Thursday 31 October 2019

Malplaquet 1709. Game at NBHW

Back on September 14th at New Buckenham we held a very special game. The game was the Battle of Malplaquet in 1709, fought during the War of Spanish Succession and a long term project of the late Adrian "Shep" Shepherd who unfortunately never got to play this battle. Thanks to his partner Sarah we were able to utilise his magnificent collection and terrain pieces to re-fight this battle in his honour.

Once again the figures were 25/28mm and the rules chosen, Post of Honour.

This battle, one of the bloodiest of it's time, was fought between the French forces of Louis XIV of France, commanded by Marshal Villars and a Dutch-British army, led by the Duke of Marlborough.

Map by Victor Falk at French Wikipedia.

Translated to the table using Adrian's superb earthworks boards.

French positions in the Bois de Sars

I took command of the Hessian and Hanoverian troops under Lottum along with a brigade of allied cavalry in the centre of the allied line.

My right hand brigade, Bois de Sars to the right.

Left brigade and supporting artillery.

Cavalry support.

At the start of the battle the Imperial troops to my right flung themselves at the French in the Bois de Sars while the Dutch and English to my left assaulted the French defences around the Bois de la Laniere and Malplaquet itself.

My force advanced towards the french centre, which had had most of its infantry redeployed to the flanks, leaving me faced by the mass of French horse. My rightmost brigade pivoted right into the eastern side of the Bois de Sars to support the Imperial attack while the leftmost brigade obliqued to the right and continued to advance. My cavalry were brought up to face off against the french cavalry in the centre and support the left flank of my infantry.

Advancing to the Bois de Sars

To the left combined Dutch and British pressure finally overwhelmed a French defensive earthwork but on the far left the French defenders held firm.

Dutch assault

British advance.

Over on the far right a British infantry and allied cavalry flank march now appeared on the far side of the Bois de Sar and advanced to hit the French in the flank.

British troops arrive on the French flank

French turn to meet this new threat.

Assaulted now on three sides it was only a matter of time before the French troops in the Bois de Sar area were overwhelmed and this they were eventually, after some stiff resistance.

The fight in the Bois de Sar, allied horse advancing to the rear.

More of the stubborn french defence.

With the French left flank almost destroyed and a significant incursion into their right centre only their right flank and cavalry reserve remained in good order. I swung my forces around again and advanced of the French centre but by now we were out of time.

My troops advance on the French centre at games end.

Allied and French cavalry engage in a final skirmish.

The umpire called the game at this point as a victory for the allies. The French right would have been able to disengage largely intact along with most of their cavalry, whilst despite some fierce fighting the allies lost a lot less casualties than historically.

Once again a massive thank you goes out to Sarah for letting us borrow Adrian's collection and allowing us to run this game in his memory.

As usual many more photographs and thorougher AAR in the clubs Facebook album