Christmas 2012 Marlburian Grand Battle

The plan was to design a scenario with defence in depth rather than standard six foot wide table- so I based this on a scenario I had read about from the League of Augsburg boys in the UK that had been played a few years ago. Using my Marlburians there was to be 21 French and Bavarian Battalions and 20 squadrons of Horse defending a series of villages. They were commanded by Paul as the duc de Villeroi and he had Ralph as his senior commander on the right flank commanding the Bavarians and some French troops. In the centre were Phil and Brian and Paul held the left flank. The Allied objective was to cross the river to their front and storm the villages held by the enemy. The French were to attempt to stop them.
On the opposite side was the army of Milord the Duke of Marlborough (played by Nick) with a total of 26 battalions of foot and 28 Squadrons of Horse and Dragoons (English, Scots, Danes, Prussians, Hanoverians, Dutch and Austrians). Nick took the English contingent on the Allied left with Chris as his subordinate commanding some of the redcoats. In the centre Ross and Roger commanded the large Dutch contingent and on the right of the Allied line Lochlainn commanded the combined Danish, Hanoverian and Imperial troops. The Prussians were commanded by Liam and these had been sent on a wide flank march on the Franco-Bavarian right. They would appear at a crucial phase in the battle.

French Center

The Dutch were under secret orders from the Dutch deputies to stall and advance slowly, whereas the redcoats and the other troops were told to get stuck in. The Franco-Bavarians were told that the flanking column far to the west was in fact reinforcements. Things initially went according to the Allied plan as the left and right wings advanced and began to cross the river. Then things rapidly slowed down. On the allied left Ralph launched his Bavarian Cuirassiers against the struggling redcoats who found out that the French and their Bavarian allies meant business. To howls of outrage from Chris, the English and Scottish troops were thrown back across the river with serious loss- two battalions and two squadrons were wiped out by the rampaging Bavarians. And many of the remaining troops were savaged. Chris was forced to withdraw and regroup for a second attempt. In the centre Ross and Roger ( the Dutch) were very slowly advancing much to the dismay of the CinC (Nick) who heaped vitriol upon their heads and cries of ‘Shame!’ and ‘Traitor!’ were hurled across the table. The Dutch advance was slow and measured- and no amount of niggling, harassment or abuse would get the two Dutch players to move any faster.
French Left

On the allied right the Imperial Cuirassiers formed column and advanced across the one bridge in front of their deployment area at a very fast trot only to find that the French commander had sighted his guns on the bridge for just such an eventuality and two squadrons disappeared in quick succession in a blaze of smoke and canister. It was at that point that one of the supporting Danish batteries began to sink into the mud and had to be redeployed leaving the advancing allied troops on the left without some much needed artillery support. However the Danish infantry were just emerging from the river bank and were able to establish a bridgehead. They then, along with the Hanoverians, began their advance against the French left.
At this point it looked like the Franco-Bavarian army was having things pretty much their own way, when the flanking Prussian force arrived. This forced Ralph to pull troops back from containing the redcoats and it wasn’t long before Nick got his troops across and Ralph, fighting valiantly, was squeezed between two enemy forces.
On the allied right a tough fight ensued with horrendous casualties on both sides. The French commander (Paul) also had the Dauphin and some battalions from the Guard Francais present on the day- but the Dauphin was being difficult and after using the Guard to escort his mistress from the battlefield- she was dismayed by the loud banging of the artillery- he then sat down to lunch with the Guard officers in a nearby field. Paul merely shook his head in resignation as his line began to waver under the onslaught of Lochlainn’s Danes, Imperials and Hanoverians. In the centre the Dutch finally got across the river and launched themselves against the well prepared French centre- Phil and Brian. The Dutch cavalry took some very serious losses and although the Dutch infantry suffered casualties they gave better than what they got and the French infantry were soon reeling after taking mounting casualties. By day’s end the allied were putting pressure on all the French commanders and although the French had fought valiantly, further resistance was considered futile by the frustrated French commander who, cursing the French royal family- ordered a retreat.

The French Right

The Full Table

The Allied Line

Rear of the Dutch troops
- Infantry Regiment Van Walderen on the left and Cavalry Regiment No3 The Wuttembergers in Dutch service on the right.

Dutch Cavalry and Infantry.

Imperial Cuirassiers advance with Danish infantry in support


Imperial Cuirassiers on the Allied Right.

British cavalry.

The English and Scots are thrown back across the river by the rampaging Bavarian Cuirassiers

The French Defenders in the centre

The Dutch engage the French in the Centre

The Allied Line.

Redcoats await the order to advance

Rear of the Bavarian line.

The Bavarian Cuirassiers advance again.

The Bavarians prepare to defend their village on the French right

The Hanoverians cross the bridge on the Allied right with the Danes ahead and behind



  1. lovely looking Game, I am hoping to get a french brigade on the table this year, are you using BTLB?


  2. Thanks Matt,
    We're using a home grown set that we've developed over the years. Do you play this period too?

  3. The Wild Geese put up stout resistance even though the French commander was bed ridden with a severe bout of the "Belly Flux" & Gout! The Crown Prince and his Courtesans were a positive hindrance with the Guard all but useless to us! When the Fat Dutchman eventually extracted his digit he casually threw away his beautiful cavalry and instead relied on the Brutish force of musket against a fragile French rear guard. While the French were gallant they were of limited field experience. Had the French Commander been in better spirits the Loose, so called allies, would never have made it across the drainage ditch! Commander Le Hawk, turned in his usual outstanding if not Legendary performance and almost single headedly saw off the British and Dutch combined! How long will he be able to ‘Eschew’ higher office?

  4. Yes Balthazar, your analysis is correct and Commander Le Hawk deserved greater honours- rather than being shot in the back by the Prussians!

  5. Are you, John, aware of an army list that reflects the flavour of the Norman's in their 100 years or so sojurn in Sicily before they were consumed by the Fredericks of the Holy Roman Empire?

  6. Armati have a Sicilo-Norman list