There was an opportunity to play Wilderness War again. What appears to be some sort of custom by now, I tend to play British in attempt to learn how to win with them. For French, the interior lines work wonders and it is rather easy to disrupt, or in best of cases, entirely stall the British advance. I never quite figured out how to avoid the French attacks. British just simply cannot afford to push on from many directions, especially if majority of the generals activate with 3.
So, I had devised a daring plan – instead of customary preparations and reinforcements I decided that it is necessary to make immediate push with the resources I had at hand. Two prong strike against the Ohio Forks and Niagara victory conditions was the dish of the day. I did not know it at the time but best I ever got was going to be two batches of reinforcements, and light infantry. Wolfe decided to have beach vacation in Scotland.
First, Amherst appeared, and displaced Abercromby – relief to anyone serving him. Loudoun then headed north towards Albany and then turning towards Montreal. Amherst took the hard way over the Allegheny Mountains and towards Ohio Forks.
First promising battle occurred when Montclam decided to kick some British butt near Albany – and failed in epic scale. DR:1 vs DR:6 of Loudoun. Both survived barely, but Montclam took worse of the encounter and retreated to lick his wounds, only to revenge by sending in some blankets infected with smallpox – a thing that eradicated six steps from the Loudoun’s army! And then, after this little preparatory revenge, he attacked again. Loudoun was in no state to fight and attempted to run before the battle but in no avail and was caught. Resulting battle practically destroyed the army and only one flipped Royal American survived. Tough Luck.
Well. British could have conceded after losing vast majority of the forces on the map, but Montclam was content to push forward only to capture and burn the Fort William Henry. Instead of pushing down to Albany for death strike. He then retreated back and British got the critical respite. Meanwhile it was in the Ohio Forks and Oneida corridor where action was becoming hot.
Dumas was preparing to evacuate the Ohio Fort when Amherst appeared into horizon, and he managed to do that without losing a man. French attempt to build blocking fort in Oswego resulted only in meager Stokade and British managed to gain the upper hand in the control of the vital waterways – and support among Oneida Indians. One Marine detachment and one CdeB was not going to stop that. At the moment of greatest need, the Indians of Oneida decided indeed to Ally with British cause and necessary manpower boost became available – and with it, option to utilize Ambush…
French seeing that Oneida corridor was becoming a major problem promptly despatched Levis from the Montclam’s main army to deal with the problem. My opponent was still worried that I would come down from Albany with considerable force. A mistake Levis would soon pay with his life for. His entire army, save one CdeB was dispatched as a result of ambush, and now French too were worn down. However, unfortunately for the British, French did get all the reinforcements in play – and because of the dire need of manpower, Halifax garrison was evacuated prompting the French to do likewise from Louisbourg. So, Both sides were more or less even, except in the command department but then Light Infantry balanced that out a bit along with Bradstreet.
After some of the successes Colonial Policies bore fruit resulting enthusiastic support – act which prompted additional colonial troops to bolster the British war effort. Clearly a sign for the British government not to send any more troops to the Northern Frontiers. So, it was that we had to do then. War raged on. Amherst marched to the lakeshore, Johnson and Bradstreed progressed towards Niagara while the rest of the British commanders decided to pause for a tea – for entire early season of 1759! Not only did untimely tea hurt the British cause, but French managed to remove the extremely vital card of troop replacements that I would need direly later.
While Amherst, Bradstreet and Johnson paved the way for the attack, and while Vardeuil, now due to clever British political maneuvering was in charge of the defenses, made all in his power to cause attrition, late season 1759 saw a miracle. Coehorns, in my hand. I might just have the tools that I needed to win the game. French poured in to Niagara, indians, hunters and every able man was flooding in through the northern shore – except of Montclam and his very few forces that guarded the now very unprotected corridor to Montreal. Over and over again the French defenders attacked the British, and losses mounted – more often than not, British were only saved by even results that defender would win.
Then Amherst got ready and attacked in turn to reduce the defenders. Then it was time to make the last attack. Winning the battle against the combined French army the garrison split in two – better part of good troops went into the fort, while auxiliaries retreated to Mississauga wilderness. Vadreuil then made last attempt to relieve the Niagara by his auxiliaries. He failed. Niagara was not relieved, but only by narrowest of margins. On a very last possible card, British started siege under Amherst. +1 from him, +2 from the Coehorns -1 for Dumas defending, it was +2 to the die roll. I rolled “1”… a pause, then oh… no…
However, 1 is all you need with the Coehorn bonus to make that single siege point, and assault went in with DR of 6. Defenders defeated, Niagara finally fell and so ended the French domination in The Wild. Cost to British was momentous. After the assault there were only few men standing in the ruins of Niagara to fly the British flag.
Given that Wolfe failed to appear, it was incredibly tough for British and I cannot recall a game with such a narrow margin ever occurring. There were so many points, especially in late game that single modifier of +1 from right leader, or -1 because of regulars fighting in woods without auxiliaries would have turned the tables. Would Montcalm have moved into Niagara, he would have defeated the Oneida Corridor with ease, but then there would not have been anything to stand between Albany and Montreal. A real concrete threat and by all means, Oneida Corridor and Oswego gateway could have been tougher to crack than what it first appeared.
That said, French were constantly pressed from multiple sides only realistic option would have been attempt against the stockades and forts necessary for the supply. Of course Army of Marine Detachment joined with irregulars under command of Viliers or Dumas could have caused a lot of trouble in the Ohio Forks wilderness region. Guerrilla army ready to strike against the unguarded stockades.