Thursday, March 28, 2024

Fleurus 1622: Tercios

This evening, Alex and I got together for a game of Liber Militum Tercios using my 10mm armies. We'd refight Fleurus between the Protestant League and the Spanish. It was a pretty decent sized battle for Tercios but I think it handled it well. 

In the scenario, General Mansfeld (yours truly) is trying to navigate his tired army back to Dutch lands but is intercepted in Spanish Flanders by General Cordoba (Alex). The Protestants need to get over half their units past the Spanish or defeat Cordoba and his army. The Spanish must prevent this. The Protestant army is bigger but they are near mutinous (to reflect this, I rated most of their cavalry as mercenary) and the Cordoba can count on some veteran units. 

View of the battle array from the Spanish side. I chose fairly historical deployments for both sides.

The Spanish left commanded by Da Silva, three units of cavalry and the baggage train which is impassable.

The mighty Spanish tercios of the center. Two of them are "viejo" which gives them veteran status. Also some artillery.

And the Spanish right under Gaucher comprising of three cavalry units...
...and a company of shot deployed in the fortified farm.

The Protestant right commanded by Christian of Brunswick. It looks like a lot (eight cavalry units) but most are mounted harqbusiers and also mercenaries. This means less hitting power and a bit more brittle than you'd think.

Another angle of Christian's cavalry flank.

The Protestant center comprising of 6 units and some artillery.

The Protestant right flank of Johan Streiff. Three cavalry units.

Turn one (from the Protestant point of view), the Protestants surge forward with "Ready" cards and Alex gets exotic with his plan. The Tercios move to the flanks and the cavalry swings toward the center. Interesting...

The beginning of Turn Two. The Protestant center manages to fire off some salvoes of musketry and cannon fire causing some wear. The Protestant right flank moves toward contact.

The Protestant right flank and the Spanish left flank surged into a large cavalry action. My poor decision-making and even worse die rolls made this a bloodbath. Here, Lintzow's mounted harqbusiers are driven off by Losada's mounted harqbusiers.

The punching power of veteran cuirassiers smashed Fleckenstein's mounted harqbusier unit.
The Protestants even managed to lose combats they should have won. Here Streiff's personal unit of cuirassiers is defeated by Benenguer's mounted harqbusiers.

Streiff's right flank dissolved with two units smashed and one disordered and in shameful retreat. "Mercenary" units are automatically removed from the table once they hit break point, whereas regular units have a chance to stay on the table.
The Protestant center was slightly more successful, driving off some Spanish cavalry and inflicting some wear markers (red or white puffs). The Protestant left was fairly indecisive, despite a numerical superiority, the Protestant mounted harqbusiers attempted ineffective carracole maneuvers and avoided coming into melee with the Spanish tercios and cavalry.

The Protestant Liebgarde infantry unit managed to shatter a foolhardy charge by Roblas mounted harqbusiers. The Spanish cavalry unit was shattered in the process...

However, Mitzlaff's "Blue" regiment of infantry was not so fortunate. They were charged by Tercio Isenberg in a bloody struggle that saw several rounds of combat. In Tercios rules, pike armed infantry combats can be declared "bad wars" by either side which extends melees. Alex invoked "bad war" over and over again until finally Mitzlaff's unit was broken.

At this point, my entire right flank was essentially gone. I had lost two cavalry units and an infantry unit on that side of the battlefield. My left flank was a swirling mess of ineffective caracoling and my center was no closer to pushing thru the Spanish opposition. At this point, Mansfeld conceded a clear defeat. Alex and his Spanish host had wone the battle.

I had a blast even though I was thoroughly thrashed. The battle played out somewhat similar to the historical outcome. Poor cavalry performance doomed the Protestant infantry in both reality and on the tabletop. Alex and I got through four turns of combat in about two hours. It was the first time playing for both of us and we chatted a bit throughout the game. The combat felt right and it was fairly simple mechanics and lots of fun. The cards littered the battlefield which some may find untidy but I didn't mind so much. I will definitely play again.


  1. An interesting looking game. I've not heard of tbe rules before, think I need to go and investigate!

  2. Ray, I believe they were originally Spanish-language ruleset that was later released in English. There is a supplement called Kingdoms that has additional rules for the ECW and Eastern European armies (Russians, Poles, Ottoman, etc). They can be a bit hard.tomfins these days but they are quite good if you can get a copy.

  3. Great Battle Josh. I had a great time! love the battle report! looking forward to the nest game!