Monday, 6 December 2021

Battle of Dettingen; 27th June 1743.

This is my own interpretation of events. Any mistakes are my own.

As part of the Pragmatic agreement the British Government sent troops to Europe to aid the Empress of Austria in her fight against Prussia. This was also in response to French intervention on behalf of Bavaria. The French were supporting  Charles the 7th of Bavaria as the elected leader of the Holy Roman Empire in opposition to Austria.

The King of Britain, George the 2nd was also the Duke of Hanover.  As much as he wanted to be seen as a staunch ally of Austria, the action was perceived by some to be a move to protect Hanover from any French takeover. This rumour was further strengthened when the Pragmatic Army stayed on the northeastern bank of the Main.

[ George was also known as an "Elector". These were a group of Princes within the Empire who formed a Council to elect the Holy Roman Emperor ].

As stated before, the British troops were auxiliary to the Hanovarian army as were the Hessians. The other main component were the troops from the Austrian Netherlands ( modern Belgium ), commanded by the Duke of Aremberg.

June of 1743 found the Pragmatic army camped at Aschaffenberg enroute to Bavaria. While there the information came that the French had retired from Bavaria, having lost the campaign against the invading Austrians.

In order to save his kingdom , the Emperor Charles 7th ( who was also the Wittalsbach Duke of Bavaria ), made peace with the Austrians thereby negating the reason for the the Pragmatic army to be there!.

[ Very soon after this Charles 7th expired. His son Maximillian 3rd Joseph succeeded him. By 1745 Bavaria was in ruins. To gain peace with Austria, Joseph acceded to Hapsburg Austria,s right to rule the Holy Roman Empire, an entity in name only ].

The Allied army had further problems. Supplies coming down the river Main from the Netherlands had been cut off by French Forces. The senior commanders also had to wait on the deliberations of George the 2nd.  The King expressed the wish to lead the army in person.

This created further headaches for the commander's who were in charge of an army that was starving, and suffering from a breakdown in discipline. By the time the King arrived from Hanover, the army was in a bad way. In Council the decision was made to march north,through Dettingen to Hanau and back to the Netherlands.

The French Marshal , the Duc De Noailles, watching these events, conceived a plan to take advantage of the dire situation in which the allies found themselves. Realising that the Allies were heading toward Dettingen, the Duke laid his trap. 

To the south of Dettingen was a boggy ravine behind which Noailles positioned 21,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry commanded by the Duke De Gramont assisted by the Count De Harcourt.

On the west side of the river Main the Marshal positioned his artillery to fire into the left flank of the enemy army as it advanced toward the ravine. After the Allied army had marched from Aschaffenburg, the Duke sent another 12,000 men into the town behind the Allies. With the Spessart hills to the East, the. Allied  Army was effectively trapped.

Well, that was the plan which, had it been enacted would have been the end of the Allied Army and the humiliating capture of a King!

In a moment of madness, all the careful planning was undone. For reasons only known to the Duc De Gramont, this same gentleman suddenly left his advantageous position behind the boggy ravine and led the army across the only bridge onto the plain.

To the Duke De Noailles horror the cavalry then charged the left of the Allied army——-———.

Here are the armies laid out for battle,

THE PRAGMATIC ARMY; 38,200 + 98 guns.

[ 98 x 30 men for each gun = 2940 men. 2.940 pts x 2 = 5.880 or 6 points in guns].


3,600 Line Infantry = 3.600 x 2= 7 points r/d.
1,600 Cavalry = 1.600 x 2= 3 points r/d.

1 C-in-C King George 2nd @ 1 point.
1 General, John Dalrymple, Lord Stair @ 1 point.
3 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points = 6 points.
2 stands of Dragoon Cavalry @ 1 point = 2 points.
2 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 2 points.

[ note; The British Guards and Grenadiers were sent back toward Aschaffenburg to act as a rearguard which did not go down well with the troops!].


10,000 Line Infantry = 10 points x 2 =20 points.
2,000 Cavalry = 2 points x 2 = 4 points.

1 General, Ilton @ 1 point.
1 stand of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points.
5 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 15 points.
2 stands of Dragoon Cavalry @ 2 points = 4 points.
1 stand of Heavy Artillery @ 2 points.


4,200 Line Infantry = 4.200 points x 2 = 8 pts r/d.
800 Dragoon Cavalry = 0.800 points x 2 = 2 pts r/u.

1 stand of Grenadier Infanty = 4 points.
2 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points = 4 points.
1 stand of Dragoon Cavalry @ 2 points.


14,000 Infantry = 14 points x 2 = 28 points.
2,000 Cavalry = 2 points x 2 = 4 points.

1 General, Leopold Phillipe D,Aremberg @ 1 point.
2 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 pts = 8 points.
6 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 18 points.
2 stands of Dragoon Cavalry  @ 2 pts = 4 points.
1 stand of Hussar Light Cavalry @ 1 point.
1 stand of  Heavy Artillery @ 2 points.


21,000 Infantry = 21 points x 2 = 42 points.
12,000 Cavalry = 12 points x 2 = 24 points.
54 guns  [ 54 x 30 = 1620 = 1.620 x 2 = 3.240 = 3pts r/d.

1 General and C-in-C Louis de Noailles @ 1point.
1 Louis de Gramont the 6th. @ 1 point.
1 General Louis de Lorraine Count of Harcourt @ 1 point.

1 stand of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points.
11 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 33 points.
2 stands of Light Infantry @ 1 point = 2 points.
8 stands of Cavalry @ 3 points =24 points.
3 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 3 points.

Historical Notes;

I have read various accounts of this battle and in each, the numbers are different. The British troops were numbered as 16,000. Looking at the list of regiments, I can only tally approximately 6,000.

The Hanovarian army were dressed in uniforms practically the same as the British, with red being the main colour so I wondered if the  Hanovarian troops were thought of as British?

I had a similar problem with the French. I dont know wether the 12,000 that the Duke sent toward Aschaffenburg were part of the main army or were additional.

So, the figures I have given above are conjectural, but it seems to work. I think Noailles was on the west bank with the guns where he could order both wings of his army. However the troops intended for Aschaffenberg never actually got there. Simularly, the British and Hanovarian Guards were sent back toward Aschaffenberg as a rearguard, so were not involved in the action, for which they were later ridiculed by the Line troops!.

The river Main meanders in roughly a south easterly direction across modern Germany. The battle took place on part of the river that runs approximately north to south. The French batteries turned out to have very little effect on the battle. They were also masked by their own Cavalry.

Some time after the battle, Marshal Noailles told the French King, Louis the 15th that discipline in the army was collapsing. Given the defeats that the army had previously suffered along with the harsh natural conditions the army was operating in, it was understandable.

It would be down to Marshal Maurice de Saxe to restore French honour at Fontenoy.

It is interesting to note, that up to this point in time both Britain and France were not officially at war. Both were acting as auxiliaries to other Powers.

Fighting the Battle;

* On the 1st Game-Turn, the French move first and fire first and also have the Initiative Point.

* On Game-Turns, 2 to 8, the Pragmatic Army move and fires first and retains the Initiative Point. The Pragmatic Army also wins any ties.

* Any stands having to move into the river Main will be lost.

* The Ravine;
I'm not sure how much of an obstacle this was, but the fact that Gramont moved the army over the bridge illustrates how much of a problem it presented to movement.

Therefore, any stands moving into the ravine have to stop immediately. If, during " move back" a stand has to stop before the regulation spacing can be obtained, that stand is removed from play.


Most of the figures are Miniature Figurines 15mm with a mix of Peter Pig and Essex Miniatures. The wagons are from Peter Pig.
The houses are from Total Battle Miniatures. The trees are from various manufacturers.
The square stands are cut from picture framing cardboard, the round mdf bases at from Minibits.
The hills are scratchbuilt as are the bridges. The roads and rivers are cut from thin card. As before, the board is 3 feet x 2 feet ( 90cm x 60 cm ).

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see another scenario Mike. I never really expect scenarios based on real battles to be exactly like the original but to be the basis for an interesting game. Not sure when I will get round to this one as I have been diverted to Wars of the Roses and have managed to do a bit of painting (which I seldom feel like). Best wishes. Jim