Malplaquet — first test game
By smacdowall, Dec 5 2018 01:00PM
Next year I intend to re-fight the Battle of Malplaquet (1709) in 15mm scale with each game battalion/squadron/battery representing three actual ones. In preparation for this, Dave Allen and I recently conducted a test run featuring the allied right wing attack on the Bois de Sars.
Here 20 battalions of French infantry, under d’Albergotti, defended dense woods behind abattis. They were attacked from the north by 40 Imperial battalions commanded by Schulenburg, and Lottum’s 22 battalions of Germans and English from the east. Lottum’s attack was supported by a bombardment from a massed battery of 40 guns.
The open ground in the centre was strongly held by the French in fortified positions supported by cavalry and artillery. Orkney’s English formed a single line to protect Lottum’s attack.
The game orders of battle were as follows: —
40 Imperial battalions (Austrians, Germans, Danes & Walloons) represented by 13 in three lines
12 guns represented by 1 model attached to the rear line
22 Prussian, Hessian and English battalions represented by 8 in three columns
40 guns represented by 3 models
11 English battalions represented by 4 in a single line
20 guns and howitzers, represented by 2 models
24 English squadrons of horse and dragoons represented by 8. Reserve in the centre.
20 battalions French represented by 7, on the edge of the woods .
10 guns represented by 1 model
12 battalions French represented by 4, entrenched to the south of the woods
18 battalions French, Irish and Germans represented by 6, in the redans
20 guns represented by 2 models
36 squadrons horse and dragoons represented by12, behind the fortifications in reserve.
Our game unfolded much like the historical battle. The allied massed battery wore down the French on the angle of the woods.
When the allies closed they wavered as they crossed the stream and abattis but although some battalions were thrown back the attack continued to be pressed home.
Fierce hand to hand fighting ensued but eventually weight of numbers began to tell.
Finally the Danish foot guard broke through the abattis driving off the French defenders as Lottum’s English closed in on the other flank.
We called a halt to our test game at this point. The allies had broken into the woods and it would take them quite some time before they sorted themselves out to emerge on the other side only to find entrenched French infantry waiting for them. Historically this took 2 hours, by which time events elsewhere on the battlefield shifted the emphasis from the allied right to the centre.
I was very pleased how the mini-game played out. The rules (Close Fire and European Order) worked very well as did the amendments we made to reflect the reduced ground scale of 1 game unit representing three and the difficulty of movement in the dense woods. I look forward to similar test games for the centre and allied left.
The table just looks magnificent and the terrain is great and the massed columns of troops just looks so great. When do you intend to play the full game and how big will the table be ?
I hope that you and Dave had a good time doing the play test and you really captured the right feel of the period.
It probably wont be until the autumn due to a wide range of factors. In the meantime we will re-fight the various sectors of the battlefield