Sunday 30 October 2011

October 31st, 1759

The Wabenaki of St. Francis set great store by the Virgin of Chartres, a silver statue of the Madonna, sent by the friars of that renowned cathedral, in appreciation for some devotional wampum belts sent thence by the Wabnenaki. The idol was reputed by the Indians to ward off the Sons of Malsum, fiends of aboriginal lore; however it failed to ward off the righteous anger of those hardy New Englanders who produced the frontiersmen of Roger’s Rangers. In 1759, the statue disappeared in the wake of that doleful village’s destruction by fire, musket, and sword. To this day the Virgin’s whereabouts remain unknown and it is presumed by this author that the statue has been consigned to that still largely uncharted wilderness of the Green Mountain country.

-- Myths and Talismans of the Mountains, Bertim O. Doane, 1884



It had been several long, cold, weeks since Roger's Rangers had burned St. Francis to the ground. 
The return march to Fort Number Four on the New Hampshire frontier would be a nightmare from which some were destined never to awake.

Shortly after leaving the village behind,Major  Roger's split his men into several smaller detachments, instructing each to make it's way to Number Four as best they could. Captain Johanthan Delapore led one such party.

In addition to the sergeant and ten men under his command, Delapore was also entrusted with one of the handful of captives taken in the raid, an Abenaki boy of about 12 summers.

As the small band made their way south eastward, they suffered greatly from a lack of game. Even though every night was full of the howling of the wolves and each day with the cawing of crows and ravens the men  never caught site of any animals and the foraging parties returned with barely enough roots and bark to sustain life.

Throughout the captive boy was restive. Delapore presumed the boy's obvious fear was caused by his circumstance, it being no good thing to be held captive by one's sworn enemies.

Eventually, as Delapore was to learn, the boy's fear was real enough, but it was not fear of the Rangers that vexed him so, rather it was  a fear at once more primal and pervasive.

The boy finally spoke up in camp the night that Delapore had ordered all of the men's packs to be searched for stocks of food. Major Rodgers had expressly forbid the carrying of loot, in place of food stocks, and it was with some consternation that Delapore discovered the silver statue of the Madonna in one of his men's packs.

At this the captive boy broke down, and between sobs related a strange tale. The statue he said was the only thing that had kept the Sons of Malsum at bay for these many years. Yet as the statue had been taken from sacred ground it would no longer do so. No doubt the keening of the wolves every night was no mortal howling but howling of  the fiends of the night.

Delapore was disinclined to believe such ravings and yet, that would explain why howling wolves should be so abundant while game was so very scarce.

The boy went on to say that they were all of them doomed unless the statue be returned to a sacred place, and that fortunately he knew of one not a day's march from their camp. It was a site of "the old ones" or so he said, a mound in which the statue could be tucked away and the Sons of Malsum banished back to the region from which they came.

Delapore resolved to send the boy in company with three of his most trusted men, to scout for this mound while the rest of the party dispersed to forage.

The boy and his three minders did not return that evening, and Delapore, fearing treachery led his party on their trail at first light.

The trail led them through a crevice in the rock face into what was apparently a secluded valley. There they found the remains of the men they sought, seemingly ripped to pieces. And always the wolves howled...

Delapore's company of Rangers. The Captain is is first row left in the photo.

 The Valley. The Rangers enter from right back ground.

  The Burial Mound of the Old Ones.

 Blackbirds take flight. What startled their roost?

 Delapore leads his men into the valley.

 The men make ready to confront something skulking through the brush. 
It is a false alarm.

 The men reach the edge of the clearing and prepare to approach the Mound.

 Ominous movement across the clearing.

Wolves burst from the wood. 
Some of them bipedal and brandishing cruel stone weapons!

The wolves charge!

The Rangers open fire.
Two wolves drop but the rest come on.

A fierce melee ensues.

There are losses on both sides as Captain Delapore drops a wolf warrior.

The wolves withdraw, taking their casualties with them.
Now that is strange indeed!

The wolves that were hit on their way in must have only been winged.
They shrug  and regain their feet.

Delapore's less experienced men are shaken by the days events.
The Captain instructs his veterans to keep the wolves under fire while he rallies the men who are faltering.

There is a lull in the battle allowing the wounded to be tended too and order restored.

The warrior Delapore slew in combat rises to lead the wolves in a fresh assault.
That can't be good!

It appears the four legged wolves have had enough as they slink back into the forest.
One of the two warriors is dropped by a well aimed shot.

The lone warrior standing prepares to charge.
What's that movement in the trees behind him?

Scattered shots ring out as the risen warrior charges home.

It is a brave gesture but the warrior is over matched...

...And dies again.

Of a sudden the sound of breaking branches and pounding feet comes from the Rangers' left.

A fierce looking white haired warrior bursts from the brush, lesser wolves bounding behind,

It is too much for the Rangers.
They break and run.

All that is except brave Delapore who faces the wall of fur and fangs undeterred.

Delapore is torn to pieces and his men hunted down and slain.


It is rumored that treasure looted from St. Francis still waits to be uncovered by those of an adventurous bent. Every few years some brave soul sets out in search of these riches never to be heard from again...

-- Myths and Talismans of the Mountains, Bertim O. Doane, 1884

Game notes:

This was a combined Muskets and Mohawks 2 and Warrior Heroes; Armies and Adventures scenario.

The Ranger force consisted of  9 figures, each armed with a musket.

Captain Delapore, Rep 5, statue.
3x Rep 5
5x Rep 4

The Rangers' goal was to take the statue into the mound and leave it there. Had they succeeded all of the warrior wolves would have been banished from the earth and the four legged wolves would have gone back to being, wait for it...plain old wolves.

The game system generated the wolves as Possible Enemy Forces were resolved.

The Alpha wolf warrior was Rep 6, immortal, 12" move.
Other wolf warriors were Rep 5, immortal, 12" move.
The wolves were Rep 5, 12" move.

Immortal: Wolf warriors may not be killed, only banished. As such whenever one sustains a Knock Down, Out of the Fight, or Obviously Dead combat result it may recover by taking the Recover From Knock Down test. Each time it passes the test, its wound heals one step from OD to OOF, from OOF to KD, and from KD to no wounds at all. As you can see "killing" a wolf warrior would keep it out of play at least three turns as it regenerates.

Both the wolves and the Rangers were classed as Irregulars for the game.

With a little tweaking here and there I suspect this scenario would work with any game system.

Well that's all for now. 

Happy Halloween!


Thursday 27 October 2011

FNG - First Mission - AAR

Dear Diary,
Saw my first action yesterday. We were on patrol in the Free Fire Zone and it went okay, sort of. We were up and at 'em before dawn and went into the jungle. Man, it's freaky out there. You hear things more than see things. Murphy said that was normal and not to trip on it but it's still freaky.
Anyway we were moving through the jungle when Peters gave us the signal to stop. I'm not going to lie. I was nervous and didn't know what to expect. They train you before you get here but once you're in country you realize it's not like anything you've seen before.

Anyway, after a couple of minutes we began to move again. We were moving along pretty slowly when all of a sudden there was gunfire. Just like the older guys had said, you hear it way before you see it.
I was pretty far back in the line but went for cover as soon as I heard the shooting. I couldn't see anything but could hear everything. The gunfire, the screams, and more. A grenade went off then it all got quiet again. We started to move forward and could see three NVA on the ground not moving. Hansen had his rifle on two NVA who had their hands up. None of us appeared to be hurt.

We pushed on and then I saw them! Five or six dark shapes popping up into view. Before I could think I was shooting at the closest one and I think he went down. I don't know as I went for cover. But at least I fired my weapon.

Some of the new guys just ducked down when the shooting started. Anyway, it was over pretty quick. Not like the movies. Two of our guys got hit and looked in pretty bad shape. I didn't even get a chance to learn their names as it seems like our guys are coming and going all the time.
Anyway, we grabbed a couple more prisoners and finished our patrol. I heard a couple of older guys saying that the NVA guys had satchel charges on them and were headed towards the base. Who's to know.

FNG 2nd Tour
Early next month

Saturday 22 October 2011

Monongahelia Patrol 1756

Braddock's defeat was a year old and once again British forces set out to reduce Fort Duquense.

Leading the way was Sergeant Regan and a six man scout from his regiment:

Sergeant Regan Rep 5
Corporal Carter Rep 5
Pvt. Baker Rep 4
Pvt. Caine Rep 4
Pvt. Howard Rep 4
Pvt. Hoskins Rep 3
Pvt. Stratham Rep 3

Having crossed the river, Regan thought he saw a glint of metal off to the left. He duly sent Carter and Howard to investigate.

The two men discovered a party of 5 warriors concealed behind an embankment. Carter was able to get off a shot before the warriors but to no avail. The following Indian volley left Carter down and stunned.

Successive Indian volleys killed Howard while Carter was able to regain the safety of the patrol.

In a disturbing development a mixed band of Canadians and Indians emerged from the embankment and proceeded to move around the patrol's right flank, in an apparent bid to cut off their retreat.

Now taking fire from two directions Regan's men faltered.
Regan was able to rally his men and their fire halted the Canadian warband at the far side of the trail.

Faced with twice his number of fighting men, and with enemy to front and flank, Regan decided to withdraw.
Accordingly he sent Carter with Caine and Hoskins across the river, while the Sergeant, Baker, and Stratham held the enemy at bay.
Seeing this the warriors from the embankment crept forward to take the patrol under fire.
Regan and co. were able to discomfit the Canadians on the flank, causing one to run. Unfortunately Stratham's firelock fouled, cutting the detachments firepower by one third unless he could repair it quickly.

Meanwhile Carter's men took the approaching Indians under fire in an effort to cover Regan's withdrawal across the river. In the ensuing firefight, Caine was severely wounded as was Carter but not before Carter had killed an Indian in the act of scalping Howard.

The carnage proved too much for Hoskins who grabbed the wounded Carter and made for the safety of the British camp.

As Regan and co. were preparing to make their dash across the river, Stratham took a musket ball that laid him low. To Regan's (my!) discredit the wounded Stratham was left behind as Regan and Baker crossed the river.

Fortunately for Regan, Baker, and the wounded Caine, the Indians and their Canadian allies did not pursue.
Final losses for the British were Howard KIA, Statham, missing and presumed dead, Caine and Carter WIA. Caine did not last the night. Carter is expected to rejoin the ranks in a month or two.

In return two warriors were killed and one run off.

With an unsuccessful mission and a wounded man left to the "mercy" of the savage foe, the personal loyalty Carter enjoys from his men has taken a hit as well.

For the moment the dense wilderness of the Ohio country remains safely in French hands.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Braddock's Battle 1755

To "celebrate" having found my French and Indian War figures, I staged a very watered down version of Braddock's defeat on the Monongahela in 1757. Forces were roughly 1 figure equals 100 men, giving the British about 10 regulars and 4 militia, and the French about 3 French and 7 Indians. Hardly the stuff of epics but enough for a good skirmish game.
The British advanced guard of 3 figures ran into the French coming the other way along the trail. A sharp shooting Troupe de la Marine figure wounded one and stunned the other two. A nearby courier de bois could not resist the sight of helpless red coats and moved in to finish them off.
Meanwhile the remaining courier de bois and the Indians fanned out in the woods along either side of the British main body.
Advancing along the trail, the British regulars formed line and fired a volley at the French lingering about the remains of the advance party. The Troupe de Marine figure bought the farm.
While the regulars were reloading I had the Indians charge the column. Not really the best move as the main body was not at all discomfited so far and while two of the Virginia militia bolted, the rest of the troops were able to fight off the assault with some loss.

A quick game I lost as the French due to impatience. It would have been much better to wear the regulars down with fire and only emerge onto the path to finish off the survivors at the very end. Oh well c'est le jeu de guerre!

5150: New Beginnings In-Sight Test - The definitive answers!