zaterdag 2 november 2019

France vs. the Hapsburg (DBA-HX3)

The War of Devolution lasted two campaign seasons (1667-68), is better known for its conflict in the Spanish Netherlands and elsewhere. It is in the Franche-Comté where our two armies shall meet.  

The single command is now expanded to 24 elements and with a few minor exceptions mirror one another in composition of troop types. The order of battle can be found following the reports.

Briefly, each side now have two generals (CinC + subordinate) yet only one die is cast for pip scores. The subordinate’s role is to extend command and control further and assume command in the event of the CinC’s demise. The gaming area is also increased (80cm x 120cm) to place our arable terrain. This features a hamlet (chateau), a vineyard, gentle hills and wood.

Game one
The French positioned their troops near the Chateau du Amer, but vineyards and wood restrict full deployment of troops. The Hapsburg, having more open ground, place their infantry in centre and cavalry covering both flanks. As their infantry advance, the cavalry to their right keep pace. Under steady artillery fire for nearly an hour Hapsburg cavalry charge the French left wing. The conflict swung back and forth forcing the Hapsburg to bring their reserve cavalry into the fight. Supported infantry companies were also brought up. Things were taking a deadly turn that that Hapsburg efforts elsewhere came to a halt.  After two and half hour’s orders were given to the Hapsburg infantry and left wing to withdraw from the field as their right wing was no more, score France 8 – 2.

Game two
Both armies are deployed in standard two-line formation with the Hapsburgs placing their largest body of cavalry on their right to match the French.

The opening phase of the battle have both infantry lines marching forward to the steady beat of their drums while holding their cavalry in position. This inactivity served the French artillery well as they mauled the Hapsburg cavalry (2 – 0 for France).

Accurate musket fire from the French cut the Hapsburg infantry to shreds but not without its cost. Sensing the moment as opportune, the French Marshal moved the cavalry on the right to dislodge the remaining enemy cavalry and fall on the exposed infantry centre.

In the centre, casualties fell steadily on both sides as volleys of musket and artillery fire find their mark. After two hours (8 turns) of battle France is gaining the upper hand, (6 – 4).

In the centre, the infantry on both sides fell to accurate musket fire, but the final stroke came when the cavalry of the right wing engulfed the Hapsburg left wounding and capturing their general bring the conflict to a close. Final score, 10+sg – 5 for France. 

In Retrospect
Game one demonstrated the folly of ignoring the moment to break off an assault. It was very possible had the Hapsburg broke off the cavalry assault on the right shifting their efforts elsewhere would have produced a better game.

Both battles took 11 turns (55 minutes) to reach a decision which worked well. Looking at the historical representation, the 24 elements totalled 12,000 troops. In game two, the cavalry was reduced by two elements to allow more infantry to be placed on the board. This did bring the ratio of cavalry to infantry at 40% which is accurate for the period.

1 x CinC, 1 x Subordinate general, 4 x Horse (Kn), 8 x Cavalry (Cv), 1 x Dragoons (Mtd-inf), 8 x Battalions of Foot (Sh/Pk), 1 x Heavy artillery (Art), 2 x Skirmisher (Ps).

1 x CinC, 1 x Subordinate general, 4 x Horse (Kn), 8 x Cavalry (Cv), 1 x Dragoons (Mtd-inf), 8 x Battalions of Foot (Sh/Pk), 1 x Heavy artillery (Art), 1 x Skirmisher (Ps), 1 x hussar (LH).

zaterdag 26 oktober 2019

DBA-HX3.0 (1670 – 1700)

This week has been one of extremes on the wargame table; Biblical battles of 3000 BC at the beginning of the week and now Shot and Pike anno 1670 for the weekend. Of all the armies in the collection the French and Imperial troops of 1670 are my favourite; uniforms are a riot of colour, varied flags and standards plus plenty of cavalry on both sides.

Normally DBA-HX3 uses 12 elements for an army, but recently I have been experimenting with increasing that total to 24 for ancient period battles. This worked very well and a number of battle reports with photos have been posted to the ‘Storm Within the Empire’ blog.

Scroll down to the section titled ‘Enlarging the Single Command (24 elements)’. 

Before committing my energies to the project, I thought it prudent to refresh my memory of the variant rules and start small with a simple 12 element a side test. The armies, one French, the other Imperialist were identical fielding 4 battalions (pike and shot), 1 heavy artillery, 5 cavalry and cuirassiers, 1 dragoon and 1 skirmisher (generals are individually based).   

The first game, deployment was heavily influenced with by my experiences with ancient battles the game lacked the finesse and tactics expected of a Field Marshal of France. There was little allowance for spacing between groups which quickly masked effective artillery employment and cavalry lines had little to no room to manoeuvre effectively. These shortcomings, the Imperialist were able to overcome and decisively defeated the French. 

Game two experimented with one side deploying in extended line (France) while the other formed two ranks with at least two BW between ranks (Imperialist). This developed into a livelier game with the Imperialist scoring initial success and the French having to play catch up thereafter. The extended line delayed the shifting of troops to threatened areas for the French which contrasted dramatically for Imperialist as their second rank offered the needed support to sustain their drive against the French centre. This resulted in the destruction of three battalions in quick succession. By a miracle, the scrappy French were able to squeeze a victory despite all their shortcomings. 

Game three saw much improvement with both sides deploying with adequate spacing and reserve formations. The pace seemed to slow down but this was a false impression as all three games were completed by turn seven which took 30 to 40 minutes. The French centre held their ground to allow their cavalry to shift from the left flank to support their cavalry on the opposite flank This produced the needed tension as the Imperial attack on the centre stalled and the Imperial cavalry on the left was trying to recover their formation. Noteworthy was the French commander leading cavalry and infantry on several occasions in mark contrast to his cautious opponent. 

The next step is to increase the game board size which will allow the placement of some pretty terrain pieces. Increasing the number of elements will increase the amount of time needed to complete a game, but based on the experience with the ancient tests this should be no more than an hour. The minor tweaks such as a subordinate general can be read here

woensdag 9 oktober 2019

FS 15mm WSS painted, but selling as unpainted.

At my advanced age, it is unlikely that I will ever use this collection and that is why I am selling it. It is large and is to be sold as one collection and to make this an attractive deal, I am offering this as if they were unpainted packs. You the buyer, are getting them painted, based, flocked and many with flags as my gift.  

All figures are from the Essex European Armies 1600 – 1745 listing. They are based for DB(X) use but can be used with other rule systems.

In general, the bases have either four figures for foot, three for cavalry, two if light horse and one gun and crew for artillery. General officers are mounted on round bases and have flags attached to their base, however, flags can easily be replaced to fit your needs. Bases are 1.2mm triplex bass wood, covered with a mixture of wood glue and sand, painted and flocked with electrostatic grass.

This was a period when uniforms were taking on a national appearance and the collecition reflects a myriad of possible armies. The entire colleciton was stored in four boxes and their numbering is solely used to referrence the contents of each as expressed as number of elements.

Box 1
Foot      Cav.      LH        Gen.      Hvy G    Light G             remarks
29     -   12     -   4     -     14         -.             3                    foot includes 5 of Grenadiers.

Box 2
Foot      Cav.      LH        Gen.      Hvy G    Light G             remarks
34    -    16      -   1       -   5          -             5                   cav. includes 4 of Cuirassiers.

Box 3
Foot      Cav.      LH        Gen.      Hvy G    Light G             remarks
35     -   19     -    1          -            2      -    3

Box 4
Foot      Cav.      LH        Gen.      Hvy G    Light G             remarks
32     -   16          -            4          -              5                  foot includes 3 of dismounted Dragoons.

Total number of elements
Foot  -    Cav. -     LH -     Gen. -   Hvy G - Light G            
130    -    63     -      6   -      23    -     2     -     16

This equates to 65 packs of foot, 47 packs of cavalry, 3 packs of light horse, 2 packs of heavy guns, 8 packs of medium guns and 9 packs artillery crew.

134 packs @3.85 = GPD 515.90 or $665, payment by PayPal.

Price is exclusive postage cost (track and trace), therefore for an estimate of postage do let me know its destination.

Please send all queries to