First, the historical background:
Year of the Lord 1702. The war between the French people against the English and the Iroquis confederacy over North America rages on. The treacherous English launched an attack on Acadia and captured. At the same time, the Treacherous Iroquois confederacy staged a big invasion aiming at Quebeck to prevent us from reinforcing the Southern provinces and capture this vital bastion of French power in the Americas. The main supplier of French colonists to the army.
The plan worked at first making the Valendois Division comprised of the 1ere, 2eme et 3eme Brigade with a strength of around 6,000 men unable to immediately support the south provinces. instead, the General's hand was forced engaging the main Iroquois force of over 4,500 men in the Quebec crossing and dealt a crushing blow causing over 45% losses overall with the capture of many a native whose strength of arms was a great boost to aid in rebuilding our infrastructure. At the same time, the 1ere demi-Brigade came forth from Louisiana comprising of the 16th Bataillon of Militia and the 3eme Bataillon de ligne with supporting skirmishers and light cavalry of Indian stock, took Michigan without a fight since the natives surrendered under the threat of massacre.
Meanwhile, Valenduis' division left their cumbersome artillery behind, crossed the mountains North of New York and appeared near Boston with great surprise for the English scum who were basking in their recent victory.
In order to protect the French territories in North America, one Regiment of militia was raised in Montreal to complement the garrison's Regiment de ligne and a force of two Regiments de ligne was prepared in Quebec in order to offer some protection against Iroquois incursions.
The battle of Montreal was the result of one such incursion.
The Iroquois army after some time licking their wounds from the staggering defeat suffered vs Valendois gathered for a second assault against French people in the land. They managed to gather a strength of almost 4,000 and invaded the less defended province of Montreal defended at the time by 2,500 troops. The following battle was a resounding success for the French arms and is told by the garrison commander in the following report:
We first heard of their incursion through settlers fleeing to the perceived safety of the city from the surrounding villages. The tales told by the settlers were full of gory details et langage Fleuri which made it hard to access the true situation. Still, measures were taken to contain this force. Since we lack proper defences in the city, a trench system was built in order to receive the attack and to defend us from the arrows these savages are so fond of. The chosen place for the trenches was in the Western access to the city between orchards on the left flank et un petit bosquet on the right. This location was chosen due to the existing stone walls flanking the trenches and covering the entire flank approaches. The order of battle was as follows. The less trained militia Bttns comprising le Regiment de Milice manned the trenches covering the main approach while the Regiment comprised by the Bataillons de ligne was to be placed in the back in column formation as reserves to either protect the flanks or to countercharge any Indians that managed to break through.
It was July 7th when the natives finally came. They outnumbered us greatly and I was afraid the short training the militia had would make them break. Still, they had the grace of god behind them, 6 feet of earthworks in front and, their families and friends to protect so I was counting on that to prevent them from fleeing. As soon as the Indians appeared through the middle of the farm buildings we spotted their Chief with his elite cradle of warriors on horseback. He charged straight to the fortifications stopping just outside firing range shouting at us insults and promises of a slow demise... His army soon followed.
Suddenly, between some trees and farm buildings, the natives came charging. they tried a flanking movement on the right through the bosquet and I immediately ordered one of the Bataillons de ligne in reserve to push for the walls to receive them in a hail of musketry the likes of which these Indians would remember! This movement made the main body of infantry change their course and they set a straight charge to the trenches. they did however kept a few archers at long range striking at that line battalion protecting the flank keeping them in check lest they tried to flank again should they move. Since they outnumbered us, this tactic of theirs was their best chance since now, the central line of defence was weaker and they could defeat our army in parts. And there are those of us who still call them savages and play down their threat...
I was standing in the trenches looking for their movements and what a scary sight it was. roughly 1,500 indians armed with axes came charging towards us with some 300 bowmen in the back keeping our heads down. the arrows did not cause casualties by themselves but they ensured that it was very hard for us to watch what was going on. Still, I kept watch while the milice shrunk and shrunk as each men pressed to the next for the false sense of safety provided... 300 paces we could hear the screams as they got near and near... 200 paces "Appretez –vos armes!", the mob began to have faces and I ordered our men to man the trenches and prepare to fire... 150 paces "Joue" some men began to piss themselves, other vomited, hands were trembling and I insisted they hold their fire... 100 paces, the earth was rumbling some muskets were heard discharging and men looked at me begging to fire. Still, I delayed the order as it was far too soon... Men are braver when their muskets are loaded... 50 paces "FEU!" the thundering of muskets was amazing... Smoke everywhere we could not see much after that but there must be scores of Natives lying dead in front of us... Still, shortly after the right side of the trenches received a murderous charge. "Hold the Lines!" I shouted as the men bayoneted and slashed and hacked with a panic one only sees on the battle. The line became all muddled, Frenchmen and native alike all covered in dirt, smoke and blood. I thought for a moment the line would break such was the power of their charge however, we soon heard cries behind us of "Pour la France!" et "Vive le Roi!" and our reserve infantry Battailon came charging bayonets at the ready! We were saved. Soon the charge was repelled and the men were rejoicing. The line infantry after expelling the Natives stood still and manned the trenches for the next charge to surely come. The milice overjoyed by their success immediately left in a crazy pursuit... "Arrętez-vous fous!" I shouted... useless... What did work to stop them were the arrows of the Natives which quickly took les milites away from their bloodlusted charge. It was then we realised where we were... Dozens of native corpses lay dead or dying on our feet... Smoke was clearing and we could see the ground littered with bodies of natives. Our close range volley broke the back of their attack attack the untouched battalion kept releasing volley after volley killing more natives as they fled... That should teach them. I could still see however hundreds of natives rallying again to prepare for another charge. I sent orders for the Bataillon on the right flank to advance through the small Bosquet protected by the trees and to dislodge the archers pestering them and ordered militia that suffered the charge to go on reserve to recover and reorganise. The former reserve bataillon manned the trenches instead. The Natives were beginning to prepare another charge... Bastards don't know when to quit do they? Now, with line in the front and the militia confident that they could stop them after halting their first advances were only too eager to receive them in a deadly embrace of gunpowder and steel!
Again they charged this time, throwing everything behind the charge. Melee warriors, bowmen, cavalry... Everything... This time my approach was slightly different. Confident in the abilities of the line elements in front, I allowed fire to begin sooner. We unleashed 3 volleys before they reached and the Batallion de ligne on our right flank began to pour some devastating raking fire as they crossed their sights. They didn't stand a chance. All was over when their Chief spurring his horse towards us, axe in hand was shot dead mid charge. They started to break... We were barely at 30 paces then And I allowed them to fire at will and to pursue. Several hundred more Natives lost their lives and Montreal was saved. The total loss for the Natives was huge with most of their now leaderless army scattering everywhere running back to their territory we counted over 900 bodies. Roughly a third of their original estimated force. We had some 80 dead and 33 wounded on our side mostly due to the pursuit after the initial charge. It was a resounding success.
I hope this gives you some insight on how fluid battles really are. You see some back and forth motions as units retreat and reorganise and come back. Since losses are lower, battles seldom end in the total annihilation of an army and defeated armies can come back to haunt you again. This was the case and even after two defeats, they still had some units of bowmen and melee infantry left! It takes two turns to replenish though and I'm not too worried. battle lines in this mod suffer a lot from charges and become fragmented very quickly. This is why keeping some reserves in column is important. Columns are much more resistant to this kind of fragmentation. The crazy militia was actually my stupidity of not using guard mode for militia (totally forgot). It also shows how devastating close range fire actually is. The first charge had 3 units of melee and two of them immediately broke after the first volley with heavy casualties. still, if I didn't have reserves, that militia battalion would've probably routed for sure. Remember that the numbers mentioned here are multiplied by four due to scale. On the first volley I unleashed, I waited for them to reach the beginning of the trenches before firing. Nice sight it was...
I got less than 5% casualties