Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gaming in the Grand Way...

Battle of Malplaquet; Another 9/11 on a vast scale, 300 years ago. evidently alive and kicking in France.

Almost forty years before the War of the Austrian Succession, but these pictures give a great idea of wargaming on a large scale. Would that my games ever end up looking like this!

Malplaquet, 1709. An amazing array of flags on splendid terrain. Check the pictures in the gallery.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Good reading ahead!

Click image to enlarge,
(but buying a copy of the book will be more rewarding!

Good news for me on the War of the Austrian Succession front! At long-last I received my copy of Denis Gandilhon's Fontenoy- France Dominating Europe. And what a book it is! Well worth the wait.

Now, I cannot yet attest as to how accurate it is historically (I've only just received it today, after all), but as for first impressions- wow!

Part of the French Histoire & Collections "Men and Battles" series, this book is very much after the model of the familiar Osprey books. Although books like this tend to meet a lot of scepticism these days for a tendency toward inaccuracy or "fluff", they can still certainly inspire, and if you know little or nothing about the Battle of Fontenoy, you could do a lot worse than start here.

One thing I did notice immediately, though, was that the French infantry were shown in coloured waistcoats. While certainly the case in the Seven Years War, in the 1740's most (but not all) French regiments had plain waistcoats the same colour of the justeaucorps. This will not be the only book which has made that same mistake.

Regardless, this book certainly left me wanting to get hold of some more 18th C. miniatures! Eye-candy galore, with 82 pages of text including an order of battle. Each page is illustrated in full colour with maps and pictures. Some are familiar, but many are new to me, including some wonderful shots of re-enactors (Les Soldats du bien-Aimé; you can note the very pale grey- almost white- shade of the French justeau-corps!). Most exciting for me so far are the colour uniform plates, including Dutch infantry and cavalry, although I'd probably double-check my sources before using them as a painting guide.


The other good news is that John Wright was kind enough to send me phots from his trip to the old battlefield of Lauffeldt in Belgium. Great to see them, and I'll be sorting through them and posting the best ones here in the next few days.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tweaking the Pragmatic Army (v.2)

click on picture to enlarge

Merry Christmas to everyone out there. Hope it is a good one for all.

The plan for world domination- or at least suzerainty over Flanders- continues for the Army of the Pragmatic Sanction.

As those who know me can attest, I am not a competition gamer and detest tournaments and "rule driven" army lists with matching points.

For one thing, I hate math.

Another thing is that the Gods did not treat everyone so even-handedly in real life out there on the battlefield. Few generals worth their salt would have accepted combat unless they felt reasonably sure that they enjoyed a numerical advantage, or at least some advantage in terrain or supplies. Those that didn't would have had battle forced upon them.

More often than not, the weaker side would retire behind a line of fortresses, where both sides might settle down to a siege and order a fine dinner of venison and claret (after having first arranged for the courtesans to attend them in their camps) until either first one side would pitch tents and return home as winter approached, or the other side would surrender the fortress after asking for- and receiving- the honours of war. Rinse and repeat for the next campaign season.

Still, there are some benefits is having a point system so that initial forces can at least be comparable with one another. After that, and once armies march of to war, things break down, mistakes are made, orders are misunderstood, ignored, or even lost, and roads become impassable. Bluebear Jeff mentioned one of my favourite tabletop devices for ensuring some unexpected "friction", namely dicing for appearance.

Just how many points I'm dealing with here for Koenig Krieg I need to work out, but Drew on the KK forum suggested that I'm looking at about 1500 points or so. At some point in the future I'll provide a detailed list of the units involved with their stats for use with KK.


I've been tweaking the composition of the army list a little as more snippets of info arise.

First off, it turns out that there was a mixed Anglo-Austrian Brigade at The Battle of Dettingen, so it stays!

Secondly, I have reconsidered my artillery "doctrine". According to the Koenig Krieg lists, one army (heavy) gun may be allotted per brigade. So I've decided to do them after all- in large part after seeing some nicely painted batteries in an old issue of Miniature Wargames that was done by the League of Augsburg club. These were basically mini-dioramas of heavy guns in action in the Nine-Years War in the 1690's.

I realized that something along the same lines for the War of the Austrian Succession would be fun to do! So, I've added four guns to my target- one each of Austrians, Dutch, British and Hanoverians. The bases won't be quite as big as the one that Phil created, but they will allow me scope for modelling some little extra bits and pieces. Maybe 60-80mm wide by 100mm deep. Just so long as I use the same basing with M. de Saxe's merry men, it should be no problem.

Thirdly, my old bugaboo the Dutch horse. They are always proving themselves to be enigmatic, to say the least. "Seneffe" in his comment on my post on Dutch Cavalry mentions that Dutch Dragoons could be big regiments, with Schlippenbach's being up to seven(!) squadrons strong.

Things are made complicated by the fact that the army list for the United Provinces that were in the old edition of the Koenig Krieg rules that I have were clearly based on the reorganized post-WAS Dutch army, so are of no help to me at all. That leaves me with just a few pages on Dutch cavalry in the booklet by Stephen Manley with which to work things out, so Seneffe's help, and that of others, is warmly appreciated.

Anyway, I may therefore opt for 16-figure instead of 12-figure regiments, but only if I like painting them! I always feel that fielding understrength regiments is always justifiable anyway, as outpost duty, hangovers and glandular fever take their steady toll on numbers.

Finally, we turn to "The Quality"- army commanders. I have included three, not that they will all be in command at the same time. As with all alliances, there was plenty of friction between the different commanders, given touchy caste pride and as a result of frequent contradictory instructions-and pressure- from their respective governments. Not to mention just plain, simple good 'ol incompetence and bloody-mindedness due to gout. There seems to be plenty of opportunities for a "game within a game" to see if subordinates actually "do as they're dam' well told, damn their eyes, man!" As I'll likely be solo-gaming, this could make the games a lot more interesting.

And if that seems too harsh on the Pragmatic Alliance, just wait until you see my thoughts on the French army with its boudoir politics and petty jealousies! I'm sure I'll be able to level the playing field. I'm working on an order of battle for the French side now as well, which will appear later this week on my (long-too-inactive) "les Reves des Mars" site.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Grand Plan

click on image for bigger picture

...for my Pragmatic army. This is a long-term goal of course, but it think it may be practical in Koenig Krieg terms. Two brigades of Dutch infantry, one Hanoverian, and a mixed Austrian/British brigade. It is somewhat tentative, as I do need to check the cavalry and artillery strengths.

Cavalry will consist of a brigade of Dutch Horse, one of Austrians (including a regiment of some brigand-like hussars), and one of Hanoverian horse. Cavalry will make up about a third of the army, which may be a little high. I may reduce it by cutting out one of the Austrian dragoon regiments, especially I find myself getting tired of painting horseflesh!

Army artillery is generic at this stage. British? I haven't really found out much about the artillery of the Pragmatic Army yet. Every infantry brigade will have a light gun in addition to the heavy battery. I suspect heavy artillery was not all that mobile in 1747, if at all.

The army represented here is taken from a hodgepodge of orders of battle from the WAS, including Dettingen and Fontenoy. It is a good representative force rather than being a snapshot of any particular battle, and I'm happy with that.

I've no idea right now how this works out in terms of point values for KK, but in honesty that is not really a concern to me. I've always gone the historical order-of-battle route. The French opposition will be of similar, if not identical, strength which is all that matters.

And the graphics for the orbat were fun to do. I've become quite proficient at PowerPoint and iPhoto these days.

Right, now back to cleaning the flash of those figures! I've a busy evening glueing tails up equine derrières ahead of me...

Kapitain's Log, supplemental-

"musket99" one of the brains behind the new Koenig Krieg project from Siege Works Studios, was kind enough to give me some feedback on the list. He raised the point that there is likely too much artillery for a force this size, so out with the heavies! That saves time and money my end, so no complaints there.

His other issue is whether there was in fact a mixed Anglo-Allied brigade. I got this information from my source giving an order of battle for Dettingen, and I did have to wonder myself whether such a joint command would have been feasible given any doctrinal differences between the two armies- not to mention the language barrier! The source I have mentions the following single-batallion units as being brigaded under Count Salm at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743.
  • 37th Regt. of Foot (Ponsonby's)
  • 23rd Regt. of Foot (Peer's)
  • No. 60- Arenberg (Austrian)
  • No. 62- Heister (Austrian)
Does anyone out there have an alternative organization for these regiments? If so, I'd love to know! It may be that I might have to split the brigade in two, and add another couple of batallions or so to each depending on what comes to light.

Thanks to musket99 for pointing this out to me! Once I get some firm infomation on this, I'll update the chart again.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Getting down to brass tacks...

Christmas is coming, the prezzies are wrapped and under the tree, and the sushi has been ordered for Christmas dinner.

My birthday falls on Christmas Eve, so this year my wife bought me a set of bookshelves for my hobby room. Bless her, as this is quite a big step forward for me. It means that I have been able to clear the painting table of assorted flotsam and jetsam, and now actually have room for painting again!

"Happy birthday to me, La LA la DEE dee..."

With all that out of the way, it leaves me just under four weeks of vacation time left for painting, and if I am to accomplish anything at all, I need a firm plan. So here it is!

I first intend to finish up some odds-and-ends; units of French and Russian Napoleonics that have been hanging around in a state of almost-there-but-not-quite for longer than I care to admit, and a re-basing of some ACW minis I've had stashed away in boxes for some years now.

But my main project will be to begin work on my Eureka WAS Dutch army. Here is the first instalment, four 12-figure units of infantry with a regiment of dragoons and a battalion gun, as well as a brigadier and His Excellency, The Prince of Waldeck-Pyrmont (lurking at rear on the hexagonal base; no doubt riding around in a state of chronic indecision, like a chicken with its head cut off).

All are based for Koenig Krieg (the new version of which should be coming out early in the new year).

Step 1 will be to to clean the flash from the buggers (I hate- really hate- that part of the hobby), and then get them all primed and mounted on plastic bottle caps for painting.

My goal is to get at least two of the infantry battalions- Broenkhoorst's and Broekhuysen's regiments- painted by the third week of January, along with the attached battalion gun, and to have made at least 50% progress on the others including the cavalry.

Here are the cavalry.

I really like these fellows. They have a lot of character, including some minor head variations. Modelled at ease- clearly just waiting for the order to slash through French ranks- they have that requisite 18th C. "stateliness", and the officer in particular is a real haughty looking chap.

There are a few odd spots; the horses are maybe a tad small, but not significantly so, and the minis match up pretty well with the Front Rank cavalry I have for the French. Most noticeable to me was a large lump that passes for the butt of the carbine. This could be filed down, but for the sake of time I am not going to bother as it does not really detract from the look of the unit. Unusually, the tails of the horses are separate and have to be glued on. This it makes for cleaner casting of the horses and less time with the file. On the whole, I am extremely satisfied with these guys and look forward to painting them.

Most likely they will be the Hessen-Homburg dragoons.

So it is out with the files and hobby knives, put on a CD, and just get down to work. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pandours at Pfaffenhofen?

My ongoing search for any concrete information on the Battle of Pfaffenhofen has not been terribly fruitful, but I did come across this blog -in German- which deals briefly with the battle. Now my German skills are right up there with my Serbo-Croat and Arabic (i.e. pretty-nigh zilch), and running it through Babelfish produced a load of what was pretty much gibberish.

Still, I was able to determine that those dreaded irregular troops from the Balkans, Baron Trenck's Pandours may have been present, merrily wreaking havoc as they went, and that the Austrians rolled up the right of the Franco-Bavarian line. Pfaffendorf itself was seized by 200 dragoons.

BaronTrenck is an interesting character in his own right, as you may read here. Wouldn't want to meet him or his men lurking on a dark night while using the ATM machine.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


After looking at Pfaffenhofen, a pfamous battle pfor a change!

I just got word from Amazon that this one is now winging its way to Tokyo. Good timing, for as of Dec. 20th I'll be starting a four-week vacation. Four weeks for painting and reading!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Pfight at Pfaffenhofen!

The protagonists...

Now you may well be asking yourselves; "Pfaffen-who? Wasn't she on John McCain's campaign team?"

Which is what I first thought after coming across- quite by chance- a reference to this 1745 battle between the Austrians under Karl Josef Batthyány on one side, and the Bavarians, French and Hessians led by a French General, Henri François de Ségur on the other.

This seems to be an intriguing engagement in many respects.
  • First of all, this was a major victory with remarkable strategic consequence- it had the effect of knocking the Bavarians out of the war completely.
  • Secondly, you had a Franco-Bavarian army with Hessian allies- we usually think of Hessians being allied against the French in the 18th C., so here is a chance for an army with a difference! On the Austrian side, it features derring-do by the hussars and pandours (Croats?)
  • Next, it fulfils my interest in obscure battles- and I mean obscure; I have found very little on the battle at all, let alone any detailed order of battle. You can read about it here, and it represents the sum total of what I know about the engagement.
  • Finally, one just has to love that name- Pfaffenhofen!

References are tantalizingly few. Even the revered Christopher Duffy glosses it over in his The Army of Maria Theresa. Reed Browning does have this to say about the campaign and battle;

"In April 1745 Austria celebrated a glorious triumph. Vienna had responded to the accession of Max Joseph [the new Elector of Bavaria] in Munich by offering both peace and a restoration of territory to the young elector.

Count Seckendorff urged Max Joseph to accept; Count Törring urged him to resist.
[Seckendorff was a Bavarian minister and Törring a general]. The elector hesitated between the two camps, immobile and hence at war. Maria Theresa finally lost patience and authorized the application of pressure: "it is not to be doubted that...Bavaria will be brought to peaceloving thoughts all the more quickly"

On 21 March 1745, Batthyány launched a blitzkrieg, assisted by Bernklau and Browne [both Austrian generals]. All the Bavarian garrisions in the east fled, Törring's army sat divided and paralyzed, and the French army under Count Ségur engaged Batthyány at Pfaffenhofen only to lose. Max Joseph abandoned Munich for the imperial city of Augsburg, and Batthyany marched his army to the edge of the capital."

Reed Browning,
The War of the Austrian Succession
p. 203

And that is about it! Not exactly teeming with information, considering that Bavaria and Austria would, as a result of the ensuing Treaty of Füssen (made possible by Batthyány's victory) bury the hatchet until Napoleonic times.

If anyone out there has any more information on this enigmatic campaign that they'd be willing to share, please let do me know! I've exhausted my "Google-foo", and I doubt I'll find out much about it any public libraries here in Tokyo!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

"Our 'ero..."

Bluebear Jeff reminded me that it is about high time that I updated this blog, and I concur! I have been keeping busy on a number of hobby fronts- working on some WAS Dutch here, some French infantry (1742 and 1813 varieties) there, with some ACW stuff on the side for variety (a number of Union infantry that just need some touching up & re-basing). This time of year always has a lot of demands on my time, but I've been trying to get in at least a few hours every week of painting time.

And what better way to celebrate the coming holiday season than with a concert of music celebrating- wait for it- a victory for the otherwise fairly hapless Duke of Cumberland!

My wife and I are off to the opera here in Tokyo tomorrow. We are both baroque music lovers, and when we saw that the Bach Collegium Japan- an internationally-acclaimed group specializing in music of the Baroque era- were putting on Handel's oratorio, Judas Maccabeus, it was a no brainer- get out that 'ol plastic banker and book the tickets!

Judas Maccabeus is nominally the story of the famous Jewish leader of the revolt against the Seleucids back in ancient times, but in fact it was composed in honour of "Butcher" Billy Cumberland's waxing of the Jacobites at Culloden (the clansmen seemed to have been easier pickings than were the French under M. de Saxe).

It includes the famous tune "Hail the Glorious Hero". Toe-tapping fun, which should get the juices flowing, and a new CD to listen to while I paint!

A week ago I received the balance of my order from Eureka Miniatures- cavalry and artillery. I'm so far very impressed with them. Gorgeous castings indeed. I've already started cleaning them up and will prime them this week. Wish I had some decent information on flags for the Dutch horse and dragoons, though.

December is always a pretty hectic time of year, but I've got a full four weeks holiday coming up, from the middle of the month; I expect to get a lot of projects finished then. My wife is an accountant, and what with her company's fiscal year coming to an end in January, she will be out of the way- sorry, I mean busy (ahem)- for much of the time I am on vacation, so it is a great time for me just to chill out and to paint until my fingers are worn down to the knuckles!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Deadlier than the Male...

Bland's Dragoons at Dettingen. Women's work, apparently...

time since I updated any of my blogs. Things have been busy yet again, what with work, other family obligations and until recently "election fever" (in both Canada and the US, and probably sometime soon in Japan- I'm something of a political junkie).

I have also been trying to reduce eyestrain by not spending any more time on the computer than necessary! Still, I have had the opportunity to get in at least a little painting time, so the hobby hasn't been completely dormant for me.

Anyway, Let me atone for the silence with something for Remembrance Day. While surfing through Google Books, I came across Mary Ralphson, redoubtable trooper of dragoons- quite an amazing story actually. We're not looking at a character from a Jane Austen novel here! More like someone who has stepped out from the pages of Sterne's Tristram Shandy or from one of those Rowlandson etchings of 18th C. life.

To have been able to have survived childhood illnesses, poor food and bloody battles, and not to have shuffled off the mortal coil until the age of 110, meant that you just had to have been made of sterner stuff than other mortals!

Read on...


FOR 1809.

Ne quidfalsi dlcere audeat, ne quid veri non audeaí.



Mary Ralphson, whose maiden name was Cameron, was born in the neighbourhood of the old castle of Inverlochy, once a royal residence, near Fort William, in the parish of Kilmanivaig, in the dreary district of Lochaber, Inverness-shire, on the 1st of January 1698, O. S. Early in life she married Ralph Ralphson, a private dragoon*.

On the war breaking out in French Flanders, in 1741, she embarked with her husband, and shared in the toils and vicissitudes of the troops, whom she afterwards accompanied in the battle of Dettingen, June 15, 1743 (OS).

In this engagement (fought by the British and French, the former commanded by George II. and the brave Earl of Stair, and the latter by Marshal Noailles,) being on the field during the heat of the conflict, and surrounded with heaps of slain, she observed a wounded dragoon fall by her side. (She) disguised herself in his clothes, mounted his charger, and regained the retreating army, in which she found her husband.

She was also present at the unfortunate affair of Fontenoy, May 1st, 1745, fought by the British and Austrians, under William, Duke of Cumberland, against the French, under Marshal Count de Saxe.

When the rebellion broke out in Scotland, in September 1745, Mrs Ralphson accompanied her husband to Britain, his regiment being among those sent to the north on that occasion. In this expedition she was present at the skirmish at Clifton, near Penrith, where the highlanders sustained some loss. On the 17th of January 1740, she was present at the defeat of the royal army at Falklrk, under Gen. Hawiey. In April, same year, she was present at the defeat of the highland army, by the Duke of Cumberland, at Culloden, near Inverness.

When the rebellion was quelled at home, Mrs Ralphson again went to the continent with the British army, and was present at the battle of La Val**. Sometime after this she lost her husband, in which period she bid adieu to the fatigues of the army, and settled in Liverpool, where she subsisted for seven of the latter years of her life, by the assistance of some benevolent characters, chiefly female, who contributes every thing to her comfort and accommodation.

She died on Monday, June 27, 1809, having arrived at the very advanced age of 110 years and 6 months, and was interred in the burying ground of the Scotch kirk, Oldhara Street, where a stone with a suitable inscription points out the resting place of the remains of this venerable person.


* Apparently in Bland's (3rd) Regt. of Dragoons.
** AKA the Battle of Lauffeldt

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dutch courage!

Two contemporary- and quite favourable- references to the morale and performance of the Dutch army at the Battle of Roucoux in letters from a Mr. R. Leveson-Gower, to the Duke of Bedford in 1746. They were written 232 years ago almost to the day.

I searched the net for information on the Leveson-Gower family of the time. Possibly- but I'm not certain- it may have been the young Richard Leveson-Gower, born 1726, died 1753. MP for Lichfield 1747-53. He seems to have been the only member of the family whose name starts with an "R", and who was of an age to have been closely involved in the events of the time. ("I say, Holmes, how do you do it?!) Leveson-Gower appears to have been resident in The Hague at that time, but whether in any official capacity or as a private citizen I've no idea.

One can detect a certain amount of optimistic "spin" here, but the praise for the Dutch seems sincere enough. And those casualty figures are just frightful- they alone speak for some no small degree of determination. The original text can be found here.

In later letters, he is less enthusiastic about the surrender by the Dutch of important border fortresses- but surrendering a fortress prematurely sounds to me more likely to be a failure of will on the part of the garrison commander rather than of his men.



Hague, October 14. 1746. N. S.

My Lord Duke,

I am extremely concerned that I am to send your Grace such bad news as that of a battle in Flanders to our great disadvantage. (Battle of Roucoux, Oct. 11th 1746)

On Tuesday 1746 last the French, as is supposed, either designing to set down before Maestricht, or to draw off the allied army from this part of the world to straiten them in their winter quarters, attacked the left of our army, composed of the troops in our pay and the Dutch, who, although they behaved with great resolution and bravery, were forced to retire behind the right wing composed of the Austrians, leaving behind them some cannon and two pair of colours.

The reason why the Austrians did not engage is, that had they gone to the assistance of the left the French would have gained their point in cutting off the communication with this country and besieging Maestricht, which they cannot do at present, as our army is now encamped under the cannon of that place. The number of the killed and wounded of our side is reckoned here from 1000 to 4000, though I send a letter from the French army to-day that said the allies left behind them but 1200. All the letters from both armies agree that the loss of the French is much more considerable, as a body of nine Hanoverian battalions defended a village against an infinite number of the enemy for four hours, which place they could not have forced but by pouring in every minute fresh supplies.

Two Bavarian regiments that arrived there but two days before are entirely ruined, as likewise two Hessian battalions, of which they say there remains but one captain and fifty private men. The Dutch behaved incomparably well, insomuch that they lost many of their officers, and some of their best regiments are almost ruined.

Of our troops I hear of but two battalions engaged, which some say are taken prisoners. Colonel Montague is said to be killed, Major Noble taken, and poor Sir Harry Nesbitt shot through the body. I have heard nothing particular of the killed and wounded of the French side. The Marquis de Fenelon, who was formerly ambassador here, is killed. I hear that Prince Waldeck, who is greatly blamed, treats this affair in his account as a thing of no great consequence.

What I here send your Grace is what I could pick up from the best hands, and what I believe you will find at present the most authentic.

I am, &c.




Hague, October 18. 1746. N. S.

My Lord Duke,

Your Grace will find that this affair in Flanders will not turn out so much to our disadvantage. The Dutch take it very much to heart, and the reputation their troops have got by their good behaviour makes them very uppish.

The French here, who one would imagine to be very insolent upon it, are quite the contrary : whether it proceeds from the effects they see his affair has upon the people here, or from the attack Mr. Lestock (Admiral Richard Lestock) has made upon the coasts of Britany, I can't say ; but the fact is true, and there is not one of them that says a word.

The loss of the Dutch by the muster since the action amounts to 1768 killed, wounded, and missing,
and that of the troops in our pay to about the same number. The French have lost twice as many, so that they have no good reason to be very well pleased. They have since retired to their old camp at Tongres, and have begun to detach for Italy with twenty battalions and twenty squadrons.

If the King of Sardinia and the Austrians are in earnest, their detachments won't end there. Mr. Lestock (who every body supposes has done them great mischief, since they have stopt all letters) will I hope force them to detach too, and then I fancy our negotiations at Breda will have a good face, which is the sincere wish of,


John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford

Looking at Leveson-Gower's first letter and his remarks on Prince Waldeck's reported reaction to the tidy drubbing that the Pragmatic Army received at Marshal de Saxe's able hands, the Prince clearly had that modern-day politician's gift for denial in the face of contradictory reality!

I also note a reference to two Bavarian regiments that formed part of the Pragmatic Army. Clearly some research is in order, as Bavarians can usually be counted upon to provide a splash of colour in any wargaming army!

Culloden Moor

The Jacobite Rebellion- culminating in the Battle of Culloden Moor- cannot be separated from the larger struggle that was the War of the Austrian Succession. Certainly Marshal de Saxe and King Louis XV benefitted from having the bulk of the British army in Flanders being sent back to the British Isles to deal with the uprising. Arguably the defeat of the Stuart cause was obtained at the cost of failure in the low countries.

I found this link on YouTube showing clips from Peter Watkin's 1964 BBC documentary of the battle. Forty years on it is still an impressive and moving account.

You will find little in the way of Lace War "chivalry" here, though. This was civil war at its nastiest.

"An impartial representation of the conduct of the several powers of Europe" -Richard Rolt

Click on image to access the book on the Goggle Books site
(you can download the PDF fil
e there)

While looking through the excellent Google Books site, I was very pleased to stumble across this contemporary account- printed in 1750- of the War of the Austrian Succession, penned by someone named Richard Rolt.

In 1750 the conflict had not long been over, and Rolt refers to it as "The Late General War"- obviously the name by which we call the war now was not then universally known.

Once you get used to the different spelling conventions (for example, the printers convention where an "f" stands in for "s") and to its more complex syntactical structure, it provides a fascinating account of the conflict seen through contemporary eyes just two years after the Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle, and six years before the start of the SYW.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Blutige Rückseiten"

Not a lot of blogging time for me recently. Work has been keeping me pretty busy at the computer, and the last thing I've been wanting to do when I got home was to spend even more time gazing at a monitor!

I have been able to get in some painting time- which should trump blogging anyway if I am to make any progress on the heaps of lead and pewter that I have stacked around the house.

But I have no intention of seeing my blog go dormant, so while I work on my French and Dutch, here is the plan for the Hanoverian infantry brigade. I will be recruiting these fine fellows from Front Rank.

click on the picture for a bigger view

Monroy's Brigade was present with the Army of the Pragmatic Sanction at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743. It consisted of the following regiments;
  • Zastrow (SYW No. 1B Alt-Zastrow)
  • Monroy (SYW No. 4B von Stolzenberg)
  • Middacten (SYW No.5A von Grote)
  • Böselager (SYW No. 7A von Wangenheim)
  • Sommerfeld (SYW No. 10A von Post)
I already have two stark-naked metal battalions already lying around and taunting me with their (unfinished) presence, but I will not be working much if at all on the Hanoverians until I have at least two other brigades painted and based (I really need to get working on increasing my collection of French). Still, it's good to have a plan.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More Dutch from Eureka

On this thread on TMP, "Der Alte Fritz" asked for more pictures of the new War of the Austrian Succession Dutch range from Eureka. So for our favorite Prussian monarch here in cyberspace, here are some more.

From left to right: grenadier, grenadier drummer, officer with spontoon, mounted colonel, line drummer (rear view), and sergeant with halberd.

I don't have any cavalry or artillery yet- they'll be coming next month.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Roucoux Day!

Today marks the 232nd anniversary of the Battle of Roucoux. I shall mark it by starting work on my Dutch infantry.

By way of commemoration, here's something about the preeminent hero on the Allied side, General John, Earl Ligonier, the energetic commander of the British cavalry. He seems to have had the unenviable role of being left to pull what remained of the charred chestnuts out of the fires started by the unfortunate Duke of Cumberland.

John, Earl Ligonier

John Ligonier, second son of Monseuquet, a gentleman of a noble Huguenot family, was born in France in the year 1687. He received his education in England; and, having a strong predilection for a military life acted, when only fifteen years of age, as a volunteer, at the storming of Liege, on which occasion, he was one of the two first who mounted the breach: his companion, a volunteer, of the noble family of Wentworth, was killed by his side.

In 1703, having purchased the command of a company in Lord North’s regiment, he fought at the battles of Schellenburgh
(sic) and Blenheim; in the latter of which, every captain in the regiment was slain except himself. In 1706, he obtained the rank of major of brigade, for his daring exploits at the siege of Menin. At Ramillies, Oudenarde and Wynendale, he gained additional laurels; and at Malplaquet, twenty-two shots went through his clothes without wounding him. In 1719, he assisted, as colonel and adjutant-general, at the attack made by Lord Cobham on Vigo; and, after the capture of Ponte Vedra, reduced Fort Marin, at the head of only a hundred grenadiers, although it contained twenty pieces of cannon, and a garrison of two-hundred men.

During the war which commenced in 1739, Ligonier repeatedly distinguished himself. After the battle of Dettingen, in which his regiment had severely suffered he received the honour of knighthood, under the royal standard. At Fontenoy, where he commanded the infantry, he reluctantly complied with the Duke of Cumberland’s orders to retreat, and before he left the field, sent to the enemy’s commander, Marshal Saxe, requesting that the dead might be treated with honour, and the wounded with humanity. In 1746, he was appointed to the chief command of the forces in Flanders.

At Roucoux, after sustaining an impetuous onset, he effected so masterly a retreat as to excite the admiration of his opponent. At the battle of Laffeldt in 1747, he rescued the allied army from destruction, and enabled it to withdraw in good order, by charging at the whole line of French cavalry at the head of the British Dragoons.

His horse having been killed, he fell into the enemy’s hands; but his parole was immediately accepted and Marshal Saxe observed, on introducing him to the French king, “Sir, I present to your majesty a man, who by one glorious action, has disconcerted all my projects”. The monarch, who had witnessed the action from an eminence, warmly applauded the gallantry of Lignier, who was soon after exchanged, and resumed his command.

In 1748, though still in Flanders, without having made any application to the electors he became Member of Parliament for Bath. During the same year he was appointed lieutenant-governor of the island of Guernsey; and in 1752, governor of Plymouth. In 1757, he became an Irish peer by the title of Viscount Ligonier of Enniskellen; in 1763, an English baron; and three years afterwards, an English earl.

At the time of his decease, which occurred on the 28th of April, 1770, he was a field-marshal of the royal forces, a privy counsellor, colonel of the first regiment of the foot-guards, K.C.B and F.R.S. Soon after his death, a monument was erected in Westminster abbey, recording the various actions in which he had taken part.

Lord Ligonier acquired renown throughout Europe for the intrepidity which he displayed against his own countrymen. His abilities, as general, were quite equal to his courage. In the midst of difficulties he was never without resources; and his talents were always most conspicuous when exerted to avoid an impending disaster, or to alleviate the consequences of a defeat.

In private life, as in his public career, he frequently carried his point by some peculiar expedient. A military visitor from whose troublesome presence it was exceedingly difficult, by any of the usual hints, to obtain relief, Ligonier, on one occasion, dismissed in a moment, by beginning, with his fingers, to beat a retreat on the wainscot.

The Georgian Era
(Author unrecorded)
London, 1833
p. 45

Friday, October 10, 2008

Eureka! They're here! (updated)

Back view- what the gamer sees as his brave boys go into the attack!
From left, Minden, Eureka, Front Rank.

The Dutch infantry from Eureka, that is. And they are really- really- nice! I'm quite pleased with them.

Here is a photo teaser- I'll update this post tomorrow with a review comparing them with other miniatures available for the War of the Austrian Succession. Let's just say for now that each range is a contender for some quite different reasons.

On the left, French infantryman from Minden Miniatures.
In the middle, the one of the new W.A.S. Dutch infantry from Eureka.
On the right, a French infantryman from Front Rank.

Now I have to say that I like all three ranges for different reasons. They all have their strengths and weaknesses (but Eureka seems to embody the best of the other two). Posing is excellent with all three in my opinion- the Eureka and Minden minis in particular capture the staid pace we associate with the soldiery of the time.

As far as posing goes, we are a far cry from Old Glory offerings here- thank heavens!

The first thing I noticed when placed alongside the Front Rank and Minden Miniatures offerings was that the Eureka miniatures are big! True 28mm from soles of the feet to the eyes. In height, the Eureka model is a very close match to the Minden figure. Both tower a fair bit over their Front Rank equivalent. To be fair to Front Rank, their SYW range was early on the scene and when they first saw the light of day, they were larger than most other ranges out there.

We all know that prices generally tend to rise over time. The same seems to apply to the height of our toy soldiers. New releases of miniatures nominally the same size tend to get only larger as the years go by. Must be due to changing diets.

Because of the height- and style- differences, I wouldn't mix these within the same units. However, combining figures from all these manufactures to represent your armies on the table top would not pose much of a problem as the differences are not too pronounced. I'll be happy to have units made up from all three manufacturers on my table.

No problem with the Dutch, mind you- there are no other alternatives out there to mix with them!

Moving on the the "heft" of the figure, it is clear to see that the Eureka mini is much more slender than Front Rank's, which looks decidedly chunky in comparison (again, though, bear in mind that the SYW are relatively old releases for Front Rank- many of their more recent releases in their Napoleonic/ Marlburian ranges are much taller and much less "rotund").

Eureka's Dutchman is, however, somewhat beefier than the Minden model. All three pretty much push Dixon's SYW figures off the radar!

Interestingly, the muskets of the Eureka and Front Rank samples are of much the same length- the one on the Minden chap is quite long and slender- closer to the original without a doubt.

Note the head and tricorn sizes- the ones on the Eureka and Front Rank minis are quite robust- and this is where I have my reservations about the Minden miniatures.

The detail on the Minden is very fine, and the proportions are overall quite natural. But I have problems with those heads on two grounds:
  1. I am not sure that my painting style suits the small faces, which are much more like 1/72 scale plastic figures. Fine works of art, but I can't help thinking that to do justice to the casting, the faces call for a time-consuming and subtle painting approach to bring out the best in them. Personally, I prefer the larger "canvas" offered by the Front Rank mini. I'm okay with the Eureka model, which has a face which while slender, is "big" enough for me to use my current painting style easily.
  2. Personally, I think that the Minden head is too small. This is not to say that it is not properly proportioned- it may well be so- but it just looks too small for me, especially when viewed at any distance. This isn't helped by the sloping shoulders, which seem to accentuate this and which for me make the minis look somewhat too 'lethargic". I think the more square-shouldered look of the Eureka and Front Rank models come out best here, especially when in closely-packed ranks on their bases.
I'd like to comment on this a bit, as it seems to come up a lot in discussions on miniatures, especially with 18th C. ranges for some reason. The trend seems to moving from the "chunky, caricatured end of the scale- think Foundry, earlier Front Rank offerings and Crusader- towards more slender minis such as the older RSM range, Minden, The Perry twins, Alban Miniatures, and now Eureka.

On the whole, I think this a nice change, but I do have some reservations. One is that I believe we are dealing with representational art here, not with scale models. The figures may look "realistic" on an individual basis, but when placed in units of 12-16 or even 24 figures as I am doing, I realize that some other visual dynamic is at play. I can't quite put my finger on it, but to me figures need some degree of exaggeration in sculpting-call it artistic license- for them to establish a visual "presence" on the tabletop when viewed from two or three feet away if they are to stand out. What works when looking at one miniature in the palm of your hand may not work when looking at a number of them in units on the tabletop. This is as true of painting as it is of sculpting and posing.

Another issue- as Bluebear Jeff will appreciate- is ease of painting!

Regardless of how detailed, well-proportioned or accurate a miniature is, it will only look as good as it is painted. I feel that a chunky miniature with the wrong shaped cartridge box or grenadier cap will, if attractively painted and based, result in a much better impression overall than a well-proportioned and accurate scaled-down version of the prototype but which has been given a slap-dash paint job. For example, exaggerated raised straps are usually much easier and quicker to do than more subtly-sculpted ones, and if that translated into a more neatly-painted unit then it may well be an overall plus.

Enough meandering for now. I need to get to the workbench, remove flash, get some priming /painting done and report my findings! Stay tuned.

Side view; Minden, Eureka, Front Rank.
Clearly our Dutch infantrymen has a strict sergeant- he knows how to "stand up straight, Damn yer eyes!!!"

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Roucoux Anecdote, or: "Why I prefer Marshal de Saxe to Frederick the Great"

The good Marshal would have been just that much more fun to be with at the dining table- and the quality of the wine being passed around would no doubt have been a lot better than that which graced the tables of Sansoucci in Potsdam.

This anecdote relates an incident that took place just before the Battle of Roucoux. It really encapsulates the sense of honour and wit we like to associate with the be-wigged, self-confident and elegant gentlemen of the 18th Century.

John Lindsay, the 20th Earl of Crawford, was a Scottish noble with a long and proud lineage. In 1739 he was appointed the first colonel of the 42nd Highland Regiment of Foot (the Black Watch) and served in Flanders during the War of the Austrian Succession. He was a man clearly in possession of steely nerves, a quick mind- and fluent French.


"(The Earl of Crawford)…so remarkable for his courage and thirst of glory, exhibited a very extraordinary instance of presence of mind on the morning that preceded this battle.

He and some volunteers, accompanied by his aide-de-camp, and attended by two orderly dragoons, had rode out before day to reconnoitre the situation of the enemy, and fell in upon one of their advanced guards. The sergeant who commanded it immediately turned out his men, and their pieces were presented when the earl first perceived them.

Without betraying the least mark of disorder, he rode up to the sergeant, and assuming the character of a French general told him in that language that there was no occasion for such ceremony. Then he asked if they had perceived any of the enemy’s parties? And being answered in the negative, “Very well” said he, “be upon your guard; and if you should be attacked, I will take care that you shall be sustained.” So saying, he and his company retired before the sergeant could recover himself from the surprise occasioned by this unexpected address.

In all probability he was soon sensible of his mistake; for the incident was that very day publicly mentioned in the French army. The prince of Tingray, an officer in the Austrian service, having been taken prisoner in the battle that ensued, dined with mareschal count Saxe, who dismissed him on his parole, and desired he would charge himself with a facetious compliment to his old friend the earl of Crawford.

He wished his lordship joy of being a French general; and said he could not help being displeased with the sergeant, as he had not procured him the honour of his lordship’s company at dinner. "

“Memoirs of the Kings of Great Britain
of the House of Brunswic- Lunenburg”
-William Belsham
Dublin, 1802

John Lindsay, 20th Earl of Crawford


Monday, October 6, 2008

Ruminations on Koenig Krieg's list for the Dutch Army.

A bigwig: Willem IV, Prince of Orange (1711 - 1751)

Personally, I tend to base my wargaming armies around historical orders of battle whenever I can. But there needs to be some guidelines with any set of rules if they are to work, and I have been looking the army lists for the United Provinces in my old copy of Koenig Krieg.

Now, these lists are for the Seven Years War (even though the Dutch-possibly wisely-stayed out of that one), and I know nothing much at all about the Dutch army at that time or after. It strikes me though, that if the lists are correct, there clearly was a major reorganization in the Dutch army at some point after 1748.

For the SYW, the list allows up to eight regiments of fusiliers ("common-and-garden" foot regiments) at three battalions each. In the War of the Austrian Succession, where with a few exceptions such as the Guards and the Regt. Waldeck, regiments were by and large of one batallion each- and there were a LOT more than eight regiments on the establishment- closer to sixty-five or seventy, according to Manley.

I also cannot help but think that the author was too kind on the Dutch cavalry given their historical performance. Regiments of Horse in the list have a morale rating of six, with dragoons coming in at five. If we're going to rate Dutch infantry at a four, I'd be inclined to knock the horse down a level as well- the infantry were the more steadfast troops.

In the lists, regimental strength is given at 16 figures for all horse regiments. This would not have been the case for the War of the Austrian Succession. The squadron strengths for Dutch cavalry as given in Manley would suggest that Guard units alone would reach about 12 figures at best. But the Dutch line horse units were small- four companies of 75 men or even less. I would suggest that converged units of 8-figure regiments- similar to the French line cavalry 0f the time- would be more appropriate (eight-figure cavalry units being the smallest allowable under the forthcoming edition of the Koenig Krieg rules by Siege Work Studios).

It follows then that a case could be made for Dutch cavalry being a lot cheaper- but that you would get more of them so that if the dice throws are favorable, the Dutch player should at least be able to wear down his opponents Maison du Roi and bask in the ensuing humiliation of the French commander.

Kapitein's log, Supplemental: a discussion has started up on this very topic in the Koenig Krieg forum, for those who may be interested in giving their 2-groats worth on Dutch unit sizes and morale in the War of the Austrian Succession. I've already dipped my oar in!

Schlippenbach's Brigade of Horse

Click on the picture for a larger view.

Here is my brigade of Dutch horse- one that was in the second line at Fontenoy.

By 1745 the cavalry was not exactly the "cutting edge" of the Dutch army- more like one of those blunt plastic spoons! It was the Dutch cavalry that let the infantry down at Lauffeldt by refusing to charge the French when it might have made all the world of difference.

While I would imagine that Holland with all it's dikes and canals would not have made for a very good cavalry tradition, it has to be said that the Prussians also started with wretched horse regiments- one need only look at Mollwitz in 1741.

And yet with proper training and care, Frederick the Great was able to turn the Prussian cavalry into the best in Europe. Who knows what the Dutch horse may have achieved given similar treatment and the leadership of such men as von Seydlitz?

I know of no source of information available for the Dutch cavalry standards of this time. The flags given for the regiments above are purely arbitrary- I got them from the "Warflag" site, and are Dutch standards for the earlier War of the Spanish Succession.

At least the green flag for the Hessen-Homburg regiment is from another regiment named Homburg!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Halket's Brigade

This will be the second of my Dutch infantry brigades. It will not be the last, as I have a lot more figures and flags available. I will certainly be doing a third infantry brigade at some point in the future, but two brigades of infantry (plus a cavalry brigade) should keep me busy painting for a while.

This brigade formed the left flank of the Dutch second line at at the Battle of Fontenoy. It consists of the regiments Broenkhoorst, Broekhuysen, Smissaert, and Oranje-Groningen under a General Halket.

Regt. Oranje-Groningen presents a problem. Brian at Vaubanner does a very nice flag for this regiment which I am keen to use. But while I've seen several references to Oranje-Groningen in a number of sources and orders of battle, I could find no reference to it in "The Uniforms of the Dutch Army- 1740-1748" (War of the Austrian Succession-A Wargamer's Guide Pt. III), Stephen Manley's invaluable booklet on the Dutch army.

So unless I find out any more information- and in the absence of anything else to go by- I'll use the uniform for the Regiment Ysenberg, which will go nicely with the flag. However, I'll give Oranje-Groningen gold buttons instead of Ysenberg's silver.

If anyone has any more information on this rather enigmatic regiment I'd love to know.

Kapitein's log, Supplemental: John Wright put me on the straight and narrow, and I've redone the uniform plate. 

According to an article by Dan Schorr in the old "Courier" magazine, Oranje-Groningen would have worn a uniform very much like the one now illustrated above (I used the uniform of the regiment Bentinck, but with the addition of a white shoulder knot which I tacked on to the illustration).  Thanks, John- and be sure to send me any good pictures of Rocourt when you get back!

For use with Koenig Krieg, this will be a four-battalion brigade, each battalion consisting of twelve miniatures each, all with a morale grade of 4 (groan!) Cannon-fodder, alas. One can almost hear the Mousquetiers du Roi drooling with anticipation as they draw their swords...

Swiss "Cheese"?

I've made a decision on which regiments of the Dutch army of the War of the Austrian Succession I'm going to do.

This involved firstly seeing which units I had the uniform details and flags for, with secondary consideration going to which units may have seen the most combat in the notable battles of the time. Brigades were relatively ad hoc entities in these pre-Napoleonic days, so units which were brigaded together in one particular battle were not necessarily to have been found fighting alongside each other in the next.

A couple of things became immediately clear as I did the research, namely:
  1. There are some regiments whose uniform details are unaccounted for.
  2. While the flags details are out there, as Brian Homenick pointed out in his notes to his excellent range of Dutch flags, just exactly which flag went with which regiment is extremely problematic.
  3. Now, we are talking about the Dutch army of the 1740's here- Prussians they ain't. In the Koenig Krieg rules, Dutch infantry have a morale rating of four, compared with a rating of five for line infantry of most other nations. Add to this the fact that their commanding officer, Karl August, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont, boasts an illustrious initiative rating of "zero"- not to mention my own record of dice rolling- and things do not bode well for the military reputation of the United Provinces on the tabletop. Odds are pretty good that they will find themselves frequently having their pasty butts handed to them all over Flanders by stouter bullies, such as the Maison du Roi, the Irish Brigade, or even the Regt. de St. Vignobles.
With all this in mind, I've settled on two brigades for now.

First up is a brigade of Swiss. This will consist of three regiments, Regt. Hirtzel, Regt. Salis, and the Regt. Sturler. All three saw action at the Battle of Fontenoy, albeit in different brigades.

Why these particular regiments? Aside from having extremely pretty flags, Swiss units in Dutch service have a higher morale factor in Koenig Krieg than do the rest of the "Hollandaise Herd". And they come in larger units- 16 figures rather than 12 for the other line regiments. This will make them a lot more durable, and should see them being selected for those more glorious (and murderous!) battlefield tasks.

"Cheesy" maybe, but at least its high-quality Swiss cheese!

Next up, a line brigade.

Note: I put together these painting/ organization guides as a reference to help me visualize and paint my wargaming armies. Uniforms details are from Royalfig, Giles Boue's excellent site. Flags are by Vaubanner- I bought them and scanned one side of them in poor resolution for this purpose only, and detail you see here is a fraction of that you can see in Brian's flags. If any cheapskate out there is even thinking of trying to copy them for his own minis, show some self-respect, support Brian's hard work and buy your own. Or take up checkers.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Roucoux (Rocourt) today

In answer to John' Wright's question about whether Roucoux/ Rocourt still exists.

A map showing the location of the town of Rocourt (as it appears to be known today), north of Liege (and not all that far from Fort Eban Emael of WW2 notoriety). I've added a line to show the -extremely- approximate position of the Pragmatic army on the morning of October 11th, 1746.

A lot appears to have changed since 1746, including many place names. However, Rocourt and Liers still stand, as do the now combined villages of Fexhe-Slins on the right flank of the allied line.

Click here to see the satellite view on Google maps.

Compare it with the map given in the "British Battles" website for Roucoux.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Will ye go to Flanders?"- the soundtrack!

Someone directed me to this YouTube video featuring the Celtic group The Birken Tree playing one of the many versions of the old song from which this blog gets its title.

If you like Celtic music, you'll probably enjoy this. "Titanic" set in the Low Countries...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Roucoux or Rocourt?

One and the same! While surfing around the Internet I realized that in France the Battle of Roucoux is more widely known as the Battle of Rocourt.

Well, information on Roucoux/Rocourt in general is thin on the ground, and that discovery helped to widen the search a bit. I came up with a number of references including the following book;

It is in French, but seeing as they did win the battle after all, why shouldn't it be?

I may order a copy at some point in the future. My French is rusty, but with determination and a good dictionary I'm sure there must be some good info to be gleaned from it.