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By smacdowall, Feb 18 2018 07:39PM

There are a few more units I want to paint up for the second part of our Battle of Oudenarde game in May. Mostly I need to flush out my French army and I have painted up a few more battalions which I may post pics of later. Taking a break from the French I have turned my attention to some missing Allied units.


Foremost amongst these is Van Goor’s Dutch battalion. This unit was part of the contingent sent to the upper Rhine valley to reinforce the Imperialists in 1703 and went on to fight at the Schellenberg and Blenheim. I have been slowly building Baden-Baden’s Imperialist army for campaigns on the Rhine led by Johan Winjand van Goor was sent to reinforce the Imperial Army of the Markgraf Ludwig von Baden-Baden. A previous semi-historical scenario involving them can be found here.



Van Goor was killed leadin the assault up the Schellenberg
Van Goor was killed leadin the assault up the Schellenberg

Van Goor died leading the first assault on the Schellenberg in 1704 after which command passed to Frederik Thomas van Hangest-Genlis d’ Yvoy. At Oudenarde the unit (regiment of foot number 14) was known as Regiment d’Yvoy following the usual practice of the time when units were known by their Colonel’s name.



Dutch 14th Regiment of Foot - Van Goor/d'Yvoy
Dutch 14th Regiment of Foot - Van Goor/d'Yvoy

The regiment’s uniform of light grey coats with red cuffs, waistcoat and breaches if fairly well attested to. It took me some time to find a source for a possible flag. I found it in the excellent CD of the uniforms and flags of the Dutch army available from Baccus (in German but with plenty of illustrations and regimental lists which need no translation).


d'Yvoy's regimental flag
d'Yvoy's regimental flag

The flag illustrated is for d’Yvoy which would be correct for Oudenarde but possibly not for earlier under Van Goor’s command in 1703/4. The phoenix rising from the fire and the motto “Ex Cinere Revivo” (more or less rising from the ashes) may refer to the regiment being re-recruited back up to strength after the heavy casualties of the 1704 campaign. I decided that if I took off the ‘Y’ monograms, which presumably were personal to d’Yvon, then it could also pass for van Goor even if the motto and image seem to suggest otherwise.


My painted version of the flag
My painted version of the flag

I find painted flags look so much better than printed ones. I copied the image from the Baccus guide and painted it with acrylics on paper, simplifying it a little to make it easier. The motto was the hardest part and you can just about make out the writing. I was very happy with the result once the two sides were glued together around the flag pole (using white glue).


Van Goor's Dutch and Sturler's Swiss
Van Goor's Dutch and Sturler's Swiss

The miniatures are all Minifigs 15mm with the exception of the officer on the left of the line who is Dixon. Supporting them in a rear line is Sturler’s regiment of Swiss in Dutch service. These two regiments fought together in the same brigade at Schellenberg, Blenheim. Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.


Grenadiers on the right
Grenadiers on the right

Minifigs do not make a marching Dutch grenadier. In order to keep the ranks consistent I chopped the tricorn head off a Bavarian in march-attack and replaced it with a Dutch grenadier’s head from another miniature.






By smacdowall, Jan 30 2018 03:43PM

I have been once again bitten by the Marlburian bug and planning is well underway for the second part of the Battle of Oudenarde which will be fought out in 15mm scale in May. Imagine my joy when the prospect came around for another game, this time with vintage 20mm Les Higgins figures.


Les Higgins' 20mm English and Scots
Les Higgins' 20mm English and Scots

These beautiful miniatures, formally from the collection of Tom Brown, are now lovingly looked after by Ernie Fosker. 20mm is a great scale and I think it a shame that scale creep caused them to be overwhelmed by 25 and then 28mm scales. Only a little bigger than modern 18mm miniatures these figures have great charm. They are slightly toy-soldierish, elegant and crisply cast.


The convoy heading to Lille
The convoy heading to Lille

The game was a re-fight of Wynendael in 1708 shortly after the Battle of Oudenarde. The French with 40 battalions and 60 squadrons attempted to intercept a vital convoy of supplies for the Siege of Lille escorted by 24 allied battalions and a regiment of dragoons.


The allies begin to deploy into the defile
The allies begin to deploy into the defile

I played La Motte, the French commander. Looking at the table-top I despaired of our chances. Although we had the numbers we would have to attack through a narrow defile between woods with no hope of using our superior numbers to outflank the enemy.


We decided to send the 4 battalions of the Irish Brigade through the woods on our left to prevent the allies from harassing our left flank and maybe to give them a surprise. Our dragoons would advance to the woods on our right, dismount and then make their way through it to head off the supply column while the rest of our forces would push hard through the defile, attacking without respite.


The Cuirassiers and Dragoons clash
The Cuirassiers and Dragoons clash

As we advanced in a long column with cavalry leading, the enemy began to deploy to block the defile with their mounted dragoons. Confidently I led the lead regiment of Bavarian Curiassiers to brush them aside. After all, heavy cavalry on good mounts had little to fear from mounted infantry on poor nags. What I did not know was that, flushed with their victory at Oudenarde and re-mounted on captured cavalry steeds, the German Dragoons fought with the élan of the best regiments of Horse. I had to pile in two more regiments of Horse before the enemy Dragoons were finally forced to retire.


The Dutch, Danes , Scots and English prepare to block the French
The Dutch, Danes , Scots and English prepare to block the French

By this time the English, Scottish, Dutch and Danish foot had deployed to close the defile, ending our slim chance of a rapid cavalry break through. It would now be up to our foot to do the hard fighting. We had plenty of them but in such a tight space we could only deploy on a 3 battalion frontage.


French cavalry prepare to hammer the enemy left
French cavalry prepare to hammer the enemy left

We decided it best to pull our horse back to the edge of the woods on our right and use them to hammer the enemy foot in a succession of charges to wear them down enough for our foot to break through. Cavalry charging infantry frontally had no hope of breaking through but with three lines of Horse I could afford to send each one forward in turn and then let them rest and recover as the succeeding lines took their turns to charge while the enemy had no such respite.



Dismounted French Dragoons make their way through the woods
Dismounted French Dragoons make their way through the woods

Meanwhile our dragoons dismounted and began to winkle their way through the woods on our right. Doing their best to avoid a battalion of Scots, they pushed on. But as soon as they were out of sight of their commanders they lost their enthusiasm for the task and milled about in the woods for the rest of the game and did very little other than to make their presence known.


Our initial assessment had been that we would have no chance of breaking through the centre once the allied foot had deployed and that our only hope was for either the Irish on our left or the dragoons on our right to break through the woods. As it turned out the opposite was true.


The Irish push through the woods on the French left
The Irish push through the woods on the French left

Surprised by the Irish Brigade and worried about the Dragoons, the allies drew off their third line to hold the edges of the flanking woods. Their centre battalions took hard pounding from repeated cavalry charges on their left and close range fire from a battery of light guns on their right. Although they successfully repulsed the first attempts of our foot to close they were being gradually worn down.


The Foot close in
The Foot close in

When our second line of foot passed through the first the allies began to waver. A Dutch battalion was routed, an English battalion was forced to retire and as new French battalions closed in on them the enemy morale began to waver. At this point La Motte, the French Commander, took personal charge of a regiment of horse and led them forward in a gallant charge, supported by foot. This charge broke through on the enemy left while two battalions of French foot shot apart the Danish guards on the right.


The allied centre begins to waver
The allied centre begins to waver

The cumulative effect of several battalions routing or retiring at the same time broke the morale of the other units in the allied centre and the day was ours. We had broken a hole in the enemy line and we had several regiments of horse waiting to exploit it. The vital supply column would never reach Lille!









By smacdowall, Nov 27 2017 05:42PM

The Battle of Oudenarde (1708) was one of the first historical Marlburian battles I ever played. Because Oudenarde was an encounter battle there is a lot of manoeuvre in the opening moves and we never got very far beyond them. At that time (decades ago) we decided to try it again one day and split the game in two. We thought the initial moves, as the Allies crossed the River Scheldt to attack Eyne and various French units were fed into the fight, would make a great game in its own right. A second game could be fought later taking into account the results of the first one.


This remained a vague aspiration until recently. With one of our number having amassed a substantial 28mm War of Spanish Succession collection to supplement our extensive 15mm figures, the idea was reborn. Why not play out the opening moves in 28mm and then fight the follow-on battle in 15mm scale?


We fought out the 28mm game last week with five players and myself umpiring. The game covered the historical moves from 12 noon to 5 pm using historical starting positions but allowing the players to make their own decisions with certain limitations. These limitations were more severe for the French who had to contend with a divided command between Vendome and Burgundy and Burgundy’s historical reluctance to advance. Their problems were compounded by the fact that they had been taken off guard and their Swiss brigade was in an exposed forward position without orders.


The game was fought on a 10 x 6 foot table. The Allies had 16 battalions of foot, 28 squadrons of horse and dragoons and a battery of light guns. The French had 19 battalions of foot, 28 squadrons of horse and dragoons and a battery of medium guns. Allied battalions were 4 bases (16 figures) strong, French battalions 3 bases (12 figures). A cavalry squadron was represented by one base of 2 figures. This made for a very manageable 28 mm game and more than covered the number of troops needed for the opening moves.


The Attack on Eyne
The Attack on Eyne

The Allies moved quickly to attack the Swiss forward position at Eyne. The attack was conducted by Sabine’s English brigade with the Prussians moving up to the west of the village and the Allied horse extending their line even further to the west.


The Allied Foot Advance
The Allied Foot Advance

The Swiss put up a tough fight and it took the personal intervention of Cadogan to steady the English ranks even though one of the lead Swiss battalions decided to retire rather than stand firm — this due to a test I had introduced to reflect the historical battle when only one battalion held and the other three decided to retreat.


Ranzau (bottom) and Biron (top) come to grips
Ranzau (bottom) and Biron (top) come to grips

Biron, commander of the French cavalry on table sent off a message to Vendome to inform him of the developing situation. He advanced cautiously against Rantzau’s Hanoverian horse near Diepebeek. He was worried about the potential disorder that the streams and reportedly boggy ground might cause him. It was Rantzau, however whose men suffered most from the terrain. As he was re-dressing his ranks the French cavalry attacked, getting the better of the engagement and wounding Rantzau. The commander of the Prussian foot brigade was also wounded as his men took fire from a battery of guns deployed to the south of Mullem.


Vendome takes command of the French Horse
Vendome takes command of the French Horse

At this moment Vendome arrived on the table and personally took command of Grimaldi’s brigade of 16 squadrons that Burgundy had sent south to test the Allied positions and see if the ground was suitable for cavalry. As Biron’s cavalry rallied back, Vendome advanced forward to follow up his success.


The Prussians Advance
The Prussians Advance

At the same time the lead 10 squadrons of Natzmer’s Prussian cavalry were moving up to support Rantzau. Full of élan and being personally led by a Marshal of France, the French horse made short work of the Prussians, scattering them to the south.

The French Horse Breakthrough
The French Horse Breakthrough



The Scots and Irish form up to assault Heurne
The Scots and Irish form up to assault Heurne

The French defenders of Heurne
The French defenders of Heurne

The Allies take Eyne and Heurne
The Allies take Eyne and Heurne

The Allies, however, were not disheartened. By 4:30 pm the English had taken Eyne and the Scots and Irish had formed an assault column to clear Heurne.





Marlborough takes command of the Prussian cavalry
Marlborough takes command of the Prussian cavalry

The second line of Prussian horse were well positioned to close in on the flank of Vendome’s pursuing French horse while Rantzau stopped them in front. To make sure that this could not possibly fail Marlborough himself led the Prussian charge. Then the Allies snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by rolling two ‘ones’ on the dice. Vendome’s cavalry saw off their attackers and pressed on to continue their pursuit.


The French foot advance south from Mullem
The French foot advance south from Mullem


Overview of the table at the 5pm move
Overview of the table at the 5pm move

At 5pm (historical time) we called an end to the game. The Allied foot had been successful in clearing Eyne and Heurne and would have been in a position to attack Burgundy’s left flank had it not been for the sight of large numbers of French reinforcements coming down from the northeast.

Burgundy had sent a brigade of 6 battalions south of Mullem to block the advancing Prussian and Danish foot and and Irish brigade in French service had also moved south towards Diepenbeek.

Flushed with the joy of victory Vendome’s pursuit led him headlong into Ouwerkerk’s Dutch who were advancing in column from Oudenarde.


The wider situation as of 5pm ready for the next game
The wider situation as of 5pm ready for the next game

The game felt very much like a French victory, however, the outcome will not be decided until we fight out the next 10 turns (using 15mm miniatures). This will take place sometime next year.






By smacdowall, Oct 16 2017 08:38PM



My sincere thanks to Richard Lockwood for organising the second Society of Ancients conference of this millennium. Once again it offered a great mix of discussion, games and good companionship and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


I took the opportunity to put on the Battle of Ad Decimum (AD 533) with my 6 mm figures supplemented by Geoff Fabron’s. This all cavalry battle resulted in Belisarius taking Carthage from the Vandals with only 6000 mounted men. Belisarius left his 10,000 infantry along with his wife and baggage in his camp.


Ad Decimum is a battle I have long wanted to try out. As it was an encounter battle fought over a wide area I felt that it needed the smaller scale miniatures to do it justice and I just based managed to base my last Vandal the day before the conference.


I set the game up historically but gave the players a number of options and let them play out their roles more or less as they wished. I also added a number of Moors riding around the countryside who would shadow both armies and not attack unless they were attacked or if the Romans weakened their camp too much.


The opening moves
The opening moves

The battle opened historically with Ammatas (The Vandal King’s son) enjoying his lunch at Ad Decimum — 10 miles from Carthage — where he had been ordered to take up a blocking position. On sighting the Roman advance guard he charged forward without waiting to form up, nor waiting for his other men who were strung out in a disorderly column on the road from Carthage.


I gave the player representing Ammatas a chance of forming his men up but I weighted the dice against him and so he did as his historical counterpart had done with the same disastrous result. His Comitatus was routed and he was killed. With the reckless Ammatas out off the way, his remaining troops managed better die rolls and began to form up. This caused the Roman commander of the advance guard to prudently pull back and re-form his own men rather than pushing on to Carthage.


The Roman commanders consider their options
The Roman commanders consider their options

The Roman column advances on Ad Decimum
The Roman column advances on Ad Decimum

Meanwhile the main Roman column debouched from the camp as their Hun flank guard was pushed back in a series of aggressive attacks by Gelimer who led his men in a beeline for the centre of the field.


Gibamund's column advances
Gibamund's column advances

Gibamund — who historically led the advance of the main Vandal force coming up from the south — was delayed by a series of bad die rolls. Eventually his column came onto the table, taking up the left flank of a Vandal strike in the centre.


The Romans deployed into line to meet the Vandal attack with Belisarius leading his bucellarii against Gibamund’s household warriors. To add a little fun I gave Gibamund the option of challenging Belisarius to personal combat which he did and which Belisarius disdainfully ignored.


When the main lines clashed the results were fairly even. The Vandals managed to rout one of the Roman units of bucellarii but their right wing units were attacked from two sides and driven back shaken.


At this point I called an end to the game. Although the Vandal attack had failed to defeat the Romans, it was clear that Belisarius was not going to reach Carthage that day. Therefore I declared the result a strategic Vandal victory even if the tactical results were even or even slightly in the Romans’ favour.


The rules we used were a stripped down version of my Legio VI Constantiani which are available as a free download in the rules section of my website. I will write the game up more fully for Slingshot in the near future




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