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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Niagara 1814

In 1814, the USA launched its last invasion of Canada. The main battleground is over the route many thousands of tourists trek over every year to see the Niagara Falls, most not realising the historical significance of the area.

The War of 1812 is seen as a bit of forgotten offshoot of the Napoleonic wars. They were of course small scale actions compared to the titanic struggles in Europe, but still of interest. The more so for me, as I am visiting nearby Toronto to speak at a work conference in a couple of week's time, so I am planning a visiting the battlefields.


To get a better understanding of the conflict, Osprey comes up with the goods, in Jon Latimer's study of the campaign. He explains the background to the campaign and the chronology. In essence, the Americans saw a small window of opportunity for their modest armed forces, before large numbers of British veterans from the Peninsular War became available for service in Canada.

The total size of the forces on both sides added up to around a division, two infantry brigades with artillery support and a handful of cavalry. Both sides had a mixture of regulars and militia, all of which performed well in some pretty serious fighting. Both sides had a small number of native Indian irregulars.

The campaign took place in the strip of land between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The area was heavily forested with small settlements and agricultural land. Fortifications played an important role, mostly earthworks, with some stone and timber reinforcement.

The main actions of the campaign were at Chippawa, Lundy's Lane and Fort Erie. None were decisive and peace was agreed at the Treaty of Ghent, based on the status quo ante bellum. As a consequence, Canada remains a separate state to this day.

For the wargamer, the campaign doesn't require a huge number of figures. Most Napoleonic players will have suitable British troops and the Americans are widely available in all scales.

1 comment:

  1. Dave, Fort Niagara, or St George on the civilised side. Its pretty much restored. Assuming there's not too much snow....

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