David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

The Raid

 Much going on here in GHQ at present, but all is put on hold for our regular game. The current offering is a run out for my expanded French and Indian War collection. We used 'Black Powder 2' as the rules driver, assisted by ideas from the 'Dark and Bloody Ground' supplement, modified of course by our own tinkering. The game portrays a British surprise raid into New France around the small settlement of Petit Raunslé. The surprise is turned on its head when the French get news of the impending raid from their scouts. But first up then a few atmospheric shots before we get down to the nitty gritty ~

The French garrison outside Petit Raunslé. Pére Stephan blessed their efforts as they march out past their encampment.
French-Canadian backwoodsmen and their Iroquois allies work their way through the crop fields around the settlement.
Forte Dubonné is garrisoned by a few veterans and invalids but boasts the only French artillery, a 4lb piece. Grenadiers drawn from the Regular Infantry garrisoning the area support the Compagnies Franches de la Marine.
On the French left their commander, General Phillipe, has placed a second Iroquois war party supported by his available Coureurs du Bois.
The British Commander, Major Dyzasta - a Hungarian officer serving in the Hanoverian army - has been sent to command the British in this remote area of the Colonies. He has formed a strong right flank  to attack in force. He plans to pin the centre and right of the French position and roll up their line from their left. His Regular infantry and Rangers supported by their Mohawk allies should be more than enough for the task.
His plan to pin the French centre largely depends on his composite formation of Grenadiers, supported by a second Regular infantry regiment and detached Light Company men. Speed of movement down the track should be the key to disrupting French deployment.
The left of his line extends into heavily wooded hills and valleys. His Rangers, detached Light Company men and Mohawks are admirably suited to warfare in such terrain.
Meanwhile, for these trois mademoiselles a walk in the woods turned out not to be such a good idea after all...
The Farmland around Petit Raunslé gives way to heavily wooded hills and valleys. Fighting here will be up close and personal as each side tried to ambush their enemy and gain the upper hand.

The British advance gets off to a very poor start! As the Regular Infantry struggle through the wooded terrain they find the Iroquois lying in ambush. They are Disordered by the unexpected volley from their flank. Poor scouting by the Lights I fear!
Away on the British left the Mohawks' cautious advance draws an impetuous attack from the Iroquois! War whoops fill the air, hatchets split skulls and the shrieks of the wounded rent the air!
Major Dyzasta's centre has found the going harder than anticipated, allowing the French regular infantry to deploy into firing line awaiting their arrival. So much for the planned element of surprise. The French scouts must have reported back on his movements.
The British right, the key to Dyzasta's plans, has been soundly thumped by the French and their Iroquois allies. His plans already lie in tatters!
With his left seemingly secure and the British centre advancing so slowly the French commanders feels a growing confidence in the outcome, despite the nuisance value of a small group of Rangers in his midst!
From bad to worse! With his Mohawks Shaken and his regular infantry routed Dyzasta's right is crumbling, leaving his Light Company men isolated and under heavy fire.
Bravely facing growing numbers of French, the men of the detached Light Companies hold their ground in some Disorder.
 But Dyzasta's left is faring much better, with the Iroquois and Backwoodsmen being forced back by the Mohawks after a vicious and prolonged melee.
The Mohawk warriors on his right rally but too late to effect any relief as they see the Regular Infantry flee past them in rout!
Suddenly, as is often the case with Black Powder, the situation changes. The French centre and left are bending under heavy pressure. Dyzasta senses a decisive victory in his grasp!
The French regular infantry in the centre are devastated by volley fire from the British Grenadiers. He orders the Rangers on the Grenadiers' left flank to rush the French-Canadian militia defending their homes. Inevitably after a short and bloody combat the militia are overwhelmed!
Much confusion in the French centre reinforces Dyzasta in his conviction that the day is his!
The Grenadiers cheer on the Rangers as they sweep the French-Canadian militia from their position. Surely victory is a mere formality now?
Sadly it was not to be. A sudden attack by the reformed and refreshed French left flank sees the British centre shattered! Two of Dyzasta's three brigades are Broken and the day is lost. To his disgust he hears cries of "Vivé La France!" "Vivé Le Roi!" rent the air.
Once again Black Powder had delivered a splendid and unpredictable game! In Turn 5 I was quite sure victory was a mere formality as the French centre bent and the right Blundered into Retreat. Turns 6&7 soon disabused me of that as Phillip first rallied his forces and then struck decisively to turn my anticipated victory into bitter defeat. What a great game though!


  1. My left has blundered, my centre is bending, my right has fallen back, we will attack! A grand game and turnaround, BP delivers again.

    1. Great game I thought, despite the crushing and unexpected loss. Beats putting transfers on planes mind!

  2. An excellent and grand looking game. After last night I join you in defeat, more of which anon.

    1. Thanks George. Best of luck on R Day!🥂🍾

  3. What a cracking game there David and as always, a joy to behold. BPII does give a great game and the toolkit approach makes it easyto tweak things for various theatres and periods.

  4. Many thanks for yet another enthusiastic response! As always SteveJ, much appreciated.

  5. Lovely table and action and always good to see Black Powder (always seen as a big battle rule set) being used in a setting of smaller actions.

    1. Thank you Norm. Black Powder is easily adapted for games of more modest sizes than those you see in the rule book and supplements we've found

  6. Lovely looking game. I confess, I saw the forces, and thought, I could do that with Sharp Practice. But sounds like a real see-sawing affair. And of course, BP plays very quickly.

    1. Thank you Doug, and you are forgiven for mentioning the abomination that is SP😉 The collection is still expanding so BP was always my intended rules of choice. Saying that though, we did originally adapt Astounding Tales by Howard Whitehouse for the games very successfully.

  7. More fine stuff from the seemingly ever expanding Mr.B!

  8. A splendid looking and sounding game David…
    It looks like you snatched defeat from the jaws of victory 😁

    All the best…. Aly

    1. Thank you Aly. Your analysis is sadly spot on in this case.

  9. Excellent scenario, great looking and sounding game and a wonderfully entertaining report!
    I really liked the vignette of 'Magua' with his captives.
    Regards, James
    p.s. Your Major Dyzasta reminded me of some footage, during that terrible war in Yugoslavia, of a British officer with the Smurfs whose name was... Major Campaign.

  10. Thank you James, your enthusiastic response is appreciated. The vignette is from Redoubt Enterprises. Hyza Dyzasta was my alter ego in Football Manager, so his ancestor the Major is a natural given my relative performance in both spheres!

  11. A little late in commenting on this Dave, due to my absence, but on reading through the battle report I felt I had to offer congratulations on such a great looking game! Nail-biting to the end! As for Major Dyzaster's plans..... well, as we know, even the best plans rarly survive first contact with the enemy!! Well done to general Phillipe, for restoring order to the French....just in time!