Sunday, December 2, 2018
We played a game of the 1755 Battle of the Monongahela, better known as Braddock’s Defeat last Thursday. We used Keith Flint’s new work-in-progress Simple Seven Years War Rules. These are designed for the European theaters of that war but I suspected with properly rated troops they would work for the conflict on this side of the pond called the French and Indian War (at least below the 49th parallel). The Monongahela is my acid test for rules in this period. The British were shot up and routed in that battle. If they have a rough time in the game, the rules are doing something right. Our figures were 15mm as usual. All of the British and Indians were Rick’s, augmented with my Canadian Troops de la Marine regulars and militia. The game sees a force of line infantry with a few guns against a all-light infantry force in deep woods, without a single clearing. The underbrush had been burnt off since it was an Indian hunting ground. Braddock decreed that the Foot regiments should have another company of grenadiers. I figure decreeing them that wasn’t the same thing as having twice as many elites, hence the “grenadier” designation in the photos.
Bill opted to play the British General Braddock. I played French Captain Beaujeu with Rick as Pontiac, leading my right flank. The British column below has just collided with the French (off camera to the left).
The left unit of the advanced guard charged; the Ottawa evaded. Bill noted how isolated the charging troops became. I noted that the 6 lb. artillery section was now unsupported. The guns hit the militia and got Captain Beaujeu. Had we been using the risk to leader rule as written, Beaujeu would have been dead. He was slain early in the fight in the actual battle. But our house rules determined that someone next to him was killed and Beaujeu took the rest of the turn to wipe the gore off.
The Canadian militia charged the guns and defeated the crew in a melee that lasted two turns. We decided the crew abandoned the guns. The militia halted in place, looting the dead. The Chippewa and the Troops de la Marine shot down Grenadiers, who flinched.
The Troops de la Marine charged with bayonets and tomahawks. The Grenadiers took to their heels, spreading disorder into the 48th behind them. The beaten gunners fled the field. The French pursued into the lead supply wagons.
Part of the 44th charged and the French evaded before they could loot the wagons.
The “grenadiers” retreated under fire and also spread disorder in the ranks behind them.
The gun crew had routed and 5 British units were weakened; British morale was shaky.
The 48th came forward, pushing the Indian left before them.
Elements of the 44th routed. Another part of the 44th retreated under fire. Two routed and 5 weakened units (counting as half a unit each) and one retreating (half unit) totaled 5 units for the British breakpoint; the British army collapsed.
The French/Indian force had two weakened units; 1 towards their breakpoint of 3. It was closer than it looks. Several French/Indian units had 3 hits, very close to being weakened. On a late turn in the game Bill rolled 24 dice needing sixes for hits. He got none. He figured his morale would have broken anyway but he’d have weakened more of our units if his luck hadn’t gone south.
We played 8 turns in 2 hours and 12 minutes, about 16.5 minutes per turn, counting photo time. Not bad for our second game and changing theaters of operation. We had some errors, of course. Not until late in the game did we check morale for the hit that made units weakened. We did check for hits taken after being already weakened. I don’t think it made a huge difference. I do wonder about a fairly fresh unit being assured of closing frontally against unsupported artillery. Perhaps if the guns get two hits the attacker should check morale. It also occurs to me that Indians should check morale when hit by artillery.
The French/Indians took 16 hits. The British took 39 hits, though I think 6 of those were disorder hits from units retreating through friends. I’m quite pleased that the game worked as well as it did. There will be some more French and Indian battles in our future.