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2012 - Number 33


View of the Overall Table

Might and Reason:
Fontenoy, 1745

Once Chris has started building Dutch forces for the mid-eighteenth century the opportunity arose to re-fight one of the key battles from The War of Austrian Succession.

This precursor to the better known Seven Years War saw the French armies of Marshal Saxe wage a successful series of campaigns against the Austrian, British, and Dutch armies in the present day Belgium. The most famous of Saxe’s several victories was won over the Duke of Cumberland’s “Pragmatic Army” at Fontenoy in the summer of 1745.

The French Line with Artillery and Redoubts

French Cavalry Ready to Support

Saxe was besieging the fortress of Tournai and Cumberland marching to its relief. Saxe left a small force to screen the fortress and deployed the rest of his army to meet Cumberland with his right anchored on the River Scheldt and his line protected by redoubts and solidly-built villages.

The re-fight saw the allies deploy historically with the Dutch on the left, the small Austrian contingent in the center and the British on the right. Also historically, the British carried the weight of the attack and suffered accordingly while the Dutch, with their extremely cautious commanders remained largely idle until the issue was decided.

The Pragmatic Army Deploys

Dutch Forces Ready for Action

The British infantry with their excellent discipline and musketry exerted strong pressure on the French left, managing to drive the French from some of their redoubts but were driven back by fierce counterattacks by waves of French cavalry.

With the British broken, Saxe swung around to deal with the Dutch who very sensibly pulled back after a few (surprisingly successful) cavalry charges.

The Thin Red Line

The British Assault Goes In

When we added up the points of the two armies there had only been one point separating them. However, in Saxe the French had an Army Commander rated as “Great” whereas the Allies had only Cumberland, rated as “Average”. This proved decisive, enabling the French to maneuver with much greater speed and flexibility.

The colorful uniforms and fast-playing game made for a fun afternoon and further battles from this under-explored conflict are planned for later in the year.

While Reserves Move Up

The French Hold the Villages

The British Take Heavy Casualties

While Cavalry Joins the Fray

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