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By smacdowall, Feb 8 2019 11:42PM

The Malplaquet project proceeds with most of the troops now painted.


Having play-tested the Allied attack into the Bois des Sars last year, the next step was to try out the suicidal Dutch assault on the French right. Here 30 battalions of Dutch, Swiss and Scots attacked more than twice their number of French, Swiss, Italians and Germans.



The French entrenchments
The French entrenchments

The French front lines were entrenched. Their right flank was protected by woods. They had a massed battery of 20 guns sighted to enfilade an attack, and they had more than adequate reinforcements.



The 6x4 game table based on a battlefield map
The 6x4 game table based on a battlefield map

Our game was played on a 6 by 4 foot table with 15mm figures (mostly Minifigs) with each miniature battalion representing a brigade of 3 historical battalions.



The Gardes Suisse and Française
The Gardes Suisse and Française

The French left was held by the Gardes Suisse and Française facing off Rantzau’s Hanoverians and Orkney’s English. This was the centre of the whole Malplaquet battlefield but for this game we ignored that action on the western wing.



The Prince of Orange's command
The Prince of Orange's command

The Dutch attacked the French entrenchments in two divisions, The Prince of Orange commanding the right with Dutch and Swiss...


The Dutch Guards and Scots
The Dutch Guards and Scots

...Baron Faegel commanding the Dutch Gardes te voet and Scots on the far left.



Converged grenadiers held the far French right
Converged grenadiers held the far French right

The French far right was held by converged grenadiers backed up by Germans and regular French in the woods.


The Alsace Brigade is driven back
The Alsace Brigade is driven back

The initial Dutch attack went very well. Their long range artillery fire managed to wear down the Brigade d’Alsace holding the corner of the closest entrenchments. Led by the Prince of Orange in person the lead Dutch brigade stormed across the French entrenchments, driving the Alsatians back.


Excellent dice rolls helped the Dutch attack
Excellent dice rolls helped the Dutch attack

The success of the Dutch attack was significantly enhanced by some pretty good dice rolling. With a 5 or 6 needed for a result every die counted.


Close range artillery fire decimated the Dutch
Close range artillery fire decimated the Dutch

The French fed in the Navarre Brigade to hold the Dutch break-through while their enfilade battery decimated the middle column of the Prince of Orange’s command. By they time centre Dutch brigades reached the French entrenchments a volley from the Royal Italien sent them reeling back.


The Dutch Guards breach the French entrenchments
The Dutch Guards breach the French entrenchments

D’Artagnan (of Three Musketeers fame) commanding the French far right, turned his grenadiers to threaten the flank of the Scots, forcing them to halt their advance to meet the threat. The Dutch Blue Guards, however, were able to successfully storm the entrenchments, driving off the French defenders.



The Dutch did better in our game than historically
The Dutch did better in our game than historically

After 3 hours of play we called a halt as the pub was beckoning. The Dutch did far better than they had historically. Against superior numbers hey had breached the French entrenchments in two places. Even if they could not hope to sweep away the French right wing there would have been able to do much more than simply pin it which was their objective. Although they suffered more casualties than the French the numbers were far less than they suffered historically.


By smacdowall, Nov 8 2018 12:55PM

Following hard on the heals of the foot come a fine body of Spanish horse.


Whilst I could not find any evidence of Spanish foot at Malplaquet, there were several cavalry regiments serving with the French army in 1709. Most of them supplying only one or two squadrons each. This means that painting my new Spanish squadrons has not diverted my from the Malplaquet project


According to French Archives the following Regiments of horse were part of the Maréchal de Villars army: Ermont, Cano, Fresin, Acosta, Druhot, Gaetano, Lacatoire, Coralles and Flandre. Rios, Cecille, Flavacourt were serving with the Comte d'Artagnan. There were also seven squadrons of Dragoons from the regiments Acquaviva, Pignatelli, Melun and Pasteur.



I could find very little reliable information about uniforms. A fair number of Spanish horse wore grey-white coats with blue cuffs. I decided this would contrast nicely with the predominantly grey-white coats and red cuffs of the French Chevau-légers.


There is even less information available about flags. I made one up based on a fairly typical design from a few decades earlier. This has the Burgundian cross on one side and the virgin Mary surrounded by a sun burst on the other.


Once again the miniatures are all Minifigs 15mm from their Marlburian range.






By smacdowall, Aug 28 2018 04:34PM

Having previously refought the battles of Blenheim, Ramilles and Oudenarde I am now turning my attention to the last and bloodiest of Marlborough’s great battles — Malplaquet (1709).


The Battle of Malplaquet
The Battle of Malplaquet

I have most of the troops I need but a few reinforcements are still required. First off the painting table if the French régiment de Champagne. This regiment of the vieux corps was fourth in seniority after Picardie, Piedmont and Navarre. It played a key role at Malplaquet, where it lost 50% casualties.


Earlier in the War of Spanish Succession the Champagne regiment was engaged on the Upper Rhine, taking part in the battles of Friedlingen (1702) and Blenheim (1704). It was transferred to Flanders after Oudenarde and therefore did not take part in that battle, nor Ramilles. This is why such a senior regiment has been left out of my wargames order of battle until now.



Drummers wore the King's livery
Drummers wore the King's livery

Like all the senior French line infantry regiments, the régiment de Champagne wore grey-white coats with cuffs of the same colour, brass buttons and yellow lace on their tricorns. Their waistcoats were red. The drummers wore the king’s livery of blue coats with red/white lace.



Two battalions of the regiment
Two battalions of the regiment

I have painted two battalions of 15mm Minifigs. The first battalion carries the colonel’s colour — the prestigious drapeau blanc (white cross on a white field). The second battalion has the drapeau d'ordonnance of a white cross on a green field.

The first battalion carries the drapeau blanc
The first battalion carries the drapeau blanc



The second battalion carries the drapeau d'ordonnance
The second battalion carries the drapeau d'ordonnance


The rear view
The rear view


The two battalions together
The two battalions together




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.






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