Saturday, 1 March 2014

More Maurice - Ramillies!

Last Thursday the Wollongong wargamers played Caesar's experimental scenario for Maurice rules for the Battle of Ramillies. He wants to have it playable as a 2 player scenario rather than as a doubles game. As is my wont I got in early, since I usually have to leave early, to set up the table. Caesar unusually had drawn his map with 9 inch square grids, so it took a bit of getting used to, and since the uni tables are 4 x 2 foot we would have some space around the margins. So I set up a grid working from the centre to get things right.

Caesar then started the process of decanting his forces, which formed all of the Franco Bavarian army and some of the Allied. His lovely troops are all 10mm Pendraken.

Yes - that's 10mm! 

Above, one of my two units of Maison du Roi - the only ace I held...and these fine gentlemen did me proud! Below, the French Infantry. Two units of Elites, the rest are Trained. And frankly, compared with the British with their 'Trained Volleys', that's being polite!

Then Alan showed us what he'd managed to achieve in transforming the staid old plastic Risk figures:

Quite amazing work - talk about making a silk purse out of a sow's ear! Very pretty, I hear you saying, but can they Fight! You may take my word for it that they can! 

Now Alan has written up his own version of events on his The Stronghold Rebuilt blog and its well worth having a look at the-battle-of-ramillies-1706. All I will do here is write up my excuses version of events...

Caesar kindly umpired and Alan took Marlborough's role as the Allied commander, and I took on the unfortunate Villeroi's role as the Franco Bavarian commander. As defender, I got to deploy first.

With the benefit of hindsight, I choose to forgo attempting to defend everything and garrison Taviers and AutreEglise, instead I concentrated on a tight defence framed by Offus and the hillock called the Tomb of Ottomont. Below the windmill represents Offus, and the blue and red roofs Ramillies itself, and you can make out the rivulet of the Little Geete in between the raised banks on the left. All this action takes place in Brabant, Flanders, in 1706. The white triangle you see represents the objective for the game. It would only come into play if neither army was wiped out...

It was then Alan's turn to deploy. Since his transformed Risk army is being modelled for the Great Northern Wars you can make out the Swedish pike blocks:

Below is Alan's deployment - Rather than feint to his right behind the little Geete as Marlborough did historically, and which would have been of little use since he knew I knew more or less what had occurred, he placed his infantry entirely in the plain as I had expected, and his cavalry behind the Little Geete...

As attacker Alan moved first, and led off with his cavalry across the stream, which disordered his Regiments as they crossed. Since my only strength was in a couple of fine cavalry Regiments, I decided to try and make it all about the Arme Blanche for as long as I could - I don't normally like to place to much reliance on Cavalry, but anything to delay those terrible British rolling volleys!

Unfortunately Alan pulled a 'Stirrups In' card out of the hat to nullify my Maison du Roi national advantage! However I was able to flank one of his units, so it all came out in the long run.. 

I was hoping to keep Alan fixated on the increasingly desperate cavalry melee for the duration, but eventually he had no cavalry units left to play with, so returned to his death dealing infantry who had been waiting patiently to come into play...

Gulp! As for my cavalry, my sole remaining Regiment was moved forwards towards AutreEglise, and much loud and bold talk of crossing the Geete myself and flanking his artillery persuaded Alan to peel off 2 of his Regiments to protect his flank. I was very pleased with that trade off - one rather battered cavalry regiment tying down 2 fresh and deadly Infantry Regiments!

However, that did not postpone the inevitable advance of the remaining Allied infantry towards the objective. I had placed my 2 elite Regiments in the garrisons, and some telling fire from Ramillies was able to inflict some damage on the right of the British line, but that same Regiment was receiving the fire of 5 Allied batteries.

At this point I had to leave, and Caesar took over the command - but not for long!

A couple of deadly volleys pushed the Armys morale down beyond breaking point and they, well they broke! But at least it would be Caesar's job to tell the King!

A very enjoyable and exciting game, as protracted cavalry clashes usually are, and once again I realised that you don't have to go large with a roomful of 28mm figures to get the 'big battle' feel!
I have ordered a couple of packs from Pendraken to see if I can actually paint 10mm figures to something reasonably approaching Alan and Caesar's efforts!
I expect Caesar will post his final version of the scenario on Sam Mustafa's Honour forum so that you will be able to replay this game yourself - good luck!


  1. 10mm?? Wow! The mass effect is excellent, but the close-up photos are really nice too, great paintjob!

  2. " I was very pleased with that trade off - one rather battered cavalry regiment tying down 2 fresh and deadly Infantry Regiments!"

    To be honest by that stage the state of the morale track was such that if I'd have needed those units for anything else I would have probably already have lost the battle. Also moving them into position closed down that side of the battle at a time I chose, allowing me to concentrate command on the infantry advance knowing I wouldn't be distracted by your cavalry creeping round my flank.

    Fabulous pictures of the troops, by the way. Thanks for a great game.

    1. Yes protracted cavalry clashes tend to be expensive on Army Morale points! But overall I think the cavalry distraction delayed an embarrassingly early dissolution of the Franco Bavarian army in a welter of English volleys...

    2. In fairness that cavalry battle should have ended with my morale well down, but yours higher - holding you off for that one round with 'Stirrups In' was the key. Then the shift to the infantry battle would have been trickier for me - I would have had the firepower advantage, but you could take the casualties and I wouldn't have been able to.

      Caesar and I were chatting afterwards, and thought that deploying the Franco-Bavarian infantry line closer to the garrisoned towns may have helped as well; I was, to some extent, able to bypass the strongpoints when I engaged your troops, instead of having to deal with them as an integral part of your force.

    3. Good point about having the main line closer to the garrisons, however I wanted to anchor my left on the 'Tomb of Ottomont'. But yes, in hindsight, support from the garrisons would have been more useful...

  3. Great photos and "version of events", you capture the chronology nicely. Almost up to semi-professional photographer standard! Very enjoyable game, thanks to the two protagonists.