Sunday, 9 February 2020

Marmoutier; a Grand Alliance scenario using Pike and Shotte

With one thing and another my reports on our games have been delayed by several weeks and in an attempt to clear the backlog the next few will probably be rather shorter than usual.  This recent game featured a force of Hessians, English and Austrians trying to prevent a French advance towards the Rhine.  Graf von Grommit had taken up a defensive position covering the direct route and had sent an urgent appeal to the Austrian commander, Count Maximillian Landeck und Rothenstein to march to his aid.  For his part, the French commander, our old friend the Comte de Salle Forde had assembled two infantry brigades, each of 4 battalions and a similar number of cavalry brigades, each of 3 regiments.  An urgent message had been sent to a reserve brigade of 3 battalions to hasten to the battlefield.

The French left wing cavalry close on the English cavalry

With von Grommit outnumbered in both infantry and cavalry the initiative lay with the French and Salle Forde lost no time in ordering his men forward.  Both French cavalry wings advanced with vigour and drove back the leading Allied units.  Resistance was stiffest on the Allied right where the British cavalry rallied and  forced the Spanish Horse to retreat.  On the French right, the prestigious Cuirassiers du Roi seemed to be happy to let the humble line cavalry do all the fighting.  This they did, driving back a unit of Austrian Cuirassiers

Aubusson defeat the Austrian cuirassier
With the cavalry covering their flanks, the French infantry marched forward; one brigade made for the Hessians, whilst the other moved against the English foot.  The English had the support of a battery and this caused significant casualties on regiment Languedoc.  What stopped the attack dead was the devastating volleys from the English foot, particularly Erle's regiment, which drove regiment Toulouse back in disorder.  They then defeated an attack by regiment Bavaria.  However, the Hessians were having more difficulty holding their position.  Wartensleben and Lowenstein both suffered heavy casualties but managed to rally.

A volley from Erle's regiment

The Bavarians driven back
After a lull the cavalry battles on the wings resumed.  Now, fortune seemed to favour the allies as the English horse drove back their French opponents.  Disordered, they paused, giving the French just enough time to rally.  Any thoughts the French had of resuming their attack evaporated when the leading elements of Count Rothenstein's force began to deploy on the French left flank.  Salle Forde's reserves, a weak brigade of regiment Remaze and two units of dismounted dragoons were ordered to the left to form a defensive line.  The remains of the French cavalry did what they could to cover the infantry's deployment and were aided by the Rothenstein prioritising sending his infantry to reinforce the allied position covering the lines back to the Rhine.  The Austrian cavalry were stalled by a gallant attack by the Spanish horse and the English cavalry, weakened by their earlier efforts, were unable to break the dismounted dragoons.

The struggle on the French left
The Wettigny dragoons stand firm
On the French right, the cavalry melee swayed back and forth with neither side able to get a decisive advantage.  Salle Forde decided to make one last effort to break the Hessians before the Austrian infantry arrived.  Once again the French infantry advanced; once again their volleys disordered the Hessians, but the order to charge was not carried out.  Twice the D'Humieres regiment  received the order and twice they hesitated.  Seizing their chance, the Hessians rallied and then surged forward in attack.  A scattered volley failed to stop them and soon the French infantry were tumbling back in disorder.

D'Humieres rout
Salle Forde had no option but to order a retreat before his whole command was overwhelmed.  Von Grommit was fulsome in his praise for the Hessian charge late in the battle, but later made time to congratulate the brigadier commanding the English foot on his men's excellent musketry.


  1. Another good outing with Pike and Shotte.

    1. Yes, Norm, this set of rules certainly builds in 'friction' to the players plans !