The Big One... Part 1 Getting organized

Cruising off the Dutch coast - d'Estrees White Squadron with the English Red and Blue behind.

I have been motivating myself with the thought of a large-scale fleet type battle for a while. As I have split my painting efforts between English, Dutch, French, Barbary and Chinese vessels I had to find something that would allow me to maximize the number of models on the table within a historical context.

I plumped for the 3rd Anglo Dutch War when the English and French were allied. This allowed me to combine the vessels of each navy and pit them against the Dutch in home waters off the island of Texel which I have had the privilege of visiting. The chosen engagement was The Battle of the Texel, August 21, 1673.

I have changed some details including the all important wind direction (from south east to north east).

De Ruyter sails out from his anchorage off the island of Texel.

The Dutch fleet is modelled on De Ruyter's central division of eighteen ships and is only a few short of the actual historical total when associated fireships and light craft are discounted.

The Anglo-French fleet is an amalgam of ships from the French (White) squadron together with ships of the English Red and Blue squadrons.

All vessels included in the fleet lists with the exception of the fireships and hoekers, were present at the battle of The Texel.

I began with the raw ship lists and then began to build the additions until I had each balanced around 2575 points. The Anglo-French is a negligible 0.1% larger than the Dutch in points value.

My Dutch fleet has grown quite a bit over the last few weeks

I chose not to follow the pattern of the historical action but to set the fleets up to create a balanced and unpredictable scenario with the heavier but less able Anglo-French fleet facing a lighter but more seasoned Dutch force. At the real battle the Dutch were outnumbered by about 3:2 and significantly outgunned. This game is a little more evenly balanced.

I created some templates for easy ship identification

There are some big hitting admirals in this battle including De Ruyter and van Nes and of course the dashing cavalier turned General at Sea, Prince Ruprecht. Spragge and d'Estrees are both present as were many other famous officers of the day.

Game set up from the west/ The wind is blowing from the north East so the Anglo French are to windward.

I did quite a bit of painting to get the Dutch in particular up to strength. Before I strike a blow will let blog visitors have a look at the set up and if anyone feels like suggesting tactics for either side please feel free. That principle is working very well in the context of the campaign I am running currently.

This is the largest number of ships I have deployed in a single game so far- 41 in total - 21 Dutch and 20 Allied. The make up of the fleets you can read about in the next post.