Saturday, 12 May 2018

Walcourt 1689 with FoB - The Eagle has Landed...

More FoB action. This time a second bash at Walcourt, though with the superlative Field of Battle this time, and Sgt. Steiner in attendance.

Need we say more about these superb rules:
  • Plausible results - the ebb and flow of battle is readily apparent, as is the wearing down of will to fight that we read about in Horse & Musket sources. This was a very close run thing.
  • Rapid action - we watched cavalry disengage, re-organise and counter-attack within a few card plays, incorporating battlefield friction and risk, with no pre-programmed turn sequence.
  • A great story and game. There is never a dull moment.
  • We discussed maneuver and cavalry column options for the period - so easy to tweak these for the next game.

But why 'The Eagle has Landed'? Read on gentle reader...

 So we have an encounter battle with Walcourt, which is rare enough in a period where as John Childs - eminent historian cites in his works, that things were more than a little inefficient during warfare in this period.

The French deploy Irish on the left, with a strong centre, and cavalry facing enemy cavalry on the right.
The English have held Walcourt under the famous Tollemache, and John Churchill - newly created Earl of Marlborough. Waldeck would say of him at this battle: "... despite his youth he displayed greater military capacity than do most generals after a long series of wars ... He is assuredly one of the most gallant men I know"

 The English are in such a strong position at Walcourt, that it would be folly for the French to take, so they send Irish exiles - Mountcashel's Wild Geese toward the churchyard to hold it.

Some preparation in the centre, and the French right...

...will become a mess of cavalry. 

Attacks in the centre do unseat some Dutch defenders at the walls and hedges, though the French opt to hold until a decision on their right flank can be made. that is where the fire is hottest.

 Irish troops take the church, though Thomas Tollemache will ensure that they don't hold it for long.

 Dragoon fire adds to the effect on the English and Dutch cavalry, though John Churchill reigns supreme.

The English troops on the French left sense a weakened position at the church and launch a sustained and protracted assault against the Franco-Irish position.

As musketry clouds the decision in the centre...

...John Churchill is shot from the saddle, and British history is forever changed. (a 1 on a d20 is hardly ever a good thing...see the reasons for this at the end).

The church becomes a crucible of hand to hand fighting between Irish and English redcoats. The Irish flee, having come off worst in the face of the protracted assault.

 ...though not without casualties, as Tollemache too, hero of the hour, goes down to a stray musketball.

By this stage, both decks had either reached morale threshold, or were about to. When the army morale card came up, the Allies, with Waldeck being a d8 commander, had the odds stacked against them - and their losses sustained make them opt to withdraw, but what a close run thing this was. Epic!

And now..we present the Conspiracy Theory.

So...Sgt Steiner rolled a 1 for Churchill during the 'Officer Survival' check phase, hmmm? Seems strange..Steiner...Churchill. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
 Steiner - Kurt Steiner, drops into England to kill Winston Churchill in the village of Studley Constable in Norfolk, thereby weakening the Allied war effort. He Operation D20 comes into being.

If Rolf Steiner can go back in time, and kill Churchill's 17th century ancestor at the Battle of Walcourt, then Winston will never be born! History is changed forever by the roll of a d20.

 We're being serious Winston!

This sort of thing is not without precedent of course, and may yet spawn a series of movies (of which only the first and second are worth watching of course).

 It also means that the WWII assassination attempt doesn't need to happen, and we therefore don't need to bear witness to this very definite, porn-star style, mustache.

However, it does give us a more than adequate excuse to have a pic of Jenny Agutter - which is always worth it.

'No - listen to me! If we really have perfected time-travel, we need to go back to 1979 and make sure that the movie called 'Breakthrough' never gets made! They claim that it's a sequel to 'Cross of Iron' and that's the biggest tragedy of all. You hear me? Hello? Hello?'


  1. Enjoyable BatRep and very entertaining conspiracy theory. You make a sound case.

    1. I know, right?
      Definitely the closest FoB battle we've played - and I had been a little worried about balance without knowing how to fix it. Need not have been concerned :)

  2. Lovely minis, looks great!

    1. Thanks Phil. It was a very entertaining game, as ever.

  3. I hear Hollywood calling (Californian version of course) !

    1. Yep. It'd make a great script :)

    2. ....its all so obvious when you put it all together!.
      Great game your Ducness, you really nailed the big battle feel.

    3. Thanks mate. The rules really give the effect, and in a reasonable time too. So much that you read about in battles - desperate rallies, troops pushed back, breakthroughs, and of course, generals getting killed...all happens so simply and it's a great design.

  4. Fantastic battle Sir Duc. A glorious looking 17th Century affair, then suddenly... Science Fiction?! You nearly had me fooled there.

    1. Yes Jack, thanks.
      Science fiction you say? To my mind it's simply a grand conspiracy! I'm just glad that I caught it when I did, otherwise history could have been re-written, or at least subtly revised.

      Why - it could've been like an average BBC historical drama! (Tudors, Outlander ...I'm lookin' at you ) ;)

  5. Entertaining report and theory.