some very good natured banter amongst the players. 

BTW - This was the first proper outing for my new camera and I'm really happy with the way it performed. I decided to let the programme settings do all the hard work and set it to Auto for the duration of the game. I'm really happy with the results as I haven't had to alter or 'tweek' a single picture on the computer. The colour balance, exposure and clarity of the pictures was spot on for pretty much every photo I shot. 


  1. Replies
    1. Mind you, 8' x 12' seems off. Looking at the pics and knowing that shed, I think you might mean 6' x 12'. If the table was 8' wide there'd be next to no space for some people to fit around the sides ;)

    2. Doh, yes its 6x12. Its just feels like its 8 foot wide when our big bellies get in the way!

  2. This coming from a man with a new camera who was knackered and wanted to leave 2 hours from the end!

  3. A terrific game from a terrific historical period!

  4. Great report and photos - although the last one does remind me of a wild west wanted poster.

  5. Looks fantastic! Did Postie base the rules on another system, or are they pure home brew?


    1. They're pure home-brew rules, simple but damned effective too!

  6. Outstanding BatRep. Lee! In the last photo, very kind of you to allow Fran the glory of victory.

  7. Fran looks elated by the victory. A very nice report and I am sure it was a good day. Shame Ray had to turn up late. But if Ray and Fran are in the same room there does seem to be twice the quotient of bitching and banter. They must really miss each other now they are not working together.

  8. T'was a great looking game, shame I couldn't come out and play............:0(

    1. Don't worry, we didn't joke about you at all when you weren't there.

  9. Great looking game, minis are really impressive, and I love the French camp...

  10. Excellent pictures and a very good review.


  11. Nice batrep, Lee!
    Btw: It seems like your website is unavailable from time to time, or is it just me?

    1. I haven't encountered any problems at this end...maybe its just because my site is 'picture heavy' and can take a while to load?

  12. Great looking game, Lee.

    Best wishes



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