Thursday 20 August 2020

French Revolutionary Wars Campaign - The Battle of Tourcoing 18 September 1793 #1 Intro

A little of what follows may be news to some of the players but it matters not in respect of either the campaign or the coming battles. Indeed, Saturday will see yet another large battle in our ongoing FRW campaign. On 16 September the French under Houchard and Souham achieved a practicable breach in the walls of Courtrai and demanded the surrender of the Austrian army. Terms were agreed and the entire corps under Coberg and Clerfeyt surrendered. The conditions were to include all Coalition troops within five miles of the city. The terms of the capitulation allowed the Austrians to march out with their personal arms, colours flying, officers with their personal belongings, but with minimal supplies. All their artillery was left behind as were a large portion of their cavalry mounts. They are to march to Ghent and have undertaken not to fight the French for two years. The Anglo-Hanoverian army had been on the point of relieving Courtrai but terms were agreed before they could intervene. Not wishing to be caught up in the surrender (ie be within five miles of the city) the Duke of York withdrew to Inglemunster.

Below are some images of the battle lines before the game commences. 
The Prussian right. The French have clearly refused their left.

The table from the West. Coalition forces on the left.

The Coalition centre

The French centre as seen from the Prussian lines 

The French right facing a large body of Saxons

The table from the East. 

But, before we get to the battle I need to bring the narrative completely up to date. The day before, on 17 September Campaign time Turcoing fell to the Prussians without a fight, possibly through treachery. The Austro/Saxon/Bavarian/Ragamuffin Corps has finally made it to the theatre of war. After an abortive attempt to besiege Lannoy (always difficult without any siege guns and associated ‘stuff’) they have joined the Prussians encamped a couple of miles northeast of Turcoing, who were licking their wounds after their brief encounter with Pichegru and Jourdan near Mouscron also  on 17 September. Unknown to the Coalition, thanks to some dismal scouting, ( the Republican army was originally wrongly reported as being the Emigre division operating out of Tournai - OOOOPS!) the new Army of the Scarpe, ordered to Flanders by Lazare Carnot and under the command of General Francois Severin Marceau-Desgraviers, had marched from Alsace via Douai intent on mischief. It fell in behind the Austrians and upon finding both them and the Prussians encamped outside Turcoing facing the threat from Pichegru and Jourdan, immediately attacked their rear.

So as of noon on 18 September we have the combined Prussian/Austrian/Saxon/Ragamuffin corps facing the Army of the Scarpe to their South. North of them, currently inactive, is the corps of Pichegru and Jourdan. Houchard with Souham and Duquesnoy are busy escorting the main Austrian army from Courtrai and the Duke of York has done the honourable things and pulled back to Inglemunster. The Army of the Conde is reportedly near Bruges. Interesting to note that Houchard was in the real world arrested and charged with treason at around this time. Will history repeat itself?

The Battle of Turcoing will commence at noon on 18 September 1793.


  1. Supurb lads, is the table 7ft wide?


  2. I suspect you have recharged your batteries!

  3. That explains the camp. I await with interest and remain un arrested for the time being. Vive la France. Yours General Houchard