Monday, 4 April 2016

French - Dutch War 1672-78 version 2

Robbie and John came up for last week's game. We used my French-Dutch War collection over much the same battlefield with more or less the same forces. The only significant difference was an additional Dutch cavalry regiment and some Spanish infantry. This time we used Pike and Shotte, to see how they would handle.  With the exception of the extra units the orders of battle (see last post) were only different insofar that I'd painted up some more commanders and therefore was able to split the armies up into smaller brigades/commands which from experience was better for P&S. We threw for sides and Robbie ended up being on his own with the Dutch while John and I had the French. Its always best if I don't fight alone otherwise the kettle won't boil 5 or so times during the day and lunch won't get made ;-)
In an interesting reversal from the last game Robbie refused his right flank, holding it lightly with his dismounted Spanish dragoon and entrenched artillery, covering the (right hand) bridge from his side of the table. The Spanish were in the centre and all his French were deployed in the left hand half of his baseline, including all his cavalry. I think I had an idea what his plan was but events were to allow it to unravel quite early in the game.
Us French put all our horse on our left and the dragoons on the right. Everything else was in the middle; three brigades in the front line (10 btns) and one in reserve (3 elite/guard btns)
The French Maison du Roi; two magnificent squadrons of Gardes du Corps and a company of Grenadiers a Cheval.
Marshall Turrenne watches as his centre advances. The French made good progress especially as Robbie failed most of his command rolls in the first two turns.
The Dutch Footguards made slow progress through the village allowing the French dragoons to advance to the outskirts.
Once Robbie did get his troops moving there was no holding him back! One of his units of German auxiliaries advanced across the river in an attempt to stall my advancing infantry in the centre. Luckily/sadly they were beaten off and destroyed.
It took an age but Robbie's Dutch guards finally made it through the town and were able to deploy on John's flank, and were literally a thorn in his side for the remainder of the game.
 Robbie's cavalry also emerged from the town and attempted to drive off the French dragoons.
John's French struggling to close with the Dutch and suffering heavily. Ultimately this attack would falter as the two of his three brigades were shaken, meaning that the remaining regiments would be unable to close with the enemy.
 The Dutch artillery didn't hit much during the game but when they did the French noticed it! 

The French attack in the centre/right. Two regiments were broken and the rest forced to retire. Only John's reserve brigade of the Gardes Francais, Gardes Suise and a Swiss regiment were in a position to continue the attack. The Dutch guards can be seen in the distance forcing John's flank back on itself.
Robbie had some trouble getting the Spanish to move but eventually managed it. Clearly, judging by the officers on the command stand (one is pointing to the rear and one to the front), there is confusion amongst the Spanish commanders! 
Dutch foot attempting to hold the French attack at the riverbank. They failed and were forced to withdraw, leaving the French with a toe-hold on the Dutch side of the river.
As there were no Dutch cavalry opposite our left flank I moved the Maison du Roi over to the right.
The Dutch guards have driven off another French regiment and are fast becoming a serious threat to the French.
A view from the Dutch battery.
My Cuirassiers du Roi attempt to charge across the river. We were held but in reality should have been bounced as we forgot the rules about pikes. At least it occupied the Spaniards' attention.
Dutch horse charge the French but fail to do any significant damage and were beaten off.
In a last final gamble, Robbie launched his Dutch Horseguards around the flank of the French army and charged the Garde du Corps in the flank. If Robbie's cavalry beat the French he would be able to do a sweeping advance and pile into the flank of another unit of Maison du Roi, and it and the supporting Horse Grenadiers would be forced to take break tests. This would have left the entire French flank and rear open to Robbie's Dutch horse guards. Thankfully, we were able to turn to face the charge. In the melee it was very evenly balanced but the Dutch lost, just, and were forced to take a break test and had to withdraw. They were charged the next move and routed. Panic over.......

And that was when we called it a day. With the loss of their cavalry the Dutch conceded defeat. My infantry had crossed the river. John's elite foot would probably tip the balance and I still had most of my cavalry intact so that was probably a fair outcome.

It went very quickly! Having played nothing but Honours of War since they came out last year it felt very different. There were elements of the version of the game played last week with Paul that I much preferred; slower, more stately, the artillery felt more realistic in every respect, command and control. However, I do like Pike and Shotte and always will, certainly for the Thirty Years War. Whether I would use them again for the late 17thC is in the balance without considering a few period-specific amendments. Anyway, it was actually a really really fun and tough game. Robbie proved yet again that he is the master of throwing the wrong scores on his dice at critical moments of battle and though I say so myself, the figures look stunning. We got some bits of the rules wrong as it was so long since we'd used them but that didn't distract much from the enjoyability of the game and the outcome. In my view anyway.

I have a game planned for this coming Saturday when I shall be trying out another scenario using Pike and Shotte. Next week I am going to try the new Impetus Baroque rules if John R is free to guide me through them. After that I may even try Beneath the Lily Banners and give them a chance.


  1. What a stunning looking game Colin. Be interested to see if you try BtLB, I have had them for a while but have never been able to play them.

  2. Colin,
    It came as quite a shock using Blackpowder/Pike and Shot rules. I clean forgot just how quickly one is able to move troops IF you throw the right dice.As a spectacle the game was beautiful, as a battle, as you know it was very frustrating, still on reflection it was great to have a new set of problems to grapple with. A lovely game Colin with some great units. Next time perhaps.

  3. Most excellent, that's a mighty fine collection you have amassed there too.

  4. This would be the 3 rd Dutch war then . The one where the French skived off the Naval side? and Monmouth and the English contingent were late for the land battles . Looks nice mind ...

    1. Yes Andy it is the 3rd. Good DVD out about de Ruyter with pasta kw CGI. The French were also pissed that the English made a separate peace with the Dutch.

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  5. terrific looking game Colin. well done.

  6. Well that's just wonderful! Mind you, the based buildings set it off you know....

  7. Thanks David, they do indeed and thanks for the kick up the proverbial to get them done ;-)

  8. Great report with beautiful pictures, love the courage of your splendid Cuirassiers du Roi!

  9. Fantastic game - and my favourite period. More please :)