Sunday, 28 May 2017

Canadians on the warpath

The task given to Lieutenant James FitzJames (of the Cherrymount FitzJames') was a simple one. As Captain Hotspur had put it, "Get that bloody wagon moving!" Those parts of the trackway that were not riven with small gullies by the recent rains, had collected the water in broad stretches of sticky mud. Hotspur had taken most of the company on to Fort Heretostay, leaving the bookish FitzJames with a small detachment of men and impeded by a bogged wagon - not to mention the tiresome company of 'Mr' Thomas Hawks and his self entitled clutch of colonials. At least sergeants Maguire and Hamill had elected to stay behind to add a little practical experience to FitzJames' more theoretical learning. Rev. Cornelius Goodyeare had also decided to stay behind with the wagon to continue an ongoing discussion he had been having with FitzJames on the weight of angels relative to the density of clouds...

FitzJames started off proceedings by suggesting the wagon would get unbogged faster if the colonials (the ones without guns) attempted to push it. Although obviously making headway, Sgt Hamil chose to help out by taking a group of fusiliers back to try and push from the other side of the wagon too. Pretty soon, it looked like one last united heave would get it going.

Then, from the woods to the south, the uncouth chattering of Canadians alerted the Ulstermen to the presence of a potential hazard. Knowing, from long experience in these parts that Francophones meant nothing but trouble, Tom Hawks got his followers to start blazing away into the woods. Although his men were all equipped with rifles, at the short ranges involved Hawks allowed his boys to tap reload, effectively reducing their weapons to common muskets, but increasing the rate of fire.

The Canadian militia continued to take casualties, first from Hawks' frontiersmen, and them from Hamill's fusiliers who abandoned the wagon pushing in favour of musketry. However, while the frontiersmen managed to avoid casualties from the Canadian's return fire, Hamill's fusiliers were not so lucky and started losing both men and resolve.

Meanwhile, shielded from the French threat, the colonials managed to get the wagon rolling, heading west towards Fort Heretostay, Captain Hotspur, and the rest of the company. Unfortunately, they had not considered the fact that there might be Indians in the woods on either side of their path.

And indeed, with a series of great woops and howls, the Francophile Indians leapt from their ambush and assaulted the wagoneers. The colonials only lost a few of their number but were so frightened that they ran away to hid in the woods. The Indians also lost a few men and pulled back to regroup. 

Up among the ranks of the fusiliers, the Canadian shooting had taken such a toll on Hamill's men that Rev. Goodyeare was compelled to step forward and steady their nerves. A second hoard of Indians appeared in the woods to the north and commenced musketry duel with the fusiliers under Sgt Maguire.

Fearing for the wagon and it's precious supplies, Hamill, Goodyeare and a handful of fusiliers attempted to draw off the southern group of Indians with some well laid gunnery.

In the north, the Indians in the woods charged and overwhelmed Sgt Maguire's position, destroying or dispersing his entire group. Lt. FitzJames now stood rather exposed and isolated.

Alas, even in their wounded state, the southern Indians were still more than capable of over-running Hamill's thin line of men. Hamil and Rev. Goodyeare were both knocked out in the melee. The northern Indians attempted to kill the booking (but brave) FitzJames and succeeded in wounding him, but were themselves obliged to pull back as well.

Lt. FitzJames now made a dash for the wagon, attempting to save - at the very least - the precious wagon. Hawks and his frontiersmen rushed to give some assistance but met with the southern Indians who, flush from victory over their Hamill and the preacher, went strait into the colonial riflemen and out the other side.

As Lt. FitzJames looked back from the wagon, all he saw of his small detachment was a single frontiersman comforting one of the colonist's children as he disappeared into the woods.

FitzJames was badly wounded, Goodyeare, Hamill and Hawks were all lying knocked out in the mud, Maguire was missing, presumed scalped and, worst of all, the wagon was bogged again. If he made it out of this mess alive, FitzJames was going to have quite a bit of paperwork to do...

3 comments:

  1. Nice AAR...are those 28mm or 15mm figures?

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    1. Cheers. 15mm - mostly Blue Moon with a couple of Freicorp/QRF.

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