The Great Rebellions in Oxford 2019
80YW Dutch vs Huguenot
A one-day event in Oxford gave a chance to wheel out some FoGR goodness in 15mm, in what was a tightly themed C16 competition for the armies involved in the Great Rebellions of that era - the French wars of Religion, the 80 Years War of Dutch Independence and the many Peasant Revolts across Europe.
After perusing the (short) list of permitted armies I settled on the Dutch through a process of elimination and science. This involved the following considerations:
So, this was the plan I went with, even after finding out after submitting my first pass at a list that the games were to be played at a reduced 650 point level on a smaller 5x3 table.. neither of which were particularly good for a plan which involved spending 120 points on three sets of guns and a further 30 on a ship which was unlikely even to make it onto the table in half of the (ahem, 3) games played.
The first game of the day saw the Dutch deployed against one of the 4 Huguenot armies which made up 50% of the field - there were no other Dutchmen out there meaning my boys were carrying the Orange Tricolore on their own!
The lists for the 80YW Dutch and Huguenot from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Oxford can be seen here in the FoG:R Wiki.
With the Ship failing to make it onto table due to my inability to secure a waterway the smaller-than-usual table was packed tight with a wall of enemy infantry. Rough terrain and fields cluttered my left, and an anchoring village narrowed the board even more leaving just enough space for some pointless mounted action on the right flank. This indeed would be a test of the artillery as battle winner theory!
What Was the 80 Years War?
The Dutch list I had selected had gone with Reiters as the only form of Horse, counting on the relatively poor quality and low numbers of most of the opposing Gendarme types in the other permitted lists to allow me to use shooting and weight of numbers to offset the Gendarmes lance at impact advantage.
This flank would again prove an immediate test of that theory as my Reiters faced off against enemy Reiters and Gendarmes in a straight fight.
On the opposite flank the textbook big blocks of Arquebusiers faced each other across a couple of fields and areas of broken ground.
The Dutch had a secret weapon though - eschewing convention they had bulked up with an 8-pack, and now found themselves facing a more standard 6-pack of enemy shooters.
With more shooting from yet another unit of Reiters as well, the Dutch were using the cunning and imaginative plan of using numbers as a substitute for quality. Would it work..?
The two forces closed rapidly to shooting distances and started to exchange close range arquebus and carbine fire.
What's Going on Here Then?
About now I'm starting to wonder if I have deployed (or moved) my Kiels too far forwards in my attempt to protect the various units of artillery from being overrun on the narrow table. My artillery has been pretty deadly, but the Huguenot army has plenty of Kiels and I am only hitting a couple of them so the artillery-led approach is perhaps not quite being given enough time to work as well as it needs to.
With Kiels closing rapidly in the centre it seems that I may need to take the initiative on both flanks instead to try and gain the upper hand before the infantry lottery starts in the centre.
Holy Heiniken Batman! With my centre largely static and the enemy making slow progress towards the Dutch gun and pike line there was time for a couple of Dutch commanders to join their Reiters and out-general the oncoming French horse, giving the Dutch more resilience to survive any losses of morale.
The centre was static, with the 2 Kiels in the Dutch army staying just far enough forward that their rear edges were not too close to the back of the board to suffer a morale penalty.
FoGR hint - If any part of your unit is within 6" of the rear of the table you suffer a -1 morale test modifier for an unsecure flank, and also infantry take a -1 on shooting factors. This even applies to Kiels.
Dutch and Landsquenecht skirmishers harassed and delayed the oncoming French and mercenary Kiels, and the Dutch artillery line barked out repeatedly smashing cannonballs into the densely packed ranks of the approaching enemy.
The French were already starting to suffer attrition as they pulled out a sequence of low 1's and 2's for death rolls in response to the telling barrage of artillery fire.
On the Dutch right the two blocks of Reiters converged on the enemy Gendarmes, pouring carbine fire into the heavily armoured sub-par nobility in an effort to chip away at either their numbers of morale before the Frenchmen's devastating lance-point charge smashed home.
Things were now getting as tasty as a bacon and poached apple pancake as on the opposite flank the "we have more men shooting than you" approach was clearly not working as the Dutch suffered the first casualty. Not wishing to risk dropping to parity in a further round of shooting the Dutch pressed home, charging into contact with the enemy arquebusiers with deadly effect and scoring a swathe of hits at first contact.
The French morale crumbled at this hammer-blow, and in moments the French arquebusiers were fleeing in rout and disarray as the victorious Dutch arquebusiers swept forward again. Suddenly this flank looked like a tremendous opportunity for the Netherlanders, as only a damaged unit of skirmishers and a Poor quality pike block stood between the Dutch infantry and the enemy camp. Stick that in your bong and smoke it!
With carbine fire proving ineffectual the two set of horse crashed together with fury and rage, but also - in the case of the Gendarmes - a POA advantage at Impact which left the Dutch Reiters with a one-step morale loss after the first round.
The Dutch plan here was simply to hold on for a long as possible leaving the centre of the table to decide the battle, so this outcome was not all that bad for them
The French needed their Gendarmes to win though, so for them this outcome was something to make them literally dance with joy
In the centre, as the French continued to push forward they also continued to lose bases at a statistically unreasonable rate to Dutch shooting.
The rapid victory for the Dutch arquebusiers on the left had freed up the unit of Reiters who had been supporting them to instead swing into the centre and threaten one of the three Huguenot Kiels, forcing it in turn to peel away from the main advance and face the mounted threat.
Clog-tastic! This effectively turned the centre into a straight faceoff between 4 Kiels, 2 on either side - making the Dutch advantage in artillery hugely significant.
What's Going on Here Then?
With the Arquebusiers now in full pursuit of the routing enemt on my left I suddenly find myself with a spare unit of Reiters on the enemy flank. They won't be able to stand up to a Kiel, but if they can at least distract one of them it will even up the odds in the middle dramatically and take 1/3 of the Huguenot army's main strike force largely out of the game.
With the other wing looking like it will net out at a draw as well the opportunity for my two Kiels to take advantage of the mounting numbers of artillery-inflicted losses on the Hugenout Kiels closing in on them is getting better by the turn.
The Cavalry fight was turning into a swirling grim melee - the Dutch were giving up morale against the Gendarmes, but had scored a vital hit on the French Reiters. With the battle against the Gendarmes now seemingly lost and the decisive infantry clash in the centre rapidly approaching the Dutch sent one General back to the middle and left the Fragmented Reiters to their fate.
The victorious arquebusiers had driven off the screen of French skirmishers and now turned their firepower on the poor quality pike and shotte block from the safety of the terrain. Now the monkey came out of the sleeve as the blue-coated Frenchmen appeared not to be at all happy at this development to say the least!
The cavalry flank continued to grind on, with the French this time coming off worst as the Fragmented Reiters survived a round of combat against the Gendarmes. Both sides now had a unit teetering on the brink of rout.
French Wars of Religion (with battle cutaways)
In the centre the decisive clash was fast approaching, as Kiel on Kiel action shaped up. The French mercenaries were however already severely depleted with some files now unable to claim the 4-rank bonuses due to attrition by Dutch cannon fire.
With one Kiel still transfixed by Dutch Reiters the French's seeming advantage in numbers had been whittled away.
Based with 2 ranks of Museum Miniatures pikemen shoehorned onto every base the Dutch infantry looked like herrings in a barrel - a far more solid prospect than the rather less well fed Essex-cast enemy closing to shooting range with them.
The Dutch right flank was now witnessing an even exchange of casualties, as the Gendarmes broke through at the same moment their Reiter colleagues dropped to Fragged and 2 bases down. The Gendarmes pursued forward, after the routers and away from the other combat as their exhaustion at the protracted fight took away their willingness to start a fresh round of fighting.
With the Poor quality French infantry now wondering if they had been hit by a windmill in the face of relentless Dutch shooting, things were about to get even worse. They were soon picking up a DISR marker and with that encouragement the Dutch saw little point in not pressing home the advantage - they charged in, lead personally by a General who had decided that the opportunities afforded to sweep away a multitude of enemy units and capture the camp were worth him risking life and limb by fighting with one of the lest obviously combat-ready units in his army.
The Frenchmen wobbled at first contact, dropping to a probably unrecoverable Fragged as the Dutch shot and clubbed them with their arquebuses into a state of disarray.
As the Poor French infantry turned and fled the table in the distance, exposing their baggage train to the Dutch arquebusiers the rest of the French army committed itself to combat - going in against the Reiters and frightening off a unit of skirmishers in the process.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Arquebusiers are racking up victory points at a rate of knots - if they can roll over the Poor infantry and catch the enemy skirmishers as they pursue towards the French camp this one unit can potentially finish the game with 8 VPs to their name. .
This will mean that I now only need to achieve an even a tradeoff of units in the middle and on the other flank to eke out a victory for the Dutch
The job of the Reiters was simply to hang on, and they just about managed it as the General who had previously commanded the Arquebusiers to victory rushed back to bolster the morale of his wobbling horsemen.
Taking on a full winged Kiel is a serious task, and one which 4 Average Reiters are fairly ill equipped to succeed at - a conclusion which they themselves were rapidly coming to realise as well as they dropped to Fragged in the melee round.
The English Mercenary commander of the Dutch gun crew was starting to look increasingly worried.
The French Gendarmes having halted their pursuit now faced a difficult choice. Turning to join in the ongoing Reiter-fight seemed obvious, but with their own troops so close to breaking surely this battle would be over long before they got the chance to join in - but marching round the village to threaten the rear of the Dutch army may not be achievable in the remaining game time. They chose the latter...
And so it proved, with the Gendarmes bursting out from the other side of the town to find that the line of battle had moved away from them as they trotted forward.
With that, the referee blew the final whistle and the game ended - a non-decisive victory for the Dutch as for all of their telling artillery fire and heroics of the arquebusiers on the flank they had been unable to do sufficient damage to the 3 massive French Kiels to tip the enemy army over the brink and into defeat.
The Result is a win, but not an army break for the Dutch.
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition, or read on for the post match summaries from the Generals involved, as well as another episode of legendary expert analysis from Hannibal
Post Match Summary from the 80YW Dutch Commander
Well, thish ish a schterling performance from the ladsh, and we will have to schelebrate with bitteballen and many Heinikensh the fact that we have schurvived our firsht outing with thish newly formulated army and come out on top.
There were many thingsh to like about thish performance, but mosht of all I think the lisht hash been something schpeschial, and hash done all that was ashked of it apart from winning of coursh.
The use of 8 arquebushiers was a mashterstroeck, and it almosht won the game in itsh own right.
Having never even deployed thish army before, I think I have learnt some valuable lessons about the timing and pacing of the game. Once I have schome cheeshesh and schome milk for lunch, and perhaps a toke on a schpliff I will be ready to take on whatever the world throws at us nexchst.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You sad little clog-wearing, bog-hopping idiot - how can you put out a list that was built on a plan involving long range artillery and 3 kiels on a table which denied you any range, and a points total which only allowed you to take 2?
We have become accustomed to seeing you stutter through not practicing or even deplying your list on table, but here you surpassed even that by failing to even read the rules and restrictions on the competition before entering and submitting your army list. What kind of hapless idiot does that?
You also fail to mention the desparately bad luck of your opponent, who seemed intent on handing over a base of pikemen every time even a single cannonball landed amonst them. With so many ones being rolled it is amazing that you actually failed to break even a single Kiel in the game, throwing away your good luck even as your opponent tried to shove it across the table at you in fistfuls.
I truly fear for the outcome of the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition