Monday, April 28, 2008

General Sir Guy Carleton

I've been meaning to do a post on this guy for some time, if you remember I first learned about him when I read "Washington and Caesar" (click here) which I reviewed here - suffice to say that the brief mention piqued my interest, so I did a little digging, and a little reading, and came up with the following..

Guy Carleton was born on Sept. 3, 1724, into a distinguished Irish family at Strabane in Tyrone County, Ireland (so many talented British arm commanders came from this background, it's almost like it was a nursery school for military genius - Marlborough & Wellington came from this background too..)

He entered the army as an ensign at 18, in the 25th Regiment of Foot, and was made a lieutenant in 1745. In 1751 as a result of a family member marrying well, he paid for a captaincy in the 1st Foot Guards, by 1757 he was lieutenant colonel. In 1758 he was then made the lieutenant colonel of the newly formed 72nd Regiment of Foot.

Wolfe (a friend in private life) selected Carleton as his aid in the upcoming attack on Louisburg (Canada). King George II turned down the appointment, possibly because of some negative comments Carleton had made about the quality of Hessian troops - given the King was Hanoverian it probably wasn't the best move…

In December 1758 Wolfe, now a Major General, was given command of the upcoming attack on Quebec and he again selected Carleton as his quarter-master general. King George II turned down his appointment again, but this time was persuaded to change his mind by Lord Ligonier.

Carleton arrived in Quebec in 1759 and as quartermaster-general was responsible for the provisioning of the army, but he also acted as an engineer supervising the placement of cannon, and was also in command of a composite battalion of 600 men made up from the detached grenadier company's of a number of British regiments. Busy man! In the actual battle his battalion was in the front rank, and he received a head wound. Having recovered by the following summer, he was back in England by early 1761.

In March 1761 he was selected to take part in the attack on Belle-Ile-en-Mer, an island ten miles off the coast of France in the Bay of Biscay. With a temporary rank of Brigadier-General, Carleton led the attack on the French at Port St. Andre, but was seriously wounded and prevented from taking any further part in the fighting. After four weeks of fighting the British captured the rest of the island (and by the by, sounds like it would make an excellent wargame campaign!)

The following year he was made full Colonel (47th Foot??) and took part in the British expedition against Cuba where he was again quartermaster-general to the expedition with a rank of Brigadier-General whilst in America. On July 22, he was wounded (but not seriously) while leading an attack on a Spanish outpost. Yet again he had impressed everyone by his ability..

From 1766 to 1770 Carleton was made lieutenant governor, and then acting governor, of Quebec. He proved to be an able administrator who was successful in improving the relations between British and French Canadians. One of these improvements was to pass the legislation which established French and British law on equal footing in Canada. There are few win win situations in politics however, and this same legislation may well have helped provoke the American Revolution, as the American colonists were far from happy with it. Congress even went so far as to send John Brown to agitate in Montreal on the basis that the act "legalised Catholicism" and was undemocratic! It did ensure the loyalty of French Canadians to Britain during the later conflict though…..

During a trip to England in 1772 he married, and was also promoted to Major-General.

He returned to Canada in 1774, and was made full governor of Quebec in 1775, and when Thomas Gage resigned as commander in chief of the British forces in North America, Carleton also assumed command of all British forces in Canada.

When war broke out American troops under Gen. Richard Montgomery advanced to threaten Montreal, and captured Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga. With only 800 regular soldiers in the region to call on (he had previously sent two of his regiments to Boston), Carleton withdrew to Quebec with his small army.

His attempts to raise a militia failed, as neither the French nor the English were willing to join. The Indians were willing to fight on the British side, and London wanted them to fight, but Carleton turned their offer down because he was worried about the Indians attacking non-combatants (that's a not inconsiderable moral decision to make when you consider his military position - indicative of the quality of the man I think).

He was besieged by an American force under Benedict Arnold, who was joined by Montgomery's troops. Carleton's leadership maintained the defences of the city (apparently he was so worried about St. Patrick's Day causing drunkenness amongst his largely Irish troops he issued a proclamation to "All true Irishmen to meet him on the following day, at 12 o'clock, on parade, to drink the health of the King, St. Patrick's Day being, for that year only, put off till the 4th of June." - apparently this went down so well, that there was absolutely no trouble that year!)

In spring 1776, reinforced by Burgoyne's troops, Carleton counter attacked and drove the Americans out of Canada, past Trois-Rivieres, and into New York. He defeated Arnold in October at Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, (which was the setting for the Kenneth Roberts book I recently reviewed "Rabble in Arms" (click here)), but then, to everyones amazement, he withdrew to Quebec. Winter was closing in, and I would suggest he didn't have much choice, but what might have happened if he'd continued with his advance!?

Disagreements with his superiors (or rather superior, as the main architect of the dispute was Lord Germain, the alleged "coward of Minden" whom Carleton may have described unfavourably in public on a previous occasion) led to Carleton's removal from military command in 1777 (he was replaced by Burgoyne who went on to Ticonderoga "fame"). He then had to wait for a replacement before he could then resign as governor and leave Canada for good. He was then appointed governor of Charlemont in Ireland. It is this period of his career that I find the biggest missed opportunity - he was undoubtedly a superior general - what might have happened if he had been available for command in America??

In February 1782, following the sidelining of Germain (he retired in return for a peerage) Carleton became commander in chief of the British forces in America succeeding Clinton. Effectively, the war was over, and in August, Carleton was informed that Britain would grant the United States its independence; he immediately handed in his resignation but carried on with the task in hand while waiting for a replacement. Using tact, firmness, and diplomacy, he successfully carried out the delicate tasks of suspending hostilities, withdrawing British forces from New York and Vermont, and protecting loyalists. Among these loyalists were former slaves who had served the British in various capacities during the war (the background to "Washington and Caesar" (click here), and which first brought Carleton to my attention); the Americans wanted to return them to their original owners. Carleton did his best to have the loyalists resettled outside the United States, and in all, he resettled about 30,000. In November, the evacuation ended, and Carleton returned to England.

In 1786, as Baron Dorchester, he was appointed governor in chief of British North America, a post he held for 10 years. Made a general in the British army in 1793, Carleton retired to England 3 years later. He died there on Nov. 10, 1808 at the very good age of 84….

..interesting man, isn't he, supremely talented commander, yet almost unknown…. if you want to read more about him then the following is very good - and as it's free (on the excellent Googlebooks site) you can't argue with the price!

General Sir Guy Carleton, Lord Dorchester: Soldier-statesman of Early British Canada By Paul David Nelson

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Move 14 to 15 (21:00 - 22:00)

21:00 to 22:00 - Day 1..

..time I think for an update on the campaign - apologies for the break in service - DG was down here last weekend for Salute so a necessary break was required.

As a reminder the campaign map is to the left (click on it and any of the other pictures in this blog for the usual bigger view).

..because my units started moving some time later than DG's they are as a consequence significantly fresher so I've continued to consolidate on Carnine - my cavalry however, I've moved north and west of there to act as an advance warning of any British advance...

The British however, are not moving - they're obviously whacked out J - the cavalry north of Carnine send a message in to report the presence of that lone British unit and pull back a few squares towards Carnine - I don't need to be surprised in the middle of the night by a quick British advance!

Now that my forces are mostly present at Carnine I can also start to re-organise and brigade my forces - much easier to keep track at a bridge level than the unit level..

Positions at the end of move 15 are as follows - the position of the British unit is based on previous intelligence as the spotting unit has now moved back outside of recon range..

...more anon...

Monday, April 21, 2008


...I've just finished sprucing up some figures that I bought last year from one of my fellow "Old School Wargamers"..

..these guys were already painted to what I considered to be a good standard, so to be honest didn't need much doing to them - I touched up the boots, hats, and the faces, maybe some of the rifles. They have had a fresh coat of varnish, though, and new bases - but that was it - I almost feel guilty about putting them into my painting totals so I'm only claiming half points.... J

..the figures are "old" Minifigs - so before the current range that most of my other units are comprised of. If you look carefully, the officer in the unit on the right is one of the "new" designs (a comparative term - not sure how long the range has been with us, but I'm thinking it must be at least 20 or 30 years old now..) He's clearer in the second picture - he's quite "Bunter'ish" in comparison to the slimmer, older, sculpts...

Needless to say I'm chuffed to have them in my armies... these guys are real veterans - history only knows how many battles and skirmishes they've been in up until now, but they are set to continue in my games, fighting as generic militia on the American side..

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Salute 2008..

Just fresh back from the big "Salute" show and thought I'd share some pictures and thoughts... usual, I was totally impressed by the size of the show - Excel is a huge venue and Salute only occupies one aircraft hanger - massive - and absolutely crammed to the gills with wargamers carrying quite unfeasibly large backpacks (which were used as offensive weapons on occasion!), and carrying quite unfeasibly large wads of cash - not seen so much money in ages.... recession, what recession?! Looked to me like the traders were doing nicely as well - quite a few of them happened to be sorting out wads of paper money as I went past! The eye opener for me was one trader specialising in ready painted units selling at £75-100 a unit - I overhead him say that most people he'd seen that day had bought at least two or three units, and his visitors had numbered in the 10's.... nice work if you can get it, but he does have to survive the rest of the year! All in all then - an upbeat show with lots of enthusiasm..

...without further ado then, here's some pictures - it's a dark old hall so apologies for the number of flash shots, though I did have a new tripod with me that helped with some of the shots. Took a lot of shots so have used the services of Photobucket to display them - as usual click on the picture for a bigger view..

..the boys at Salute always like to put on a bit of a "show" and the first thing that caught my eye was these guys - not surprising really as all of them were fully mobile and so spent the afternoon trundling round the hall accompanied by clanking track and engine sound effects... my favourites were the Tiger and and the half track pulling an 88 (you can just see it behind the Tiger) - very effective, but can you imagine the size of wargame table you'd need?

...the second thing to catch my eye - and it would be bloody difficult to miss it given the size of it - was a "Bridge Too Far" game in large scale, and large size... the table must have been about 4 foot wide, and easily 40 foot long - stupendous piece of modelling and very effective...! From the left we have Nijmegen I think... then Arnhem (and the guys on the table showed me the figure representing Frost J!)

..a view mid way down the table, and last of all the long view down the highway - the poster at the end is at the end of the table... not surprisingly - when I went past at the end of the day there were a couple of big trophies on the table so they obviously won something, and deservedly so... these are some shots of the exquisite German 30mm flats used by the guys of the Continental Wars Society, in their depiction of the Battle of Froeschwiller, 6 August 1870 (one of the opening battles of the Franco-Prussian War)

...lots of interest in the new Perry plastic ACW range of course - and for our pleasure they'd put on a demo game featuring the figures.. very nice figures - and although not enough to tempt me, DG bought a couple of boxes just to paint up and sample... my third favourite game - AWI and 28mm - this was "The Battle of the Clouds" presented by the GLC Games Club. The scenario takes place shortly after Washington's defeat at Brandywine. In the actual battle Washington marched out again to face the British under Lord Howe, however, almost before battle could be joined, heavy rain put an end to operations. The game was a "what if" based on what might have happened if the weather had been better. So why did I like it? It was a lovely, clean, simple, uncluttered looking game - nice figures, well painted, effective terrain, and the guys playing the game looked like they were enjoying it - and it was American War of Independence/Revolution of course which kind of helps with my votes... J

...right - and now for my equal first vote for best game of the show - I saw, and said hello to, Henry (Hyde - the Battlegames editor) while he was taking what seemed like a lot of photo's of this game, so I expect to see it in a future issue... this was Waterloo, Gilder style - and absolutely breathtaking... the game was presented by the 'Loughton Strike Force' (click for their website)club, and was in 28mm - the Hussars were beautiful, and as for the British foot and and heavy horse.... blimey!

..last of all then the other equal first game was this one - this was Tunisia in 1942, so obviously close to another of my interests - what did it for me was the extraordinarily good painting of all the vehicles - they looked "used", and very realistic.. also nice to see someone playing the Italians who formed a large (and despite the negative press) important, part of the Axis forces in North Africa

..not bad, eh?

..and what did I come away with? Lots of goodies!

Based on feedback from a number of fellow bloggers and Old schoolers, high on my want list was a copy of "Under the Lily Banners" the new Seventeenth century (so Marlburian for me) fast play rules. I wasn't expecting to see any - happily one of the traders (Reiver) had a pile of them for sale, so I immediately availed myself of a copy - I've not had time to read them yet but have to say that they are a very good looking set of rules - not surprising considering they are from the League of Augsburg guys.

I also spent some penny's at Peter Pig buying British cavalry armed with carbines for the Sudan - mounted, dismounted, and horse holders. I also bought Fuzzy Wuzzy's armed with sword and spear as I have plenty of Ansar, but no Fuzzy Wuzzy in my Dervish forces...

Last of all a visit to Essex got me enough Austrian Grenadiers to form the converged battalion that featured in the assault on the Schellenberg....

...and that was Salute for me - with the single exception of these guys who were part of a number of new releases on the "Under the Bed Enterprises" (click here) stand - Reiver Castings 28mm - new armies for the Great Northern War, Saxons, Danes, early and late Norwegians - lovely, and very very tempting...! These are Russian Horse Grenadiers - lots more pictures and details on the web site..

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Move 10 to 13 (17:00 - 20:00)

17:00 onwards Day 1.. a reminder the campaign map is to the left (click on it and any of the other pictures in this blog for the usual bigger view).

Looks like the British have made camp - no discernible movement, so I decided to match their actions in order to keep my troops fresh for any move they make later/tomorrow.

Having said that it's obvious my troops are fresher than his so at 19:00 (move 12) I got them on the go again - and as a result a pleasing number of them arrived at the rendezvous point in not too tired a condition.

Having managed to concentrate my forces, it's now time to turn my thoughts to what DG is trying to achieve...

You may remember that his orders are to "secure" the peninsula, and to do this he must:

1. destroy or capture all American forces and
2. be in possession of all key areas, crossings and centres of population.

Clearly he's nowhere near meeting item 1/., but he's doing OK on item 2/. Next move I think it's time I sent out a cavalry screen, to find where he is, and what he's doing with the rest of his forces... then I need to think about how to split his force so I stand a chance of beating him... J

At the end of the move my positions are as follows:

Currently in Carnine:
  • Twogates Brigade (depleted infantry battalion plus some regular cavalry)
  • 2nd New York (Continentals)
  • New York Regiment (ditto)
  • 1st Battalion Bourbonnaise Regiment (French regulars)
  • 4th Dragoons (Continentals)
  • 2nd Mass Militia (2)

...more anon...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sudan project page & campaign updates..

The more eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that I've put up a separate project blog for the Sudan - the link is just to the left, all comments welcome. Not sure why I hadn't done one earlier, really... I tend to use my project blogs as period specific scrapbooks, so anything I find, or do, to do with the period goes in there, but I've been playing around with Sudan stuff for months now and never got around to doing the project page.. either way, now remedied...

The campaign also continues apace, and the reason I haven't posted is because effectively we are into the night time hours are the troops of both sides are resting - DG and I continue to exchange moves in case one of us decides to sneak in a craft manoeuvre when the other isn't looking, but on the whole no-one has moved and we are now up to move 12 (19:00)

One thing we have changed is the rules for tracking fatigue - you may remember that in the original campaign instructions I'd put:

"For every move after eight straight moves, there is a percentage chance that troops will begin to see disorganisation, stragglers, and other losses. If you decide to carry on then:
o After the first move there is a 10% chance that each unit loses 1SP (strength point)
o After the second move there is a 20% chance..
o After the third move there is a 30% chance..
o Etc..

Units should then remain stationary for 2 hours per SP to regain any lost by forced marching."

I was beginning to find this difficult to manage as not all my units were marching for eight straight periods so how do we track fatigue when a unit has moved a couple of moves, stopped for one, etc etc.?

Not surprisingly DG contacted me at the weekend with the same issue, but being slightly more constructive than me had come up with an alternative mechanism...

In essence he suggested we track fatigue per unit on a turn basis, using the following factors

All units start with 0, each move you add or subtract any of the following that apply:

Marching +2
Asleep/not marching -3
Combat +5
Night +1

Once a unit gets to 25 fatigue points (FP) it temporarily loses strength points (in my rules each unit has a strength value - typically 5). At 30 FP it loses 2 SP, 35 FP it loses 3 SP etc ,etc

By resting up and recovering fatigue points then strength points are recovered..

Nice mechanism - easy to track (see following for the way I'm doing it), and immediately obvious which units are beginning to get dangerously tired..

So, in the above - the units are listed down the left - complete with their indetifying base numbers, their strength in terms of morale, and also in terms of strength points - each unit then has two rows of data showing "current" strength points, and the fatigue points... in the case of 1st New York you can see that they've been marching pretty constantly right up to 17:00 when they stopped to rest and started to recover FP's..

Monday, April 14, 2008


...a brilliant weekend, all things considered... did start off pretty well though, as on Friday I had tickets to see Jethro Tull on their 40th Anniversary tour (which is a fairly scary prospect in itself).. I guess I've seen the Tull four or five times in the last few years, and while they may be getting on a bit, these guys still know how to rock, and on a slightly higher plane they are absolutely consummate musicians...

...they didn't disappoint - packed out concert hall and everyone on their feet at the end after a brilliant session. Some amusing asides (at one point Anderson let us know that both he and the guitarist Martin Barre had got their bus passes that year!), some astonishing musicianship (Martin Barre is one of the most understated guitarists I've ever had the pleasure of seeing - astonishingly powerful though, and a beautiful sound), a surprise guest visit from bassist Simon Pegg (used to play with Tull for some time, now with Fairport Convention) and plenty of good songs... Aqualung, New Day, Thick as a Brick etc. as you'd expect (they don't like to disappoint us), but also a number of songs from their very earliest albums which they don't often play, and which I'd not heard before...

...downsides? None - there's indications Ian's voice may be getting a little weak, but the stage presence is undiminished and they remain a damn good live act.. looking forward to next year already! a little taster - this is them playing "A New Day Yesterday" which has to be one of my favourite tracks purely for the guitar - this is from 2005 and gives a good view of what they're like these days....

...and almost better than all the above, as the concert was in Brighton I had the opportunity of trying a few beers! Brighton is home to the Dark Star Brewing Company - and I arrived early enough to enjoy a few pints in their tap (the Evening Star) - I'm pleased to advise that the Hophead (golden ale, absolutely buckets of citrusy/hoppy flavour and only 3.8%), and the Original (darker, maltier, 5%) were in absolutely top notch form and slipped down a treat...

...good weekend all things considered then! J

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sudan game - comments & updates re. rules...

...the post on the "Fighting Patrol to Meerkut" (post before the last one) prompted a few comments and questions, so rather than respond separately I thought I'd reply here, by way of a post...

..a number of people asked if I could share the rules that I use - these are 'home grown', but as is the way with most "amateur" wargamers (and not many are more amateur than myself!) they are basically a polyglot collection of other peoples mechanisms and methods, my input is purely to apply a little editing, and some joined up thinking so that they kind of fit together..

...the biggest source for these rules were the articles that the late Peter Gilder wrote for "Wargamers World". These documented his Sudan project, and by careful reading, unpicking, and summarising, a basic framework for the rules was discernible - but the rules themselves were not published. I put a copy of my research in the files section of the Old School Wargaming group - just the rules specific elements of the articles if you click here you'll be taken to them (you may need to join the group to access the file, but sometimes life just presents you with an unexpected "win win" situation! J) the core of his rules was a proposition that basically the natives/Dervish were driven automatically by a complex reaction table - the umpire managed the Dervish, but the players played only the Imperial side..

..further discussion with some of the guys on the Old School Wargaming group who are also pursuing this approach (Alte Fritz, Bill (Protz) and Mike Taylor) has identified that a copy of Peter's rules do still exist, and in fact I have a copy of them, but unfortunately the reaction table is basically a straight lift from a commercially available set of rules called "Pony Wars"..

...and therein lies my dilemma - as I've mentioned before, I'm not a great fan of ripping off other peoples hard work, so I don't really want to publish my rules as firstly, the Pony Wars rules are still in print, and secondly, they are an imaginative set of rules well worth a fiver of anyones money (and among other places you can get them from here in the UK - I have my copy!)

..having said that - the rest of my rules are based on a set written, and made freely available by Will McNally. A long time ago I discovered Will's American War of Independence/American Revolution rules and it was one of those immediate "like" situations, I now use his rules for both that period and also Marlburian and although I have applied a few modifiers to make them more period specific (the Marlburian rules are based on his SYW rules for example) the underlying mechanic is much the same - a very elegant way of handling shooting and the morale effect all in one mechanism (try them and you'll see what I mean!) - the AWI rules are available from Will's blog... both sets are available from the excellent freewargames rules site in summary - my Sudan rules feature the following:

  • umpire driven/automated Dervish as per Gilders original concept, using the reaction table from "Pony Wars" with a few changes to reaction, and a couple of new tests added from the Gilder rules that Bill and Alte are using..
  • Scales/organisations/time period are as per the Gilder articles in "Wargamers World" - so single base Dervish foot representing a 100 men, Imperial manoeuvre unit is the "company" - usually two smaller bases....
  • Movement/morale/shooting/melee is basically from the Will McNally rules (I think I used my WWII variant as they already had rules for machine guns etc.)
  • Few additional bolt-ons to cover Gatlings jamming etc. I also used the "Pony Wars" ammunition rules as it appeared to me from my reading that this was a key feature of combat in the period.

...having said that - there's plenty still to learn - I'm up to version 3 of my rules (as a result of the Meerkut game), and it looks like I need to make some further changes as I wasn't aware of the rule about all Dervish units (albeit in sight) charging, when one of them gets a charge order (thanks for that Bill!)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Move 9 (16:00)

16:00 Day 1 (move 9).. a reminder the campaign map is to the left (click on it and any of the other pictures in this blog for the usual bigger view).

All the couriers advising of the British advance on the east road, and also the orders from the C-in-C reinforcing the orders to converge on Carnine have now arrived - all American units are therefore, on the march - some more slowly than others..!

Sightings of the enemy at the beginning of the move are as per the following - there's only one British unit in sight, and my continuing assumption is that it is a unit of British cavalry (recon reports show a single unit only, though there may be two of course...) I also continue to assume that the rest of DG's units are following up, but more slowly due to having to pull his artillery - he may have decided on something else of course!

Simple move for the Americans - they all continue to follow orders...

Here is the position at the beginning of the move:

...and here's the position at the end of the move - everything is just a little closer to Carnine:


~ the cavalry from the ex-garrison of Threepwood (3/.), has arrived in Carnine
~ the two half regiments of militia at Camsix and Tenterden have converged..
~ the Eighton Banks garrison which comprises a regiment of good infantry and my artillery has received their orders and left for Carnine - decided to let the infantry move on ahead as there's no danger the artillery will be attacked in isolation..
~ a half regiment of militia recently based at Sevenoaks has received their orders and is now marching to converge with the other half of the regiment who are at Carnine already..

Bottom line though is that is now the end of the day, and DG has an interesting conundrum - does he continue to flog his infantry down the road in the hopes of forcing some kind of tactical advantage at the potential cost of stragglers and lost strength, or does he now rest up the required period to march on a-fresh??? My troops have an altogether different problem - given they all activated at different times they can continue to march, albeit for different lengths of time... all of a sudden I feel a bit like a general! J

more anon...