The Battle of the Saintes 12th April 1782 Thursday, Dec 3 2009 

Sea motive

Sea motive

I – 1781

At Yorktown, British pride was seen to fall,
The World Turn’d Upside Down was heard by all,
French ships besieged the Britons till they fell,
Ad’mril de Grasse’s men had tales to tell,
American and French cries heard o’er land,
Their armies fought together hand by hand,
At anchor, the French fleet in Ches’peake Bay,
New orders see them sail upon their way,
Intrigues out on the Carribean sea,
A fleet of thirty five for King Louis.

II

de Grasse in early November set sail,
By months end he had crossed the oceans veil,
But plans against the isle of Barbados,
By strong trade winds were lost, all turn to dust,
Instead a new plan based upon St. Kitts,
Was hatched to make England’s fair isle submit,
In anchor, off the port of BasseTerre,
Six hundred British men saw in dispair,
Ten times as many Frenchmen come ashore,
A siege begins; the tightening grip of war.

III

But Ad’mril Hood of Royal Naval fame,
Got wind of the foul Gallic plan to shame,
Sailed from Barbados with a fleet of ships,
In battles blast the French he hopes to whip,
He could by stealth sneak in a sleeping bay,
Attack a few trapped ships along the way,
Asleep at rest and anchor in BasseTerre,
A plan ennobled! Those who care to dare,
Must risk their all if Victory’s smile they wish,
And hear the sounds of captur’d flags swish.

IV – 1782

Jan’ry twenty fifth sees England back at sea,
For the port of St Kitts, Hood wants to free,
Breath of Subsolanus! Guide on the ships,
And let them close the range to blows and grips,
Collision delays Ad’mril Hood’s plan,
Alerting the French to the schemes of man,
de Grasse alarmed sets sail with his fleet,
Southwards heading the Venti’s whims to beat,
Hood turned about and headed back the same,
Ships weave and tack in Ad’mrils deadly game.

V

Next noon, the hills of Nevis were covered,
As onlookers watched the fleets maneuver,
Hood tacked to starboard and towards St Kitts,
Which threw the French, and de Grasse on his wits,
The French turned round and began to pursue,
The English fleet ahead, their sails in view,
By two, the English fleet began to anchor,
French hearts were in a rage filled with rancor,
A French port now regained by England’s men!
Whose sailors now sigh and mutter, ‘Amen’.

VI

The rage of de Grasse ensures battle new,
Next morn as the French sailed along and through,
But exchange of cannon fire will not shift,
The English oak stood firm, returned short shrift,
Pluton led the van and soon was shattered,
Her decks destroyed, sails rent and were tattered,
France turned away and back out to the sea,
The isle now had new owners for the quay,
Audacity! Call out aloud Hood’s name,
The capture of this port adds to your fame!

VII

Britain stirs and returns back out to sea,
Our other famed Ad’mril called Rodney,
By Feb’ry nineteenth he reached Barbados,
A fleet of a dozen o’er Atlantic’s cross,
By Feb’ry twenty fifth, the two fleets do join,
Rodney and Hood, thirty four ships o’er line,
de Grasse pursued, anchored in Fort Royal,
Martinique’s safe harbour for Frenchmen loyal,
The quarry scented and chased into his lair,
The British wait for France and Spain to dare.

VIII

One hundred and fifty miles south to north,
Would see sailors artful maneuvers spring forth,
Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe,
A battle to be fought in this Carrib group,
France and Spain now made plans for Jamaica,
‘To redraw the lines of the map maker’.
At Cap Français, with fifty ships of the line,
Twenty thousand troops would cross the deep brine,
Rodney’s fair command: ‘This plan to dispel,
And to break France and Spain, their aims to quell’.

IX

April eighth France once more sets out to sea,
With ships o’er the line numbered thirty three,
Convoy of one hundred and fifty sail,
With which to land across the oceans veil,
An invasion Fleet! The moment comes near,
For failure or success, cries or good cheer,
England at sea numbered but thirty six,
With these ships they hope to end the French tricks,
‘Twixt isles Dominica and Guadelope,
Near Îles des Saintes lay the next battle group.

X

April ninth finds fleets becalmed on the sea,
Waiting for the breezes from the Venti,
Which issued forth gently from Volturnus,
Enough winds for sails to fill with the gusts,
Fleets begin to head slowly towards each other,
de Grasse made his convoy head out for cover,
And sent his van out to attack England,
Some nine ships o’er line who made the stand,
Rodney’s ships tacked to join in the battle,
Causing the French ships to turn and scuttle.

XI

April twelfth sees final battle begin,
As the two fleets sail, one will know chagrin,
France sails from compass points north to the south,
Expecting blasts of fire from cannons mouth,
From England’s ships who before blazing forth,
Sail from the compass points south-west to north,
Volturnus breath keeps sails upon their course,
The Venti’s breeze, the ships sole motion source,
Thus a line of battle is to be joined,
Prize money to be won as ships purloined.

XII

The race of two fleets on opposite tack,
The loser may find themselves on the rack,
As gain of weather gauge in age of sail,
Gives possessor first choice in deadly hail,
France wins but overshoots the English van,
Marl’boro fires first on sixth ship as best can,
Le Brave’s seventy four cannons soon make reply,
White smoke pours out each ship to fill the sky,
England sails close towards the enemy’s lee,
Sailors whisper ‘God! make their shot miss me’.

XIII

Line of sail diverge past their meeting point,
French van tack south west, continues fleets join,
Ships slide past by and fire with full fury,
The sailors lot, the cannons killing spree,
Thus English rear feels full fury and might,
And enters the fray, the hard battle’s fight,
But breath of Auster! Venti’s change of fan,
The French ships on south tack must change their plan,
Creates a gap, a hole in line of sail,
Which Rodney finds, and tears back the battle’s veil.

XIV

Luffing to the wind, Rodney breaks French line,
HMS Formidable and five more behind,
Interval abreast, the whole English rear,
Soon follow where their Admiral did dare,
The French line caught, England now punctured thrice,
Gift of Fortuna Belli’s roll of dice,
France forced off to leeward in deep disarray,
Their van soon scattered and no more did stay,
So duel for French ships now became the norm,
As each fights for its life through cannon’s storm.

XV

de Grasse in his flagship, crowded by nine,
Strikes Ville de Paris colours o’er the brine,
HMS Barfleur, Hood’s flagship takes the fame,
De Grasse offered his sword, the Ad’mril’s shame,
Ardent, Glorieux, Hector soon followed suit,
César blew up; a sad final salute,
Thus four ships captured, an Ad’mril as well,
Rodney’s fame and fortune made; tales to tell,
His dogged tenacity in pursuit,
Showered forth prize money, Vict’ry’s fair loot.

Epilogue

Yorktown’s loss caused Britain troubles and woes,
The white flag, an army succumb’d to blows,
But soon the tales returned to daring do,
And once again the nation hoped anew,
At Westminster the cries were heard with glee,
‘Our Navy triumphed once again at sea!’
Judged in the balance, tumults twists and turns,
Loss and Victory, wars gamble sometimes earns,
Good Christians know pride comes before the fall,
Fortuna Belli’s whims confounds us all.

IMR MMIX

The full poem is available as a powerpoint slideshow file here (3.5 MB file!).

 

 

 

 

Sea motive

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The Battle of the Saintes 12th April 1782 Redux Wednesday, Dec 2 2009 

Sea motive

Sea motive

This reenactment of the main fleet action during the Battle of the Saintes scales the number of ships used down by a factor of 3, so that instead of 36 Royal Navy ships of the line engaging 33 French ships of the line, there are 12 versus 11 ships respectively. The rules for the battle can be found here.

One difference to the real battle is to allow the winds (represented by the gods of the winds, the Venti) to change according to a dice roll at the end of each move. If the score is 1, the wind changes 1 point anticlockwise, 2-5 gives no change to the direction, and if a 6 is thrown, the wind changes 1 point clockwise. Likewise the strength of the wind may change, with a die roll of 1 decreasing it by one unit, 2-5 gives no change, and 6 increases it by one unit. Thus the capriciousness of the Venti can decide the fleet action on the day as the winds work in favour of one or other fleet, due to their possession of the weather gauge.

The fleets assume the positions used on the day, approximately those before the battle began at 08:30. The French ships form line ahead, and sail north to south. The English also form line ahead, intercepting them on opposite tack on a course heading North East.

The initial weather conditions match those at the start of the battle and are given by the Venti.

with Volturnus, God of the east wind, blowing with a moderate breeze.

The left hand side of the board below is North. Given the initial positions

the weather gauge lies with the French, which should please Admiral de Grasse in his flagship, the Ville de Paris.

Move 1

Both fleets continue on their courses.

The white squadron of France (Neptune, Hercule, Triomphant) lead, followed by the red squadron, headed by Admiral de Grasse in his flagship, the Ville de Paris, and Languedoc. If the ships continue on their present course, the French will be able to ensure they overlap the English fleet, unless they change tack.

Aboard HMS Princessa, the duty bound in Sailing and Fighting Instructions for his Majesty’s Fleet bear down on Admiral Samuel Drake.

XIII – Signals for Battle

“As soon as the Admiral shall hoist a Red Flag on the Flag-staff at the Fore-top-mast-head, and fire a Gun, every Ship in the Fleet is to use their utmost Endeavour to engage the Enemy in the Order the Admiral has prescribed unto them.”

Sail at’em. Astern, HMS Conquerer, and the rest of the fleet follows.

The Venti are consulted.

Volturnus surrenders to Subsolanus, as the wind swings to the South East. The Weather is heading towards the favour of the English.

Move 2

La Royal adds Pluton to their centre, the Royal Navy HMS Monarch. Subsolanus continues blowing with his present moderate strength.

Move 3

Scipion joins the French, HMS Yarmouth the English fleet. The English will intercept the French centre if things continue the same. The Venti continue as before.

Move 4

Neptune changes tack and steers towards the English, on a south west heading. HMS Barfleur, with Admiral Hood commanding the red squadron joins on the board.

Subsolanus continues as before, not upsetting the Admiral’s plans.

Move 5

The French follow their leaders tack and the fleets race towards each other. Gun decks cleared, first shots ready. Soon, soon, just hold your nerve!

Even Subsolanus durst not change for the exchange of fire that is surely to come beneath his breeze.

Move 6

“Feu!” The first broadside from Neptune rips into the starboard gun decks of HMS Princessa, causing heavy damage. Unable to return the fire, the pleasure is given to HMS Conquerer, which takes out one gun deck on Neptune in return. White smoke drifts across the waters. The fog of war has returned to the high seas and Mars nods his approval.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 3 La Royale 1

Subsolanus continues to blow at the same strength for the next move.

Move 7

Broadsides from the white squadron (Neptune, Hercule and Triomphant) sweep into the English, with HMS Conquerer receiving the worst. She loses her starboard gun decks, and worst still, a fire breaks out. Can her crew save her before she succumbs to the flames?

Damage points:- Royal Navy 6 La Royale 1

Subsolanus tires a little, and blows more gently in the next move.

Move 8

The crew of HMS Conquerer perform heroics and quench the fires that threaten her. HMS Princessa and HMS Monarch sustain more damage. A broadside from HMS Yarmouth damages Neptune, taking out two of her starboard gun decks. The white squadrons from each fleet are now engaged with each other, on opposite tack.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 8 La Royale 3

Subsolanus tires even more, with little more than a breeze for the next move.

Move 9

With barely any wind blowing, the fleets crawl past each other.

The Ville de Paris and the Triomphant trade blows with HMS Conquerer and HMS Monarch, who come off worse in the exchange. Revenge comes from HMS Yarmouth, as the starboard gun decks for Hercule are reduced to a wreck.

The blue squadron for the French, led by Magnifique, break the line of sail and tradition by heading south west in an attempt to ‘cross the T‘ of HMS Princessa, and the rest of the English fleet.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 11 La Royale 6

Subsolanus passes the burden to Auster. The wind change to due south puts the French fleet at a considerable disadvantage for the next move , as we’ll shortly see.

Move 10

Royal Naval resolve is finally shown as broadsides from HMS Barfleur, the flagship of Admiral Hood slam into Neptune, causing it to catch fire. Further damage occurs to Triomphant from HMS Yarmouth. The wind swinging to the south causes the French blue squadron to adopt a bow and quarter line, as do the rear of their red squadron, led by Pluton. HMS Princessa spots the emerging gap in the French line.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 12 La Royale 10

Meanwhile, Auster continues with his gentle breeze.

Move 11

A broadside from Admiral de Grasse‘s flagship Ville de Paris brings down two of the masts on board HMS Monarch, and HMS Conquerer catches fire. The English fleets reply makes little impact upon the French.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 14 La Royale 10

A reinvigorated Subsolanus takes over the burden again for the next move.

Move 12

HMS Conquerer yields to the fury of Fortuna Belli, and the ship explodes, with the loss of all hands. HMS Princessa passes through the gap in the French line, but suffers grievously in doing so at the hands of Magnifique. HMS Yarmouth steers the English fleet away from the French who pass on the opposite tack.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 20 La Royale 12

Volturnusregains the task and continues with the same strength breeze.


Move 13

HMS Princessa suffers much damage to its port side from the Auguste as it attempts to lead a path through the French centre and rear squadrons. HMS Monarch loses the fore mast after a broadside from the Pluton. HMS Yarmouth sees an opportunity to head off the French rear, led by the blue squadron flagship, Magnifique.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 23 La Royale 12

Subsolanus takes over the burden again.

Move 14

HMS Princessa loses its fore and main masts, and worse still catches fire! Fortuna Belli clearly frowns upon the English today.

Neptune swings the French white squadron around, back in pursuit of the Royal Navy blue squadron, but receives hits on the port side from HMS Ajax. Magnifique also sustains hits on the port side from HMS Yarmouth, as the French rear and English centre race to cross each others paths. The dismasted HMS Monarch drifts helplessly with the wind.

Auster returns with his gentle breeze.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 25 La Royale 15

Move 15

HMS Yarmouth and Magnifique trade broadsides, before they close to fight it out as the English boarding party attacks the French ship. Magnifique strikes her colours and she is captured.

HMS Princessa burns with fury, before sinking with great loss of life.

Scipion sees a chance and closes down upon the dismasted HMS Monarch; the boarding party makes ready.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 28 La Royale 24

Afer Ventus supplants Auster and stiffens the wind strength. This will cause mayhem for the French fleet as it tries to hold its south west course.

Move 16

The trauma of the Royal Navy continues, with the capture of the dismasted HMS Monarch by Scipion. Hercule and HMS Respite trade broadsides, with Hercule getting the worst of it.

The shift in the wind direction to the south west by Afer Ventus does cause chaos in the French fleet, as the red squadron tacks due south, away from the British, and the blue squadron heads west. A race is now on for this blue squadron. Can it escape being sandwiched by the the Royal Navy red and blue squadrons?

Damage points:- Royal Navy 34 La Royale 25

Afer Ventus continues at reduced strength.

Move 17

The duel between Hercule and HMS Respite continues, with both being damaged in the exchange of fire.

As she ‘crosses the T‘, HMS Barfleur rakes César from the stern, taking out gundecks on each side. The French blue squadron scatters; some sailing due west to escape the encroaching Royal Navy blue squadron, led by HMS Formidable. Meanwhile, Glorieux makes her escape by heading north east, with the breeze from Afer Ventus behind her. It may not be too late for the Royal Navy to receive the approval of Victoria if they can isolate and destroy at least one more French ship.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 35 La Royale 28

Afer Ventus continues to blow at the same strength.

Move 18

A broadside from HMS Barfleur brings down the mizzen mast of César, which should slow down her escape to the west. Menawhile, Glorieux steers north-east to make her escape.

Hercule causes some minor damage on HMS Respite. The French white squadron attempt to steer ahead of their red squadron, but fail to make it. Evasive action next move will be needed to prevent a collision.

The two sets of ships boarded have failed to separate so far.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 36 La Royale 29

Auster returns with a strengthening breeze.

Move 19

A further broadside from HMS Barfleur fails to damage César, and she continues her escape to the west. The Royal Navy blue squadron continues the chase.

Glorieux steers north-east to make good her escape.

Neptune swerves avoiding Languedoc and Ville de Paris.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 36 La Royale 29

Auster continues with the same breeze.

Move 20

‘You wound, like Parthians, while you fly, And kill with a retreating eye.’

A Parthian shot from César brings down the foremast of HMS Barfleur, slowing down the pursuit from the Royal Navy red squadron. Auguste and Glorieux make good their escape, as do the French red and white squadrons, as they head south east.

Scipion breaks free from HMS Monarch. Although she took the English ship, the cost to Scipion of being cut off from the remainder of the French fleets is too great.

Meanwhile, HMS Magnifique, now crewed by men from HMS Yarmouth enters the fray.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 37 La Royale 29

Subsolanus takes over the burden again.

Move 21

Another Parthian shot from César brings down the main mast of HMS Barfleur, and so the remainder of the Royal Navy red squadron takes evasive action. HMS Formidable fails to bring down any sails on César, and she makes good her escape.

The French fleet now sails away, red and white squadrons to the south, the blue squadron scattered to the north east and west.

Damage points:- Royal Navy 38 La Royale 29

In all, the Royal Navy has lost two ships, and one temporarily captured. France has had only one ship captured. Thus, given the degree of damage inflicted, Imperium Pelagi belongs to France, and Victoria brings her blessing to Admiral de Grasse on his flagship Ville de Paris.

In a distant Versailles, Louis XVI may resurrect his great forebearers tradition and in celebration of Victoria, proclaim Invictissimus Ludovicus Magnus in a medal, following the form of the one minted after the success of the Battle of Bévéziers.

The whole battle sequence as an animated gif is below.

Thanks to Jon Binstead and HISTORY ALIVE (info@historyalive.info) for the model ships used in the battle.

The Admirals fighting this encounter were:-

Admiral de Grasse, commander of the French fleet.

Admiral Hood of the Royal Navy.

Finis

Sea motive

The Age of Reason Thursday, Jul 10 2008 

Age of Reason

1 Introduction

These rules give a simplified version of combat during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748), the Seven Years War (1757-1763) and the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). The game works at the level of operational units, such as infantry battalions, cavalry regiments or artillery batteries, each with their own characteristics. These three types of units form a balance of forces, which are opposed. Combat is resolved by calculating the quality and quantity of troops involved, modified by probability to yield the result, hence winning an individual action on the battlefield. The sum of these small encounters mounts up towards an overall victory. Thus, battles of the time can be simulated, with odds on victory weighted towards those with larger numbers of better quality troops and their tactical deployment. Using these rules, large actions at divisional level per side can be managed within a reasonable time and playing space. Full scale battle reenactments can be managed by ‘scaling down’ the troops deployed each side, to keep the proportions the same on the chosen playing surface.

Text below in italics and bold font link to tables which are used in the game. Click on the text, and it should take you directly to the relevant table, and click again to enlarge if necessary. Use your browsers back button to return to the rules.

2 Equipment

2.1 Playing surface

Hardboard of various sizes joined together can quickly make a suitable surface. A total area of 1.5 m by 1.2m (5’ by 4’) suffices for most games.

2.1.1 Game scale

1 mm on the board = 2 m on the battlefield. Thus a 1.5 m by 1.2 m board scales to 3 km by 2.4 km.

2.2 Tape measure

A retractable metric tape measure that spans the playing area is needed.

2.3 Random Number generator

The game uses a random number generator found on scientific calculators, online websites or by an excel spreadsheet to add the necessary element of chance in conflict.

2.4 Infantry, cavalry and artillery and command units

There are 4 types of units in the battle based of the three main arms; infantry, cavalry and artillery. In addition there are command units. The number of figures required depend upon the scale used. 15mm scale figures require 2 figures per base unit. 25 mm scale figures require 1 figure per base unit.

2.4.1 Infantry (battalion)

An infantry battalion is initially comprised of 5 base units. Each base unit is 20 mm by 15 mm, and has 2 figures mounted (if 15mm scale figures) or 1 figure mounted (if 25 mm scale figures). Thus in line formation, the frontage is 100 mm wide, equal to 200 m on the battlefield. Each base unit represents 100-125 men, so a battalion would have a field strength of 500-625 men.

Infantry battalions are grouped together into regiments, in turn grouped into brigades or divisions as required.

Infantry comes in various levels of quality. These typically include:-

Guards
Grenadiers
Line/Light
Militia & Minuteman

The America Revolutionary Army had specialist skirmishers, the Minuteman, acting as light infantry. These troops have a unique combat range, to reflect their main weapon (rifles), compared to the muskets of the other infantry. In addition,

The details of these troops for each of the main armies are given in the national army tables for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War.

2.4.2 Cavalry (regiment)

A cavalry squadron comprises of 1 base unit, 30 mm by 40 mm, and has 2 figures mounted (if 15mm scale figures) or 1 figure mounted (if 25mm scale figures). 3 or 4 squadrons of similar types of cavalry form a cavalry regiment. Thus in line formation with 4 base units, the frontage is 120 mm, equal to 240 m on the battlefield. Each base unit represents 100-125 men, so a cavalry regiment would have a field strength of 300-500 men.

Cavalry regiments are grouped either into the larger infantry divisions, or as separate cavalry divisions.
There are 3 main types of cavalry; heavy, medium and dragoons.

Heavy cavalry includes Cuirassiers and Regulars. These have the greatest shock value, but move at the slowest rate. They typically charged home with the sword only, hence their greater shock value.

Medium cavalry was armed using carbines, and attempted to engage using this weapon in preference to the sword via a modified form of caracole.

Dragoons have intermediate shock value, and move at a slower rate than heavy cavalry. They can act as cavalry, or can dismount and act as infantry. To dismount or mount up between the two states takes a move.

The details of these troops for each of the main armies are given in the national army tables for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War.

2.4.3 Artillery (battery)

One cannon occupies a front of 20mm, represents a single battery of 8-10 guns, with an attendant horse figurine, which is placed on the board showing the direction of travel if the piece is being moved.

2.4.4 Command units

Generals and attendant staff comprise 1 base units, 30 mm by 40 mm, and has 2 figures mounted (if 15mm scale figures) or 1 figure mounted (if 25mm scale figures).

Messengers sent by the General to communicate his wishes to the troops under his command comprise 1 base unit, 20 mm by 40 mm, with 1 figure mounted, regardless of the scale of the figures used.

Generals and messengers move at the fastest rate of all the types of troops above, but they have no fighting potential of their own, they act to modify the potential of troops around them.

2.5 Disorganised counters

As troops become disorganised, they are disrupted in formation. A small orange counter is placed by the unit for as long as it remains disrupted.

2.6 Time counter

Either mark the time in the battle off the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War (see section 9.6), or use a specially created clock dial, which moves with each game turn. Each turn, comprising of a first and second player phase, represents 5 minutes on the battlefield.

3 Game setup

3.1 Battlefield scenery

3.1.1 Playing surface

Covering the area with PVA glue and using green railway scatter foam makes an attractive looking surface.

3.1.2 Hills

Polystyrene foam tiles can be cut to shape and added as required, with each layer representing 100m. Layers of the foam tiles can be placed on top of each other to create higher hills and mountains. Covering the surface with PVA glue and using green railway scatter foam makes it look attractive.

3.1.3 Rivers and lakes

Blue felt strips 20mm by 60mm can be added together to make rivers or lakes.

3.1.4 Villages and towns

N gauge railway houses can be added to represent villages (a single house) or towns (as many houses as required). Each house can shelter one infantry battalion or cavalry regiment.

3.1.5 Roads

Brown felt strips 20mm by 60mm can be added together to make roads.

3.1.6 Rough ground

Grey railway scatter foam denotes areas of rough ground.

3.1.7 Woodland

N gauge railway trees can be added to the battlefield, together with green railway scatter foam to create woodland areas. Glueing each tree to a solid base (2p coins) help keep the trees from toppling over.

3.2 Troop deployment

Troop deployment is relatively straightforward if recreating a historical battle. Simply follow the known pattern, keeping the troop density scaled to the size of the playing area. If creating an imaginary battle, keep in mind the numbers and type of deployments typical of the age.

If fighting an encounter battle, when not all the troops are on the battlefield at the start, deploy the troops at the designated time.

Before the battle starts, calculate the total number of troops on the battlefield and determine how many base units this comes to, then determine how many of base units are needed to reach 15% of the total and at 5% intervals thereafter, and mark these values off in the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War. If additional reinforcements arrive during the battle, add these extra troops to the initial value and keep a further tally of the new total number of troops. Recalculate the number of base units needed to reach 15% of the total and at 5% intervals thereafter, and mark these values off in the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War. This becomes important when determining any crisis of morale as the game progresses and casualty levels rise.

4 Playing sequence

The game proceeds in turn sequences, with the first army taking the attacking stage, and the second army in the defensive stage, regarding any combat.

The sequence is:-

(a) Disruption and rout removal phase – section 5

(b) Artillery fire phase – section 6

(c) Orders and movement phase – section 7

(d) Combat phase – section 8

(e) Crisis of morale phase – section 9

This completes the first part of the turn.

The game now proceeds to the next turn sequence (steps a-e), with the second army taking the attacking stage, and the first army in the defensive stage, regarding and combat. This completes the second part of the turn.

The game has now finished one turn, and the time counter progresses by 5 minutes in the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War, before beginning the next turn.

Each stage in the turn is explained in more detail in sections 5-9.

5 Disruption and rout removal phase

Only the army in the active, attacking stage of each turn can rally troops.

5.1 Disrupted troops

Disrupted units may be rallied by generating a random number and comparing the result for the unit’s morale in the national army tables for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War. If the random number matches or exceeds the value in the table, the unit becomes organised again, otherwise the unit remains disorganised for the turn.

Disrupted units behave in terms of movement as normal units. Their combat potential is reduced, according to the national army tables.

5.2 Routing troops

Routing units need a random number ≥ 0.800 to stop routing, becoming disrupted for the turn, and until being rallied by the process described above in 5.1. If they fail to rally, they continue to rout at charge speed in the most obvious direction for their safety. If they should pass through friendly units during their rout, they disorganise these units.

5.3 Generals and their effect on morale

If the troops are under fire from artillery or in combat, the General must see if he survives for each turn he wishes to modify the morale. Generate a random number and compare the result to the following table for Generals under fire. Apply the results immediately.

If the Generals survive the outcome above, their presence results in +0.100 being added (Frederick the Great adds +0.200) to any random number generated for disrupted or routing troops, thus improving their odds.

6 Artillery firing phase

The army taking the attacking stage fires as many of their artillery batteries in the organised state as they wish. Those in the disrupted state may not fire that turn.  Each artillery battery fires once per turn, on one unit at a time (such as an infantry battalion, cavalry regiment or another artillery battery).

The effectiveness of artillery changes with range. To see if the target is affected, measure the distance between the artillery unit and the target. Generate a random number and consult the artillery table to see what damage on the enemy unit they inflict. Note that foot batteries are more effective than horse batteries, which is reflected in the artillery tables.

Artillery can only fire on visible units by direct line of sight (i.e. they can’t fire on units hidden behind hills, villages, or hidden behind other units etc). Take account of the reduction of visibility that occurs with dusk if the battle is being fought one hour or less before nightfall.

Artillery batteries are captured if enemy units pass through cannons, becoming eventually their active units. It takes one full move for a captured battery to become active again. The capturing unit must remove one base unit from play, as these now become the new artillerymen manning the artillery battery.

Artillery batteries which fire may not limber up to move in the turn that they fire. To limber or unlimber a battery takes a full move, with the artillery unit capable of moving or firing in the next move respectively.

7 Orders and movement phase

7.1 Orders phase

Armies during the French wars of the latter 17th Century and early 18th Century were controlled by a hierarchy of command, which was strictly observed with the exception of the French, where a degree of initiative was encouraged. It is not the intention of the game to proceed as chess, where any piece can be moved at whim, so the rules try to reflect the decision making process and the vagaries that often happened on the battlefield. The Generals fighting the wargame use suspension of disbelief. If enemy troops are bearing down unseen upon another army because of restrictions in visibility, no reaction to this threat can occur until it becomes visibly obvious, as often happened during battles of the period.

7.1.1 Initial orders

At the beginning of the battle, each division or brigade would have initial orders from the commander in chief of the army. This would explain initial objectives (e.g. III Brigade should advance, seize the village before it, and await new orders). These orders should be performed at the beginning of the battle.

7.1.2 Change to orders

As the battle progresses, the initial orders can be superseded by new orders, conveyed either in person by the commander in chief, or by the nearest General, or from messengers from the above leaders.

If the orders are conveyed in person by the commander in chief or General, the orders are accepted without question or loss of clarity. If the orders are given by a messenger, generate a random number. If the result is ≥ 0.150, the order was understood. Once all units have received their orders, the staff officer must ride back to the General who issued the orders to report for further orders. If the result was ≤ 0.149, the order was not understood and the units will continue their existing state of action.

Messengers figures are added and removed from the board as required, and they have no combat effectiveness. They may be captured if an enemy unit passes through them, and the order should then be passed back to the nearest opposing army General.

7.2 Movement phase

The phasing player may move any or all units may be moved, up to their maximum allowance, with each unit. Consult  the national army tables for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War for further details.

7.2.1 Changing formation

Units may change formation (e.g. line to column or vice versa etc), which takes time. Infantry under cavalry attack or threat of cavalry attack must form a defensive square, bearing in mind the time constraints in moves spent in changing formation. Consequently they cannot move but may fire whilst in this formation. They can subsequently be attacked by cavalry, as described in section 8.3.

Changing formation takes time and reduces the ability to move, but not the ability to fight.

7.2.2 Organised or disrupted units moving through each other

Units in the organised state or disorganised may move through each other, but disrupt each other during the process.

7.2.3 Withdrawing units

Units may withdraw at half speed by facing the enemy (and still engage in combat) or retreat at full speed with their backs turned to the enemy, but cannot engage in combat.  The enemy can engage them in combat however, and treat the troops as disrupted.

7.2.4 Routing units

Routing units continue to move directly to the rear of their army at charge speed, with their backs turned to the enemy.  They will pass through any units they encounter, disrupting them as they go. If they rout off the board, they are permanently removed from the battle.

7.2.5 Effects of terrain

Terrain affects movement. Difficult terrain (e.g. hills / woods / crossing streams etc) reduce speed, roads enhance speed. Consult the National army tables for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War for further details.

7.2.6 Charging units

Charging enemy units adds speed. Consult the National army tables for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War for further details. Units can only charge once per six turns (i.e. once per ½ hr in real time).

7.2.7 Generals and messengers

These have a maximum speed of 200 mm per turn in any direction, regardless of terrain.

8 Combat phase

8.1 Mandatory Combat

Combat is mandatory between visible units in range, as defined below in sections 8.1.1 to 8.1.3, and 8.3.

8.1.1 Infantry vs infantry combat

Infantry must be within 0-50 mm of their enemy to attack (0 – 100 m). Count the total number of base units in a column when using this formation, even if the rear base units are greater than 50 mm away from their opponent. See 8.2 -8.4 for the odds and effect of combat.

8.1.2 Cavalry vs cavalry combat

Cavalry must be in physical contact with their opponent to attack. Count the total number of base units in a column when using this formation, even if the rear base units are not in combat with their opponent. See 8.2 -8.4 for the odds and effect of combat.

8.1.3 Cavalry or infantry vs artillery combat

Infantry must be within 0-50 mm of their enemy to attack (0 – 100 m), Cavalry must be in physical contact with their opponent to attack. Count the total number of base units in a column when using this formation, even if the rear base units are not in combat with their opponent. The artillery battery will have a combat strength of 1, regardless of whether the battery is organised or disorganised, or whether the battery has just fired on the opposing unit.

8.2 Calculating the odds of combat

To initiate a combat, first identify the combat potential of each of the opponents by counting the total number of base units and multiplying this by the  attack / defence strength points (consulting the appropriate national army tables for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War for further details, taking into account whether the troops are in the ordered or disordered state. Calculate the combats at battalion vs opposing battalion (for example) if an entire frontage of troops became engaged. That way the effect of the battle proceeds by the small local combats.

Now compare the attacker’s strength to the defenders strength by using the odds table. These form the basic odds which can be modified by the following.

8.3 Modifiers to combat odds and the combat results table

The result of combat now proceeds by generating a random number for each of the combats to be considered.

The following modifications are made.

8.3.1 Terrain

The phasing player with advantageous terrain either adds 0.100 to the random number (if attacking) or subtracts 0.100 (if defending).

8.3.2 Generals and their effect on combat

If the troops are under fire from artillery or in combat, the General must see if he survives for each turn he wishes to modify the morale as per section 5.3. Generate a random number and compare the result to the following table for Generals under fire. Apply the results immediately.

If the Generals survive the outcome above, their presence results in +0.100 being added (Frederick the Great adds 0.200) to any random number generated for combat, thus improving their odds.

8.3.3 Charging

If the troops attacking are charging, add +0.100 to any random number generated for combat.

8.3.4 Infantry attacking infantry in square

Infantry attacking opposing infantry in square add 0.100 to the random number, to account for extra ranks being hit in the densely packed formation. Infantry in square use their disrupted factor to account for reduced firepower, regardless of their state of organisation.

8.4 Combat results table

After these modifications to the random number look up the result of combat in the combat results table at the odds level decided above with the following modifications.

If an attacker uses combined forces of two types on one unit, e.g. Infantry &
Cavalry, increase the odds by 1 column e.g. 1:1 becomes 2:1.

If an attacker uses all three combined forces on one unit, e.g. Infantry, Cavalry & Artillery, increase the odds by 2 columns e.g. 1:1 becomes 3:1.

If an attacker strikes from either flank, increase the odds by 1 column e.g. 1:1
becomes 2:1.

If an attacker strikes from the rear, increase the odds by 2 columns e.g. 1:1
becomes 3:1.

Consult the combat results table, cross index the random number with the appropriate odds column to yield the result and apply the effect of combat immediately to the combat troops affected, as described in the next section.

8.5 Effects of Combat

The effects of combat are immediately applied to the troops concerned. The movements indicated also are immediately applied, even if the troops have already moved that turn. Any base units removed from play represent troops that have been either killed, wounded or captured, and the steady accumulation of such losses affect the army and its willingness to fight on.

8.5.1 Attacker routed, Ar

Ar = Attacker routed. Remove one base unit from the combat group, and mark off one victory point in the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War. The remainder will rout from the board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.5.2 Attacker retires, Aw

Aw = Attacker retires. Previously undisrupted units combat units are disrupted to value of opponents combat strength and withdraw facing enemy at full speed. Units must use disrupted value for all further combat and continue to retire until rallied. Attackers already disrupted remove one base unit from the game, and mark off one victory point in the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War. The remainder will rout from the board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.5.3 Attacker disrupted, Ar

Ad = Attacker disrupted. Previously undisrupted combat units are disrupted to the strength of their opponent and withdraw at full speed facing their opponent. Attackers already disrupted remove one base unit from the game, and mark off one victory point in the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War. The remainder will rout from the board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.5.4 Disruption exchanged, Dx

Dx = Disruption exchange. Previously undisrupted combat units are disrupted. Attackers already disrupted remove one base unit from the game. The remainder hold their ground for this move. Defenders already disrupted remove one base unit from the game and mark off one victory point in the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War tables. The remainder will rout from the board at charge until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.5.5 Defender disrupted, Dd

Dd = Defender disrupted. Previously undisrupted combat units become disrupted. Defenders already disrupted remove one base unit from the game, and mark off one victory point in the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War. The remainder will rout from the board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.5.6 Defender retires, Dw

Dw = Defender retires. Previously undisrupted units combat units are disrupted to value of opponents combat strength and withdraw facing enemy at full speed. Units must use disrupted value for all further combat and continue to retire until rallied. Attackers already disrupted remove one base unit from the game,  and mark off one victory point in  the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War tables. The remainder will rout from the board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.5.7 Defender routed, Dr

Dr = Defender routed. Remove one base unit from the combat group, and mark off one victory point in  the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War tables. The remainder will rout from the board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.6 Cavalry vs infantry combat (square attack)

Infantry under threat of cavalry attack would automatically attempt to form into a square. The initial state of the infantry (i.e. normal or disrupted) is key to the effectiveness of the square as a defensive measure. It is assumed that cavalry will attempt to make physical contact with  the square, regardless of its state of effectiveness and infantry will attempt to repel this by firing if within 0-50 mm of their enemy. For cavalry attacking squares, follow the table to see what happens, using the descriptions in sections 8.4.1 & 8.4.3 (cavalry) and 8.4.5 & 8.4.7 (infantry) as guidance .

Should cavalry attacking a square suffer disruption after already being disrupted, remove one base unit from the game, and mark off one victory point in the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War. The remainder will rout from board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

Should the infantry square be broken by the cavalry, then treat as though they were routed, i.e. remove one base unit from the game, and mark off one victory point in the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War. The remainder will rout from board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

Note routing infantry troops cannot reform into a square, and would be at the mercy of any pursuing cavalry, who remove a base unit from play for every move the cavalry comes into contact with the routing unit. As this happens, mark off one victory point in the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War for every base unit removed from the game.

8.7 Control tests after routing opponent

Control tests are needed for troops in close combat that rout their opponent. Troops come under control generating a random number and comparing the result to the morale test values in the national army tables for  the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War. If the random number matches or exceeds the value in the table, the unit responds to command and may do as the player wishes; otherwise the unit will automatically pursue the fleeing troops, until rallied. Note that generals can affect the random number as described in section 5.3.

9 Crisis of morale test

9.1 Victory table

The victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War tracks both the time and the level of casualties incurred in the battle as the game progresses. For each base unit removed from the play, mark off one victory point in the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War. Before the battle starts, calculate the total number of troops on the battlefield and determine how many base units this comes to, then determine how many of base units are needed to reach 15% of the total and at 5% intervals thereafter, and mark these values off in the victory table for the War of the Austrian SuccessionSeven Years War and the American Revolutionary War as per section 3.2

9.2 Crisis of morale

At the end of each move a test must be performed to see if the whole army suffers a collapse of morale (sauve qui peut). If the % level of casualties suffered exceeds for the first time the levels indicated by the crisis of morale table, a random number must be rolled for all troops in the army. The result indicates whether a crisis of morale has happened for that unit.

If the random number exceeds the level indicated for the level of casualties suffered, then the unit fights on until the next level is reached, when an assessment is made again. If the random number generated indicates a crisis of morale has occurred, then follow the guidance in the table and apply it immediately to the troops concerned. In the subsequent move, all affected units can be rallied in the normal way. Note for a % casualty level above 40%, an immediate crisis is likely to occur for a majority of troops.

Should reinforcements arrive each move onto the battlefield, then the % casualties should reflect the new combined level of troops. In this way, continuous reinforcements ‘lift’ morale, or in this game, reduce the likelihood of suffering a widespread collapse of morale.

10 Winning the battle

Possession of the battlefield normally defined the victor in this age of warfare, even if more % casualties were lost in winning the battle. The game is
constructed in such a way that this will occur eventually, with one side suffering a dramatic loss of combat effectiveness, as described in section 9 . Should the battle have to end before this point is reached (i.e. by dusk falling etc), the following is offered as guidance regarding the extent of victory.

Determine the % casualties for each army. If the difference in the % casualties between the two armies is

0 – 5%, the result is a draw.
5 -10%, the result is a marginal victory.
10-25%, the result is a major victory.
> 25%, the result is a decisive victory.

Contact the author using the comments page below if you would like further details on how to use these rules.