Sunday, 3 July 2022

National Holiday = an all-Canada battle

To celebrate the National Holiday,  Peter came over for a good ‘ol all-Canadian fight during the War of 1812.  My ‘Chateauguay’ Collection represents some of the units which fought that pivotal battle which an all-Canadian force of English and French speaking soldiers and heavily outnumbered defeated a major advance toward Montreal by the Americans in their effort to cut the supply route to the rest of the colony.  During this campaign during the year 1813, interestingly no British troops took part.

The small scenario I proposed, was the safety of a supply wagon, along with the retreating Americans, from the pursuing Canadian forces.  Hampton, the historical American General in charge of the campaign, a drunkard and rather poor commander, insisted the wagon must be preserved at all cost - it held his entire brandy supply! - and if some of the units also could be preserved all the better.  

The main American force with the 'brandy wagon' and ill-led artillery on the road, the 10th US in column moving towards further defensive positions to the rear and the 30th US in close order along the rock wall to face the Canadians.

We used ‘Rebels and Patriots’ rules from Osprey publishing but I thought to add the leadership rolls for each unit from their colonial ‘The Men Who Would Be Kings’.  This had the effect of changing the activation rolls significantly.  The American artillery was run by a fool.  My 1,1 roll had it at an activation of 10+ which did not allow it to move all that often!  In a fighting retreat that is not that effective.   It was eventually captured;  although after it had thwarted an attack by the equally ill-led Quebec Sedentary Militia.  Both Peter and I rolled double ones for these leadership tests…and by the end of the evening had rolled 11(!) double-ones activation and morale results!     

An unfordable separated the length of the table, with an American unit trapped on the wrong side until it could cross over and get back across the border.  Peter as the Canadian, could choose to have a unit or more pursue or not.  All in secret, I placed the rather poor American Volunteers to that side and he choose his best lead unit, the Select Embodied Militia - a well-trained formation - to hurry them along.  Within a few turns the Americans broke and ran allowing the SEM to cross over the river to block the main American retreat.  

The 'Montreal Sedentary Militia' in their 'capots' and toques (Canadian hooded coats and woollen caps) While the figures are slightly modified from the FIW, are still appropriate for this era.

The American 30th and 10th Infantry did well to hold off the Canadians, but the effective fire from the Montreal Sedentary Militia who benefited from the unit leadership roll (Peter rolled very well in this case) slowly broke the weak American will and they would eventually also break and run for the border. 

The American regulars form up behind the defensive walls.  However they would soon break and run.

While the unit-points were even, the leadership rolls had big consequences to the game, as did our usual poor rolls - as noted above - and the Americans in retreat had to retreat yet continue to face the Canadians advance, with the added problem of choosing which unit NOT to activate, allowing the wagon to possibly move.  Management problems affected each side which made for an interesting game.  

Hampton could toast to his return to the USA; unfortunately his command was destroyed and his artillery was captured, so Canada Day would be celebrated with some fireworks.  


  1. Replies
    1. An old-timer once said to me. "If you mess up the scenario, at least make the table look good!"

  2. Most interesting looking game. Sounds like great fun.

    1. Yes, it was fun. See my reply to the previous comment! ;-)

  3. 11 sets f snakes eyes??? That is a lot of standing around doing nothing or a lot running away!

    1. Both Peter and I are famous for our poor dice; but yes, at one point we rolled 4 double ones with only 7 rolls of the dice. Even this was note-worthy between us. However as I would roll poorly then himself in equal measure, the battle, shifting and dramatic fates abound, was also well 'balanced' to both.....