Sunday 18 September 2022

Franco-Dutch War 1672-78

Marshall Vauban directing the siege.

The last Saturday game played here at the Burrow was a couple of weeks ago, when Richard, Neil, Nigel and John came over for a late seventeenth century game set during the Franco-Dutch War 1672-1678. This particular set of armies is undoubtedly my favourite, purely for the colourful uniforms, flags and the fact that we don’t know as much about the war as we might like, thus allowing for a degree of fudging. 

Mme. Fifi directing operations of a different kind….

Richard and Nigel took the Dutch and Spanish while John amd Neil were the French. I umpired and sorted out the refreshments. Rules used were my own adaptation of Warlord’s Pike and Shot but with my own house rules and a sensible approach to classifying the various different troop types added. They work well enough for me, as we shall see.

The battlefield, with the French on the right. The Spanish have yet to appear.

The scenario placed the French intent on bringing reinforcements and supplies to their army besieging the Dutch-held town, of Neerbunkem, while the Dutch and Spanish (when they woke up from their siesta) were tasked with spoiling their plans. Objectives were to control the redoubt on the French right, the roads exiting the Dutch  table edge and the village. There was a further objective where the Dutch would win the game immediately if they captured Madame Fifi’s House of Delights, as here it was rumoured that the French Commander-in-chief the Duke of Orleans was enjoying (ehem!) the facilities. 

The photos and accompanying narrative will hopefully give an idea of how the game developed. They may even be in the right order. 

The French 
The French centre. Lots of men.
Two battalions of Dutch Footguards with their pre-1688 flags
Business is brisk!
On the Dutch right they were facing six squadrons of French cavalry. With only four of  Imperial and Spanish cuirassiers.

In the centre both lines of infantry closed to point blank range.

Dutch advance on the left.

The Duke of Orleans  in red settling his account.

Dutch horse made several futile charges against the French centre.  Dumbarton’s regimentabout to see them off.

Imperial cuirassiers 

The Spanish arrive, rubbing sleep from their eyes after their siesta.

Richard moved his cavalry en masse towards the centre of the army, ready to strike the French and overrun their centre…….that was the plan anyway!

The Maisonnational du Rio charge the Dutch Footguards and a battalion of Spanish.

While the Dutch Horseguards make a futile attack on the Gardes Suisse.

Dutch infantry moving forward.

On the French left the opposing cavalry wings finally got to grips with each other in a see-saw melee that left the French in a slightly more advantageous position.

Richard had redeployed much of his cavalry into the centre, seen here moving behind the main infantry line.

French Grenadiers a Cheval of the Guard tried to drive off a battalion of Dutch Footguards.  They bounced backwards but would rally and return to the fight.

Spanish infantry watch Dutch horse moving across their front to  attack the French.

Total confusion and heavy fighting in the centre.

The French centre. Dumbartons regiment up front with the Gardes Francais and Zurlauben’s German regiment in support.

Zurlaubens and the Spanish locked in combat.

The Spanish Main body.

French horse on their left wing.

The Muquetiers du Roi smash into a Spanish regiment.

What follows are some rather random shots from the game.

Dutch on their left wing.

Fierce fighting in the centre.

The centre of the table before the armies closed. Note the column of Dutch horse filling a gap in the centre having moved over from the left.

The Spanish. 

The French had three regiments of dismounted dragoons who proved to be most unwilling to close with the enemy.


Nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition.

So there you have it. Swirling cavalry combat, numerous futile cavalry assaults on unbroken infantry . Some dreadful dice rolling. What’s not to like? It was a colourful and very enjoyable game that ran smoothly and quickly to a resolution of sorts, and at least the Dutch failed to capture Mme. Fifi’s Emporium of Delights.


  1. Superb looking game, lovely colourful regiments, it certainly is a very interesting conflict.

  2. I agree, and I love the little vignettes you have here and there. Fantastic!

  3. What a colourful spectacular offering to brighten a dull day! The armies look wonderful and the game is a joy. The vignettes are after my own heart, so well done!

  4. When a game looks this good, does it matter if someone wins? I like your comment about no knowing too much about the period.

  5. "Formidable" as the French would say. A terrific evocation of a splendid period. What an era for flags, plumes, ribbons etc. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Lovely pictures, please could you tell me where you got your Spanish flags from, thank you