Sunday, 31 May 2015

War of 1812; The Battle of Montreal Battle Report

The Battle of Montreal Battle Report

  For most of our battles we take different sides each time. We are all experienced with this rule set, and typically no big mistakes are made in our games. So... why do the Americans keep winning?

  The Americans won the Battle of Montreal "What if..." Scenario again. The British began the battle deployed, with artillery set up, more infantry, slightly less but better cavalry, better command and just slightly less artillery. It was a very close battle up until the last couple of turns where a couple of rolls meant several British units were routing on top of a brigade on "retire" and a completely dispersed British cavalry brigade.

  This is the time period I had created my army for; 1813, specifically Niagara 1813 and the St.Lawrence campaign. Uniforms changed so much during the war that the American infantry would have looked like this for this year only.

The Battle

In the foreground is a tributary of the St.Lawrence, this is the American right, and the British left: which is made up entirely of French Canadian Select Embodied Militia. In this scenario I am playing the American left, right beside the mountain, which includes two battalions of infantry, a rifleman detachment, 2 batteries of guns and all the U.S. Cavalry. The other 2 American players have 5 battalions and a large battery of guns each, plus riflemen.

Here is the American left (me), facing off against a brigade of French militia and Indians. The brigade behind the fence was unable to change Prevost's hold orders for the entire game, but stopped me from pursuing the militia brigade which broke. The Brigade behind the fence was a small brigade but contained the two best British units; the Royal Marines (played by British Guards today). His two rockets and his twelve pounder killed one of my batteries of guns and a cavalry unit. My cavalry was hoping for an easy win vs. the militia. Just to the right of the cavalry visible is a second unit of my cavalry which absorbed a lot of fire, mainly from the two rockets and twelve pounder, and dispersed. 

The Americans deploy into line and advance.

The U.S. Right, and British left manoeuvre for advantage.

My smaller unit of cavalry fails its charge because of artillery fire and disperses. My larger unit succeeds in reaching the French Sedentary Militia but they formed square! I was driven off behind my own lines but remained in good order. British Marine rockets also take out my 6 pound battery and my guns disperse. 

In the British centre the 19th Light Dragoons (at right) and French Canadian Light Dragoons (at centre) position to charge the U.S. Guns and American lines.  The 19th Light Dragoons take heavy casualties and disperse. 

On the U.S. Left / British Right a unit of Voyageurs and a unit of Indians disperse from casualties in our skirmisher battle. The whole Brigade of French/British militia and Indians breaks and falls back. They remain broken for the rest of the game. 

Another view of the U.S. Left with my cavalry reformed. My twelve pounders are just out of sight to the right of my cavalry. My artillery threatened the British enough that the Brigade behind the fence did not start trying to change orders to advance until around this point in the battle. Twelve pounders have a longer range for cannister and hit harder than six pounders.

A view of the intense but even firefight along the St.Lawrence (a tributary not the main river) side of the battlefield. 

In the centre, the Canadian Light Dragoons successfully charge and break the 5th U.S. Regiment. 

Two French ladies cheer on the French cavalry as they run down the Americans. 

My second unit of Light Dragoons is now out for blood. They position to counter the Canadian cavalry.

On the British left one of the three units of SEM breaks from the firefight. Things are not looking good on the British / French Canadian Right and Left.

A view of the field from Mount St. Royal. The French militia and Indians remain broken to the rear. The Marine Brigade fails to change their orders. The British command stays in the centre to help boost the British and Swiss (De Meuron regiment; made up mainly of POWs from the peninsula). Because of this, these crack units of British remain unengaged. I tentatively approach them with skirmishers and shell them with my twelve pounders.

A successful cavalry charge and counter charge means an almost equal melee. The De Meuron Regiment can be seen breaking and retreating behind British lines in the background. In the centre each side has lost one line unit. 

The Americans take advantage of the hole in the British lines.  The Anerican cavalry defeats the Canadian Light Dragoons. The British Cavalry brigade is now completely dispersed. 

Another view of the centre.

Another unit of French SEM breaks, the remaining unit is now severely outnumbered. The British / French now have lost enough units that they have to take an army morale test. They fail and rout the field.

Another view at the end of the action. Three British units remain out of action behind the fence. They probably could have defeated my two depleted units. Prevost was a cautious commander so all British but the Militia began the battle on hold orders.

Battle Aftermath...

  So what would happen now? The Americans had only one unit of Cavalry so would not be able to follow up on their victory.  Montreal is a walled city. There are two more SEM units guarding the city plus English and French militia. Not to mention that 3 units of British remained fresh after this scenario. Montreal is a Kilometre away from this battle site. Surely the British and Canadians would retreat within the walls. Without French support the Americans probably stood little chance of following up.

  The Americans suffered heavily during this battle as well, probably 25% casualties, they also lost 20% on their way down the St.Lawrence; for a total of 45%. If this scenario took place after our version of Crysler's Farm then the US forces would be at less than 50%. The Americas brought along 18 Seige guns but no cold weather clothing, and they were out of food. It would now be mid November in Canada (already very cold). After this battle the Americans would probably have 3500 effectives vs. 4500 to 5000 British and Canadians.

  The Americans would probably have to withdraw to the American side of the River. Montreal already had a large proportion of British by this point, so an uprising to join the Americans seems unlikely. The British could also call upon more units from the South East (including DeSalaberry's force) and East (the Garrison at Cornwall) which alone would almost be equal in size to the remaining American Army, making the beseiging army outnumbered 2 to 1. The Isle of Montreal is 50 km long allowing for guerrilla warfare against the Americans. 

  The Americans won the battle but probably not the city. It would be similar to the Chesapeake campaign. The British won at North Point, but the Americans retreated to Baltimore which the British realized they could not take so left the area.

French Uprising?
  Apparently during the war there was widespread French dissension about conscription which was hushed up by the British. If the French in Montreal joined with the Americans the British would be lucky to keep anything but Halifax, they would probably lose the rest of Canada. If Canada had fallen I have little doubt that when Napoleon was defeated, an even larger British army would have come in 1814, possibly lead by Wellington.

  Of the army in Quebec and Montreal the following units were fully French;
1. Canadian Voltigeurs Regiment (Excellent Troops)
2. Canadian Fencibles (Line light infantry)
3. Eight Full Regiments of Select Embodied Militia (second rate line)
4. 500 Voyageurs
5. 5 or 6 Troops of Light Dragoons
6. 2 Small Batteries of Guns
In Addition;
7. De Watteville's and De Meuron's Regiments were 75% 
POWs from the peninsula. (Swiss, Poles and Germans)
*In addition, the American Army had 48 regiments, 2 large Cavalry regiments and a lot of artillery.

That's 13 Regular French regiments. Probably equal to all British troops in all of Canada in 1813. Not to mention the 60000 French Sedentary Militia. If even half of these forces joined the Americans the British would lose Canada in 1813.

The British army in 1813 consisted of;
1. 13 Foot Batallions 
2. 3 Squadrons on the 19th Light Dragoons
3. 3 English Fencibles
4. 20000 English Sedentary Militia (half were in the Maritimes)
5. 2 Battalions of Royal Marines
6. Several Batteries of Guns
7. 2 or 3 Militia Troops of Light Dragoons

Would they have joined the Americans if the Battle of Montreal was lost? Who knows, but it's possible. 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Miniature Spotlight; War of 1812: Putting it all Together

  Rather than revisiting Victrix and Perry miniatures, I will instead include them here. Below are the best options for 28mm. I'm sure I would have more Brigade Games and Knuckleduster in my collection if they had all of their figures out 3 years ago. As it is I will still be picking up more from both.

There are definitely good options for gaming at 25mm with Old Glory and Foundry as well. 

Building Your Armies
British Infantry;
Perry, Victrix, Warlord Games, Knuckleduster or Brigade Games

Knuckleduster British infantry, mixed with Perry command, Victrix artillery and Old Glory rockets.

Canadian Infantry;
Knuckleduster or Brigade Games

Old Glory at right, Knuckleduster centre with North Star at Right.

Canadian Militia; 
North Star (French), Brigade Games or Knuckleduster

North Star French Militia (From their French Wilderness Force)

British Artillery

Victrix British Artillery

Victrix or Perry with a stove pipe head swipe where necessary (Perry cannons are nicer IMO). Knuckleduster and Brigade Games make crew but no / few cannons. 

Brigade Games British / Canadian Artillery

British Rockets
This Warlord Games ladder stand with some converting of uniforms could work. *One battery of RHA did fight at New Orleans. Otherwise they were all marine rockets (see below).

Perry Carlist War rockets with a head conversion and a Brigade Games officer. As mentioned in an earlier post there were three types of British Rocket launchers, presumably all would have been in North America. 

Knuckleduster, North Star or Brigade Games

Brigade Games Indians

US Regulars Artillery and Cavalry;
Knuckleduster or Perry/ Victrix Conversions *I have Perry French cannons
*Brigade Games 1814 only

My most complicated conversion US Light Dragoons (from Perry plastic British Hussars and French Dragoons).

US Militia;
Knuckleduster, Brigade Games or Perry (American War of Independence)

Generals and Colonels;
Perry British (And US = Dutch / Belgian), Knuckleduster or Brigade Games

American Command made from Perry Dutch / Belgians

U.S. militia General from Knuckleduster. 

Miniature Spotlight; Wargames Foundry: War of 1812

  This is my fourth post comparing 28mm War of 1812 miniatures. These miniatures are 25mm like Old Glory. The American range was, I believe, sculpted by the Perry twins, but looks nowhere near as nice as their current line. 

  I have none of these miniatures. The War of 1812 miniatures do not seem to be available anymore, the British units are still available. 

  Size wise they should be compatible with Old Glory or possibly close to Knuckleduster or Perry metals. 

  They make many British units but not much else. They have a small range of Anericans in very limited poses. 

  Their sculpting seems excellent, but poses are a problem. Not a lot of variety. Packs come in 8 of the same guy. The U.S. miniatures are not as nice as their British, their legs all appear hobbled. 

  Like Old Glory they have incorrectly portrayed the U.S. Light Dragoons and their horses appear too small. 

  I cannot speak to their customer service as these are not available. They are very expensive compared to other manufacturers as well. 

Unit Number; 6
Pose Number; 5
Sculpt Quality; Ranges from 6 to 10
Metal Quality; NA
28mm Scale; 4
Historical Accuracy; 7
Customer Service; NA
Price; 2

Up next, putting it all together

Miniature Spotlight; Old Glory: War of 1812

  This is my third post on 28mm War of 1812 Moniatures. Old Glory is the old guy on the block with a fairly extensive range of 25mm miniatures (not 28s). 

  I currently possess by Old Glory; US Rifles, highlanders in trews, frontier cavalry and infantry, several cannons and U.S. militia advancing.

  Size wise they range somewhat for 25mm. Their horses are not usable for 28mm at all (being much too small). Their infantry units are sometimes the size of KD and Perry metals but other times much smaller. 

  For both US and British Canadian Troops they make most units. In addition they have a large selection of cannons which can be purchased separately for specific sizes (for example siege guns and 4 pounders). 

  Their sculpting and pose quality for the War of 1812 is amongst their best, which is still not as good as many other manufacturers but overall decent. Unless you are going with armies made of completely Knuckleduster, WG Foundry or Perry metals I cannot recommend their infantry or cavalry for 28mm. If you want to game 25mm they work. I have based mine on higher bases but it is not a great fix.

  In addition to being a smaller scale there are historical accuracy problems with 2 units. Late war US infantry seem to have blanket rolls, which no units had. In addition their U.S. Light Dragoons have side plumes instead of front plumes (which is incorrect).

  Customer service seems excellent though my local game shop has ordered them for me. They are the cheapest range by a fair margin, but as stated, they are good for 25mm but not for 28mm. 

Unit Number; 8
Pose Number; 9
Sculpt Quality; Ranges from 6 to 8
Metal Quality; 8
28mm Scale; 4
Historical Accuracy; 6
Customer Service; 10 / NA
Price; 10

Up next Wargames Foundry

Miniature Spotlight; Brigade Games: War of 1812

  This is my second post on 28mm War of 1812 miniatures. Brigade Games has a rapidly growing range of American figures and an extensive range of British, Canadians and Indians. I check their website often to see what's new. Like Knuckleduster I will definitely be picking up more of these in the future. 

  I currently possess by Brigade Games; marching late war American Infantry, Marine heads and command group, British mounted officers and pioneers, and British light infantry packs. 

  Size wise Brigade Games are a perfect match for Perry plastics and some Perry metals. Like Knuckleduster I have mixed Perry in the same unit as BG and you cannot tell. I purchased Marine heads and command which was a great match for scale but the British light infantry heads were so small that they were unusable. Having said that, the scale and quality for the other sets I purchased was excellent.

  For US forces, Brigade Games makes late war Americans; artillery crew, U.S. Rifles, Frontier Infantry, Scott's Brigade, Mounted Officers, and late war infantry. For British and Canadian troops they have artillery and infantry in stovepipes and round hats, Caldwell's Rangers, Early Light Dragoons, Indians, Command groups, sailors, and most recently Canadian Voltigeurs. 

  Their pose quality and sculpting overall is excellent, and is often on par with Perry (the best IMO) though they do not make command groups for all types of their U.S. Infantry which meant adding coat tails to my matching command groups. They have excellent faces and proportions. 

  Their horses are very good and scale well with Perry. In many cases Brigade Games has the nicest version of units; their Canadian Voltigeurs and late war American infantry are the nicest versions of those units (Though all company's versions are nice). In some cases I thought Knuckleduster had nicer sculpts. 

  Customer Service seems to be a problem for this company. I was shorted a standard bearer and when I contacted the owner he complained of shipping changes for him! He did not send me another until I made another order, I was not impressed. They are a little on the pricey side but good quality overall.

Unit Number; 8 *but growing
Pose Number; 9 *Missing Some Command groups, though existing units do have a decent variety
Sculpt Quality; Ranges from 8 to 10
Metal Quality; 7
28mm Scale; 10 (*except the LI heads)
Historical Accuracy; 10
Customer Service; 3
Price; 6

Up next Old Glory

Miniature Spotlight; Knuckleduster Miniatures: War of 1812

 There are 4 manufacturers who focus on the War of 1812 in 28mm; Old Glory, Wargames Foundry, Knuckleduster Minuatures and Brigade Games. I have miniatures from all but Wargames Foundry.

  In this post I am reviewing Knuckleduster Minuiatures, the only company of those I just listed that has an almost complete range of 1812 figures. They have roughly 3 or 4 more times the number of units and figures than BG or Wargames Foundry. They make most units for 1812. Old Glory comes close for types of units. 

  I currently possess by KD; marching British infantry in stove pipes, marching round hat wearing Canadian Militia, marching US frontier militia, Caldwell's Rangers, and mounted US frontier militia.

  Size wise KD miniatures are a perfect match for Perry metal miniatures (Perry plastics tend to be larger) and I have even mixed them in the same unit.

  Knuckleduster has the only accurate version US Light Dragoons. WGF and OG makes these guys, but with super small horses and incorrect plumes! The side plume featured in many plates is incorrect and based on post war examples.

   In many cases Kuckleduster have the nicest sculpts as well; they have the nicest frontier militia of all four ranges, both mounted and on foot. They also make the nicest horses of all of these ranges. Their marching infantry is also very good, as are their historically accurate Indians and many advancing units.  I would have much more if these in my collection if I had discovered them sooner. Unfortunately I bought enmasse early on. In addition I like converting so the bulk of my collection ended up being Perry conversions. 

  The quality of their metal is as good it gets, durable with virtually no flash. Excellent quality.

  Some advancing and skirmishing miniatures are not as nice for pose quality and overall sculpting, this is the only negative of Knuckleduster Miniatures. 

  Forrest Harris, owner and creator of Knuckleduster Miniatures has the best online customer service I have encountered. He actually switched up packs for me, giving me exactly the miniatures I wanted. Shipping was reasonable and fast (Brigade Games was not as fast and would not send me a missing figure from a pack unless I made another order!). Prices are very good, especially if you buy the regimental packs.

Unit Number; 10
Pose Number; 9 
Scupt Quality; Ranges from 6 to 9
Metal Quality; 10
28mm Scale; 10 
Historical Accuracy; 10
Customer Service; 10
Price; 10

Up next Brigade Games.

Friday, 8 May 2015

The Battle for Montreal 1813

In an earlier post I posted the order of battle for our upcoming "What if?", The Battle of Montreal. After working on Robotech and Zombie games it's back into the War of 1812 in a couple of weeks. 

This what if scenario makes sense for us to play since the Americans won the Battle of Crysler's Farm that we played.

Battles Played
1813 Battles
1. Stoney Creek; American victory
2. Chateauguay; British / French Victory
3. Crysler's Farm; American Victory
4. The Battle of Montreal; playing on the 30th of this month

1814 Battles
1. Chippawa; American Victory
2. Lundy's Lane; Draw *Would have been a British victory in a couple of turns
3. The Second Battle of Chippawa "What if?"; American Victory

Upcoming American Invasion Battles
1. Bladensburg
2. Plattsburgh
3. New Orleans

I can't help but notice that the Americans are winning more than they did historically! Twice as much as the British. I think that this scenario should be slightly in favour of the British and French, so maybe things will balance out.

Over the last couple of months I have created about 10 square feet of forest, about 10 feet of dirt roads and 12 feet of rail fence. I also picked up a fantastic frontier Fort, and several houses. The fort means I can play battles I had thought of before; Fort Meigs, Fort Stephenson, and Mackinac.

Seven of us will be playing this battle on the 30th. There should be two battalions of Royal British Marines at this battle, so I will try and get them done between birthday parties and canoe trip between then and now.

These two battalions were at a lot of battles from 1813 onwards, so are a must have for 1812. I have already created the rocket sections. To make the Marines I am using Brigade Games heads on Victrix bodies, with Perry packs and mostly Perry arms as well. I bought the proper flags from Warflag.
They are almost ready to go, just have to glue on the packs. And of course get them painted. Knuckleduster makes these guys ready to go.