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The Battle of Liliane-Funcken, 1758


Seven Years War, Honours of War, 28mm

Our second December clash using Honours of War was a more straightforward clash than our last game. It saw two reasonably balanced forces line up along opposite sides of an 8×6 foot table, and then get stuck in. In theory there was an objective. there were two villages on the table – we wanted to test the “built-up-area (BuA) rules” – so they became objectives. Both were offset, so one was closer to the French, the other closer to the Allies. Deployment was hampered by these settlements, and by a river which cut the table into one-third and two-third chunks.Bill, Tim and I took charge of the French, while Michael, Campbell and Bart commanded the Allies (Hessians mostly, with some British and Prussian cavalry). Bill and Michael faced each other near the village of Liliane, on the one-third of the table beyond the river, while the rest of us lined up on the rest of the battlefield. The picture above shows Liliane, seen from behind Michael’s left flank.We learned a few things. First off, artillery is very effective. For those used to playing a regular diet of Black Powder this came as something of a surprise. Not only do you get a chance to hit your target, but in most cases the shot can bounce through to hit a unit behind – up to a foot away. The French guns proved the most effective, and destroyed one Hessian battalion, while keeping the Hessian centre at bay through some judicious targeting of jaegers and grenadiers. Less successful was our command ability.Several of our brigadiers were rated “dithering” – a common occurrence with early war French armies – and we often couldn’t get our troops to move when we wanted to. The rules use a command roll for each brigade reminiscent of Fire & Fury. Campbell started with an double move, springing forward to seize half of the village of Funcken. My light infantry – the Chasseurs de Fischer – seized the other half. The two sides then started blazing away at each other – without much effect. Apparently its hard to kill troops hiding in buildings…In the centre the two armies advanced very slowly – both Tim and Bart displaying uncharacteristic caution. One of the strange features of the battle was the way the cavalry didn’t really feature in the game. We had seven “regiments” – the Allies had six (including the two which made up the La Reine dragoons, lent to the Allies to make up for their shortfall in horseflesh. After all, they had red coats, so it seemed appropriate. On the Allied right the British light dragoons and the Von Reusch hussars advanced with a galloper gun attached, and appeared at the side of Funcken. My own cavalry – the Maestre de Camp and Conti regiments held back and waited for a clash that never came. In the centre all our two regiments of cavalry did was suffer bounce through shots from the Allied artillery!Over on the French right, the three “regiments” of the Bercheny Hussars faced off the La Reine / Kaiser dragoons, because a pesky walled field stood between them. Neither commander wanted to be caught crossing the wall when being counter-charged, so the two units spent the game staring at each other, separated by a few stone walls! Back in the centre our infantry kept failing its command rolls, and therefore didn’t advance very far. When it did, it was shot up by the Allied artillery, and two battalions were forced to retire. That all took so long to sort out that their advance wasn’t resumed for the rest of the game. Still, our French guns had kept the Allied infantry at bay, and with stalemate in Funcken, the outcome of the battle rested on what happened in the village of Liliane.In the centre the two armies advanced very slowly – both Tim and Bart displaying uncharacteristic caution. One of the strange features of the battle was the way the cavalry didn’t really feature in the game. We had seven “regiments” – the Allies had six (including the two which made up the La Reine dragoons, lent to the Allies to make up for their shortfall in horseflesh. After all, they had red coats, so it seemed appropriate. On the Allied right the British light dragoons and the Von Reusch hussars advanced with a galloper gun attached, and appeared at the side of Funcken. My own cavalry – the Maestre de Camp and Conti regiments held back and waited for a clash that never came. In the centre all our two regiments of cavalry did was suffer bounce through shots from the Allied artillery!Over on the French right, the three “regiments” of the Bercheny Hussars faced off the La Reine / Kaiser dragoons, because a pesky walled field stood between them. Neither commander wanted to be caught crossing the wall when being counter-charged, so the two units spent the game staring at each other, separated by a few stone walls! Back in the centre our infantry kept failing its command rolls, and therefore didn’t advance very far.When it did, it was shot up by the Allied artillery, and two battalions were forced to retire. That all took so long to sort out that their advance wasn’t resumed for the rest of the game. Still, our French guns had kept the Allied infantry at bay, and with stalemate in Funcken, the outcome of the battle rested on what happened in the village of Liliane.

 

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