Monday, April 14, 2014

French and Indian War - French Piquets

Each French Infantry Battalion had a Piquet Company; permanently assigned to the Company was a Captain, a lieutenant, a second-lieutenant, and a couple of NCO's; all others who were assigned to the Piquet Company was on an temporary basis, usually only for a day or two. In theory each fusilier battalion was responsible for providing 3 to 5 soldiers every day for duty with the Piquet Company. After the term or assignment was up those temporally attached tot he Piquet Companies would be replaced by new soldiers from their permanent fusilier battalions.
In Europe the Piquet Companies were responsible for guarding the camp, providing advanced and rear guard on the March, protecting the Colors, Sentries and various other similar duties.   Those assigned to the Piquet Company were exempted from many of the daily duties of the other members of the Battalion, including camp construction, presenting arms, and the like.
In North America soldiers assigned to Piquet Companies were often assigned on a more permanent basis as the use of Piquet Companies was more widespread and strategic rather than tactical. 
Detachment of Piquet Companies occurred often as these "temporary" companies were assigned duties throughout Canada, ostensibly to protect, organize and train French Settlers and their forts from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains and the Gulf of Mexico.    It's estimated by one historian that there were as many as 500 such detachments through New France, I am extremely skeptical at such a number because even with only 10 men assigned to each of those (5,000 total) you are looking at roughly 25% to 50% of all regulars assigned out.   While their may have be 500 places that France had forces, the use of Troupes de la Marine, local Militia (Milices Canadiennes) most likely were the forces present.   That's not saying the Piquet Companies were not assigned out that way, rather in much smaller numbers, maybe 20 to 30 as opposed to 500.
Another use of Piquet Companies in North America was creating rapid intervention force, along with a Corps de Cavalrie.   During the Siege of Quebec Colonel Bougainville command such a force with 1,300 infantry and 200 cavalry and was assigned to watch the Western access to Quebec. 
As a gamer the question becomes how does one model this. 
As I am painting up Bougainville's force, I am also creating 10 companies of French Piquets, half will be treated as light infantry/skirmishes the other half in two converged battalions (one Regular, one Grenadier) it seems like the best way to model that specific force.
In addition in scenarios with Piquets I will simply be pulling figures from my Bougainville box. 
But still I am not convinced I made the best choice.

French and Indian War Era - Trapper's Cabin

 A couple images of a Trapper's Log Cabin that I am working on. 

The body of the house and roof are complete, I still need to fabricate doors and windows. 

I have already roughed up the surface so it is ready to be painted.

The roof as common in the era will be covered in dirt and sod. 

Once I figure out how to make a chimney it will be added to the back of the cabin.

In the background you can see some of the trees I worked on as well over the weekend.   I figure I need about 500 new trees or about 5 times what I made up this weekend.

French and Indian War Era - Trader Fort - Block House

The Terrain Board  is laid out so the Trader Fort will be constructed on rise, or small hill, above the surrounding territory.

The Block House will be situated at the highest point as indicated in the picture.   There will also be a Barn and a Storage Building located on the level to the left of the Block House.  

A Palisade of logs will in circle the remainder of the Fort.

Some additional detail work on the Block House.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Preperations for ReCon!

I spent the weekend looking at my preparations for the "Wars of the Jumbo Alliance" game for the upcoming ReCon!.

I decided I really need to focus on the Map.
The battlefield is 18' x 6', will be a single green sheet with terrain features put on it.   The North Side of the tabletops will be along the Mohawk River, the southside in state New York.
Near the center of the battlefield will be a Swamp/Stream with a bridge crossing.
Across the table will be a road network.
On The French Side there is a River Fortifications.   I theory the fortifications would be located on the opposite side of the river from the battlefield, but it makes a pretty boring game that way.
On the British Side of the things there is a Frontier Farmstead and a Trader Outpost. 

In theory there would be two additional 3' Tables one on each side.   I am planning on using my three 5' wide banquet tables for this as set up tables.   The British have the advantage of being able to move along the road on this fictional table to counter the French Strong Point at the Center of the Table.

I cut out the couple of pieces that I need for the road network, worked on painting the French River Fort and did the ground layout of the Trader Fort.  

So I have the all the buildings and road done short some ground work with the exception of the Trader Fort.   Shouldn't take more than a day or two to complete.

Now, how to make 400 to 500 trees.   

With the terrain all at least planned out I moved to looking at the Troops Required.

British - Assembling at the Trader Fort
  • British Independent Company
  • New York Untrained Militia
  • New York Trained Militia
  • Mohawk Indian Band
British - Assembling at the Farmstead
  • New York Untrained Militia
  • Ranger Company
  • Ranger Company
  • Mohawk Indian Band
  • 45th Regiment of Foot
  • 15th Regiment of Foot
  • Highland Regiment
  • Virginia Militia
French - Assembling at the River Fort
  • Languedoc Infantry Regiment
  • Artillery
  • Ottawa Indian Band
French - Companies Marine
  • Marine adhoc Battalion
  • Militia
  • Ottawa Indian Band
  • Royal Rousillon Infantry Regiment
  • Bearn Infantry Regiment
French - Companies Marine
  • Marine adhoc Battalion
  • Militia
  • Ottawa Indian Band
What is surprising about that is how close I am to having all those figures painted, I have 36 to 50 figures left per side.   In addition I have a Brigade of Hessen Troops and Bougainville's Flying Column and the Swedes and the Austrians and .... 

Final gave some serious consideration on Rules.
  • Decided to go with a completely different initative system.  Not totally happy with myself as it takes away from the BAR experience, but..   Each player will be assigned a set of chits, one +3, three +2, eight +1, eight -1, three -2, and one -3.   A player chooses a chit and than rolls a d6, adding the appropriate chit modifier to determine the final initiative.   Players move and shot from lowest to highest.