Tally Ho!

Tuesday 11 April 2023

Arsenic and Old Lace - Blenheim refought

For this years Easter game we played a scenario based on Blenheim - the first major battle of the War of Spanish Succession, fought in 1704. This was a 28mm game  using version 1 of Beneath the Lilly Banners. So a classic Lace Wars encounter.

The field was dominated by a series of streams which slowed movement and disordered units whilst in them. The main objectives were two towns under French control in the centre and on the right. I was playing the French right wing and so had to defend Blenheim itself. 

Overview from the British left opposite Blenheim

We followed history in our setup and so brigades of cavalry and infantry were dispersed across the line for both sides. We counted all the British / Dutch forces as superior shooting and their cavalry as heavier than the French.     
British Horse near Blenheim

British horse in the centre

British foot opposite the French left 

The French task was to defend their position and so they would have the benefit of not moving and firing for most of the game, but they did start some way back from the streams so would need to advance if they wanted to hold the bridges.  

French horse

French defenders of the central village

Long shot from the British centre with Blenheim on the right

The British on the French right advanced quickly towards Blenheim at first, but then became hesitant as they tried to deploy into line. Both sides being reluctant to fire their first volley at long range things degenerated into an artillery duel which suited the French as time was not a pressure. 
British Fusiliers attack Blenheim 

The doughty French defenders

Centrally both sides advanced their horse and attempted to charge into the enemy whilst their infantry moved in support. This part of the action favoured the better British horse who beat back the French but then pursued too vigorously, before being shot down by the French foot.  

British ford the steram opposite the French left

British attack the centre

French in wait in the centre

British heavies hit home

With time against them the British diverted some troops from Blenheim to attack the central village. Murderous fire ensued and casualties were heavy, but the village remained in French hands as the attackers withdrew.   
Another British attack on the centre 

French horse moves to cover Blenheim

Around Blenheim itself there was a brief cavalry battle which marginally favoured the French and delayed the British advance a few more turns. 

British ready to attack at Blenheim

French cuirassiers beat the British back

As darkness fell the British had yet to make a serious play for Blenheim and so it remained in French hands. So in a reversal of history the French won the day and held both objectives.  
As the light fades the final British attack stalls.


  1. Aha! The figures that helped win the Stuart Asquith Trophy!

    1. A few people have been inspired to start collecting so another weekend game is being planned for May

  2. Sounds like the British needed to shoot a General to encourage the others!