Sunday, 20 August 2017

The Battle of Marsaglia

 It has been a while...

It is about 9 months since I posted anything here. Work, play and continuing exploration of New Zealand has kept me busy.

But anyway, today I am about to embark upon a game based upon the battle Marsaglia. This was a battle in the Nine Years' War, fought in Italy on 4 October 1693, between the French army of Marshal Nicolas Catinat and the army of the Grand Alliance under Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy. Wikipedia - Battle of Marsaglia

The armies:

Catinat's French army was about 35,000 strong and the army of the Grand Alliance was about 30,000 strong.

I have used the map below and the OOBs listed on the Nafziger site linked below:

Catinat's French army
The Grand Alliance army

For the game I have given the French 30 units of foot and 25 units of horse, this is split into 2 lines:
  1. Left wing: 8 horse in 2 brigades. Centre: 18 foot in 3 brigades. Right wing: 7 horse in 2 brigades.
  2. Left wing: 5 horse in 1 brigade. Centre: 12 foot in 3 brigades. Right wing: 5 horse in 1 brigade. 
The Grand Alliance army has 33 units of foot and 18 units of horse, this is also split into 2 lines:
  1. Left wing: 5 horse in 1 brigade. Centre: 18 foot in 3 brigades. Right wing: 5 horse in 1 brigade. 
  2. Left wing: 4 horse in 1 brigade. Centre: 15 foot in 3 brigades. Right wing: 4 horse in 1 brigade. 

The map:

My interpretation:

The French Army:

The Grand Alliance Army:

Looking over Marsaglia:

The game:

It is now August 2017, it has taken me an age to get round to updating this page. I had played the game over two days during the Christmas holidays in 2016. 

The battle panned out in pretty much the same way as the real one had done, with a French victory.

I used Warlord Games Pike and Shotte rules, I find they give a quick, fun game.

Some photos from the game:

Thursday, 24 March 2016

November 1688 - A Pike and Shotte alternative history...Part 2

James blocks William's advance near Salisbury

I played this game back in February but have only just got round to writing it up.

After the battle fought a fews days earlier both sides licked their wounds and planned their next actions.

James was 1st to act, the desertions from his army had slowed following his victory but he was still losing some commanders, with 4 senior commanders slipping away after the battle. Although after James' earlier victory the rank and file troops were now unsure if William could now win and were reluctant to act.

James had received news of a revolt in Wales in support of William, but this had not filtered down to the troops yet. Which is why he decided to attack William, before the news from Wales could have any impact upon  his army.

I reflected the desertions of James' officers in the game by reducing the CV of their replacements by 1 from 8 down to 7. Losses to morale were reduced by 2 so some units were starting with hits on them. Units that had routed off the table started as shaken, in retrospect I think this was too harsh perhaps 2 hits would have been better..

James' army had 4 brigades of horse and 6 of foot and a slight advantage in number of cannon and William had 3 brigades of horse and 5 of foot. 

The initial troop deployments:

James' army is on the right side of the table. William secured his left flank by occupying a small manor with one foot brigade supported by cavalry, hoping to draw James into an attack on the manor which would negate his numerical disadvantage.

William moved first and advanced his infantry to line the hedges alongside the road, unfortunately the ground was a bit heavy going and the troops made slow progress through the fields. Confusion reigned on William's right flank with one brigade of horse misinterpreting their orders and heading back to the camp (a blunder on the very 1st command roll of the game).

James troops were slow in moving forward surrendering initiative to William. One of the central foot brigades of William were in a hurry to get to grips and advanced far further than they were ordered to (another blunder rolled). 

On the left flank the horse, still weakened from the previous battle moved to cover the gap to the left of the manor house as James' force advanced. James had committed 3 brigades to this attack which evened up the odds slightly on the rest of the field, as William had hoped.

James commits his right flank to the attack on William's horse.

James' horse are successful in pushing back William's troops, as James sends a second foot brigade supported by light guns to join the fight on his right flank, thus leaving an even match on the rest of the field.

William commits his foot in the centre as James launches his horse in attack on William's right flank

With William's horse on his left flank destroyed James' horse redeploy to take advantage of the situation.

William's right flank horse supported by an infantry brigade try to hold back James' horse.

The brigade of horse returning from their visit back to the camp just in time to shore up William's right flank (3 failed command rolls to get back on the table after the blunder).
James'  feeling confident the battle is going his way commits a foot brigade to the fray as well.

In the centre the infantry battle hots up with both sides committing more troops to the fray.

Despite destroying nearly an entire brigade of James' foot by their firepower William's foot brigade holding the manor is now badly shaken and all looks lost for them. They occupied 3 brigades of James troops for 6 turns giving the rest of William's army the opportunity for an even fight.

Disaster in the combat in the centre for William, the dice gods had deserted him. James' foot were successful in pushing back William's main thrust.

The end of the battle, William with his left flank and centre beaten orders a withdrawal. The victory belongs to KIng James. Is this the end or just the beginning of a new English Civil War?


William had only 4 foot and 1 horse units intact at the end of the battle, 3 foot and 1 horse units had taken light casualties and 2 foot and 3 horse units had taken moderate casualties. There were 8 foot and 1 horse units shaken and 3 foot and 6 horse units had routed off the table. William was only able to escape with his lighter artillery pieces, the rest were left on the battlefield.

James was left with 11 foot and 3 horse units intact, 4 foot and 4 horse units had taken light casualties and 4 foot and 5 horse units had taken moderate casualties. There were 3 foot and 3 horse units shaken and 2 foot and 1 horse units had routed off the table.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

November 1688 - An alternative history...

William advances on London

It is November 1688 and William of Orange has landed in Devon at the head of a Dutch army. His aim is to depose the King of England, Scotland and Ireland and place his wife, James' daughter Mary on the throne. That is the history, here I diverge. Rather than indecision and eventually fleeing, James has decided to fight. He has lost some troops and a few commanders, but many are waiting to see who is going to win before nailing their colours to anyones mast.

William is hoping that English commanders and troops will come over to him, and that James' unpopularity will benefit him. William is marching slowly towards London, hoping to put pressure on King James.

Heading further east William finds that King James has garrisoned a small town on an important crossing point on his path to London. William has had reports from his spies that James' army is 2 days march away so he chooses to attack...

Figures are the excellent League of Augsburg range from Pendraken Miniatures 

Looking from William's position towards the town
Looking towards Williams position

William's right wing horse seek a crossing further upstream from the town

Fierce fire from the defenders halts the initial advance
The Dutch advance to the river taking casualties from the defenders as they do so.
The Swiss troops having cleared the gun from the bridge run into a hail of gunfire
Dutch advancing in waves towards the town
The Dutch Guards charge across the shallow river into well prepared English defence
The Guards defeated retreat behind their friends for cover
The fight around the bridge hots up
The Dutch left flank infantry brigade heads for the ford
The Dutch cavalry find a crossing point, with Guards dashing headlong for the English, forgetting their friends
The outnumbered English continue to offer up stiff resistance 
Their friends having caught up, the Dutch Guards lead the attack on the English cavalry reserve
William's turncoat English and Scottish regiments charge across the ford easily dispersing a hastily assembled force of armed townspeople
The English foot reserve looking isolated facing a Dutch cavalry brigade
William's information was wrong, was it false information from spies? James' army was a lot nearer. A brigade of cavalry appears on Williams left flank at the start of turn 7
Also a brigade of horse rides into the town from the nearby woods
Confusion reigned after defeating the townspeople, the turncoats failed to move from the ford for 2 turns
The joy of Pike & Shotte rules, the Dutch Guards trying to rally blundered and retreated back behind the river
Aided by the stalling turncoats and the arrival of James' cavalry the defence of the town looks a lot less difficult
Finally moving, the turncoats mass to take the town
The cavalry clash on William's left wing with the English faring the worst
King James' troops are still some way away from the main battle
James' cavalry getting ready to charge the Dutch right wing
William is redeploying his troops to face the new threat from James
The aftermath of the cavalry battle, a shattered Dutch right wing and the English cavalry still relatively fresh
A brigade of infantry arrive from William's camp
Looking towards William's left flank, the Dutch & allies in the town have been repulsed. It is late in the day as James is marshalling his forces for a final assault. 
End of the final turn, William stages a well organised withdrawal from the field as night comes in. James' forces held the town and William's army came off worst but it is still in reasonable shape, as James was unable to finish off William's army before nightfall. 

There will be a follow up battle, but will James suffer any more troops or commanders deserting his cause?