Up front, the French are making progress. To the rear and to the side, things are falling apart quickly.
The Royal Etranger (at the far edge of that huddle of cavalry,) beset by more than twice their number with more coming on, have decided that discretion is the better part of valour and will follow their brigade companions off the field. One regiment of French dragoons remains and it is in poor shape, and it is about to tangle with two regiments of Hannoverian Kurassiers (Third and fourth lines in center of picture.
The French may be able to break out, but they may not have much to break out with.
II/4e Piemonte charge into the waiting over-sized first battalion of the First Prussian Regiment. After a period of hacking and stabbing they both fall back.
As seen from the French lines: With two Prussian battalions recoiling on their right flank, a bit of a hole has been opened in the Allied position.
The Austrian infantry (and artillery) continue to stream on in parade ground order behind their cavalry. However will they arrive in time to make a difference?
The Prussian defenses are crumbling as three more of their battalions are sent running. There is no longer anything between the French and the bridge.
(As seen from the French lines) The Prussian right flank is in tatters. One battalion remains; a second falls back; to the rear, two more battalions are reforming. Plus the French grenadier battalions have finally arrived ready to fight.
Success at the front, but potential disaster to the rear.
In the middle of the French position, the III battalion of 71e Berry has remained behind to protect the baggage train and artillery batteries bringing up the rear of the French main body. With their steadfast volleys they have now seen off charges from TWO Austrian dragoon regiments. At the upper edge toward the right can be seen (barely) the French rearguard in action.
A French artillery battery rumbles over the bridge while the Prussians are still reorganizing. However things are getting desperate for the French rearguard, which is almost surrounded.
With the Austro-Hungarians stymied at the base of this cauldron and the supply train and rear-guard batteries about to cross, the remnants of the French Army look as if they have made off.
In consultation Marlborough orders the Prussian commander to sound the recall. As he has scattered the French cavalry and more than 50% of the French infantry across the countryside, and considering that the only hope of trapping the rest of the French – the Prussian infantry – are exhausted, he believes he has done as much as he possibly could on this battlefield. The Austrians are still fresh, but in their position all they can do is push the French toward the bridge.
There are still two fords along the Rupel River between this bridge and Termonde that the French commander didn’t know about. Much of the French cavalry and infantry that have broken and fled back toward Termonde will be able to cross. Still, many will drown trying to cross the river, many others will surrender and many will take the chance to desert. It will be a long time before the scattered French formations will be reformed, with considerably fewer numbers. The Allies have a huge advantage for the now.
I’d like to say a few words in introduction. My name is Gerald (Gerry) Upton, retired and living in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
I’ve been interested in military history ever since I can remember, and in wargaming since about 2 days after that point. Summers from about 5 years old on I went to our family cottage where a local friend and I were interested in ACW miniatures wargaming. This was mostly because the only inexpensive figurines were the Airfix ACW sets. They got combined with the Wagon Train, and the French Foreign Legion as Zouaves! Talk about sand tables! We played on the beach!
Somewhere in my early teens I discovered these “new” adult wargames from an obscure company called Avalon Hill. My first one was Blitzkrieg, which was just out. I found Midway in a department store and saved my pennies until I could get it. That one I still have; a bunged-out old box with the game and the Coral Sea and Leyte Gulf variants along with the Wargamer’s Guide.
One friend had Bismarck (’62.) Another had Battle of the Bulge. We used to get together – mostly at my place, it seemed – and play them. I bought Victory in the Pacific; that was my last one.
I bought a year’s subscription to the Avalon Hill General, starting with Vol. 1 #2. I found it was all about HOW TO WIN, WIN, WIN! And eventually threw them out. (Pity!) I bought some S&Ts when they started putting out games in them. First one was Chicago, Chicago and the Flight of the Goeben. I started into miniatures gaming, collecting and painting 25mm Napoleonics, but I didn't really have the space to play them. Then I discovered Jack Scruby's 9mm Napoleonics and started collecting and painting them.
Then into my 30s and 40s and things like work and family intruded and gaming friends went their own ways. I painted more 9mm Napoleonics, dreaming that some day I would get to use them. I eventually moved to the other side of the world and my games collection disappeared. Except for Midway and VitP, which I found in my parents’ basement. Plus all the 7,200 9mm Napoleonics.
As retirement approached I got re-interested in the Avalon Hill games, and decided I would like to design some of my own board wargames. As a preliminary I felt I had to figure out how to make quality counters and game boards. I made some replacements for AH game counters and decided to see if people would buy them. Well, that took off, and now I’m louiefourteen, a mainstay on eBay, designing and selling replacement counters for old board wargames.
I found that on the internet you can find all those games still around – used, of course. I started collecting all the ones I remembered from my youth. Then I started getting some of the ones I always wanted but didn’t have the chance to get. That list kept expanding. Now I have quite a good collection. Just not entirely sure what to do with them.
I wanted to get back into miniatures as well. I found I was more interested in the Seven Years War era; pity when you have all those Napoleonics, but, hey, tastes change. I started buying and painting Essex Seven Years War figures, but soon found that it was causing me problems with my spine. I still paint a little bit now and then, but mostly I have been purchasing my figures from a painting service. Luckily they use Essex Miniatures as well.
So now I have lots of SYW miniatures, and I've been reading about Marlborough and the War of the Spanish Succession. Having studied several different viewpoints of this age, I've always wondered what a wargamer might do if he has these opportunities. So now I am trying to go back 300 years, and take my little pewter figures back 50 or so. Anachronistic!
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