Reacently I seized the opportunity to obtain for myself a copy of Les victoires du Maréchal de Saxe published by Vae Victis. I am quite interested in the period of the War of the Austrian Succession. Also these two battles took place near to where I live making them a viable destination for an excursion.
After I had prepared the counters I challanged my son for a game. He accepted willingly as can be expected from a honorable young man. We went for the earlier battle, the battle of Fontenoy 1745 AD. He opted for the French side, I sided with the Pragmatic Allies. Thus all picturs you will see are taken from the allied’s point of view.
The historical scenario of Fontenoy starts on turn 4, i.e. after the uneffective 3-hour shelling of the French field fortification. The main objective of the allies is to dislodge the French positions by taking the fortified village of Fontenoy and then destroy the pontoon at the bridgehead over the river Sheldt.
I tried an somewhat unhistorical attack on the unfortified sections of the French line. At first I met with some success driving back the French infantry. But the French immediately threw their cavalry on my disorganised brigades routing them.
The allies reletlessly attacked with their infantry forces. I found out that attacking the redoubts is a costly and invideous affair. Even when attacking at great odds and with my generals leading their troops the allied brigades made little progress.
The high water mark came, when the British guards attacked and finaly overran the 2nd redoubt on the right corner of the salient. The Dutch had punshed a hole into the French right wing but where unable to take the redoubts.
One last big chance for the allies came when the the French infantry defending Fontenoy got disordered by very effective cannon fire. The Duce of Cumberland intended to seize the opportunity. He sent an request to the Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont, the commander of the Dutch infantry forc. The Prince however was embroiled in the fighting for the redoubts on the French left wing and would not oblige.
The only force on hand was the British cavalry. It immediately attacked the palisaded village in force. Unfortunately this last attack narrowly failed. How can dice be so unreliable!
A swift counterattack by the French guards and the “Wild Geese” crushed the British guards and by this feat demoralised major general Ligioner’s British infantry force. As a result the French secured a limited French victory:
“Hold Fontenoy and demoralise at least one allied formation without being demoralised.”
We had a good game, and I am sure there will be a follow-up due shortly.