On 7/18 I was able to get the project I've been working on for a couple of months onto the table - a 6mm recreation of the battle of Fleurus in 1622 using the In Deo Veritas ruleset! All miniatures are Baccus.
In Deo Veritas
In Deo Veritas, by Phil Garton and published by Helion, is a pretty new fast-play set of rules for 17th Century wargames. It uses D6s, with a dice pool hit & save system. Command is by wing, with wings activating in a random order each turn. I'll do a more thorough review in a later post.
Fleurus is a common introductory battle for Thirty Years War games, as it features two relatively small, matched forces in a straight-up fight to break through.
The Protestant army is led by a mercenary odd-couple of Ernst von Mansfeld and Christian of Brunswick. Their army had recently left the service of the King of Bohemia and Elector Palatinate, Frederick V, as Frederick had grown tired of their bickering during an extended retreat. Apparently the veteran von Mansfeld did not appreciate the youthful enthusiasm of the dynamic young Brunswick.
Anyways, after abandoning Frederick, they reconciled to assist the Dutch, moving from southwestern Germany toward the Netherlands. They're hoping to reach and break the siege of Bergen op Zoom, where they can then get paid and fed, but unfortunately a veteran Spanish army led by De Cordoba stood in their way.
|Ernst von Mansfled|
My friend Aaron was kind enough to join me for the game, taking over the Protestant forces, while I played Cordoba's Spanish.
Aaron's objectives were to either break through my lines and exit off my board edge, or break the will of my army, while I was trying to keep either from happening and force a withdrawal. The battle will last 12 turns at most.
|The initial lines looking South, with the Spanish on the left|
|Cordoba awaits Mansfeld's attack|
Mansfeld advances quite cautiously, waiting to see if the Spanish would meet them in the field. I was pretty content to sit on the slight high-ground advantage. Aaron's cards came up early in the stack, so he wasn't able to really see my plan to hold back and didn't want to get caught out. This random dynamic is a really great component of IDV.
|Mansfeld cautiously advances|
|And is joined in caution by Streiff and Christian von Brunswick|
After watching Cordoba sit there for 3 turns, Aaron launches an attack on his right with Streiff's wing. Two of his brigades pass their tests to make contact, leaving one brigade to fight two Spanish cavalry units. The 'Disorder Test' mechanic, which is used for a lot of situations, is used in this case to determine whether a given unit is willing to charge a sound enemy. A D6 test with modifiers gives a result.
|Streiff comes to grips with De Sylva on the Spanish left|
|Combat is met in turn 3|
|Streiff is initially driven back|
Streiff's wing shrugs off their initial defeat (and the subsequent fatigue test) in time for the Spanish left wing to launch an attack. One Spanish brigade is driven back by shooting prior to melee.
In the center, Mansfeld's first brigades begin to engage, and Christian's cavalry begins to charge both the Spanish right-flank cavalry and the detached muskets of Verdugo in the farm.
Scenario note - the Protestant army was exhausted heading into this battle, having been attacked by peasants they were trying to pillage during their long retreat. To represent this, some rulesets have a varying # of cavalry abandon the field. IDV gives the Protestants an overall lower level of training, and a random chance for much of Christian's cavalry wing to potentially be rated raw. Aaron wouldn't know until he made contact exactly how many of/how well his troops were willing to fight. Luckily for him, he made most of the tests, leaving him with mostly trained cavalry.
|On turn 4, Streiff re-engages, Mansfeld moves on Carraciolo's left, Von Brunswick engages De Gaucher and the right of Carraciolo|
|The end of turn 5|
The Spanish go back into their shell, while the Protestants continue their attack.
Mansfeld takes advantage of the space Streiff has created to begin to outflank the Spanish center, Streiff pushes further into the retreating Spanish cavalry, and Christian of Brunswick heroically does not much.
|De Sylva falls back to recover with an early activation...|
|Overhead from the Spanish lines|
|Streiff smashes De Sylva, Mansfeld begins to envelop Carraciolo's left, De Gaucher holds while Christian fumbles around|
Cordoba's army morale holds, but he senses danger and rides to aid his left flank and hopefully keep his veteran cavalry brigade on the field (editor - this was not a good decision on my part 😂).
Aaron was now able to split Streiff's command, bringing one brigade behind the Spanish center, and send another to attack the surviving veterans of De Sylva's wing.
Mansfeld's infantry attacked in numbers now, while Christian was able to move his cavalry in again after stabilizing his routing units.
|The beginning of turn 6, with Cordoba having moved to try to save De Sylva's wing|
|Tercios Ibarra and Fugger|
|The Spanish center holding|
|Fugger moves to attack|
|Christian von Brunswick re-engages both De Gaucher and Tercio Spinelli, Tercio Isenburg advances to aid Spinelli, destroying the attacking brigade|
|At the end of turn 6 Streiff moves to roll up Carracciolo's flank while also capturing Cordoba, one of De Gaucher's brigades falls back, but recovers. Verdugo is starting to waiver in the farm on the right.|
Most importantly, Streiff's brigade routed the remaining Spanish left-cavalry, and I managed to roll two 6s on my 'commander at risk' test, resulting in Cordoba's capture. Whoops! This meant that my army was more likely to flee going forward (although we did hold this turn).
Seeing the bad situation I was in, I ordered an attack with both my remaining wings, as it was clear I was going to need to break the Protestant will before taking too many more tests without my army commander. All three of De Gaucher's cavalry smashed into Christian von Brunswick's brigades, one with the support of a veteran tercio. There was nothing I could do for my left-most tercio, though, as Streiff's cavalry charged them from the rear.
|Ibarra's Tercio is engaged on the sides; Tercio Fugger attacks to clear space. De Gaucher's cavalry all attack.|
|Tercio Ibarra is surrounded and wiped out.|
|Fugger is driven back by the raw brigade and the remnants of Ibarra's tercio scatter, causing disorder throughout the Spanish line (the yellow blocks). Streiff and Mansfeld's troops pursue into Fugger's flank.|
It was time for the all-important general will test for my army, as Aaron had casually passed his test caused by the fatigue of Christian's wing. I had a 1/6 chance...and passed! One more turn!
Turn 8 continued De Gaucher's counterattack on Christian, while my two unengaged tercios repositioned.
|In turn 8, Fugger is driven back while Tercios Isenburg and Spinelli reposition. De Gaucher has Von Brunswick on the run, but the replacement Spanish commander has seen enough and calls it a day.|
We then checked to see how effective Mansfeld's pursuit was. Based on the limited cavalry remaining to him, it was a limited pursuit, although he was able to capture Carraciolo, the center Spanish commander!
The battle was a success for the Protestants, outperforming their historical counterparts.
Both sides were pretty mauled, and had I not sacrificed Cordoba in vain, I would've held on for at least another turn, possibly giving De Gaucher the chance to force a withdrawal from Mansfeld.
Overall, we had a great time. The game flowed well, moved quickly, had a ton of action, and felt like a big battle.
Aaron played an excellent game and really took advantage of the results of the Streiff/De Sylva cavalry battle before things could go too poorly for Christian von Brunswick. Nice job!
We had a few questions, but nothing significant.
Now, to build up for another battle! I'm thinking Stadtlohn or Wittstock next.