The Battle of Sole Bay 7 June 1672 Tuesday, Dec 6 2011 

Sea motive

Sea motive

The Battle of Sole Bay 1672 was the first major naval engagement in the 3rd Anglo Dutch War & Franco Dutch war, between the Kingdoms of France and England against the Republic of the Seven United Provinces.

Louis XIV needed to isolate potential allies of the United Provinces, and find a cause for the war he planned.

The treaty of Dover, signed between Charles II and Louis XIV in 1670, was kept secret from all but a few of Charles II advisors.

The fifth clause of the treaty stated that England and France agreed to wage war jointly with all their forces by land and sea, in order to humble the pride of the States General and ‘reduce the power of a nation which even has the insolence to aim now at setting itself up as sovereign arbiter and judge of all other potentates’.

Johan de Witt, the Grand Pensionary, and the Dutch seemed unaware at the forces being directed against them.

Charles II sent a vessel, the Merlin, with Lady Crow, the wife of the Ambassador in Amsterdam as passenger, with Captain Crow as commander under orders to meet a Dutch fleet and gain a salute from them, if necessary by firing upon them. This calculated act failed to garner either a salute from the Dutch, or a returning salvo, so on return to England, Captain Crow was sent to the Tower of London for his troubles.

Sir George Downing was sent to Amsterdam to engineer a quarrel; ‘Our business is to break with them and yet to lay the breache at their door.’ In the event this too failed, and Sir George Downing was also sent to the Tower of London. Eventually, simple military expedients were made, and the English attacked a Dutch trade fleet in the English channel to small effect. The declaration of war between Engalnd and the United Provinces followed shortly thereafter. France soon declared war, with Louis XIV citing many of the same causes as the English; insults to himself and a desire to reduce the Netherlands to compliance to his will.

The Rampjaar (disaster year) for the United Provinces began with the French invasion by two main armies, led by Maréchals Turenne and Condé, with a combined army of 150,000. Towns and fortresses fell before the French advance, and the situation for the Dutch was very grave.

A change in the winds provided the Dutch with the opportunity to change their fortunes at sea. A strike by the Dutch fleet against the recently combined Anglo-French fleet would put pressure on their enemies.

Typically for the age of sail, the English and French organised their ships into three divisions. The van (blue squadron), the centre (red squadron) and the rear (white squadron).

The Dutch assigned their squadrons by admiralties, each province raising their own fleet. They were denoted by the  Prinsenvlag, or the double or triple Prinsenvlag.

The Dutch fleet crossed the North sea undetected, until finally being picked up close to the Suffolk coast by a French frigate on picket duty. This promptly returned to the English coast to raise the alert. Only a few hours remained before the Dutch would attack, and the English and French fleets were still at anchor, with many men ashore.

Either by design or in the confusion, the English and French fleets split into two; the English squadrons headed North and the French squadron headed South. This tactical mistake allowed the Dutch to send one division under van Bankert to engage with the French, with the remainder of the Dutch fleet under De Ruyter to engage with the English, initially at an advantage in ships of 3:2.

De Ruyter singled out the English Flagships, identified by their extra large pennants, and attacked these causing terrible damage to ships and men.

Under fire on board HMS Royal Prince, the Duke of York came in for fulsome praise from Captain John Narbrough.

‘His Royal Highness went fore and aft in the ship and cheered up the men to fight which did encourage them very much. The Duke thought himself never near enough to the enemy, for he was ever calling to the quarter-master which cunded the ship to luff her nearer… Presently when Sir John Cox was slain, I commanded as captain, observing his Royal Highness’s commands in working the ship, striving to get the wind of the enemy. I do absolutely believe no prince upon the whole earth can compare with his Royal Highness in gallant resolution in fighting his enemy, and with so great a conduct and knowledge in navigation as never any general  understood before him. He is better acquainted in these seas than many masters which are now in his fleet; he is a general, soldier, pilot, master, seaman; to say all, he is everything that man can be, and most pleasant when the great shot are thundering about his ears.’ 

On board HMS Royal Prince, ensign John Churchill survived the battle, later to serve in the English army in the war at the Battle of Enzheim. The Duke of York was forced to abandon his flagship in favour of HMS Michael.

The same tactic was applied to the flagship of the English blue squadron, HMS Royal James, under the command of the Earl of Sandwich.

HMS Royal James succumbed to fireship attack by the Dutch and she burnt, with the loss of the Earl of Sandwich and most of his crew.

The battle continued most of the day, with fierce exchanges between all squadrons.

With the Dutch fleets recombined, and the wind beginning to turn against them, the Dutch fleet headed for home. The Anglo-French fleet did not pursue. The battle belonged to the Dutch.

Shortly after their fleet returned to the Netherlands, the Dutch opened the sluices at Muiden, flooding the waterline (Hollandsche Waterlinie). This stalled the French advance for 1672.

The Dutch had survived their Annus Horribilis. The war expanded with the Elector of Brandenburg, followed shortly by the Austrians under Emperor Leopold I and the Spanish joining the fray on the Dutch side, and Sweden joining on the French side. England sued for peace after the Dutch victory at the Battle of Texel, 1674.

William III of Orange and the Dutch were to remain at the centre of resistance to French expansion, and played major roles in the League of Augsburg and the Nine Years war, followed by the war of the Spanish Succession.

The battle of Sole Bay was celebrated in the

by the following English paean, printed in 1818.

A MERRY SONG ON THE Duke’s late glorious success over the Dutch
Tune Suffolk Stiles

ONE day as I was sitting still,
Upon the side of Dunwich hill,
And looking on the ocean,
By chance I saw De Ruyter’s fleet
With Royal James’s squadron meet,
In sooth it was a noble treat
To see that brave commotion.

I cannot stay to name the names
Of all the ships that fought with James,
Their number or their tonnage,
But this I say the noble host
Right gallantly did take its post
And cover’d all the hollow coast
From Walderswyck to Dunwich.

The French who should have join’d the Duke,
Full far astern did lag and look
Although their hulls were lighter,
But nobly faced the Duke of York,
Tho’ some may wink, and some may talk,
Right stoutly did his vessel stalk
To buffet with De Ruyter.

Well might you hear their guns, I guess,
From Sizewell-gap to Easton Ness,
The show was rare and sightly:
They batter’d without let or stay
Until the evening of that day
‘T’was then the Dutchmen ran away,
The Duke had beat them tightly.

Of all the battles gain’d at sea
This was the rarest victory
Since Philip’s grand Armado.
I will not name the rebel Blake,
He fought for horson Cromwell’s sake,
And yet was forced three days to take
To quell the Dutch bravado.

So now we’ve seen them take to flight,
This way, and that, where e’er they might
To windward or to leeward;
Here’s to King Charles, and here’s to James,
And here’s to all the captains names,
And here’s to all the Suffolk dames,
And here the House of Stuart.

References

The slides are available as a powerpoint slide pack.

Battle of Solebay 1672

The Battle of Sole Bay 7 June 1672 Redux Tuesday, Dec 6 2011 

Sea motive

Sea motive

 

This reenactment of the main fleet action during the Battle of Solebay scales the number of ships used down by a factor about of 3-4, so there are 12 Dutch Ships of the Line versus 10 ships for the Anglo-French fleet (6 English and 4 French) respectively. In addition, each side has six fireships to match the large numbers employed by each side  in the real battle.

The  Solebay ship damage sheets and the ship names are found in the link. 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 and the relative ease of movement given by the points of sail in the rules.

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 are struggling to form line ahead sailing south to north. Meanwhile, the Dutch sail with the easterly winds behind them, heading initially for the Anglo-French fleet.

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

Move 1

Volturnus blows with moderate strength from the east, propelling the Dutch fleet towards their Anglo-French adversaries, struggling to form a coherent line of battle. The English are sailing northwards, the French to the south.

Admiral De Ruyter, leading the prinsenvlag division signals to van Banckert, leading the triple prinsenvlag division to engage the French and their white flags. He will lead the other two divisions onto the English.

The Duke of York, leading the red division looks on aghast at his French allies, led by D’Estrées as they sail away from him.

Move 2

The wind and the fleets continue as before, with more of the Dutch coming over the horizon.

Move 3

At last the English begin to turn towards the enemy, with HMS St Andrew of the Blue squadron and HMS London of the Red squadron steering as close to the wind as they dare. van Banckert, turns his squadron led by Westfriesland of the triple prinsenvlag division towards the French.

Move 4

HMS St Andrew of the Blue squadron heads south east, close hauled, beating towards the Dutch. Even the White squadron l’Terrible has begun the same process, but heading on a north easterly course. The Dutch sail onwards, Westfriesland of the triple prinsenvlag squadron pulling away from the Dolphijn, leading the single prinsenvlag squadron.

Move 5

Volturnus continues to blow with moderate strength from the east, forcing the English and French squadrons to beat towards the Dutch bearing down on them. The Maagd van Dordrecht, leading the double prinsenvlag squadron separates from the Dolphijn. Will they manage to cross the T of the Anglo-French fleet? Only time and the next few manoeuvres will tell.

Move 6

The fleets are closing together fast, with the Dutch fan tailing out to intercept the English. The White squadron, lead by l’Terrible tacks to head on a south easterly course.

Move 7

Volturnus tires and passes the burden of the breeze to the south easterly zephyr, Subsolanus, who continues at reduced strength. The change in direction causes l’Terrible to immediately change tack and head north. The English blue and red squadrons head east. The Dutch continue to fan out in line astern, prior to the engagement.

Move 8

The first broadside comes from HMS Dreadnought, but it fails to make a mark on the leading Dutch ship, Dolphijn. The Dutch squadrons are trying to ‘ cross the T ‘ of the English.

Damage points:- Dutch = 0,  Anglo-French = 0

Move 9

Subsolanus, the zephyr of the south easterly breeze continues at a reduced strength. The paths of the first ships cross, leading to an exchange of fire between the Dolphijn and HMS Dreadnought. The honours favour the English. Both the English (HMS Dartmouth) and the Dutch (Gorinchem) light a fire ship apiece, sending them forwards in the expectation of disrupting the opposite fleet, and the hope of hitting a target. The crew of these ships row away steadfastly, seeking rescue from a friendly ship before the chaos ensues.

Damage points:- Dutch = 3,  Anglo-French = 2

Move 10

The English blue squadron gets to  ‘ cross the T ‘ of the Dutch double Prinsenvlag squadron and HMS St Andrew gives Maagd van Dordrecht a broadside.  HMS Dartmouth, the fire ship, causes anxiety to the rest of the ships in this Dutch squadron as the burning hulk bears down on them. The Dutch fire ship, Gorinchem, causes the English red squadron to take sail in, allowing the fire ship to pass. HMS Dreadnought receives more damage.

The French squadron steers north-east towards the melee, but they are still some distance away.

Damage points:- Dutch = 4,  Anglo-French = 5

Move 11

Auster, the zephyr of the south wind takes over the burden of the wind. The battle between the English Blue squadron and the Dutch double  Prinsenvlag squadron now breaks down into a series of ship duels, with HMS Royal James particularly suffering. In retaliation, the English set alight HMS Success and she begins drifting towards the Dutch. Likewise, the English Red squadron and the Dutch  Prinsenvlag squadron also breaks down into ship to ship duels.  The first two fire ships coast gently on their way, missing their targets, but causing ships to swerve. The French white squadron is close to engaging with the Dutch triple Prinsenvlag squadron.

Damage points:- Dutch = 7,  Anglo-French = 9

Move 12

Auster continues to blow down on the chaos below. Maagd van Dordrecht receives another broadside and her fore and main masts are brought down. HMS Robert is put on fire, as she rams into the stricken ship and sets her alight. The frantic Dutch crew try to halt the flames, but in vain. But all does not go the English way, as HMS Dreadnought’s rigging is also brought down.

Damage points:- Dutch = 12,  Anglo-French = 11

Move 13

Subsolanus, the zephyr of the south easterly breeze regains strength and blows. The crew of the Maagd van Dordrecht  fail to put out the fire and it grows. The ship will surely explode soon, and some of the crew jump over the side, to take their chance with the sea.

The crew of the Vrede set her on fire and she coasts into the side of HMS Prince from the Red squadron. The Dutch crew watch with grim satisfaction as the fire catches. Their work done, they row towards a friendly Dutch ship.

In the chaos of HMS Dreadnought’s rigging, a fire breaks out in the fallen sails, and another ship begins the fight for survival.

The English Blue squadron and the Dutch double Prinsenvlag squadron steer away from the fires, with the leading ships trading ineffectual broadsides as they go.

L’Terrible and the Westfriesland begin trading broadsides.

Damage points:- Dutch = 13,  Anglo-French = 17

Move 14

Once again, Auster, the zephyr of the south wind takes over the burden of the wind, but does so with the lightest of breezes.

The Maagd van Dordrecht explodes, showering burning wood, metal and alas the crew across the sea.  HMS Prince, already struggling from the fire ship conflagration is caught in the demise of the Dordrecht, as two fierce fires burn. The crew, seeing the fate of the Dutch vessel, abandon ship.   HMS Dreadnought’s rigging continues to burn, and her crew also looks nervously on at the fate of the Dordrecht.

The Dutch single and double  Prinsenvlag squadrons sail to the east, with the die Zeven Provinciem  taking the worst of the damage.

The Westfriesland of the triple  Prinsenvlag squadron has no choice but to sail south west, and she suffers a pummeling from L’Terrible and le Sainte Phillipe, and HMS London. The rest of the Dutch triple  Prinsenvlag squadron, led by Pacificatie intercept the French White squadron.

Damage points:- Dutch = 24,  Anglo-French = 19

Move 15

Auster continues to blow with the lightest of breezes.

HMS Dreadnought succumbs to the fire and explodes, showing burning fragments across the sea. Far off to shore, the people of Suffolk hear the explosion, but cannot see who has fallen.

The Westfriesland continues its south westerly course, being boxed in by the English and French ships tormenting her.  L’Terrible, le Sainte Phillipe and L’ Superbe all fire into the Dutch ship, who returns fire as best she can. At the intersection of the Dutch and French squadrons, L’ Terrible and Pacificatie trade blows. Elsewhere, the English and Dutch squadrons sailing eastwards also continue to exchange broadsides, causing little damage.

Damage points:- Dutch = 29,  Anglo-French = 31

Move 16

HMS Prince explodes and sinks, another English ship lost today. The echo of the moment reaches the shores of Suffolk minutes many seconds later.

The Westfriesland is now a wreck; fore, main and mizzen masts have fallen and two fires have broken out. But all does not go the French way, as  L’ Terrible loses her fore and main mast.

The Dutch single and double Prinsenvlag squadrons sail to the south east, with the English blue squadron breaking off the chase.

Damage points:- Dutch = 35,  Anglo-French = 46

Move 17

Auster, the zephyr of the south wind continues with the lightest of breezes.

L’ Superb suffers at the hand of the Dutch, but the Allies inflict no damage in return.

Damage points:- Dutch = 35,  Anglo-French = 48

Move 18

The Dutch Single and Double Prinsenvlag squadrons sail to the south east, leaving the fight to their Triple Prinsenvlag squadron. The French continue to fire back.

Damage points:- Dutch = 35,  Anglo-French = 48

Move 19

What remains of the Westfriesland explodes and sinks. L’ Terrible loses her mizzen mast and now drifts helplessly, prey for Dutch fire ships.

Damage points:- Dutch = 37,  Anglo-French = 52

Move 20

HMS Royal James of the blue squadron pursues the Dutch Single and Double Prinsenvlag squadrons.  She remains in danger of being surrounded if the Dutch turn around.

Damage points:- Dutch = 38,  Anglo-French = 53

Move 21

The Dutch Single and Double Prinsenvlag squadrons turn to the south west, and consequently HMS Royal Prince suffers at the hand of the Dutch. She loses her mizzen mast, which will slow her down.

Damage points:- Dutch = 38,  Anglo-French = 54

Move 22

L’ Superb explodes and sinks. The remaining Allied ships know the battle is lost and begin to turn towards the east to sail home.

Damage points:- Dutch = 40,  Anglo-French = 65

Move 23

Only HMS Royal Prince continues the duel with the Dutch, inflicting damage on the Wapen van Enkhuizen.

Damage points:- Dutch = 41,  Anglo-French = 65

Move 24

HMS Royal Prince continues the duel with the Wapen van Enkhuizen, but neither ship does any damage.

Damage points:- Dutch = 41,  Anglo-French = 65

Move 25

The fleets have now disengaged and begin to sail towards their homes.

Damage points:- Dutch = 41,  Anglo-French = 65

Move 26

Auster, the zephyr of the south wind continues with the lightest of breezes, as he watches the ships sail for home.

The Dutch have a long journey and a hero’s welcome for their famous victory to look forward to.

The English and French ships have but a short time to reach shore and tell their tales of woe at the hands of their enemy.

Damage points:- Dutch = 41,  Anglo-French = 65

The entire battle sequence is available as an animated gif, best viewed in Windows picture viewer.

The Admirals fighting this battle were

Admiral Michiel de Ruyter

James, Duke of York, Lord High Admiral.

The Age of Gloire Thursday, Jul 10 2008 


1 Introduction

These rules give a simplified version of combat during the French Wars (1667-1714), especially for the Nine Years War (1688-1697) and the War of the Spanish Succession (1701 – 1714). 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
Line
Dismounted Dragoons

The details of these troops for each of the main armies are given in the National Army tables.

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.

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  (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. 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. 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, 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 in the National Army tables for the unit’s morale. 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 (Marlborough 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 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 details.

7.2.6 Charging units

Charging enemy units adds speed.  Consult the National Army tables for 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), 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 (Marlborough 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. 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. 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. 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 victory table. 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. 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 victory table. 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 victory table. 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. 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. 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 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. 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 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. 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 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.

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