Saturday 10 June 2023

Counter-Revolution in the Vendee 1793

I’ve never had all my Armee Catholique et Royale on the table; indeed I had lost track of just how many miniatures I have, the answer being I have lots! I had to base up about a third of the Vendeans yesterday (Thursday) and they still require tufting but I did did get their bases budgie gritted and static grassed by the time we started the game on Friday morning.

John and I had arranged to play a game on Friday and as Conrad was free he joined us, taking command of the Vendean troops. John was the opposition. I decided not to play and oversee events to throw any suitable spanner’s into the works. This was a bit of an experiment as I wasn’t sure exactly about how to classify the Vendeans. In the end I opted for really good skirmishers, fairly good close order masses with some limited firepower, or less good units of second class close order troops, saving on 5+, and finally the ‘mob’ of even more ill equipped and fragile infantry with no firepower and saves on a 6 only. 

Anyhow, the Republican army had to drive the enemy before them down the length of the table and capture the farm, inside of which were several high ranking Vendean commanders, sacks of English gold and other goodies best taken into ‘care’ by the Republic. All the Royalists had to do was stop them. The Republicans had a strong  advance guard of decent infantry supported by cavalry and horse artillery. The main body had mainly decent infantry (its all relative) with some dodgy volunteer battalions, whereas the reserve was made up of newly raised levee en masse. We used Black Powder with my house rules.

Here are some photos which should show how the battle played out. A note on terrain. The hedges were classed as very thick so any formed unit crossing had to throw 1D6 for disorder. The better the troops the less chance of becoming disordered, but even they had to avoid a 5 or 6 when crossing. I think the game proved to,be a challenge to both sides, due to the paucity of commanders in the Vendean army and the very mixed quality of the Republican troops and density of the terrain. I was quite correct in these assumptions!

The vanguard of the Republican forces marching down the road. Cavalry and horse artillery have pushed round the church.

The Vendean first line of defence.

….and their second line.

More Vendeans in reserve.

In the centre Vendean skirmishers lurking behind the hedgerows.

The head of the Republican ‘column infernale’.

Conrad moved his main body up to the river.

More Republicans enter down the other road, a mixed brigade of  veteran line infantry and volunteers of 1792, with a battery of 8-pers in support.

Royalist skirmishers in action. They didn’t cause many casualties but kept several of John’s units in a state of almost permanent disorder.

A mass of peasantry ready to defend their land.

Republicans attack the Vendean right.

John failed to do much damage to the enemy when they did close to hand to hand combat.

On the other flank John’s men were hampered by repeatedly becoming disordered as they cross the bocage-like hedgerows. The 8-pdr battery barely managed to open fire all day as it was masked for much of the time by disordered friendlies reforming to their front.

Meanwhile more Vendeans cross the river.

The Republican horse artillery proved particularly ineffective. A probably misguided charge by their supporting cavalry was thrown back.

The attack on the Republican right was building up momentum.

While on the other flank the Vendeans managed to hold and cause the brigade attacking them to become broken, which was a blow for the Republican plans.

Johns troops had better luck on the other flank, driving the enemy back over the river and out of the woods.

Conrad’s reserve of several mobs of peasants launched an attack on the French-held woods.

The peasant mobs were forced back after a fierce fight.

John didn’t want to bring his reserve on the table as it was made up of very poor troops (newly raised levee en masse) and thought it was unlikely to make much difference to the outcome. I don’t believe that to be true as no matter how bad, they could provide useful support to the remaining veteran battalions. We will never know. 

Both sides had one broken brigade, but with the absence of his reserves John was unlikely to be able to achieve his object of reaching the farm, so a minor victory for the Royalist reactionaries was declared. I need to make some changes to the troop stats if I use BP2 again for this conflict, but I’m intrigued to see how General d’Armee would work in a similar scenario. Next time perhaps. 

I rather enjoyed the game, as did the others, and it was very nice to see my entire Vendee army on the table. Most of the Vendean figures are the lovely Trent minis now only available from Skytrex/Warlord at inflated prices, or the equally nice Revolutionary Wars range by Emperor Toad. Other manufacturers in the mix include  Foundry and Westwind (vampire wars peasants).


  1. What a super collection and great to see them on the table, it looked a cracking game. I have a few Emperor Toads sitting in the dreaded lead pile, I really must do something with them, plenty of inspiration here!!

  2. A victory for the royalist scum? Heads will roll I fear, Citizen Ashton.

  3. Terrific looking game.
    Alan Tradgardland

  4. The toys, the flags, the game. All first rate, thanks for putting the report up.

  5. Fantastic late 18th century eye candy, thanks for sharing Colin.


  6. Great to see these toys on the table once again:).

  7. Great collection, interesting AAR too. I do this war in 18mm with Blue Moon figs but your collection dwarfs mine in sheer numbers. It was a fun read!

  8. Hi Colin
    You’re FRW figures and battles are something of an inspiration.
    I am raising French, British, Austrian and Hanoverians from the same period. I’d be very grateful if you’d please share your house rules for Black Powder. My email is