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"WAS Army rating" Topic

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crogge1757 Supporting Member of TMP09 Dec 2017 8:58 a.m. PST

I am preparing a big refight of the battle of Lawffeldt 2 July 1747 [comes in multiple spellings. Todays Lavelt]
Will be our Grande Santa Claus Massacre with multiple players and the table packed full of miniatures from one end to the other. Great fun.
I'm a bit short on literature on the campaigns in Flandres and Brabant. Possibly the many educated members here can help.

How would I rate the Dutch Troops in relation to Austrians, Anglo-Hannoverians, etc. of the combined Austro-Imperials & Pragmatic Army? Inf. & Cav. I learned that some of the Dutch Cav. paniced & in the event was quite effective in cutting its way through their own Inf. and some Hannoverian horse to make good their escape.

For the time being, I rate Austrians, British, Hannoverians, Hessians as rather the equal. Austrian Inf with approx 50% of its units without battalion guns, hence less fire power. Brits, Hess. and Hannv. are much better here.
Bavarians I rate rather poor quality & I'm inclinded to do the same with the Dutch, for game balance issues.
Would that be VERY unjust?

Thanks for any of your thoughts.

de Ligne Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Dec 2017 9:50 a.m. PST

I agree with you. Their performance at Fontenoy was distinctly average although most English language commentators are a little hard on them as they attacked the village of Fontenoy twice, although out of sequence with the main British attack.

AussieAndy Supporting Member of TMP09 Dec 2017 11:54 a.m. PST

Yep. I would also rate them below their allies (and I'm half Dutch).

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Dec 2017 11:00 p.m. PST

I would rate the British, Hanoverians and Hessians at the top and the Austrians and Dutch at the bottom. My perception that the Austrian-Dutch performances were due in part to the lackluster quality of their senior command.

crogge1757 Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2017 8:32 a.m. PST

Thanks guys.
Much appreciated. I also thought Dutch & Bavarians should be counted among the least motivated to spill their blood for the good and just cause of the Young Empress-Queen, hence poor morale rating.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2017 9:08 a.m. PST

Look at the site of Red Sash games. He has very detailed games on done, his rules, his historical booklets and the cyberboard or vassal of his games ( to see the counter values) are loadable ( posdibly at liley yank if not on his site). He would have given it a good thought, with sound analysis.

seneffe11 Dec 2017 3:56 p.m. PST

I'd agree that by 1747, the British and Hanoverians had acquired a high reputation for real staunchness and battle discipline both with their allies and enemies. Wasn't always thus- at Dettingen in 1743 perhaps the most solid troops were the Austrians. Several British and Hanoverian units took part in three or four of the major WAS battles in Germany/Flanders plus the jacobite Rebellion for the Brits- so they were pretty experienced.

The Hessians had a high reputation too- well trained but a bit less experienced- their first major taste of action was Rocoux in 1746 (a bit in the Rhine campaign of 1734 in an earlier war). Maybe a marginal difference with the British/Hanoverians by 1747??

Austrians pretty solid too- fought very well at Dettingen (captured a standard of the Gardes Francaises and helped break the Maison di Roi) but were not heavily engaged at Rocoux or Lauffeldt so hard to say how they would perform under real pressure.

Dutch- a very mixed bag with mixed performance over time. Tough time at Fontenoy as well known. A difficult mission but very hard to say they fought as well as the British and Hanoverians in similar circumstances. However, according to JW Fortescue- the 19th century historian of the British army- the Dutch fought 'splendidly' at Rocoux, only withdrawing after a fight as hard as the British.

There is a tendency to grade some of the foreign mercenaries in the Dutch army, especially the Swiss and Scots more highly than native Dutch- but I don't know how much if any difference there really was. Scots fought at Rocoux, doing well, and very tenaciously at Bergen op Zoom.

I don't know much about the performance of the Bavarians- they had after all been on the other side of the fight till 1745- when they hoped their Elector would become established as Holy Roman Emperor. But they were pretty much forced into the allied camp by national bankruptcy in 1746 so they were essentially mercenaries like the Hessians. I think I have read that they did fight pretty well at Rocoux near/with the Dutch contingent- but I could not give you a primary reference for that right now.

BTW- if you have a good OoB for Lauffeldt- please share. I don't have a complete one myself.

crogge1757 Supporting Member of TMP12 Dec 2017 3:17 p.m. PST


Thanks for your thoughts. Still working on the orbats. The Allies are numerous. French numerical advantage isn't all that signifficant. Gamewise, their position isn't so bad. Kindergarden issue here to form a solid line. Cumberland may have screwed this one, but none of our gamers will – believe me. I guess, I will have to twist with the "brilliance in command & Le Roi très amusante in best spirits" to give the French an edge. Otherwise little chance to punch in a hole & bring the Allies even near a crisis.
I don't have orbats of the day. Just the general ones dating earlier. Have multiple records and bits that need to be knitted together. I'm at it.
Not easy to get a picture. Starts with the different dates, as Brit old sources still have the long obsolete Julian calendar. Took me a while to understand. Then, every source uses its own spelling for the multiple names of villages and hamlets found in this area. Very important to know what line aligned from obscure Flemish hamlet A to other obscure Flemish hamlet B. A story of its own.
Also battle accounts clash. Brit sources have the English defending Lawfeld in the hottest of the fight ???, while a rather sound Hanover source has 4 Hannoverian battalions doing all the work here. Interesting. Also it was mostly Hannover battalion guns spitting carnage among the French with Hannover general Brückemann's recent introduced iron grape rounds (many details provided here) – while English guns limbered once the French closed to within 600 paces and moved to some saver place, its said ???.
Now I'm at it & will arrive at my scenario, for sure.
Possibly the battle of Rocoux would have been easier to research.

seneffe13 Dec 2017 5:03 p.m. PST

Interesting. Rex Whitworth's biography of Gen Ligonier states that at the outset of the battle eight battalions of British and Hessians were responsible for defending Lauffeldt and its immediate area. But then Cumberland ordered Lauffeldt and nearby Vlytingen to be evacuated and then burned.

After a while says Whitworth, the fire subsided and the semi-burned village of Lauffeldt was reoccupied. It is not clear if the same troops re-occupied it, although Whitworth says that that in this second deployment, some of the Hessians were close to but outside the village, with their right flank echeloned back towards the main allied infantry line behind the villages. The sourcing of all of this is Ligonier's own letters.

So Whitworth does not specify whether British, Hessian or Hanoverian troops were inside Lauffeldt during the second deployment to the village.

However, a c19th history of the British 8th (King's) Regt of Foot states that Lt Richard Davenant of that regiment captured a French infantry colour during the fighting in the village.

So nothing conclusive from me about the actual garrison I'm afraid. I would say though from from their casualties- and those of the French- British, Hanoverians and Hessians all fought extremely hard in the immediate vicinity of Lauffeldt.

Also- 'Gunner at large'- the letters of Capt James Wood of the Royal Artillery- gives a brief account (most of the book is actually about his service in the colonies in the SYW) of his company's action at Lauffeldt where he was present and speaks of its grapeshot mowing down the French infantry deployed in deep columns- so they were apparently pretty close and personal with Saxe's men.
One of the RA companies also lost some of its guns by being unable to pull them out of a sunken lane near one of the villages at the end of the battle, so like Wood' guns, they seem to have been in the thick of the fighting. Like many accounts by allies of allies- the Hanoverian account referenced might not be 100% accurate in all respects. But then, which combat account is 100% accurate?……..

crogge1757 Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2017 1:50 p.m. PST

Well, Laufeldt was 'near' captured several times & Allies poured in a lot of reinforcements. Difficult to say how Cumberland fed the fighting. Certainly several English battalions were involved here. No doubt. As to the artillery, I learned that the battalion guns were issued to the battalions only during the night. At that time they weren't as fixed to the units as during the SYW. We don't know if the material was supplied strictly by nation. Possibly not. From Allies records of the SYW I know that British gunners at times served Hannoverian pieces – but with English units. Around Laufeldt, the Allied line must have been more mixed up as it should have been with the conventional deployment. All English battalions would have been on the far left, but the Guards were seen on the right between Bavarians and the Hessian Grenadier regiment. That certainly wasn't their regular position in the line.

By the way, I have ordered Charles Grant's vol. 2 of his series Wargaming in History today covering the battle. He told me that it includes the original orbats of that day.

crogge1757 Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2017 4:36 p.m. PST

Drop me your email. I was forwarded rather detailed orbats and situation maps of the battle originating from the II&RR Austrian General Staff History of the WAS. Great Stuff. Its all in German but mostly tables. Should be easy to read.

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