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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Battle of Wijnendale 1708 - Beneath the Lilly Banners


Chas took us back in time to his youth in Queen Anne's army, running a recreation of the battle of
Wijnendale, to the excellent "Beneath the Lily Banners - 2nd Edition" rules.


League of Augsburg - Beneath the Lilly Banners

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Wijnendale


In 1708 Marlborough had the city of Lille under siege. He relied on supplies being brought up from the port of Ostend to his siege lines by cart.

A convoy of seven-hundred wagons was en-route with a strong guard of 7500 men, when the screen of dragoons spotted a French army over 20,000 strong marching across open country towards the road. The one hundred and fifty British dragoons aggressively harassed the French, forcing them to deploy. This allowed the convoy guard to form up in three lines between two large woods, in the open fields flanking the road. More infantry was deployed in the woods on either side of the Allied line. The scene was set for the start of our scenario, with the French coming on in force towards the Allied lines, which stood between them and the vital convoy.


Chas and Steve M took the French (boo !), whilst myself and "Lucky" Andy commanded the Allied contingent.




The French gun line fired a volley, before the infantry masked their fire. The first casualties fell on
some luckless Dutch infantry. The French infantry stepped forward, leaving their cavalry on the flanks and rapidly fell to "first fire" from the steady allied ranks. Several French units retired, causing
discomfort and disorder to the successive lines behind them.The next French line re-ordered and
stepped up to take fire, but now the casualties were starting to mount in the Allied first line and the
French pressed on.

The French command looking very happy with their day

Both sides were now struggling to get fresh units into action, without ruining the discipline of their new troops. A melee was fought in the centre and both sides suffered badly, with several French units
routing or retiring. Meanwhile the Allied troops in the woods stared at their opposite numbers, with the Allies unwilling to leave cover and the French unwilling to step into the woods. The Allied right
exchanged fire with their opposite numbers, but on the left both sides sat out of effective range.



The convoy crawled slowly past the scene of carnage.



The second lines of infantry clashed and both sides took losses. Now an Allied unit was cut down and
one retired. Seeing a chance to force the issue, the British dragoons charged a reduced and shaken
French battalion. The French suffered, but stayed locked in combat. Now French horse joined the fray
and musketry rippled along the line. The dragoons broke, as fresh Allied infantry moved from the
woods towards the centre in an effort to support the third line.



Lines of French horse were now visible through the gaps in their infantry line. The Allied third line of foot stood ready, as they eyed the fresh horse and a fresh Allied battalion from the woods fell into line.





There we called it a day. An honourable draw and a very close fought game. The main problem suffered on both sides was that the close terrain made getting shaken troops out of line and fresh ones in, was no easy matter.


Many thanks to Chas for making the refight a balanced contest and to all involved for playing in a
"gentlemanly" style. I let the side down with my dice rolls, but Andy more than made up for it. He
threw a bucket full of sixes at every asking. Last I saw Steve was still inspecting the dice he was
using.


As a footnote, General Wade's Allied force suffered 900 casualties and inflicted 4 or 5,000 on the
French, who quit the field. For his efforts, Wade received the thanks of parliament and the queen.
Some years later he was set aside from command for "being a Scotsman". No one said life is fair.

Vince

2 comments:

  1. As I said on TWS an excellent post, beautiful figures. Many thanks for such an 18th century visual treat.
    Cheers,
    Willz

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    Replies
    1. Cheers Willz, glad you enjoyed the read
      JJ

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