Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Adventures of Francois Gaston de Levis : French Indian War 1756

Looking to play a bit more M&T this year so having completed the French Infantry I have been looking for a setting for playing scenarios. The more I have read about the war the less and less convinced I am by the ruthless antics of the Colonial British, this gives me the benefit that I can play either side without feeling any undue favour. 

Throughout 1755 the British under Nova Scotia's Governor Charles Lawrence ordered the forcible deportation of the French Speaking Acadian population. The dirty work was carried out by one Colonel Monckton whose force included the often less than scrupulous Robert Rogers and his Rangers. Often portrayed as a kind of rough diamond British hero a number of atrocities were committed by him in the name of the crown.This then is a perfect setting for some scenarios. 

Our Hero Francois Gaston, Chevalier de Levis has just arrived in the Colony bringing French regular reinforcements. Rogers has got wind of a group of Acadians seeking refuge at a nearby settlement with the intent of capturing them, of course if there is a fight he won't hesitate to kill them off implicating the local Natives as the culprits. Francois has taken a small party of allied Ottawan Indians to protect the village whilst the French regular infantry is being brought up. Rogers on the other hand is throwing his Rangers, some allied Mohawks and a small company of British regulars at the village.

(we rolled the scenario from the Muskets and Tomahawks rule book, together with a secret side plot each........please note I failed my French O'level, yes that long ago....)

The story begins ; the Acadian Civilians are in two groups and once the alarm is given they start to make their way to the church, the Ottawa Indians take up defensive positions around the village. As soon as the Rangers come into view the Ottawa left rip. The Rangers weren't expecting this and one group immediately fall back to consider their options.
Ottawan Indians protecting the village 
The woods to the north of the village give the Rangers excellent cover and they can remain out of sight as long as they don't fire (in M&T as soon as you fire with a black powder weapon you are much easier to spot and shoot at) Francois Gaston can be seen at the far side of the church keeping one eye on his Allies and the other over his shoulder for the French reserves.

Civilians scurrying for cover in the church
Rogers has also persuaded some local British Militia to tag along, not through any great loyalty to the Crown but no doubt looking for ill gotten spoils.

Local Milita are also helping the British
The British allied Mohawks have made their way forward to the rocks in the foreground but are reluctant to charge in! without firm orders from Rogers but he is nowhere to be seen ? (more of that later I think)

Allied Mohawks seem reluctant to engage ?
The Indians in the church yard come under fire from the woods so they are able to start exchanging fire but at this long range muskets are fairly ineffective and casualties are minor.

Allez allez mon amis - the civilians make themselves scarce
At the other end of the village there are mixed fortunes, the Mohawks have temporarily lost their nerve pulling back into the woods but the slow moving British regulars have now come into range, Load.....Aim......FIRE !!!!! a devastating volley at Ottawa close to the Barn who are wiped out to a man. (the white balls of fluff are used to represent black powder weapons so you know who needs to reload)

Mon suis mort!
Things are now starting to look uncertain for Francois and the Acadians, the regular infantry has still not arrived, his allied Indians in the Church yard are gradually being pushed back. He calls the other Indians back towards the Church to make a potentially heroic last stand. Whilst good in combat the Indians armed with bows have been hampered upto now with strong winds. (we rolled several special events during the game this being just one of them)

Last stand in the Church yard ?
From the other end of the village you can see how bad things are, the Militia, the Regulars and Rangers are all on the outskirts of the village and the Civilians almost undefended. (I was at this stage starting to worry that the newly painted French Regulars might not even turn up in their first battle !) 

But wait a minute are those the strains of Le Marseillaise (of course not this is pre revolutionary France so we will have to assume they come on with a shouted Bonjour Salute !!)

Not looking good for the Acadians !
In the nick of time a large company of French regular Infantry arrive from the south. The Militia have already caught and killed one of the civilians, the rest are literally fleeing for their lives.

juste a temps !
Let them have it lads or ils ne l'aiment pas jusqu'a eux (ok i used google for this) The regulars buy just enough time for the civilian to get away.

ils ne l'aiment pas jusqu'a eux
But it isn't over yet at the church the Rangers have attacked the remaining Ottawa defenders in hand to hand combat, although the natives give as good as they get they are outnumbered, and the Rangers are close to getting into the church where the other civilians are hiding.

"defend our French brothers and sisters to the last man" 
Luckily the British Regulars are too slow to make a difference in the combats around the church and the Indians who are "elite and savage" manage to hold the rangers whilst paying with their own lives. Although extra time was threatening, darkness fell at this point bringing the battle to a close. Francois had managed to save all but one of the Acadians but at the cost of many allied Indian lives....this may well give problems of loyalty in the future. The Rangers slunk off into the darkness of the woods.

Francois embraces his countrymen
But somehow when they got back to the depot Inn they claimed a draw.....what ? Muskets and Tomahawks allows both sides to have a secret side plot and in the case of Rogers his had been to finish the battle without having been spotted by the enemy, apparently he is not adverse to disguising himself and working as a spy behind french lines. This is why we hadn't seen him during the battle and he had stayed well back in the woods !

Overall then a draw.........and good fun, We hope to be back in Nova Scotia soon but it may be a while with some significant VBCW projects in the pipeline more of that soon.


  1. Cracking read I have the figs but have never played M&T. Sounds like a good set of rules

    1. Thanks Martin back to VBCW soon....

  2. A great read Matt and a great looking fame too!

  3. A great read Matt and a great looking fame too!

    1. THanks Ray you system has somehow posted twice....can't be that good ?

  4. Lovely scenario and very impressive minis! Cheers!

    1. Thanks for watching.......don't look too close at the mini some of the rangers aren't properly finished !

  5. Happy to see these beautiful terrain and minis...and these French words!

    1. Thanks Phil Positive feedback encourages me to make my games even more sparkly......if as I sense from your feedback I do apologise for my very poor French I was just too lazy at school.

  6. Another superb looking table and game!

    1. Too kind too to play and fun to look at ?