Unbridled Savagery Part Two

This follows on from Unbridled Savagery Part One.

After a small, and unwanted, post-midnight adventure involving key safes, I managed to get into my lodgings and sleep. Next morning I got up, had an unexpected and rather unwelcome cold shower, wandered into town, ate a decent breakfast and then headed into the sunshine towards B.I.G. I had another small and unwanted adventure, this time smart-phone inspired, on the way, which prolonged the walk by about half an hour. But it was a nice morning and I ended up at the venue in good enough order. On a side note, Bristol is peculiarly American-feeling with lots of social venues like the Bocabar bar (and indeed B.I.G) having taken over units in industrial sites. So this wasn’t as surreal as it might otherwise have been:

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Not Surreal At All

The first game of the day was A Walk in the Woods. The British had to escort Mynheer Sterngange to safety, which would mean crossing the length of the table. This was a tall enough order but as they had been badly mauled the day before, the table was set to be very unfavourable for them, though I think that it was not immediately obvious to the players that this was so.

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The Right Of The Table.

The left hand side of the table (from the British perspective) was unattractive – woods, swamp and a tributary stream to cross from their Deployment Point. The right hand side of the stream, by contrast, offered easier deployment and rapid passage towards the farm.

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French Scouts

Ian, commanding the French, played a very cagey game, refusing to deploy anything but a single unit of Milice for many turns, much to the frustration of his co-player, Dee, who was eager to get stuck in. It was fascinating to me that Ian, playing only his third game, had grasped so quickly the sense in making the enemy commit before himself committing. Of course the danger was he might delay too long, but he remained quietly confident behind his beard.

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The British Advance

Lieutenant Mill seemed to have got lost in the woods but Murray pressed on with his half of the highlanders and led by the rangers. Captain Cutlass and his Mohawks chose to move across to the other flank, but were first delayed by an unexpectedly deep river, and shortly afterwards, and ironically, by becoming parched by thirst.

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Opening Shots
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Mill Arrives
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Save Us!

The rangers’ shooting temporarily chased the Milice from the hill above the cabin, from which two women emerged, begging piteously to be saved from the lecherous and garlic-reeking French. Sergeant Warner was not immediately inclined to offer succour, but after some discussion, more piteous begging and some shots from the returning Milice, he sent them back to Murray so he could decide what must be done.

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The Milice Return Fire
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The Highlanders Press On

The highlanders deploy into line and the Huron appear from the woods to fire into Mill’s men.

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Ambuscade!

Rob and Ben, commanding the British in their first ever games had done pretty well to this point, coming up with probably the best plan available. Now, however, they became painfully aware of how the terrain was going to constrict their options – there simply was not enough room for the highland lines to maintain formation and advance.

Veteran Lardy, Matt Slade of Glenbrook Games, who offers a top-quality painting service (and whose wife, Debs, runs Saddle-Goose Designs, making the world’s best chip/dice bags) had turned up shortly before this. I’d met him at the WorLard Gaming Day earlier this year, and availed myself of his services, getting some rather nice Peninsula riflemen painted by him. He was able to offer some sage advice regarding wheeling of lines.

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Mill Wheels

Mill wheeled to engage the Huron, the rangers drove the Milice from the hill and occupied it, and Murray attempted an advance, but his line foundered trying to cross the fence into the pumpkin field and got seriously bogged down. More Milice arrived to reinforce the French left, but the British were still looking to be doing fairly well.

 

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Captain Cutlass, Somewhat Thirsty, Runs To Engage
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Overbold Rangers
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Murray Struggles Through The Pumpkins
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The Compagnies Franches Volley

A devastatingly effective volley from Clouzeau’s Compagnies Franches de la Marine scythes down a swathe of Mill’s highlanders.

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Mohawk Hunt Huron In The Woods
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On The Brink

With enemies all around, the highlanders hold grimly on until a shot from Capitaine Terieur, who has wiped out the rangers with superior numbers, brings down Mynheer Sterngange. This shot ends the game, rendering a somewhat unlikely British victory impossible.

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Sterngange Killed

Ian’s tactic of delaying his deployment until the highlanders were in the worst position, constrained between river and farm, paid off in spades.

The final game of the weekend was Full Frontal, a straightforward meeting engagement, although again down the length of the table, played between Rob (French) and Alex.

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The British Deploy
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Milice And Huron Forge Up The Flank
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Enter The Compagnie Franches
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Piper M’Intyre Is Shot!
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French and Huron In Action
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Fighting Across The River
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Close Range Volley
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Highland Charge!

Unfortunately this game ran a bit short of time, but it was enjoyable nonetheless as Murray’s highlanders, enraged by Milice sharpshooters picking off not only their piper but the highly regarded Sergeant Watson, launched a classic highland charge with a sharp volley followed by a wild rush into the woods with broadswords swinging, against which the Milice could not stand.

I really enjoyed running these games. Some of my thoughts on the game were confirmed:

New players get the idea quickly and readily buy into the spirit of the game. However certain mechanics are hard to immediately grasp, especially the distinction between a leader activating and having a certain number of Command Initiatives and a unit activating (via CIs or otherwise) and having two Actions (plus possibly a bonus movement). Most players seem to take a full game at least to get the differences straight.

Three and a half hours seems to be a good timespan for an introductory game involving more than one new payer. Three hours is certainly possible but requires briskness and less chatting.

Everyone who plays the game really likes it.

Umpired games are enhanced by introducing special random events and encounters, allowing the players to interact with ‘NPCs’ as if in a role-playing game (at least to a degree).

The game probably begins to ‘break’ with more than 16 leaders in total and more than four command cards per side has some undesirable consequences. 10-14 leaders in total would seem to be ‘optimal’ in terms of promoting player involvement and enjoyment.

There is a huge appetite for this kind of game outside the usual club/event circuit. Open gaming venues are not just about fantasy and science fiction games.

As I said in part one, Bristol Independent Gaming is a fantastic venue and offers a great gaming experience. If you are in the Bristol area, it’s well worth a look, with Peninsular War Sharp Practice now set to be a staple for many of the regulars.

 

 

 

 

Unbridled Savagery Part One

Which it was another French and Indian War Extravaganza, using the most excellent Sharp Practice 2 rules from TooFATLardies, at Bristol Independent Gaming in Bristol. B.I.G. is undoubtedly one of Britain’s best open gaming venues, with several gaming rooms, plenty of available tables and terrain, a nice wee shop and a really friendly and helpful owner. A day’s gaming is very cheap and Jim has a facility which is very reminiscent of the old Firestorm Games in Cardiff – less polished than the current Firestorm, but with perhaps more charm.

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The Main Gaming Hall at B.I.G.

Note that there is a boxing ring to help resolve any rules disputes, surely something that every venue should possess.

When I had run A Scalping Party, my first trial at running multi-player games based in my Saindoux Valley campaign, I had taken the precaution of inviting almost exclusively people who were known to me, and had included a few players with a fair amount of experience with the game. This had allowed quite an ambitious day with several games running in parallel, individual victory conditions for each player and other things that I feel add a lot to the day but do need some certainty as to who will turn up and when.

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A Scalping Party Underway

At Bristol, although I had met several of the people who would attend, I only really knew one of them at all well and I knew it was only Dee who would have had any experience of the game. So I decided to run just the one game at a time but to have forces that could be divided easily into three distinct commands, allowing up to six players at any one time.

Also, Unbridled Savagery was to run over both days of the weekend, so I planned for four games. In the end because of chatting, the players being almost totally inexperienced, and the general sociability, we didn’t complete the fourth.

The first game was between Ian and Dee. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of this game but the British had been charged with rescuing some settlers and the French with capturing the families. In the event, neither was really successful, the French got no captives but only the women and children escaped the burning cabin into British hands.

Next was was I’ll Be A Dutchman. This was fought between Ian and Jim (British) and Dee and Alex (French).

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The Scene, Set

The 42nd Foot, accompanies by some of Gorham’s Rangers and Mohawk allies had to bring Mynheer Sterngange of the Dutch West India Company to a place of safety. Sterngange was standing placidly by the cabin, puffing on his pipe.

The British could enter either by canoes from the Secondary Deployment Point which, unsurprisingly, featured a canoe or marching on from their Primary Deployment Point on the right of the above photo. The French, a mix of Compagnie Franches de la Marine, Milice Canadienne and Huron warriors could deploy from their respective Deployment Points on the top, bottom and left table edges. The British got one complete turn to deploy before the French players could do anything. This helped offset the fact they had to reach Sterngange and then get him back all the way across the river to their Primary Deployment Point.

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An Opposite View
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Highlanders Ashore

The British deployed Captain Murray, 42nd Foot with half of his highlanders and Sergeant Ichabod Warner’s rangers. With the possibility of being flanked on both sides, Murray’s plan was to send the fleet-footed rangers to fetch Sterngange while he and Reid used the steady regulars to cover the retreat.

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Lieutenant Clouzeau Arrives With His Compagnie Franches De La Marine
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Lt. Mill Brings His Men Ashore Under Fire
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Capitaine Alain Terieur Of the Milice Canadienne Springs An Ambuscade
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The Huron Attack
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Enseigne Laroux Threatens The British Line Of Retreat
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Murray Faces About As The Battle Rages

Up to this point, the British were doing reasonably well. Sterngange had agreed to accompany the rangers, despite the language barrier and although the highlanders were suffering somewhat from the incoming fire of the French, they had taken no serious losses. Encouragingly also, Captain Cutlass, that doughy Mohawk chief, had charged across the river and driven Terieur’s men back with some loss. The prelude to this assault caused much amusement. Terieur’s men had been at the top of the small rise, firing into the highlanders. Cutlass charged using three dice for movement. The first was a 6, allowing him to cross the 4″ river and leaving two dice to travel under four inches into contact. Needless to say, the total rolled was 3, leaving the Mohawk just short of their target, their wet moccasins slithering on the slope. However next turn, their chit came up before Terieur’s and they completed the charge into the flank of the skirmishers.

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The Mohawk Drive Terieur Back

This heralded the most intense series of Fisticuffs I have ever seen in a game of Sharp Practice. A conservative estimate from memory puts the total number of bouts at at more than half a dozen as the rangers were charged twice by the Huron, the Mohawk charged Terieur again and the Huron went on to assault the highlanders several times.

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Caught At The River

The rangers had fallen back from an initial bout of fisticuffs with the Huron, in which Sterngange was wounded, and had then retreated behind the highlanders. But in an audacious move, the Huron charged through the swamp, catching the rangers in the rear. Sterngange, Sergeant Warner and the sole remaining ranger managed to escape across the river but were pursued by the Huron.

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Mill Retreats

An surprisingly devastating volley from the Compagnies Franches de la Marine killed several highlanders, and it was high time for Mill and his rearguard to retire.

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The Mohawk Charge Again

Captain Cutlass pursued his murderous feud with the Canadians, leading his braves forward again and this time sending the two survivors, including the wounded Terieur, fleeing deep into the woods.

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Terieur Departs
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Huron And Highlanders At Grips

Lt. Mill’s men had been savaged by constant firing to their front and flanks and their line broken. Sensing victory, more Huron charged from the woods, catching a group in the flank and sending them flying back across the river. Mill’s command had ceased to be a viable fighting force but their sacrifice had allowed Sterngange to reach Murray (who as an ex-officer of the Saxon Guards could speak fluent German and so could inform the Dutchman of his mission).

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Huron Victory
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Mill’s Remnant

At this point, British morale was broken. The French could count a victory but it was not an utter disaster for the British as there was still a fair body of men left under Captain Murray to escort Sterngange from  the field, with too few French – a mere half dozen of the Milice, to prevent their quitting the field.

This had been quite a long game, taking us into the early evening, but the Bristol lads are a hospitable bunch so we went to the Bocabar bar for some much needed refreshment and a rather nice pizza (it was so nice I went back the next evening for more). It’s fair to say that the Bocabar is probably not a traditional Lardies type of venue, but I really liked it and despite its hipster appearances, it does nice beer and probably some sort of cooking lager.

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Bocabar

To be continued in Unbridled Savagery Part Two

A Scalping Party

Which it was a French and Indian War Extravaganza using the absolutely superb Sharp Practice 2 rules from TooFATLardies at the Sanctuary Gaming Centre in Sutton-in-Ashfield, a great venue with plenty of space and a really laid back, unobtrusive but very helpful owner. A day’s gaming is dirt cheap – even a Yorkshireman could not quibble with the price – and Richard will even open up early if you ask him.

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Sanctuary Gaming Centre

Because this was the first Sharp Practice day of any size that I’d run, I decided to run it as an invitational event rather than throwing the doors open to all and sundry. This had the advantage that I knew everyone attending and they would be forgiving of any dreadful cock-ups, but the downside that only two of them had any substantial experience (i.e. more than three games . . .) of Sharp Practice, and three had never played it at all. However the enthusiasm of a certain Jim from Glasgow for the concept, and the fact he was prepared not only to bring a full force but also livestock, civilians, rabbits (I kid ye not), buildings and an amazing objective/Deployment Point, led me to extend an invite to him upon request. And I was very happy that I did because it provided another experienced player. And this . . .

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Lieut. Kennedy, Captured

Clearly anyone prepared to make something like that had to be included.

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Inside Sanctuary And Underway

My original plan was for three games but my experience at the WorLard Gaming Day 2017 and the impromtu  Sharp Practice day at Grange-over-Sands (covered by Lardy Rich in this post, which also covers the Durham day)  convinced me that two games would allow a more enjoyable day with less pressure on time. I’m glad to say that this decision was more than vindicated. Three and a half hours per game allows a comfortable amount of time to either get a definite result, or so close to one that who’s got the upper hand is obvious, and allows some chat amongst the players.

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Old Man Rivers’ Farm – The Setting For Little Beaver Hunt

With nine players, three of whom had never played a game and only three with any real experience of the system, I decided to have the first games as 3 vs 2 and 2 vs 2, then the second games as 2 vs 1. This seemed to work fine, and allowed me to place at least one experienced player in every game. Sharp Practice, being a game that really is narrative-driven, and (at least partly) a character-driven focus also – which very few other wargames do, whatever their pretensions – the social nature of such a game makes 2-3 players per side something that probably enhances the overall experience to an unusual degree. It also allowed me to give players on the same ‘team’ different objectives to accomplish, some of which would  not necessarily be for the good of everyone on their side.

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The Fort At Number Four – Sing Tow-Row-Row!

My initial player pack underwent fairly significant revision with respect to victory conditions for each player and who would command what. This was my master document from which I compiled a player sheet like this example for each player. That way everyone knew what missions they’d be playing, how to win, and what leaders and units they’d be commanding. Players could say what they liked about their victory conditions but weren’t allowed to let anyone else look at their sheet.

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Burning Passion – Kennedy’s Mohawk Blood Brothers Attempt Rescue

The five games were:

  1. Going Down in the Woods/Little Beaver Hunt – while the British hasten to defend an outlying farm, the Huron search for the missing son of their chief.
  2. Exposing Young Fanny/Grab Fanny – the French attempt to secure a British ammunition convoy, which also contains the lovely daughters of their commander, Colonel Flower.
  3. The Fort at Number Four – The Regiment Languedoc assault the fort. Will relief come in time?
  4. Big Bottom Girls/Raiding Big Bottom – The Virginia Regiment must defend Big Bottom, where the daughters of Colonel Flower have sought refuge, while a mixed force of Compagnie Franches de la Marine and Milice Canadienne look to burn the settlers out.
  5. Sweet Release/Burning Passion – Kennedy of the 44th has been kidnapped. A mixed force of men from the 44th Foot, Dank’s Rangers and Mohawk try to free him from  the clutches of the Huron.
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British and French Fight To A Bloody Standstill – Exposing Young Fanny

I’d an image of each table lurking in my head. I knew the key features and terrain that each needed to have. The fort, provided by Bob Emmerson of Mad Bob Miniatures, proved a little larger than I’d envisaged but fitted just about reasonably into the middle of the table.

The missions were modifications of the ones in the rules and sometimes, like in Game One, the two sides were playing different missions (which in that particular game allowed both to emerge with a Small Victory). In general they seemed to work pretty well, although I made a big mistake in Game Five in not allowing the 44th a Moveable Deployment Point, which left poor Jim very much up against it, and also in Game Four in not delaying British reinforcements for a turn at least.

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Bear Attack!

I had some special random events and also events that had certain triggers – mainly inspired by Lary Rich’s mad potter monk. These included a bear attack, a wandering Huron (who might have grabbed Fanny had be not tripped over a branch), a boy who rescued his horses from a burning barn (but sadly he and his horses met a rather excruciating death impaled on bits of broken fence). I told players on the relevant tables to call me over when they drew a random event, or at Tiffin for the triggered events and then, depending on where the unit that triggered the event was, the special event might be triggered, or a normal random event rolled. Again, this seemed to work pretty well, with players I think unsure whether some thing were inflicted upon them by my malevolence (acting as Fate) or by pre-planned design. I at least found most of them rather amusing.

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The Boy Fell From The Burning Cart

At Old Man Rivers’ farm, the Huron escaped with significant losses but with a captive and , importantly, having rescued Little Beaver. The British could not save the farm from burning, but at least dowsed the flames before it was utterly destroyed and rescued Old Man River and his fair daughter from the clutches of the Huron.

The French and 40th Foot battered each other in a bloody stalemate. The British failing to get the convoy through but the French failing to secure any of the ammunition (or accompanying females).

In the second games, the Virginia Regiment failed to prevent most of Big Bottom being razed, but inflicted some fairly heavy losses on the attacking Milice and Compagnie Franches. However Fanny and Phemie were saved, as were most of the settlers.

Lieutenant Kennedy, 44th Foot seems doomed to meet a fiery end after his comrades were foiled in their attempted rescue by their savage foe.

The Fort at Number Four did not fall to the French. Sing tow-row-row for the British Grenadiers!

Lots of pictures follow, in no special order, I’m afraid. The better ones are by Jim and Sam.

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I had a great day and was really pleased things went as well as they did.

Thanks to:

Bob for bringing the fort and driving all the way from Dorset! Dee for making the trip from Bristol and bringing his usual unbridled enthusiasm. James for bringing his grenadier force, which is very nicely done indeed. Jim for making the trip from Glasgow, for bringing terrain and models and, especially, for the Kennedy diorama. Rich for the nice custom markers and providing some much needed experience in the player-base. Richard, ditto on the experience and for basically running Grab Fanny for me whilst also playing. Roger for bringing Huron and affording me the opportunity of the bear attack. Sam for putting me up, providing more Huron and terrain. Stuart for terrain and a nice snow mat and the Regiment Languedoc. Lastly to Rich from the Sanctuary Gaming Centre for providing such a great venue for so little cost.

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The Grenadiers Secure a British Victory! Huzzah!

Bringing Fanny to Climax

Will Captain Murray successfully bring Fanny and her sister Phemie to Climax?

After a long time and a lot of effort, the dogged Captain Murray of the 42nd (Highland) Foot has nearly succeeded in bringing Fanny Flower, and her sister, Phemie, to Climax, a hard to reach settlement on the southern borders of the Saindoux Valley. Little Beaver Creek must be forded, after the forest on its approaches has been negotiated, and Climax will be reached! But while the 42nd have been spending the past days fighting with the Huron in the woods, Lieutenant Clouzeau of the Compagnie Franches de la Marine de Vindail has stolen a march and come to Climax first. The unexpected intrusion of the dastardly Frenchman’s has already given the Widow Gotobed an untimely awakening; will the over-eager French shoot too soon, or will Murray’s Highlanders be taken unawares? Read on . . .

An old campaigner, Murray has a nose for a Frenchman, and who could mistake the garlic reek coming from the Widow Gotobed’s farm? Suspicious, he moves up with the greater part of his men on the east bank of Little Beaver Creek, approaching the fork of the river. Lieutenant Mill, the redoubtable veteran of Flanders has a smaller detachment on the other bank, with Fanny and Phemie in tow, much to his annoyance and Phemie’s evident delight. Fanny casts longing looks across the creek at Murray, who cuts a fine figure marching proudly at the head of his men.

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Mill’s Detachment

News of the capture of the dashing Lieutenant  Quintin Kennedy (recounted here) has reached that officer’s blood-brothers amongst the Mohawk (look, this isn’t far-fetched romantic nonsense, Kennedy really had lived amongst the Mohawk), and a small party of those warriors under a savage known to the British as Captain Cutlass protects Murray’s right flank.

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Captain Cutlass

Save for the steady tramp of highland feet over the leafy forest floor, all is deathly hush. Murray sees the river and the boundary of the Widow Gotobed’s farm beyond. Seeing no Frenchmen, he pushes on fast, ordering both pips and drum to play a rousing tune composed by Captain Reid himself (seriously, Reid was an internationally renowned flautist and composer, look him up if you don’t believe me).

But as the highlanders come clear of the trees, the villain Clouzeau springs his trap! He has hidden his men along the line of the Widow Gotobed’s fence. With typically knavish Gallic cunning, they have lain down and covered themselves with freshly cut grass. Clouzeau leaps up, uttering the immortal words ‘Levez-vous et ayez-les, mes enfants! C’est maintenant votre temps!’

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Clouzeau Springs His Ambuscade

His men rise as one, present and volley at close range – the highlanders a mere stone’s throw across the river. However the cut grass must have made many of the men sneeze as the volley, although startling in its unexpectedness, is less effective than Clouzeau might have hoped. Only three highlanders fall. Clouzeau must trust in his men’s musket-handling and hope Enseigne Maudit and his Huron allies play their parts.

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A Highland Perspective

Davey Mill, trying to ignore the squeals of admiration and dismay coming from Phemie and Fanny respectively, brings his men steadily forward to a position where the can see Clouzeau’s firing line through the trees. Meanwhile the Huron are stealing through the woods towards Captain Cutlass’ Mohawks. The Huron have twice the numbers of their blood-enemies and are behind Murray’s flank. Will Cutlass be able to cut it?

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Les Huron Arrivent

Clouzeau’s line reload and present while, unperturbed, Sergeant M’Andrews dresses the ranks, waiting for Murray to give the order to present and fire, which that officer does after coolly assessing the Frenchmen’s speed of reloading, pausing deliberately to tell Piper M’Intyre to play a tune to make the French hop.

The skirl of the pipes and Murray’s droll humour stiffens the resolve of the highlanders and they bring up their muskets bravely. The volley rings out, the pipes sounding above even that fierce roar! Six Frenchmen fall and Clozeau curses savagely.

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The 42nd’s Reproof to the French

Lieutenant Maudit’s small group of Troupes de la Marine emerge from the swamp where they have been hiding and fire on Captain Cutlass’ Mohawks, killing one warrior.

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Maudit Emerges

The Huron begin to close in, firing without accuracy but unnerving their Iroquois foe.

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Ragged Volleys

Maudit’s men kill another Mohawk and Cutlass gives ground, not liking the odds one bit.

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Maudit Advances

On the other flank, Mill starts his men volleying into Clouzeau’s line, killing two more men. Clouzeau’s reply sees two more of Murray’s men stricken but the highlanders aren’t showing much sign of being cowed by the fire. The Scots have twice as many muskets firing as Clouzeau’s line can now muster and Clouzeau can be heard exhorting, ‘Trois coups d’une minute, pour l’amour de la baise!’.

Murray’s crisp, ‘Reload. Present.’ may focus French minds.

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What Is the French for ‘Three Rounds a Bloody Minute’?

All now hinges on whether Maudit and the Huron can move fast enough to take Murray in the rear because another volley from Murray’s boys has Clouzeau’s line on the verge of faltering. The French Lieutenant’s foul-mouthed exhortations spur his men to remember they are no longer the sweepings of Parisian gutters but proud sons of New France and they manage another, almost despairing volley.

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Huron Behind the Line
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Maudit Approaches the Flank

Just as Clouzeau’s line finally begins to give ground in the face of the determined volleys of the highlanders, Maudit begins to fire into the line’s flank and rear. The Scots hold firm, for the moment.

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Crisis Point

Yet another volley from Murray, who steadfastly ignores the threat to his flank and rear, forces Clouzeau to give more ground; the French Lieutenant’s men are nearly down to half their original strength and on the verge of breaking. Clouzeau takes a ball in the shoulder but somehow manages to conceal the wound from his men.

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Clouzeau’s Retreat

Now though, the tide may be turning. Murray has distained the threat from Maudit and the Huron, but the steady firing into their rear from some of the Huron is demoralising the Scots, who give ground in confusion as Clouzeau somehow holds his men together as they retreat inch by dogged inch across the Widow Gotobed’s fields.

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Murray’s Men Recoil
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Mill’s Perspective

The Widow Gotobed, distracted by the fight she has been watching from her front porch, has burnt her buns, and worse, set her chimney on fire!

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Fire!

Davey Mill saves the day with a well-timed crashing volley that sends half of Clouzeau’s line running and demoralises the rest. Maudit and the Huron fade into the forest and the Highlanders tend their many wounded.

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Flee!

‘A damnably close rubber, but Mill came up trumps.’ – James Murray, Capt. 42nd Foot.

Raiding Big Bottom

Who will hold Big Bottom?

The British have not been slow to recognise the manifest desirability of Big Bottom’s broad expanse. The fertile valley needs only its forest to be cleared to be ready for ploughing and the sowing of seed. Several pioneers have built their cabins near the fork of Old Bush Creek and the small area of marsh known as Soggy Bottom.

Ouaouackecinatouek, a chief of the Bear Folk Huron, has been moved to avenge the capture of his cousins, Hawhendagerha and Catchawatchecka by the 42nd Highlanders, as described here and here. Ouaouackecinatouek intends to destroy the entire settlement and to kill or capture every man woman and child.

Captain Murray of the 42nd (Highland) Foot stands ready to defend the settlement. Having whipped the Huron twice before, he looks forward to delivering another sound thrashing at Big Bottom. Will Ouaouackecinatouek be thwarted, or will the unspeakable savage avenge his captured cousins? Read on . . .

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The Scene, Set

The Huron approach from the west, small numbers swimming across the river near the fork, allowing themselves to be seen so as to draw their enemy forward while the bulk  of the warriors are slipping through the forest further north.

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Decoys

Murray keeps his highlanders in the vicinity of Widow Rattlebag’s impressive two-storey cabin and sends Lieut. Kennedy and his 44th Foot skirmishers over the river to scout the woods.

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Not Taking the Bait

Kennedy’s men are quick enough to stop most of the Huron getting across the river into a position where Lieut. Mill’s flank might be threatened.

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Kennedy Scouts the Woods

Kennedy has only a few men and, if he presses on too far, might be in danger of a haircut rather closer than currently fashionable amongst British soldiers.

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Lurking

Lieut. Kennedy loses a man to musket shots and his men send two quick volleys at a small group of Huron, sending the warriors to ground, pinning them down.

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Three Rounds a Minute

The Huron are getting across the river in some numbers.

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Keeping Their Powder Dry

Kennedy falls back in the face of superior numbers, exchanging fire but losing more men.

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Kennedy Under Pressure

Captain Murray has used the time Kennedy has bought him to reform into three platoons, Sergeant M’Andrews in charge of the third with Sergeant Watson to assist him.

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Murray Reorganises

Murray’s own command catches some Huron who are trying to get round his flank with some brisk volleys that drop several braves before they can seek cover.

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Murray’s Volleys Do Great Execution

Has time run out for Quintin Kennedy? The dashing lieutenant is outnumbered and caught with his back to the river. The Huron charge, wielding their tomahawks with relish.

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Fighting to the Last

Kennedy’s men, their ammunition gone, meet the hatchets with musket butt and bayonet but are overwhelmed. Kennedy himself pistols one warrior, tomahawks another and levels a third with the butt of his empty pistol. He is brought down at last by a blow to the head. The Huron, impressed, take the lieutenant captive to burn later.

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Shooting From the Woods
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More Shooting From the Woods

After a slow start, Ouaouackecinatouek’s plan is beginning to work. The bulk of his warriors are now shooting at the highlanders from the woods, protected from a charge by the river. The highlanders must stand in the open and volley at shadows, which it must be admitted they do with reasonable effectiveness. Casualties are taken on both sides.

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Murray Turns to Chase Off Ouaouackecinatouek

Meanwhile, Ouaouackecinatouek himself has led some of his followers round Murray’s other flank and is also inflicting casualties.

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How Is Your Father?

Private Robert M’Gregor (‘Rob Roy? Oh, aye, ah kent his faither.’) has taken it upon himself to guard the Widow Rattlebag in her house.

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Lieutenant Mill’s Men Volley

Despite their advantages of cover, the Huron are getting by far the worse of the fight. Some of them are falling back deeper into the woods, seeking shelter from the relentless volleys of the highlanders.

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Sergeant M’Andrews’ Men Volley

Captain Murray has been nicked on the arm by a musket ball, but it takes more than a flesh wound to worry the redoubtable Scot. A couple of Huron are shooting at his men from their flank but he has shaken his men back into line and his volleys hammer Ouaouackecinatouek.

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Murray’s Men Volley

Sergeant M’Andrews is hit! Watson takes over and keeps the men firing. Enraged at the loss of their popular sergeant, the volley is devastating, killing three Huron; the remaining warriors turn and flee for home.

His men vanishing from the field in increasing numbers, Ouaouackecinatouek decides to cut his losses and call it a day.

Victory to the British!

But the Huron have the consolation of a valuable captive.

British force here. Huron force here.

Snatching Fanny Again

Will the dashing Lieutenant Quintin Kennedy come up trumps by grabbing Fanny?

Poor Fanny Flower has become a prisoner of the French. She is locked upstairs in an abandoned cabin, and is fending off the advances of the lecherous Hugo de Nigot, who Lieutenant Clouzeau has, perhaps unwisely, left in charge of her guards.

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Tu As Dit Avoir Eu Mal a la Tete Hier!

But hope is at hand! The intrepid Lieutenant Quintin Kennedy is attempting her rescue, ably assisted by Captain Murray and the doughty highlanders of the 42nd Foot. Will the handsome Quinton save the day and come up trumps by grabbing Fanny? Or will Fanny succumb to the Gallic (and rather garlic) charms of young Hugo de Nigot? Read on . . .

Germans of the 60th Foot will ferry Lieutenants Kennedy and Mill with men of the 42nd and 44th Foot to the cabin, landing the rescuers at dawn.

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Canoe

The guards stand ready, stoically ignoring the sound of de Nigot’s increasingly desperate ejaculations coming from upstairs.

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The Guards Watching Fanny

Alarmed by de Nigot’s inflamed passions, Fanny climbs from an upstairs window and leaps to the ground, landing in an ungainly heap but unhurt and honour intact!

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Fanny Free!

Getting to her feet, Fanny hitches up her skirts and runs for it! De Nigot hauls up his breeches, dashes downstairs, and leads his men in  pursuit. The sight of the French on the river bank alarms the canoeists so that they decline to land. Fanny, however is showing an impressive turn of speed and heads for the sound of the bagpipes that herald Captain Murray’s arrival.

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Fanny Showing A Clean Pair of Heels

De Nigot, frenzied at the thought of Clouzeau’s wrath (and possibly by the sight of Fanny’s ankles as she runs) rushes in pursuit followed by his men. Unfortunately, Igor has failed to button his flies and, just as he catches up to the flagging Fanny, his breeches fall down, he tumbles and he is trampled by his men! Luckily for him, one of his quicker-thinking soldiers grabs Fanny’s skirt and she is recaptured. De Nigot recovers his dignity, carefully buttons his flies and wonders if he can regain the house before Clouzeau discovers anything has gone amiss.

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A New Headache

Kennedy has persuaded the German canoeists to land him downstream, near to where Murray has deployed his men into a rather imposing line.

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We Should Have Landed Over There!

Clouzeau has also arrived and is feeling rather outnumbered by the highlanders, who are just out of musket range. A force of Huron is slipping through the woods ready to aid their allies.

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Woodland Natives in their Native Woodlands

Enseigne Maudit’s skirmishers and some Huron snipe at the 42nd, who advance in two groups under their officers. A couple of men fall to the crackle of musketry, but the highlanders advance at a fair pace and Clouzeau begins to worry about his line of retreat being cut off. Kennedy covers Murray’s exposed flank with his handful of 44th light infantry.

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Murray Advances

De Nigot regains the cabin and sternly admonishes his men not to mention the escape attempt or the sordid state of his breeches. Upstairs, Fanny eyes the window again . . .

The Huron and French skirmishers continue their rather ineffectual sniping. Kennedy leads his men into the woods but they are surprised by the Huron Hawhendagerha and his braves who kill over half Kennedy’s small band with some close-range shooting.

Murray is equal to the situation and crisp orders see part of his line break off to deal with Hawhendagerha and Lieutenant Mill’s platoon surging forward to hammer Maudit’s skirmishers with close volleys, leaving Maudit himself stunned by a musket ball that grazed his temple. With Lieutenant Clouzeau unwilling to close to musket range against more than twice his numbers of highlanders and the skirmishers shaken, things look grim for the French.

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Hawhendagerha Discomfited
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Enseigne Maudit Even More Discomfited

Only De Nigot is laughing on the French side now.

With a yell, the lowlander Lieutenant Mill leads his men in a wild charge through the woods. The dazed Maudit has recovered enough to instruct his few remaining men to prove discretion the better part of valour; they, reluctant to leave their staggering officer, only just stay ahead of the screeching highlanders.

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Fuyez!

Lieutenant Clouzeau brings his men into musket range and prepares them to give a controlled volley.

Meanwhile Hawhendagerha’s little band are being whittled down as they fall back through the woods. For the second time in as many weeks, Hawhendagerha is wounded. The mighty chief bears many scars.

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And Then There Were Three

Lieutenant Kennedy adds to the pressure, directing the fire of his two remaining picked men.

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Pot the Chap in the Red Blanket.

At close range now, Murray and Mill hammer Clouzeau’s men. The Frenchmen may be handier with their muskets but simply don’t have the numbers to compete with the controlled volleys of the Scots.

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Mill Pours It Onto the French

The last of Hawhendagerha’s warriors falls and the chief himself is knocked out when a ball creases his scalp. Another scar . . .

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Got ‘im!

Murray’s men are taking casualties from the Huron in the wood but stolidly keep firing.

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Murray Also Pours It On.

The Rev. Dr. Ferguson can be seen in his wig and black coat, well to the fore, tending the wounded.

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Steady, Lads, Steady.

At this point, with his forces in increasing disarray and morale beginning to plummet, Clouzeau decides to withdraw. This leaves De Nigot in a quandary: he has the spirited Fanny at his mercy (and has the scratches and bruises to prove it) but his men are bolting from the house and the wail of the pipes is increasingly close. With a cry borne of frustrated lust and fury, he abandons Fanny and makes haste for safety, leaving her to be swept of her feet not by the dashing Kennedy but by the sober Murray who is first on the scene.

Fanny is freed and the brute Huron chief Hawhendagerha captured! A triumph for the British.

Details of the French and Huron force can be found here.

Details of the British are here.

Grab Fanny (and Phemie)

Captain Murray’s gallant highlanders encounter Lieutenant Clouzeau’s nefarious Compagnie Franches de la Marine.

On the 19th Inst. an engagement occurred between a half-company of the 42nd (Highland) Foot, accompanied by Lieut. Kennedy with some men of the 44th Foot, and a mixed force of French and Huron.

Lieut. Kennedy had been informed that the missing daughters of Col. Flower, 60th Foot, had sought refuge in an abandoned cabin some miles north of Fort Tallow. Capt, Murray, commanding the company of highlanders garrisoned there, agreed that immediate action was necessary and led the rescue force in person. Capt. Murray’s force is detailed here, gallant lads all.

Meanwhile Lieutenant Clouzeau and his nefarious Huron ally Hawhendagerha were closing in fast. Clouzeau’s force, reeking of stale garlic and cheap spirits, can be found here.

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Where to Hide?

With Fanny and Euphemia hiding in the chimney, doubtless anticipating a fate worse than death, the stage was set.

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The Stage, Set.

Looking south. The French Primary Deployment can just be seen bottom left. The Highlander Primary Deployment Point was almost directly opposite, just behind the rather glaring sun. The French had a Movable Deployment Point and also a Dummy MDP. The river in the middle of the board rather restricted the area of operations and most of the action happened on the west bank. Apologies for the rather nondescript green felt and the odd intruding ‘white edge’ of woodland bases but the terrain is not yet in its finished form.

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Lieutenant Clouzeau Urges his Men Forward Through the Woods (Clouzeau can be seen in a blue coat, behind his men).

Clouzeau advanced in textbook fashion with Enseigne Maudit’s skirmishers ahead of the main line. The woods slowed them down terribly but with typical Gallic cunning he had sent his Huron allies ahead via the Movable Deployment Point, which can be seen in the centre of the picture near the river. The Dummy MDP is hidden by the tree to the right.

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Enseigne Maudit and the Mighty Huron Warrior, Tobacco, Urge Their Men Onwards.

Hawhendagerha’s Huron fire from the safety of the far bank as the British make a rapid advance.

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The British Seem to be Winning the Race
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Lieut. Kennedy and His Men Near the Cabin

A neck-or-nothing dash saw Tobacco’s warriors just beat Lieut. Kennedy’s men to the shack.

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The Highlanders Advance

Tobacco’s men quickly searched the shack and it wasn’t long before the rather dishevelled Fanny and Euphemia were dragged unceremoniously from the chimney.

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What Are They Doing on the Roof?

The dashing Kennedy immediately ordered his brave boys to charge. In the frenetic melee, Tobacco was shot dead but Kennedy was wounded and the attack repulsed.

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The Girls are Still Captive.

 

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Volley Fire!
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French Sharp Practice Takes a Toll

The Highlanders and French exchanged fire. Captain Murray was wounded, as was Hawhendagerha. But the woods had slowed down Lieut. Mills’ command enough that they could make little impact on the fight.

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Abducted!

While Lieutenant Clouzeau’s Compagnie Franches de la Marine hold off superior numbers of highlanders, Hawhendagerha makes off with his captives.

A win for the French! Or is it in fact a win for the Huron?