Wargame Thoughts and Commentary

The Battle of Linswald-DF AAR

The Battle of Linswald-July 20, 1703


Being an account of the recent engagement between the forces of the Sun-King, Louis XIV, and his Bourbon kinsman, Phillip of Spain, and the Elector of Bavaria versus the assembled forces of the Allies led by the English General, John Churchill, and including the Dutch Republic. The Hapsburg Empire, and The Prussian forces of the Hohenzollern dynasty.

The Battle of Linswald attacks10

The forces arrayed. The Town of Linswald in the center, and the Linswald Forest on the right. On the left rear is the Moulin du Mougin sitting on a low ridge, and on the far left is the Chateau Miasme-a decrepit ruin of a once proud estate. In the distant left is a small farm and a low unnamed ridge.

The French (In White)have arrayed dragoons near the Linswald Forest-French Infantry spanning the stream north of the ford, a large mass of cavalry, including the Cuirassiers du Roi, The Royal Carabiniers, and Chevau-legere Regiment Conde to the east of the village. South of the village are a force of two Bavarian Regiments and Regiment Clare (Irish). The left is made up of a Bavarian Artillery battery on the plain. The Mougin ridgeline is held by a Spanish “Old Yellows” regiment fronted by some Spanish Dragoons, East of the Moulin, and a French Gun Battery West of it. Just West of the ridge is a cavalry group made up of Bavarian Cuirassiers and the Mousquetaires du Roi, and two regiments of the Maison Rouge-the French Guard Francaise and the Garde Suisse.

The Allies (in Red) deployed with the English to the right-the 1st Dragoons opposite the Linswald Firest, and a string of Austrian foot From the bridge to the gun batteries. They were backed by Prussian Ansbach cavalry and Austrian Cuirassiers. A Large “Grande Battery” of a Prussian, and two British batteries stationed themselves just South of the road and East of Linswald. Directly North of the town are the Anhalt-Dessau and Kronprinz Prussian Regiments. The British foot was on the Right, primarily around the small farm, which was fronted by a great troop of cavalry made up of Hannoverian horse, Dutch Nassau horse, Cadogan’s Horse, Lloyd’s Dragoons, and Danish Horse. The farmstead hosted a light Britih artilelry battery. The Allied Far Right was anchored by the Dutch with the Welderen regiment and the Dutch Guards assaulting the Chateau, and the Salish regiment linking the chateau with the Dutch battery on the ridge line.

Here’s a Oil painting showing the initial view prior to battle by our artist, Reggie Percy-Smyth Painted from notes drawn from a perch in a tall tree in the Linswald Forest:

WSS Battle July 20

And from the top of the ridge line on the allied Right Flank an opposing view of the initial positions drawn from memory in pencil by Willem von Loon of the Dutch Army Staff:

The Allied horse

A Full listing of the the troops involved on both sides may be found at the Yahoo! Site in the File Section ( http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Repiquerules/files/Battle%20of%20Linswald/ ), as well as a page of “special” rules that were applied to this battle only. You should look them over before reading on as they provide a lot of information that makes the battle report even more understandable.

The Battle:

The French had deployed intending to take the Chateau Miasme, contest the Village of Linswald, and possibly steal a victory by a thrust by Dragoon through the Linswald Forest to capture the Allied line of communications at the bridge and road exit. They secured their train (the defending army gets the train) behind their French Line on the road.

The Allies saw themselves as defensive on their left, with only a light force holding the far left behind the Linswald Forest, but contesting the Village with the Prussians, and the Chateau with a token Dutch Force, but the main attack was a combined attack by the allied horse meant to sunder the French line West of Linswald.

The French Plan unraveled a bit when the Commander of the French Cavalry near Linswald, General Victor-Baptiste-Pierre-Raymonde Levesque, declared after the first round of artillery fire from the distant British and Prussian Guns “Merde!” and, “Il y a Votre artillerie!!” and launched a gallant and jaw dropping charge toward the Allied line!

The Battle of Linswald attacks4

This was to be the main French attack in the battle. If successful, it would sunder the Allied line, isolate Linswald, and open up flanking actions as well as exposing the Allied line of communications (and several lucrative objective markers).

Levesques’ attack was made up of three cavalry regiments, the Cuirassiers du Roi, The Conde Chevau-legeres,and the Royal Carabiniers. They were arrayed in a narrow column with the ranks closed up tight one behind the other.

The three opposing batteries opened up with hard shot that tore through the ranks, causing effect on all three units with bounce through. Leveque had to use a number of command dice, right from the beginning to keep the troops in order on the advance. This was going to be a near run thing!

Elsewhere on the battle front, The dragoons were advancing through the woods on foot, albeit slowly. The French were loathe to spend too many resource dice on this advance until they assessed the cost and the degree of victory of Leveques’ cavalry charge.

French slowly advance in the Linswald forest

The Bavarians and the Clare regiment advanced on the village from the South, while the Prussians entered the village from the North. This was to be a grinding, house to house affair with all the units being committed and locked into the village fighting. The only unit still outside the village was the Bavarian Mercy Regiment, and a supporting Bavarian heavy battery to its immediate left.

Fighting at Linswald

Both armies were also contesting the Chateau Miasme. This was pressed by the French Garde Francaise and the Garde Suisse. To oppose them the were the Dutch Allies, including the vaunted Salish Regiment. The Garde Suisse was to take part of the chateau, while the other half was invested by the Dutch. Both armies were surprised at the deplorable condition of the decaying chateau and its very low objective values. It appeared it was a waste of troops, especially for the French.

Chateau Miasme

Meanwhile, the Allied horse was strangely quiet.

The Dutch, British an Hannoverian Horse

But, these were but sideshows to the thundering French Charge in the center. Round after round tore through the tightly packed cavalry, but on it came! The brave horse men closed with the guns as they switched to desperate rounds of cannister.


The charge strikes home!

But at this crucial moment the French cavalry, rolled a 19 total on 6 dice! This included four 1’s even after all re-rolls! Sacre Bleu!

Bad Dice

There was a wavering , one artillery crew was driven off, but then the shattered remnants of three regiments of horse began to recoil back to the French lines, pursued by the Ansbach Cavalry, which had waited for their opportunity. The French Carabiniers valiantly tried to cover the retreat of their fellow cavalrymen, but then they too were swept away by the retreating mass and the determined Ansbach pursuit. Many, many men (and dice)were lost.

Ansbach Pursuit

As this grand attack was crumbling, the Allies then launched their cavalry force against the French line just West of Linswald.

The Battle of Linswald attacks9

The French were outnumbered the center infantry was firmly lodged into Linswald. All that confronted them was a Bavarian Battery, and some Spanish Horse and infantry on the Moulin Ridge. The guard infantry and the French Mousquetaires and Bavarian Cuirassiers were far to the West and unable to help.

The Allied cavalry rode forward. There was an attempt by the Spanish Horse to disrupt the charge, but it was summarily brushed aside by the Hanoverians, while the Dutch Nassau-Friedland Horse rode over the Bavarian Battery. The center was pierced! The only uncommitted Bavarians were flanked! and the Spanish on the ridge were about to be overwhelmed.

IMG_0394

The Linswald village was rapidly falling into Allied possession along with a number of Objective dice, the center objectives and the Train (incuding Louis’ wine) were exposed. The French had lost a sizable amount of their dice. Nothing could be done to rescue the center. The French generals conceded as the Train began its race to the rear.

The battle was over. The French would have to wait for another day.

The train races from the field copy

A graphic portrayal of the battle:The Battle of Linswald attacks11

Lessons learned by the French

  • Cavalry must charge on a broad front, and when confronted by guns, be spaced by 6” inches to avoid the bounce through devastation and die loss.
  • It is silly to station you best troops on your far left-taking the guard infantry and the best cavalry out of the main action. This was exacerbated by the low objective values of the Chateau Miasme.
  • You simply cannot hold a section of line of over 400 yards with two infantry, a horse and a single gun. This thinning of the line was partially the result of the set-up restrictions, but mostly was the commander’s fault (me). This is the second game in a row where I have stationed the best troops too far from the decisive area-and well away from a position where they could aid units in the crucial center, and also left an inviting line of attack in the center.
  • When you are inferior in units, outnumbered in guns, and have inferior numbers of command dice-you are foolish to attack. Let the other guy prove the point.

General Lessons:

  • Objective values, while low for the Chateau Miasme, were too high in other areas. the general consensus was to lower (yet again) the base values to 4-6-8-10-12 from the present 6-8-10-12-16. See the revised Objective value article in the files section posted today.
  • A concentrated battery of three guns is not to be trifled with without close infantry support.
  • We used the multiple buckets rules gain and it worked VERY well. It will probably be the pattern for all future games.
  • The Asynchronous Sequencing using both a rolled fixed method and allowing the Allies the flexibility of plus or minus one (see the Special rules document in this folder) worked very well and will be used again by scenario.

General Comments:

This was a delightful game. for many reasons including the genial and fun presence of Ray Levesque, who has the true spirit of a French Cavalryman! The Allied commander Greg Rold had a masterful plan-and a sure knowledge of the rules. His second in command, Chris Caudil carried out the Coup de Gras with expert timing and deadly precision. The game was completed in just over 3 hours-even including a reshuffling of the dice buckets from three to two a side prior to play.