Thursday 11 December 2014

The Battle of Fontenoy

Paul came up this week as he wanted to refight the Battle of Fontenoy at my place using his extensive 15mm collection. We set the game up the previous evening to give us a full day of playing which worked really well given Paul was bringing all the figures and terrain with him. I think the armies were scaled down to about 1 to 3 in terms of units which of course still meant that the Allied army was still outnumbered by the French, especially in cavalry. Paul didn't have enough Dutch troops so we utilised others to stand in for them, which explains why some of the photos are in sepia so you can't see the actual uniform colours, although he did replace all the flags with Dutch ones for the game.

 Panorama of the battlefield

 View of the English advance from behind the French centre.

 Close up of the English horse covering the advance of massed battalions of English infantry! Hurrah!

 The French centre behind Fontenoy

 The English and Hanoverian advance.

 The Dutch assault on Antoing

 Fontenoy. Just after a regiment of French failed a break test and withdrew, leaving a nice gap :o)

Highlanders on the Allied right advancing very slowly towards the French redoubts, and their doom, in the woods.

 The second Dutch assault on Antoing........

 The ultimately successful Dutch assault on Fontenoy.

 The Dutch drove off the French defenders and were able to occupy the outer limits of Antoing.

 British horse covering their infantry while they deployed. The commander of the horse was a numpty and it might have been more effective had they not actually got in the way of the advance!

 The Dutch (and Hanoverians) take Fontenoy.

 The Buffs threw a blunder and closed with the Gardes Suise, but after a hard fight during which the Swiss were shaken and badly mauled, were repulsed.

The French were ejected from Fontenoy quite quickly and even the Gardes Francais were unable to dislodge the Hanoverian and Dutch infantry which had swamped the town with their assault.

The  main French line holds firm, bolstered by the shaken and badly cut up Gardes Suisse. 

 The Gardes Francais failed to cover themselves with glory; first pulling back in the face of the English advance and then being repulsed in the counter attack to try and retake Fontenoy!

 The French redoubts between Fontenoy and Antoing.

 Another shot of the French right flank and right centre, showing victorious Dutch and Hanoverians holding Fontenoy and the third Dutch attempt to capture one of the redoubts. It failed the same as the previous two attempts had.

Antoing, shown mainly to show off the scratch-built buildings.

The Allied plan called for all out attacks by the Dutch on the French strongholds while the Anglo-Hanoverians advanced towards the centre screened by their cavalry. My attempt to advance on the French left through the wooded area was fouled by some dreadful command rolls but I did get my Dutch horse to move off round the flank in order to try and draw off some of the vastly more numerous French cavalry in the centre, which it did even though the Dutch were eventually broken.

A French unit was driven back in Fontenoy, leaving a nice gap for the Dutch to exploit. At the same time the Hanoverians swung left and swamped the village while the English formed line and proceeded to advance towards the French centre and give them several delay volleys. Highlights were the Gardes Francais blundering and withdrawing a move, and the Buffs charging the Gardes Suisse as a result of another blunder.

The battle raged in the centre, with the English gaining the upper hand against the main French line, which included the Irish Brigade and more Gardes Francais. Sadly on the right my infantry had managed to assault the French redoubts but were driven off. On the left the Dutch assault on Antoing had ground to a halt, as had the French attempts to retake Fontenoy.

It was at that point that we decided to call it a day. The Allied attacks had run out of steam but although their centre was easily holding off the French the flanks were in trouble. It was declared a draw as Fontenoy had fallen but the Allies had failed in their attempt to relieve Tournai as the French army was still intact.

A great game, some dreadful command rolls on both sides and a high rate of casualties among the Generals. Thanks to Paul for providing the scenario, the troops and terrain, well everything really except coffees and lunch and a room to play in which was my contribution. There was also a touch of nostalgia as many of Paul's English were the very same Peter Paing figures I had sold to him probably 30 years ago!


  1. Solid looking game and a nice report. The sepia photos are actually quite a good touch, as somehow the past is often thought of in monochrome.

    1. Cheers David, I am quite pleased with the way the sepia pictures look.

  2. I've done Fontenoy a couple of times myself over the years- your is the frst time I've ever seen the Dutch do better than they did on the day BTW-Like the sepia. Nice touch

    1. Thanks Andy. Fortune in the shape of some well-timed saving throws and break tests was on the side of the Allies, at least for a while.

  3. Great looking game. Nice figures on good terrain in a terrific room.