Friday afternoon four o’clock and General’s The Duke of Marlborough, Eugene, Duc de Savoy, Marshal Vendome and the Duc de Burgundy arrived in the car park here at the Wargames Holiday Centre. Well they didn’t know they were going to be taking on these mantles as yet, but the game was imminent and they would be taking up their respective posts to do battle on the rolling fields of Flanders!
The battle of Oudenarde is a reinforcing battle with the Allied army under the Duke of Marlborough feeding on through the fortified town of Oudenarde from the south. While the French army under the joint leadership of the Marshal Vendome and Prince of Burgundy feed on from the north east. The French start the game with the force of General Biron deployed between the villages of Heurne and Eyne on a North to east line. The French battalion’s La Fere and Du Main occupoed Eyne while villages were swiss mercenaries, Betten’s and Reinold supported them, Another three battalions occupied Heurne.
Leading the Allied advance was Cadogan with a mixture of Hanoverian’s, Prussians and British. They immediately began to advance on a broad front toward the village of Groenewald to the west of Eyne along with Eyne itself. Two British battalions supported by two squadrons of British Dragoons moved on Groenewald while four Battalions of British advanced on the village of Eyne from the west.
As the generals were suspicious that the French may make a drive on the pontoon bridged spanning the river Scheldt, four battalions of Prussians were detailed to guard these.
Oudenarde is an encounter battle and as such the forces within the two armies began to roll for their number of reserves to arrive on their respective allotted roads. An average die was rolled for the leading columns and this many units began to move down the roads toward the battle. The French were quite slow initially only succeeding with low numbers while the British rolled high.
As such the column under Argyll arrived relatively quickly and began the attack on Eyne in earnest. Hessians manoeuvred to the south of this village and began to volley the troops of the Du Main regiment, return fire was desultory and the dead began to mount in the village. From the west the British Battalions from Orkney’s regiment volleyed the La Fere battalion manning the western suburbs, the fire hear was deadly with the 1st battalion of Orkneys being quickly reduced to nearly fifty percent!
As mentioned in previous posts, here at the Wargames Holiday Centre we use tiles to manoeuvre troops from reserve or in the initial deployment. This allows troops to be moved around the table fairly quickly, until they come within 54″ and visibility when the tile is converted to the troops it represents.
This mean’t that the reserves were moved with ease to their position on the field and explains why, in the background you may see the odd blue or red tile.
The Allied forces under Argyll spread across the battle front toward the villages of Schaerken and Diepenbeke. The German horse under Natzmer had also arrived and were moving to cross the Scheldt at Syngem. Biron saw this and diverted some of his initial reserves from north of the Norken stream to delay this, vital reserves however were no longer in the centre and this would stretch the defenders of Eyne and Heurne to the limit. Biron also sent his horse and dragoons to delay the Prussian’s arriving en masse to the east of Syngem.
It was certainly getting tricky for the French.