Friday, August 18, 2017

Let's Play Fontenoy!

Fritz & Staff at the Savage Swan Inn discussing battle plans.

I want to take a little bit of a break from fighting AWI campaign battles and travel back to Europe to fight some tricorn era battles, namely the Charles Grant scenario for Fontenoy. I will be trying out one of the two Grant scenarios for Fontenoy in his book, "Wargaming in History - Volume 2 - Dettingen, Fontenoy and Lauffeld."  I plan to fight the scenario "The Whole Battle" but leave out the Dutch contingent and their attack from the left wing of the Duke of Cumberland's Pragmatic Army. The book also presents a smaller scenario called, "The Infernal Column"

Since I do not have any British or French Minden figures painted, I will have to use the Grant devise of substituting other nations' figures for those of the actual forces in the battle. Grant pere and fils use this mechanism frequently in their battles and so I plan to do the same, using my Minden Prussians for the British and my Minden Austrians for the French.

Another view of Frederick at the town of Vezon, behind the Prussian lines.

The tabletop layout that I am using is shown in the two pictures below. The Austrians are defending a ridge that provides some dead ground that will hide their troops from the view of the Prussians. Anchoring the Austrian left flank is the Berry Wood and the Redoubt d'Eu. The woods is teaming with Croat light infantry (substituting for the Arquebusiers de Grassin) that will pose a tactical problem for any attackers.

The Austrian center is manned by two battalions of elite grenadiers and four more musketeer battalions. All of the Austrian cavalry backs up the Austrian center.

Anchoring the Austrian right flank is the fortified town of Fontenoy.

Area of the battlefield where the British "Infernal Column" attacked the French position. In this case though, the Prussians are standing in for the British and the Austrians for the French.

Aerial view of the Fontenoy battlefield with annotations.
Here are several views of the town of Fontenoy. The Austrians have spent considerable time improving the defenses of the town with entrenchments and abatis. The town may hold up to three battalions of infantry.

The town of Fontenoy has been turned into a stronghold with entrenchments and abatis. The town can hold up to three battalions of infantry. Fontenoy anchors the Austrian right flank.

Austrian reserves await orders to enter the town.

Front view of Fontenoy, from the Prussian point of view.

The Austrian cavalry is deployed in the center and is hidden from the view of the Prussians in the area of dead ground behind the ridge. The Austrians have 10 squadrons (12 figures each) of cavalry.

Austrian cavalry is positioned behind the ridge in the center of the Austrian battle line, awaiting orders to engage the enemy.

Maurice de Saxe devised the cunning plan to draw the Prussians into a battle on ground of his choosing. He expects the Prussians to attack straight up the middle, so he has created a number of little surprises for the attacker. As the attacker marches into the center of the Austrian line, he will find that his troops are subject to an enfilading fire from the artillery positioned in the Redoubt d'Eu and from the town of Fontenoy. Light infantry in the Berry Wood will also pepper the Prussian soldiers in the right flank as they march towards the center.

Maurice de Saxe has a bad case of Dropsy, so he has to conduct the management of the coming battle from a wicker chariot.

The Redoubt d'Eu anchors the Austrian left flank.

Austrian center looking at the Prussian deployment. I added a back table for the Prussian cavalry after the initial set up and posting. This alleviates the traffic jam of figures at the table edge on the main table.

The Prussian deployment is fairly straight forward - they will simply attack in the center and hope that might of arms will force a break through of the Austrian center and win the battle. The Prussians have placed their best infantry - the Guards, in the center along with four battalions of musketeers.

The Prussian Guards (IR15/II/III) will lead the attack on the Austrian center today.

The Prussian left wing, shown below, will merely demonstrate in front of Fontenoy to keep the attention of the garrison on them, rather than on the main attack in the center.

IR22 Dessau protects the Prussian left flank and faces the town of Fontenoy.

The Prussians have seven squadrons of heavy cavalry in the center, deployed behind the infantry.

Next in line come the Prussian cavalry - 7 squadrons.

The Prussian cavalry awaits in reserve on the back table near the town of Vezon.

Prussian Jagers will enter the Berry Wood and flush out the Croats.

Prussian Jagers prepare to enter the woods to flush out the expected Croats.

I plan on playing Fontenoy as a solo game over the coming weekend and I will post a lot of pictures of the battle as part of the post game report of the action.

So what do you think, does this look like fun?


  1. Excellent ! I look forward to the forthcoming battle , Tony

  2. Of course, playing Fontenoy is a great idea, and when you have this kind of armies, what a pleasure to look at such a set-up! Maurice de Saxe is just amazing, waiting for the battle...

  3. Wonderful looking figures Jim and so beautifully painted as always.

  4. What an excellent setup, Jim. I hope you have great fun this weekend. I look froward to the AAR's. Cheers, Rohan.

  5. Jim,
    I am very envious. As this is a battle I have never refought. Charles Grant wrote a wonderful wargame account of his refight and I have returned to his book a lot of times.

  6. This looks like an excellent set up for the battle. Do you have decent rules in place for your solo journey? I noticed that you placed reinforcements handily behind Fontenoy. Do such reinforcements exist elsewhere on the battlefield for either side?

    1. I have two back tables that run parallel to the main table that I use to add depth to my table top games. They are 2.5ft wide. I only have one of the tables cleared of wargame junk for now (the other is my temporary work bench and photobooth), so I only had one of the armies getting the extra depth. I gave it to the French knowing that they needed it for all of their cavalry.

      The Prussians have one cavalry squadron off table so pretty much everything that they have is shown in the store window.

      Now I'm sort of wishing that I had cleared off the other back table for the Prussian side. Sigh.

      I use 2.5ft by 6ft folding tables for everything. Two tables side by side lengthwise are thus 5ft by 6ft. My game mat is 12ft long so there are five tables comprising the main table. (actually, there are 5 more feet on this table, but that part currently has my AWI campaign map layed out with movement chits atop of it, so I can't use that part of the table.

      The two side tables are thus a series of the 2.5 by 6ft tables layed end to end to form a long but narrow table running the length of the main table.

      I use the Wargame Holiday Centre concept of having aisles between the tables and having the action cross over the virtual aisle when required.


  7. It all looks and sounds fantastic!

    Best Regards,


  8. I just added the back table to the Prussian side so that they have a place to put their cavalry and ease the traffic jam of figures. I will update the post to add a couple more pictures of the back table.

  9. This made me dig out my Wargaming in History books last night and think about doing Fontenoy with my 10mm SYW. Looks really interesting.