The French & Indian Wars, Rebels & Patriots, 15mm
Yes, you read that right. 15mm. That’s the trouble with having your smoke-stained lead in storage – you have to rely on other people to put on games. Michael Evans offered to put on a game using these new Osprey rules, and I jumped at the chance, even though the figures were tiny. this was a clash between two evenly-matched forces – on French, the other British, somewhere in the Hudson valley in the back country of the New York colony. Michael both umpired and played the British, assisted by German Michael and PEter, while Bart and I commanded the French.The game was played out on a 8×4 foot table, with the opposing sides coming on along the long edges. The battlefield was dominated by thick woods, but there were two wagon trails, one on each side of the table. Beyond them the terrain was more open, with the odd copse of trees or patch of rough ground. There was also a hill or two in the middle of the woods. Bart and I had a three “brigades”, with Bart commanding two of them – one of regulars, the other mainly made up of light troops and Indians. We elected to deploy along the axis of each of the roads, with me on the left and Bart on the right. Our light troops would fill in the wooded gap in the middle.The British deployed the same way, with three slightly smaller “brigades” – German Michael on their left (with British regulars), Peter in the woods in the middle (with light troops), and “Old but New” Michael” on their right, facing me. He had a mixture of British regulars and colonial militia. So, off we went. My own command consisted of French colonial troops – either Companies de la Marine or Canadian Militia. I had a gun though, and the Marines were reasonable troops, so I advanced about 9″ onto the table, then formed a firing line. I was going to rely on firepower to deal with Michael’s British. Over on my right Bart was pretty much doing the same, but we were also pushing our light troops into the woods. I had Militia, while Bart had France’s Indian Allies, and Coureur des Bois. Peter’s rangers came forward enthusiastically, as did German Michael’s British on their left flank. He pretty much ignored the woods though, and apart from one unit he kept in the open. Again, he wanted firepower and British pluck to win the day. On my side of the table Michael advanced steadily, but a couple of lucky long-range volleys stopped the British grenadiers, and cut down half of his supporting light gun team. His Colonial militia continued on though, reaching a copse on the centreline of the table. His plan was to use it as a launch pad for a charge, so he began gathering his militia in the cover of the trees. My own French militia were taking the odd hit or two, particularly from the rangers off to their right in the big wood, but generally I was getting the best of the exchange. Over in the centre our Indians had taken the big central hill, but were now coming under fire from the British rangers. So, true to form Bart charged in, and the rangers fell back. This sort of exposed the flank of German Michael, whose British regulars had now advanced to the centreline of the table, and were engaged in a brisk firefight with their French opponents. That though, proved to be the high water mark of the British advance. “Old but New Michael” launched his charge, only to have it stopped by closing fire at the last second. I also wheeled round my Marines, to support my Canadian militia, and eventually the Colonials slunk back into the cover of the trees. Michael’s grenadiers failed yet another morale test, and finally broke and ran. So too did his supporting unit of militiamen, while the gun retired a full move, as it was now down to half of its crew. In fact, in just two turns Michael had nothing left to attack with. Things were moving fast on the other side of the table too. First, my militia in the woods had whittled down Peter’s ranger unit to half strength, and it broke. Then Bart charged his Hurons into the British grenadiers (one of Peter’s units), and the regulars broke and ran. That “aggressive” bonus the Indian had really worked its magic. It could then do a “sweeping advance”, which it did immediately, plowing into another unit of British regulars. They too went down under a welter of tomahawk swings. All that left Peter with very little to play with, and Michael even less. That left German Michael and his firing line, over on the British left. The Hurons weren’t done yet though. First they saw off a small unit of Mohawks, then came screaming out of the woods and ran into the flank of a large unit of Michael’s British regulars. It went down hard – the fourth unit seen off by France’s Indian Allies in three turns! What remained of the now thoroughly demoralised British force withdrew towards its table edge, leaving the French in firm possession of the field. It was a fun little game, and the rules worked pretty well. Rebels and Patriots are another in the Lion Rampant stable, and we pretty much know where we are with them. You get a fun, fast game, and while it mightn’t be the most historically accurate set out there, it does the job nicely, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. It was just a shame though, that we played it in 15mm. With larger figures, like the ones I use for this period, the game could have been really spectacular!