Wednesday, February 25, 2009
There is very little pictorial evidence.
This link points to a reconstruction that is based on the written evidenceso far as I can tell. As can be seen, it’s a “U” shaped stockade terminating on the river with a block-house at each of the corners that face the portage road.
I’m not too sure that the use of block-houses in this representation are accurate, but they are a valid interpretation of the word “bastion” as mentioned in my 1994 edition of Pouchots’ Memoir. Keep in mind though that they could also be interpreted as square projections of the basic ground-plan of the palisade with a firing-step inside with perhaps a stout little cabin as a redoubt within. I'm thinking here of other French Frontier Forts from Chartrands' FORT 75" published by Osprey.
My alternative interpretation of a "bastion" at Fort Little Niagara.
This next link on a way marking website shows a picture of what is called a barracks chimney built in 1750. If nothing else it was at least as tall today as it was then and would have serviced a building of at least two stories. More than that we cannot tell.
Pouchot describes the site as flat and good for erecting earthworks. I think we could surmise that there were none or minimal works at the site; a ditch and bank at most?
Let the imagining of the fort begin!
Has anyone got a tip on making palisades? Those bamboo skewers look so much like... bamboo skewers.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
The Staff. Still a work in progress at the moment; the horse nearest the camera still needs his rider to be painted!
I've started painting a few staff officers. Mostly complete, they still need their bases to be greened up. From the left they are the colonel of the 44th, an ADC riding post-haste and the inspiring colonel of the 46th. The fourth horse is awaiting another ADC. He's an early experiment in the oil-paint-wipe-off method. Oddly, the paint remaining in the recesses had crazed; it looks like a miniature old master!
Monday, February 09, 2009
I will interpolate my replies within the body of their text.
DC elaborated on my request for more info on his own Niagara campaign:
"Well...it all began about 20 years ago when i obtained a copy of Dunnigan's book on the siege - which is essential (i think you have a copy..?).
GH - Yes, I picked it up via Amazon 6 months ago. I'm reading it for the third time at the moment.
The first effort was a 15mm display game that was inspired by Niagara rather than an attempt at a faithful reproduction. Using 15mm allowed us to not only model the fort and works but also a section of lake (with watercraft), the river, cliffs, camps, and associated followers, livestock, etc. that the excellent freikorps range provides.
GH - I'm intending something similar but in 28mm. I'll model the shoreline, but not the lake and will put smaller scale ship and boat models on a wheeled trolley and navigate them around the playing table - an idea I've long been wanting to try out.
Our rules for this and other large FIW games were published in MWAN a few years later. The subsequent 25mm project was intended as a replay of the entire campaign at 1:10. I intended to use Bill Protz's siege rules (highly recommended) for the siege itself, and was developing a new set of rules (set at a lower level than previously) for the field actions.
GH - I am probably going to use Bills' "Drums of War on the Mohawk" with a couple of minor tweaks here and there. I'm not sure about which siege rules I'll use - either my own or Bills'.
The plan was to reenact Belle Famille and the siege solo, and then move on to umpire a 3 player campaign where the players had free rein (within certain boundaries of plausability of course).
GH - My thoughts exactly! I'd like to put on la Belle Famille as a convention game, while I play out the siege for myself at home solo. I have been thinking about the mechanics of running the whole Siege as a campaign, too.
We would use Protz's campaign rules too - with a few amendments and expansions.Was Little Niagara the stockade on the portage? If so, then yes, i made a model of that.
GH - that's the one; information on it seems quite scanty. I have hopes that Chartrands' next "FORT" series for Osprey will be helpful. It's sure to be for Fort Niagara proper.
I painted about 200 figures and then moved on to Maximillian in Mexico - as you do. They have sat unused at Mr 'Making Miniatures' house now for years. Writing this has created an urge to dig them out again...oh dear...
Bill had some very interesting thoughts on La Belle Famille:
I continue to be confounded at the defeat of the French Relief Column. Perhaps it can only be explained in my mind as:
1. Blockheads in charge of the column failing to scout properly.
GH - Was tactical scouting done all that well in this era?
2. And to not deploy into line with l'compagnie franche de la Marines in the center with the milice on the flanks sooner.They would have swept the much numerically inferior Brit. force away by outflanking them. Instead, at first, it appearss as if the column was shot to pieces as Oman might remark of French columns in Spain in the Napoleonic Wars. There is perhaps a diagram in Dunnigan showing a French line at an odd angle. I've seen it someplace. If this line did happen, I still don't get it unless the initial volleys caused a bad morale situation and a throw of snake eyes using the morale system of Drums of War Along The Mohawk.
GH - I'd have thought this a difficult fight for the Frencjh to win, charging in column against a line that was ready to receive them, then trying to deploy into line under fire. Perhaps too, the Militia were in the van, taking casualties from the typically scorching British vollies; perhaps they recoiled into the CFdlM behind them and wrecked their chances of deploying? We don't know much about the French order of march, really. Alternatively, perhaps the french were proponents of l'ordre profond and thought they would easily smash the numerically inferior Britich aside?
I've been on the spot of La Belle Famille several times. From the French perspective the Niagara Gorge is not too far from their left. To the right there would be endless forest. Forest all over the place actually except for the road and the clearing beyond the fort.
GH: If I am eventally to game out the campaign, I'll need better topographical detail on the area. I guess the maps are available online somewhere.
There are other mysteries in the history of battles why one side won in spite of impossible odds. This one is in the list for me.
GH - agreed!
Greg this is a very good battle to wargame as the real thing and with the above in mind. I'm sure you will find it satisfying.
The thing is at 1:10 it is easy to build too!
Best of luck to all concerned.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Now that things have got back to normal over the past few weeks, I've had a chance to start work on my next project; the small convention game for May in Melbourne.
As you've probably gathered from previous posts, I'm interested in the Siege of Fort Niagara in 1759. I hope to stage a re-fight of the action at La Belle Famille, the attempted French relief of the Garrison by the Army of the Ohio.
I have most of the French forces I need for the game completed; that they are not all Compagnies Franches de la Marine is not a consideration for me, so I will use existing units. I do require more Indians and militia, but i think I can do them mostly out of my existing lead mountain.
The British are another story. Pictured below are those (barring the handful of Light Infantry I already have painted) few I have painted. I have sufficient stocks to finish off the Light Infantry and the Grenadiers, although i am a bit iffy as to my Line Infantry. I may need to dip into my Hanoverians who are so similar as to make no appreciable difference.
44th Foot; the battle-line is drawn up ready to face an uncertain outcome.