Monday 30 October 2023

Eighteenth Century Interlude, but No String Quartet.

This week’s game was a long overdue eighteenth century game using Honours of War set in the fictitious (obviously) world of the War of the Electrical Malapropismistic Accession - sorry. The Anglo/Hanoverian/Brunswick army of the Paralitic League (hereafter referred to as the Allies) were holding a coastal town, we never did decide where, but it was by the sea, but had been ejected from the surrounding outer works by a combined French and Spanish army of the Bourbon Confection the previous evening. Non-English readers might not ‘get’ these apparent wrong word choices.

Conrad, Dave and Jim played the attacking French and Spanish while Paul, Nigel and Neil were the Allies.  The Allies had to recapture the three redoubts and avoid being cut off from the town. The French and Spanish needed to retain the redoubts and try and cut the Allies off from the town. None of us had played Honours of War for quite some time but we got back into the swing of things very quickly. 

The battlefield from the sea. The Allies are on the left with the Brunswick brigade closest to the beach (even then, the Germans were keen to get the sun loungers first!). The Spanish are facing the Brunswickers with the main body of French foot opposite the English and Hanoverian brigades in the centre. Both armies deployed their horse on the far flank in what was a very cramped part of the battlefield. 
The Brunswick brigade advances towards the Spanish.
The Spanish arrived in March columns in an attempt to cover some ground before deploying in line.
IR von Behr of the Brunswick brigade.
Brunswick hussars and Hanoverian dragoons on the Allied left.
The ‘English’ brigade in the centre. HM 43rd Highlanders, as they were then, lead the way with HM 12th and 51st beyond them and Hanoverian artillery on the hill. Behind the guns are HM 20th.
More Brunswick infantry, IRs von Zastrow and von Imhoff. The fourth Brunswick battalion in the brigade the Leib-Battalion, is out of shot the left amd the fifth, the combined grenadiers is to the right, again not in shot.

The opposing cavalry close the distance between their squadrons. And therein lies a question; ‘ why did both commanders deploy their respective and not inconsiderable numbers of Horse, squeeze them  into the narrowest part of the battlefield?’ If I’d been the French my cavalry would have been by the seashore ready to threaten and perhaps take the town. If I’d been the Allies I might have considered placing all my Horse in the centre. But I was neither….

The two bodies of cavalry collide, with several squadrons being forced back on each side.

A closer view of the cavalry action.

Meanwhile, in the centre, things were about to get noisy, after a false start that is when Paul threw a ‘1’ when trying to get his dependable brigadier to move. The Hanoverians kept pace with the English, their jäger creeping through the wood in the distance. HM 43rd had gone into the closest wood, being the only regular battalion I permitted to operate in woods closest to the big earthwork. 

Dave ordered his French infantry forward to ensure they kept the enemy off the redoubt. The Gardes Lorraine wearing yellow coats lead the charge. Royal Italian holds the redoubt.

A turn or so later the French attackers have lost two battalions and the Royal Italian now finds itself in the front line. The Garde Francais are just in shot to their right.

Back on the French left, the Brunswick advance had been halted and was being pummelled by the Spanish artillery, which had already blasted the combined grenadier battalion of Brunswick infantry to kingdom come.

The Brunswick brigade is now being forced back by some aggressive Spanish infantry supported by the 12-pdrs in the foreground. One Spanish battalion was destroyed but the Brunswick brigade had lost two battalions and was taking heavy losses.

By now it was clear the battle was coming to an end. The cavalry of both armies had practically exhausted each other, but there were only three battered French squadrons remaining against at least five allied ones, several of which were fresh. This was not good given that there had been an 11 to 9 advantage in favour of the much better French. 

In the centre the more numerous French held the main redoubt but had taken a hammering from the English and Hanoverian musketry, loosing a good half a dozen battalions destroyed or forced out of the line. They had suffered quite a bit from the jägers shooting at their densely packed battalions from the wood. The jägers were classed as ‘inferior’ but their steady fire pecking away at the French flanks added much to the woe of the French, who were unable or unwilling to counter their fire until it was too late to do much about it.

As you will already have read, the Spanish on the left were pushing the Brunswick brigade back, but the French right had gone and the centre was about to collapse. The French still held or denied the enemy all three of the earthworks and were threatening the town, but their losses had been astronomical so if the Allies had continued the French would have been completely overwhelmed. It was clearly an Allied victory.

What a cracker of a game. Everyone was happy with the outcome and I’ve given myself a much needed and long overdue 18th century boost. 


  1. A superb looking game, very nice indeed!

  2. What a splendid spectacle! Really enjoyed following that through!

  3. What a great looking game. I like HoW as a set of rules- but I only have 20 figure infantry units- I love your BIG Units!

  4. Very nice! And a great write up as usual