Legio Wargames

The Legio Blog

By smacdowall, Jul 21 2019 12:27PM

Having just moved house I have not had the time to post much of late. However the games room is sorted and the painting table set up so I have been doing a bit of painting in between unpacking boxes and sorting furniture.


I will endeavour to post some pics of the latest troops to march off the painting table. First up are Dutch Horse Guards from 1709 — ready to join the Prince d’Auvergne’s squadrons on the Malplaquet battlefield.



I have painted the unit to represent the 1 squadron of the Life Guards of Nassau-Ouwerkerk (red coats) and the 2 squadrons of the Blue Guards who fought brigaded together at Malplaquet.


All flag references I found dated to the reign of King William III and carried his cypher on a blue ground. I decided on a similar design but substituting the coat of arms of Holland which seemed plausible for the post William era.


The Life Guards in front are a converted command group from Minifigs French Musketeers. The officer is wearing a cuirass which the Dutch attempted to have all cavalry wear from 1708 although without much success.


In William's day the Life Guards rode grey horses. I decided also mount the Blue Guards on greys as it makes them stand out and look more impressively 'guards-like'.



In the 1690s each of the three troops of the Blue Guards was distinguished by its men wearing red, yellow or green feathers in their hats. Not having many models with feathered hats I decided on using Minfig French troopers with shoulder knots and painting them in two of the distinguishing colours (red and yellow). The life guards do have tricorns adorned with feathers (taken from French Musketeer miniatures) and I decided to paint them green which was also the allied army’s identification colour.

By smacdowall, Mar 16 2019 09:41AM

Returning to my Battle of Malplaquet project it is time to test out the table set up, deployment and rule mechanisms for the cavalry actions in the centre and on the French left.




Previous test games have played out Schulenburg and Lottum’s assault into the Bois de Sars and as the storming of the French entrenchments by the Dutch.


In this game we wanted to see what might happen if the French abandoned the redans in their centre and the allied horse to attempt a break-through (as both did historically) . We also had Miklau’s cavalry and Withers’ foot arriving on the French left flank in an attempt to turn it.


The game action was set to began at 12 noon on the day of the historical battle. By this time Schulenburg and Lottum had made it through the Bois de Sars with significant casualties only to see entrenched French infantry waiting for them.



French, Irish and German troops withdrawn from the redans
French, Irish and German troops withdrawn from the redans

We assumed that the Dutch attack on the French right prevented any reinforcements from that wing. Villars had withdrawn his French, Irish and Germans from the redans to block the allies in the woods — possibly to counter-attack.



Overview of the table looking west  to the French left.
Overview of the table looking west to the French left.

We played the game on a 6 x 4 foot table with 15mm miniatures in brigade sized units. Ground scale was 1” representing 100 paces. We ignored the action on the French right except for the Gardes Suisses and Françaises holding the far left of the entrenchments, with the Maison du Roi in reserve.



The Allied cavalry advance
The Allied cavalry advance

The game opened with the allied howitzer battery lobbing shells into the massed ranks of French Horse. Then Auvergne’s Dutch horse advanced on the empty redans with Bülow’s German horse.


The centre of the battlefield, the Bois de Sars on the right
The centre of the battlefield, the Bois de Sars on the right

The French Horse moved up as the Dutch split their formation to pass through the gaps between the redans.





Imperial Dragoons of Miklau's command
Imperial Dragoons of Miklau's command


The Royal Carabiniers move up to engage Miklau.
The Royal Carabiniers move up to engage Miklau.

Miklau’s German cavalry, including several squadrons of Imperial hussars, arrived on the second turn (tanks to a good die roll) at La Folie on the French left flank. The French advanced the Royal Carabiniers to counter them. Against the odds, Miklau’s men held their own against this elite enemy brigade.


The Champagne brigade leads a French counter-attack.
The Champagne brigade leads a French counter-attack.

Villars organised a counter-attack against Lottum’s Prussians and English in the Bois des Sars. Led by the Champagne brigade this succeeded in driving back Lottum’s first line defending the edge of the woods.


A fluid cavalry action develops as the Allies pass through the redans
A fluid cavalry action develops as the Allies pass through the redans

A fluid cavalry battle developed in the centre. The Dutch horse rode through the ranks of the lead French brigade to come up against the second line.



The English Foot Guards assault the Gardes Suisse in the entrenchments.
The English Foot Guards assault the Gardes Suisse in the entrenchments.

Meanwhile Marlborough ordered Orkney’s men to storm the French entrenchments. Led by the English Foot Guards, supported by a battery of guns, they succeeded in driving the enemy back and taking the position. This mirrored the historical battle when the Gardens Suisses and Françaises put up little resistance when they were attacked.


The French counter-attack stalls
The French counter-attack stalls

The French counter-attack into the woods came up against the second line of Prussians and English as Gauvin’s Hanoverains, recently arrived from Mons, moved up to support them. Eugene, commanding this sector, ordered the Danish foot guards from the Prussian left flank to move in to join the fray.


A huge cavalry melee develops
A huge cavalry melee develops

More and more horse from both sides were fed into the action beyond the redans as the action swayed back and forth. The huge resulting melée ended up with the lines separating.


We called time after about 3 hours of play. The result was a bloody draw favouring the Allies. Although initially successful, the French counter-attack in the woods had bogged down. The action around La Folie on the French left was stalemated but on their right Orkney’s English had taken the entrenchments. Two brigades of Hanoverians were moving up to support Orkney but the French had no reserves left. Almost all of the French horse had been engaged but there were several lines of British and Imperialist cavalry following up behind the Dutch and Germans. At this point Villars would probably have ordered a withdrawal as was the case in the actual battle.





By smacdowall, Aug 15 2018 10:54AM

I have long considered building an Ottoman army to provide a new and interesting opponent for my War of Spanish Succession Imperialists. I was, however, put off by the sheer numbers of troops I would have to raise and the fact that there are no opportunities for fielding a contingent two to serve as allies in any of my existing armies. Fortunately one of my friends decided to do it himself. Not only that he has the space and patience to raise an Ottoman army in 28mm scale.


Ottoman light cavalry
Ottoman light cavalry

I played the Ottoman right wing commander with an all-cavalry force of light Tartars, Bedouins and Akinci irregulars backed up by some heavy Sipahis. As a cavalryman at heart, these are exactly the type of troops I love to lead on the wargames table.


Süleyman the Magnificent
Süleyman the Magnificent

Our Sultan, the benevolent and magnificent Süleyman, arrayed his army with a powerful artillery force in the centre along with elite Janissaries behind mobile fortifications.


Jannisaries and artillery of the centre
Jannisaries and artillery of the centre

His plan was to wear down the Hungarian foot with superior firepower, while the cavalry wings drew off the enemy mounted knights and retainers.



Commander of the Hungarian right wing
Commander of the Hungarian right wing


Hungarian knights and retainers
Hungarian knights and retainers

The Hungarian knights were heavily armoured with many riding barded horses. In an even combat they would inevitably have the edge but we had many light cavalry who could wear them down.



My light cavalry overwhelm the enemy right
My light cavalry overwhelm the enemy right

Although I had initially planned to simply wear down the enemy cavalry on my flank, good shooting by my Tartar horse archers gave me the opportunity to close in and overwhelm the enemy light cavalry screen. I was then able to drive off the entire enemy left wing, forcing King Lajos to move his reserve knights to shore up his collapsing flank.


The Ottoman guns open fire
The Ottoman guns open fire

In the centre our guns opened fire at long range.


The enemy foot take casualties from artillery fire
The enemy foot take casualties from artillery fire

Although it took 3 turns for our heavy guns to re-load, by the time the enemy Landsknechts and Hungarian foot reached our lines they were already beginning to waver.



The cavalry engagement on our left
The cavalry engagement on our left

On our left a huge swirling cavalry battle developed which flowed back and forth with neither side gaining a significant advantage.



The Saphis rout
The Saphis rout

Meanwhile on our right, King Lajos’ reserve knights succeeded in routing my Saphis. Isolated and in danger of being surrounded by my hordes of light cavalry the Hungarian knights called off their pursuit and pulled back to re-form. This gave my Saphis the opportunity to rally.



The enemy foot crumble
The enemy foot crumble

When the Hungarian foot came into close combat with the Janissaries in the centre, they were so worn down by artillery and musket fire that their lines crumbled.


Victory was ours. We had destroyed the Hungarian left wing and centre. We had managed to hold their right wing and their reserves without having yet committed our own reserves.





By smacdowall, Mar 16 2018 05:21PM

It has always puzzled me how the Danes managed to provide so many troops for the Dutch, English and Austrian armies during the War of Spanish Succession, while fighting a bitter war with Sweden at the same time. Perhaps the cash from hiring their troops out was worth more to the war effort than the troops themselves.


When looking around at the miniatures we had to refight Oudenarde I realised that although we had a good contingent of Danish foot we had no Danish horse. This needed fixing as the Danes provided a significant body of horse to the Maritime Powers — something in the region of 4000 men.


Danish Cavalry Brigade
Danish Cavalry Brigade

I have therefore painted up a small brigade of Minifig 15mm Danish cavalry in Dutch pay, drawn from three regiments. This is nothing like the full contingent of Danish mounted troops serving with the Maritime Powers but at least they will have some representation in our upcomming battle.


Livregiment til Hest
Livregiment til Hest

First up is the Livregiment til Hest (Life Regiment of Horse). Their uniform is recorded as red coats with yellow lining but like most Danish Horse, they went into battle wearing thick elk skin coats. I decided that my Danes would wear the protective elk skins with cuirass to differentiate them from other troops rather than thier uniform coats. Blackened cuirasses were worn by all Danish horse from 1707 and some regiments are recorded as wearing them earlier. Saddle blankets were usually red, trimmed with the lining colour, although officers might have their's trimmed with gold or silver.


Livregiment close-up
Livregiment close-up

Minifigs do not make cuirassiers without pot helmets. The troopers came from the cavalry command set — presumably intended to be officers of horse. They do not have sashes so they can pass as troopers. The trumpeter and standard bearer come from the Austrian cuirassier command set -- the standard bearer having his lobster pot helmeted head decapitated to be replaced by a tricorn head from my spares.


Speculative cavalry standard
Speculative cavalry standard

I could find no reliable information about Danish cavalry flags from the early 1700’s so I made this one up, based on a later Napoleonic flag.


Danish Brigadier
Danish Brigadier

Officers occasionally wore reversed colours but I decided to paint the brigade commander in the uniform red coat while giving the trumpeter a yellow one. The brigadier is a Minifig Austrian cuirassier officer with his pot helmet replaced by a feather-trimmed tricorn from a French King’s Musketeer in my spares box.


2nd Sjaellandske
2nd Sjaellandske

Next up are two squadrons from the 2nd Sjællandske. I particularly like the unusual violet facing colour of this regiment. I think it is a particularly pleasing visual combination together with the dark buff elk skin coats.


Württemberg-Oels Dragoons
Württemberg-Oels Dragoons

The final squadrons are from the Prince of Württemberg-Oels’ Dragoons. The Danes seem to have increasingly treated their dragoons as cavalry rather than mounted infantry. By the end of the war most dragoon regiments had been reassigned and equipped as cuirassiers. An eyewitness account has Würtemberg-Oels Dragoons in white-grey coats with yellow lining while another source has them in blue. I gave the officer an orange sash as the unit was serving in the Dutch army.


I got much of the uniform information from the excellent tacitus website. This is a great resource for the Great Northern War (and other conflicts). It includes the details of those Danes in the pay of the English, Dutch and Austrians.






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