Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Being a bit of a geek I spend a lot of daydreaming time wondering about wargame rules in the never ending search for the perfect set. I have been pondering again the rules for the wars of wine and cheese and for the coffee table squares. When not day dreaming I like to read about wargames and battles (like most of us).

Late spring of 1745 saw a couple of very interesting battles for the wargamer, Fontenoy and Hohendfreiburg. I was looking through Duffy’s “Frederick the Great – a military life” as Hohenfreidburg is the next battle in line for the coffee table series and then found myself skimming through “Wargaming in Hisory vol 2”; the chapter on Fontenoy.

One particularly interesting part of the Fontenoy is where the column of British & Hanoverian infantry have advanced and shattered the awaiting French infantry with devastating musketry and are charged by 30 squadrons of cavalry. The first line of horse is driven back by steady volleys and are replaced by a second line who in their turn charge and are driven back, some squadrons charging eight times to no avail.

I think my rules would probably reflect this giving steady infantry a definite advantage over cavalry charging head on.

 However a month later and much further east Lieutenant Chasot wrote of his experience with the Bayreuth Dragoons at Hohenfreidburg. “…we broke into a trot and finally a full gallop, putting our heads down and running into the Austrian grenadiers. They at first stood and delivered a volley at twenty paces, after which they were overthrown and mostly cut down.”

My rules would allow for this if the volley was ineffective but Duffy writes of the ensuing mayhem – “Behind the grenadiers the Bayreuth Dragoons collided with main force of the Austrian infantry.  In twenty minutes the regiment took five cannon, sixty seven colours and 2,500 prisoners, losing just 94 men in the process.”

Were the Bayreuth regiment so much better than the French at Fontenoy? Were the British just more effective at firing? Was it a matter of panic amongst the Austrians and how to reflect this possibility in a game.

It’s back to the palimpsest that are my rules to determine how to legislate for such differing results of cavalry charging infantry in the mid C18.

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