Sunday 24 February 2019

The Action at Raismes, 8 May 1793, the game.

As promised Saturday saw the guys play out my Raismes scenario. Conrad and new 'Burrower' Richard took the Coalition forces while John and Shaun were the French. Conrad played Saxe-Coberg-Gotha with the Austrians and British, leaving Richard to command the Prussians and Dutch. Shaun drew the short straw to play General Dampierre and John was Miaczinski.

As I said in a previous post information on this engagement is sketchy at best, so although the Coalition OOB was reasonably accurate based on what little info I’d been able to dig up, that of the French was based purely on ‘fudgework’, insofar that I had a good idea of the numerical strength of the army and the names of some of its commanders but little else. Anyway, regardless of how ‘accurate’ it all was it seemed about right and as a scenario I hoped would give both armies’ players some interesting problems to tackle. Bottom line is that it’s my game and I’m not claiming it’s anything other than the basis for what I hoped was a challenging game (which it was). I will include the OOB at the end of this post.

Both sides had reinforcements to bring on. The Coalition forces would be joined by the Duke of York and the brigade of English Footguards on turn 5, while the French had a large reserve which they could bring on anywhere and in any move. I think they left it rather late, but as usual here is a pictorial odyssey through the events of the game.

The French right was anchored on this battery of 12pdrs.

The battle commences with the French on the left moving first. That was the plan but Shaun began the day as he meant to continue by failing numerous command throws. The Coalition were fairly inactive to start with as well.

John pushed a cavalry regiment forward to threaten the Coalition skirmish screen, which he then charged.

After the charge the French cavalry retired to where they'd started while the Freikorps battalion which had been their target had successfully evaded to the tables edge.

The French start to push through the Forest of Raismes, regulars leading the way. This wood was to prove to be a bit of a psychological challenge to both armies, but especially the Prussians and Dutch facing it. Presumably it looked dark and dangerous.
Conrad pushed his Austrian 'horse artillery' into a hillock out in front of his line.
The Dutch were unable to be moved. Even the presence of the CinC wasn't enough!

The stationery Dutch were joined by the O'Donnell Freikorps who had been on the receiving end of some effective  French shooting from the forest.

The forest is full of French, none of whom want to leave the safety it provides.
John's chasseurs á cheval were a bit isolated. Conrad ordered his uhlans to drive them off, getting three moves which was enough to reach them. In the melee the French were pushed back a move, followed up by the Uhlans.

The Duke of York arrives on time. The Brigade of Guards accompanied by some converged battalion guns  and his personal escort of a squadron of light dragoons.
On the Coalition left the Prussians and French had been knocking bits off each other with their cannon.  After a few failed starts Richard pushed his cavalry forward.
The Prussian hussars drove their French counterparts off the battlefield. Sadly they were left unsupported and vulnerable as the cuirassiers had failed to follow them. The hussars did manage to sweep behind the village to threaten the French flank but were forced to withdraw.
At last the French remembered they had a reserve and brought it on. To be fair they had intended to leave it off table until it became clear where the hammer blow ought to be struck.

The Coalition right, already very strong they were reinforced by the English.
The extreme right of the Coalition line. Some long range artillery fire had been pretty ineffective although one Austrian cheveu-leger regiment took to its heels early on in the battle after attracting the attention of John's artillery.

The gallant Prussian cuirassier charged Shaun's dragoons.

The dragoons were driven back, closely followed by the Prussians.

The French reserves included two batteries of horse artillery, which were deployed in the centre opposite the  village.

French reserve cavalry lumber up.

The Prussians defeated the French dragoons and elected to pull back as their victory had left them in a very exposed position.

Two battalions of Hungarian infantry advance, followed by the English Footguards.

The Dutch finally begin to advance.
The Prussian cuirassiers bounced back into the game and charged the French battery. They were blow to pieces and forced to retreat.
French dragoons from the reserve clash with the Uhlans and are broken. The Carabiniers in support  take a break test and are forced to retreat.
The victorious uhlans carried on forwards in a sweeping advance and rode down a battery of French horse artillery before retiring to reform.
The Brigade of Guards advances. In the background can be seen a portable guillotine, the presence of which  saw a marked upturn in the French dice scores.
In one turn the Guards are hit hard by artillery on their right quarter, ahead of them and by musketry from the French regulars. The entire brigade is disordered but their iron discipline holds them together. Blah! Blah! The 1st Footguards also make heavy weather of disposing of a French volunteer battalion to their front (they can just be seen immediately to the front of the Guards) which refused to think it was defeated for two rounds of melee.
Not surprisingly of corse the Guards pulled themselves together, broke the valiant but foolhardy volunteer battalion  and began trading shots with the French regulars to their front.
John then threw in his Carabiniers, who pushed back the Austrian uhlans in the centre.
The gallant Dutch charge the French in the forest, pushing them back.
The 1st Footguards in the lead, battered but still in the fight.
Time is called and it is clear the French have failed in their objective to capture the town and drive a wedge between the  two halves of the Coalition army.
The end of an action packed game and a minor victory to the forces of the Coalition, so an historical outcome.  In history the Coalition army was much more aggressive as the English are said to have marched through the forest in line and in step, only to find themselves 60 yards from a French battery which caused heavy casualties with canister fire! Also in history Dampierre was mortally wounded when he was hit in the thigh by a cannonball, so undoubtedly escaped an appointment with Madame la Guilloutine. Not so after our refight. Shaun was immediately arrested by the Representatives en Mission and returned to Paris. One can only guess as to his fate, but he is believed to have shared a cell with Owen Farrell and Eddie Jones after their dismal performance against Wales in the Six Nations. John meanwhile feverishly worked hard to cover his back and ensure that anything that might incriminate him was lost in the retreat. (Of course, I have the photographs that tell the true story M. le Rouge).

I was knackered and I was only the tea boy and occasional umpire. The French (especially soon to be headless Shaun) suffered from a whole game of dreadful dice rolls, which meant that their right wing was frozen in place for much of the battle. My assessment of the game would be that the Coalition forces were too static and should have attacked while they had a numerical advantage early on in the game, while the French really ought to have brought their reserve on sooner (they did have complete control over when and where it came on after all). Of course hindsight is a wonderful thing, and both sides did have perfectly sound plans which as usual went out of the window more or less from the start.

The introduction of my random event cards added a little humour and suspense(?) to the game, but none of the cards had any significant impact on the proceedings other than to frustrate a few plans. Archduke Charles fell off his horse, the Prussian commander was killed by a stray cannonball and a few units suffered or benefitted from short-sighted colonels, excellent fire discipline, forgotten orders  or boosts to their elan. Oh, and the Dutch wargame virgins didn't run away. I think I will devote a separate post to the cards. Meanwhile, here are the orders of battle:


General Auguste Marie Henri Picot, Marquis de Dampierre (9)

Right Wing: General Antoine Nicolas Collier, Comte de La Marlière (8) Break Point 5

6 btns (1Grenadier/1Regular/4Volunteer)

Hussars x 1

Dragoons x 1

Foot Artillery x 1 (heavy)

Horse Artillery x 1 (light)

Centre: Gen de Bde Miaczinski(7) BP4

5 btns (1G/2R/2V)

Chasseurs a Cheval x 1

Heavy Cavalry x 1

Foot Artillery x 1 (heavy)

Left Wing: Gen de Bde Champmorin(8) BP3

4 btns (2R/2V)

Foot Artillery x 1 (heavy)

Reserve: Gen de Bde Jean Nestor de Chancel (8) BP4

5 btns (2R/1R Chas/2V)

Heavy Cavalry x 1

Dragoons x 1

Horse Artillery x 2 (light)


FM Friedrich Josias Graf Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (8)

Right Wing
Division of FML Prinz von Wurtemburg (8) BP4
4 btns (4R)

Cheveau-Leger x 2

Foot artillery x 2(Heavy)


Division of the Archduke Charles (8)BP4

5 btns (1G/1R/1Grenz/2Freikorps)

Uhlans x 2

‘Horse’ artillery x 1(light)

Left Wing :

Prussian Division of GL von Knobellsdorf (8) BP6

4 btns musketeers

2 btns fusiliers

1 btn jager (small)

Cuirassiers x 2

Hussars x 1

Foot artillery x 2 (heavy/medium)

Horse artillery x 1 (medium)

Dutch Brigade: Gen Price Freidrich of Orange (7) BP3

5 btns (4R/1G)

Reserve : HRH the Duke of York (8) Arrives on the left T5 - BP 3

3 btns Footguards (3Gd)

Light dragoons x 1 (small)

Foot artillery x 1 (half battery of light cannon)

Below are the 'house rules' I've introduced for games in this period.


1. All infantry in line move at a maximum of 9”.

2. All ‘linear’ armies (i.e. everyone except the French Levee and Volunteers) are restricted to moving in line or column of march, unless assaulting a fortified position or built up area

3. French conscripts or volunteers may only move in march column, attack column, ‘masse’ or skirmish order.

4. Conscripts moving into a ‘swarm’ (skirmish order) must remain in this formation for the remainder of the game.

5. ‘Masse’ is a modified form of open order depicted by leaving a small gap of 1-2cm between each base. It moves at 12” and can evade as the battalion is not trying to maintain a formation.

a. It shoots and melees with a -1 modifier

b. Enemy artillery do not get the any bonus for targeting it.

c. A battalion will move involuntarily from close order column to column of mob (Masse) when:

i. It fails to contact in a charge. Include if it fails command test or does not get enough moves from the result. Automatic

ii. It is engaged in a fire-fight with the enemy for more than one turn of firing. Automatic

iii. It is stationary or advancing under fire from artillery for more than one turn. Pass command test.

6. All volunteer units must pass a command test if they wish to form square (or indeed NOT to form square!!!). If they fail they must take an immediate break test and if they stand are classed as a disordered square.

7. All units wishing and able to evade must pass a command test as per the rules. Volunteers/Levée that fail must take a break test.

8. The move sequence is amended to the following:

a. Move CinC, Initiative moves, shooting, Command throws and movement, Melee.

b. Units that shoot get a -1 to their commander’s ability when testing to move.

9. Austrian 'horse artillery' does not get any free limber/unlimber benefits to reflect their inferior mobility. They still get to move as horse artillery.


  1. Wonderful looking figures and table. Very much like the hearts markers idea!

    1. Thanks David. They're little buttons. Pinched the idea off my chum Mr Bickley.

  2. Great looking period. Very inspiring and I'd love to start gaming in this particular early Napoleonic era if I wasn't already over-committed to too many projects. In the meantime I'll drool over your work. Thanks for posting and keep 'em coming.

  3. Outsdanding and colorful units, looks great...Always glad to see this period played...

    1. Thanks Phil. Its taken over as my main period in a big way.

  4. An eventful game indeed... and an excellent account.

    All the best. Aly

  5. Another fine looking set to! A game full of colour and action!

  6. Another great looking game, perfect fare as I soon plan to read the Vendee book you recently recommended, to get a good overview of this part of the Revolution.

  7. Great looking game as always, Colin. Our group in Huntingdon are also using random events in Black Powder, Estonia reflect espionage which can target a general to drop their CR by 2 in a turn.

  8. General Jean le Rouge ici, at an undisclosed location somewhere in Northern France, with head still attached. Still recovering from the shock of our attempt to drive the forces of oppression from La France being betrayed at the very moment of success, by our own commander. He apparently rolled all those failed command dice deliberately as a counter revolutionary act. Another great game organised and hosted by Colin. I feel saying the cards had no effect is stretching it a little, given the Prussian general demise arose from one! Opportunity to add specific flavour to a battle or campaign, thinking of a recent refight of Maida, where the Dont Shoot They are Friends would have fitted in well. Cheers