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.
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.
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.
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).