I now have just enough 17th century troops to stage a small battle and that is just what I did on Monday when Dave Allen came by - giving them their first outing. Well... that is not entirely true. My old Minifigs have seen action before but that was back in the late 1970's. Now spruced up and re-based they seemed to hold their own against newer miniatures.
I set up a scratch scenario set somewhere in Flanders and at sometime in the 1640s. A French advance guard is advancing to relieve a town which is being besieged by the Spanish who in turn deploy a delaying force in a narrow field between a bog on one side and woods on the other. The French outnumber the Spanish in cavalry but the Spanish have more artillery. The foot are equal in numbers.
After laying out the terrain I re-read an account on the Battle of Rocroi (1643) and realised that this hastily designed scenario was not dissimilar from the opening moves prior to that battle. Rocroi can only hold out for a few more days. The Spanish are hoping to inflict enough delay by holding up the French advance guard so that Rocroi will fall before the main French army is able to come to its relief.
I took the French. My plan was to crash through on the right with my superior numbers of cavalry seen here advancing full of élan. I really do think that these old Minifigs have something very pleasing about them and I am tempted to buy more to be the mainstay of my French cavalry rather than using newer castings. The sharp eyed amongst you will notice English standards as I did originally paint these troops up to be English Civil War Royalists. A few white sashes and replacement standards would give them a more French appearance.
Rather than wait for my attack, Dave sent his Spanish cavalry forward. Although outnumbered, his cavalry wing included the elite lancers of the Governor General's Guard supported by cuirassiers.
In this wider view of the game you can see two of the three Spanish tercios holding their ground while the two cavalry wings ride towards each other.
The cavalry battle did not go according to plan. One French unit did do well against the the lancers but riding through they decided to keep going to loot the Spanish camp rather than turning back to rejoin the battle. The second front line unit charged the cuirassiers who held their ground and delivered a devastating pistol volley which scattered the French cavalry.
It was time for the foot to advance before everything unravelled. Here Condé's Regiment can be seen marching towards the hedgerows. Turenne's Regiment is following on behind.
The second line of French cavalry met a similar fate as the first at the hands of the Spanish cuirassiers. So with victory slipping from out hands it was down to the Foot to save the day.
Here is an overview of the entire battlefield as the Spanish cavalry ride towards the second line of French horse on the Spanish left wing. Not much happened on the other wing. I sent dragoons supported by a forlorn hope to make their way through the hedgerows and harass the Spanish right while some Scottish light lancers, masquerading as Croats winkled their way around the woods. However a large determined unit of Spanish arquebusiers effectively blocked off that flank.
As the Spanish lancers drove off the last of the French cavlry the splendid Tercio viejo outshot the opposing French battalion while the Spanish artillery thinned the ranks of the neigbouring units. The French foot ground to a halt and with the cavalry gone there was now no longer any chance of breaking through. Without it ever coming down to push of pike I had to concede the game and leave Rocroi to its fate