Saturday 29 October 2016

Another battle a bit nearer to Cassel than last time: French/Dutch War 1672-78

Robbie and John came up this week for a game. I wanted to have another go with Impetus Baroque with my French and Dutch armies from 1672-78. Now, when Conrad and I played the other week using Pike and Shot I put ALL my troops that were currently available on the table. It didn't matter that it was a little crowded even on a 12 foot table, especially as P and S are pretty brutal and gaps soon began to appear in each army.

Baroque are another kettle of fish, especially as I added a further three squadrons of French horse to the armies; the Mousquetiers du Roi, Gens d'Armes de France and a squadron of standard French horse. This made the armies exactly equal in horse and foot, more or less equal in artillery but the French had a 4:2 advantage in dragoons. I don't like the way Baroque treat dragoons any more than I do in P and S. They can become battle-winning super troops rather than the jack of all trades chaps that they were in reality. By the late 17th C I believe they were beginning to be used more in the mounted battle line and to fight dismounted in close order where appropriate, for example holding a village, hedge line or a sunken road. Then again it's up to the players to make sure that they use all and any troops types in the fashion of the period rather than the within the parameters of the rules set.

So, to battle. Robbie and I were the Allies (Dutch/Spanish/Imperial) and John took the French. The objectives were simple. Control the entire length of the road including the bridge and two towns AND duff up the other side.

 The French right wing. Maison du Roi et al.
 The field of battle from the Allied centre. Dutch Horse in the foreground, behind which are a brigade of Dutch and beyond them the Spanish and Imperial contingents.
 The Dutch right: Horseguards, Lifeguards and the Guard Dragoons supported by a brigade of Dutch foot. Just in picture at the top are two battalions of the Dutch Footguards.
 The French infantry advance. These troops are on their right flank.
 My Dutch Horseguards and Lifeguards charged the French and drove the first
 line back.
 The Cuirassiers du Roi in the centre looking menacing.
 Both sides advanced in the centre and quickly got into musket range. Robbie's artillery failed to do any significant damage to the French.
 The lines close ever further and casualties mount. The sheep are unconcerned.
 The Mouquetiers du Roi clashed with my Horseguards in the swirling cavalry melee happening on the Dutch right. The Dutch were holding their own but were seriously outnumbered and the losses were beginning to tell.
 I even had to push my dragoons forward to deal with a brigade of French dragoons occupying the town. 
 The Gens d'Armes de France locked in melee with the Dutch horseguards. The latter were defeated and forced to withdraw. The other squadron of Horseguards (in the background) was in melee with some fresh French horse and also defeated. It wasn't going very well on our right flank.
 The battlefield from the Dutch right. Both armies were locked in combat, often at point blank range and not surprisingly the battlefield was becoming rather less crowded than at the start.
 The Dutch Footguards had foolishly tried to occupy the churchyard but were forced to pull back. The other battalion was able to deliver some very effective fire on the French foot and horse before the brigade was broken. On the hill in the foreground, the Gens d'Armes de France had followed up into the disordered Dutch Mackay's Regiment whom they pushed back and then broke.
 More fresh French horse avoided any casualties from the Dutch Brandenburg regiment when the latter failed to score a single hit at point blank range, even with the advantage of first fire!
 On the Dutch left, Robbie was holding the French infantry, which included several Guard and Swiss battalions, even managing to route the Gardes Suisse. The French drove the Spanish dragoons out of the town but the Spanish foot were made of sterner stuff. Gaps were appearing in both lines. Unfortunately one of these gaps made room for the Cuirassiers du Roi who were revving up their horses for a mad charge on Robbie's weakened centre.
 Back to the Dutch right, just before it totally collapsed!

We called it a day as we were running out of time, declaring it a French victory. I enjoyed the game immensely as I don't mind loosing when playing with two (though I say so myself) spectacular armies. Hopefully Robbie and John will also have enjoyed their day.

Next time though I will have to think hard about the wisdom of putting literally every figure I had on the table. Its 12' x 5' so I don't think it was too crowded. And they didn't really do sweeping flank moves in the late 17hC, not during a battle anyway, but maybe in the run up to one.

After a few minor repairs to pikes and flags this lot will be going back to barracks for a while as its about time I planned for a Seven Years War or War of the Austrian Succession game again. No game this coming week as we're off to Antwerp for Crisis and a long weekend.


  1. Wow, wonderful looking armies!

  2. Very very nice game Colin👌

  3. Superb, I do like this collection and the fights, but look forward to your next WAS or SYW report nonetheless.

  4. Great collection and a superb game

  5. great game Colin. Wonderful collection of units you have there.

  6. Super looking game and engaging AAR. I'm impressed by the courage shown by those sheep!

  7. Cracking looking game and a large one too. Very nice!

  8. It was a great game Colin, although we made mistakes in our deployment that we could never recover from.

  9. Thanks Robbie. Never easy against the French but we did indeed make a mess of our deployment. Hey ho! Glad you enjoyed the game. E