Saturday 9 March 2019

The Battle of Grolla Dell'Amizizia, 8 March 1669

So at last we get to the report of the fictitious Battle of Grolla Dell'Amizizia between the forces of Louis XIV led by Louis de Boubon, The Great Condé, and an alliance of Spain and Savoy, under the overall command of the Duke of Savoy. Please refer to the previous post here for the scenario, objectives and orders of battle. We used Pike and Shotte but with significant amendments to make them more suitable for the late 17thC. For example, a foot regiment is made up of two bases of shot which flank a central base of pike, and they all operate as a single entity, as in Warlord's ECW supplement. I also used my random event cards, which caused a degree of hilarity and frustration depending upon whether you were playing the card of having it played on you. The figures are mostly Copplestone, with some Warfare Miniatures, Front Rank, Reiver Castings and even some Ebor Imperial cuirassiers. Any button counters out there please note that info is pretty scarce on this era and they are my toys and do it for me. However, I do know the Spanish flags are slightly anachronistic but they look good and at the moment will have to do.

This post is picture heavy but I hope will convey the progress of the game. Please enjoy!

The battlefield facing the French left, with Piedmontese infantry in the distance.
The Piedmontese centre.
The Gardes Français and Gardes Suisse in reserve.
The French right, thinly held by three squadrons of horse, and beyond, the Abbey and expected entry point of the Spanish.

The main Savoyard infantry brigade under Steve (The Duke of Savoy) advances. Sadly none of the  rest of the army is close enough to be deployed on the table leaving Paul (Lorraine) time finish his coffee and Jim (The Marquis d'Assenter) time to read up on the rules. In turn 1 reinforcements  had to pass a command roll by three, turn 2 by two, and turn 3 they just had to pass. This was to apply to the French as well.
The French were fortunate in that the Maison du Roi horse were already deployed.  John (Condé) and Richard (Villeroi) look on.
As I mentioned in the previous post, French dragoons occupied the village and began to shoot up the advancing Savoyards, the 'la Marine' regiment bearing the brunt of this shooting.
Over in the centre Paul ordered his sole regiment of Savoyard dragoons to cross the river.
Turn 2 saw a brigade of 'German' horse and another of 'German' infantry arrive on the south-east corner of the table.  These regiments were a hodge lodge from Brandenburg, Bavaria, Saxony, Brunswick, Celle and the Empire, and had been destined for a game against the Turks. However, they were pressed into service to assist the Spanish and Savoyards.
Villeroi's French infantry brigade headed at full speed to cross the bridge before the Spanish could stop them, covered by three squadrons of the Cuirassiers Roi. 
Jim's Spanish arrive.
In the same turn as the Spanish arrival Paul's cuirassiers made an appearance.
Condé, Luxembourg and the Comte de Fourilles clearly interested in something going on  over that way....
The Savoyard infantryman be seen assaulting the village. They were repulsed twice, loosing a battalion in the process.
The Maison du Roi can be seen advancing in the centre, led by the Grenadiers a Cheval who charged the leading Imperial cuirassier squadron, forcing them back. 
The Savoyard dragoons seen earlier were still in the river under fire from a light gun and the Royal Roussillon regiment.
Seen from behind the French battery the combat in the centre is drawing in more and more cavalry.
The grenadier a Cheval despatching a squadron of Imperial cuirassiers.
Paul was saving on 3+. This is what he threw.
A company of the Gendarmes de France on the left are supporting the Grenadiers a Cheval who are busy out of shot, while the Musquetiers du Roi overrun a Savoyard light battery. The Savoy Gardia a Piedi look rather exposed.
The Musquetiers are supported by another company of Gendarmes de France (in red) and one of the Gardes du Corps.
Jim's Spanish close with Richard's wing of the French army. 
As expected the Musquetiers hit the Savoy Guard in their exposed flank. 
Unexpectedly, Steve made all his many saving throws and Nigel didn't so the Musquetiers were repulsed. Quelle horreur!

Meanwhile the rest of the Maison du Roi were getting their own back by steadily pushing Paul's cuirassiers back.  The French had the initiative from the start as they were always in a position to declare charges, whereas the cuirassiers were not. Rubbish saving throws(see above) didn't help the cuirassiers. The one time when the latter might have turned the tide was scuppered by a random event card played by the French that resulted in a random enemy commander being hit by a stray round. Guess which one was hit? Yep, the cuirassier commander!
The final nail in the coffin for the cuirassiers came when another squadron was broken, resulting in the Savoyard gunners taking to their heels. The cuirassier brigade was now spent, which was a blow to the Savoyard plans.
As the veteran Spanish and French closed on the left flank a savage exchange of musketry followed up by charges resulted in  one Spanish and two French battalions breaking.

The Spanish were left with a perfect shot at a squadron of French cuirassiers but only succeeded in forcing them to retire.
The French were able to eject the Spanish dragoons from the Abbey (in the background).
French cavalry of the Cuirassiers du Roi push across the front of a Papal regiment  attached to the Spanish forces.  The Papal troops were pretty poor quality.

Back on the other flank Rob was having trouble getting his two brigades to advance, but eventually they did.

Steve launched another assault on the village.
While on the opposite flank the Spanish and French cuirassiers clashed. In a see saw melee the latter eventually gained the upper hand and forced the Spanish to withdraw.
Pressure was mounting on Richard's infantry however. A fortunate random event card meant that the Savoy Gardia du Corpo (centre, background) received no orders and so were unable to interfere with the Spanish infantry.
Back at the village Steve finally ejected the French dragoons!
The heroic Savoyard infantry pour into the village. The dragoons flee. 
The French are definitely winning in the centre but the flanks are less certain.
Steve's remaining cavalry move quickly from the right wing to the centre to try and half the French breakthrough.

But Rob's French horse are unable to capitalise on the absence of the enemy horse.
The Savoyard 'German' horse ride over the ruin of their artillery battery, long since abandoned by its gunners.
Rob's infantry brigade (Swiss, Germans and Scots) assault the village and quickly regain  control,  destroying the defenders in very short order.
In the centre the cavalrymen of France and Savoy clash again, and the latter are clattered back. It wasn't Paul's day for dice throwing!

The Savoy dragoons were all but forgotten. Shaken and disordered by artillery and musket fire from the depths of the French battle lines they were no threat to the French and ignored.
The Condé had meanwhile sneaked the Gardes Français, Gardes Suisse and the Fusiliers du Roi over the river and they were now threatening the Savoy Gardia del Corpo and the flank of the Spanish.
The French under Richard had done an excellent job in holding off the Spanish, and once the French Guards were on the scene the former were no longer able to maintain the offensive.
Back around the village things were getting very 'hot', wit the Savoyards showing signs of crumbling.
The French Maison du Roi were then able to see off the remains of the Savoyard horse, sealing victory for the Sun King.
The beaten Allies. There was no shame in their defeat as it had been a hard fought battle.

The rather cheerful looking French, obviously rather pleased with themselves after their victory.
The Spanish manage to extricate themselves from the battle without further loss.

King Louis at his command tent surveying the field.
A rare photo of me (centre) at the close of the battle taken by Richard.
So there you have it. An excellent game. Played with a great deal of gentlemanly good cheer and humour. A clear French victory but the Savoy troops under Steve and Paul in particular were very unlucky. Of course if Rob had been able to get his command to advance it would have been difficult for Steve to move his spare horse from that flank to plug the centre. Richard did a grand job holding Jim's Spanish back too. The random event cards were fun to use again without taking over the game, providing the odd inconvenience and occasional moment of frustration during the battle.

Thanks to everyone for coming down for the day. 


  1. Congrats to the French army...and to you, what a fabulous and spectacular report!

  2. What a smashing looking game! The photo report really gives a feel for the unfolding action!

    1. Cheers David. It was a very confusing game and certainly one of two halves, literally.

  3. As always a wonderful looking game:).

  4. A fantastic looking game! It sounds as if it was hard fought and everyone seems to have enjoyed it - bravo. I also like Pike and Shotte for the ability to tweak and refine it to taste.

    1. You're welcome. P and S as they stand are too generic imho and need serious tweaking.

  5. Once again, you set a beautifully packed table. Super effort!

    1. Thanks. The table can swallow up a he'll of a lot of figures.

  6. A splendid looking and sounding game Colin...
    I particularly liked the Spanish and Savoyard standards...

    All the best. Aly

    1. Thanks Aly. The Spanish standards are not quite right for the period but I’m not going to change them now.

  7. Wow, top notch AAR - background, OOB, great table, wonderful collections, and everyone having fun. Thanks for this!
    Being my groups Francophile I always like seeing a French victory too.

    1. Thanks. I too like the French to win, but do have a soft spot for the Spanish.

  8. Most enjoyable Colin. Blimey you've got some nice toys there!

  9. An amazing looking game Colin. The figures and terrain look superb!

  10. That's a magnificent looking game Colin.

    1. Thanks Gary. I'm actually very pleased with the way it looks.