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Lutter am Barenberge (1626): 6mm Thirty Years War

The Count of Tilly's Imperial army (Doug and Richard) took on King Christian IV of Denmark's forces (Rob) yesterday, in the Battle of Lutter am Barenberge (27 August 1626) as I hosted another 6mm Thirty Years War game at the community centre.

Christian IV (21,000 men, 20 guns - in 10 brigades) was intervening on the Protestant side in the so-called 'Danish phase' of the war.

He was attempting to tackle Tilly (24,400 men, 15 guns - in 12 brigades) who had been steamrollering through Germany since 1620. We used my Wallenstein rules and 6mm Heroics and Ros figures.

The Danes used the Dutch brigade system for their infantry, which was nevertheless of middling quality, but they had more artillery and good cavalry.

The Imperial army was using the Early Tercios and had more cavalry. Doug faced off against Rob who was holding the hill.

On the Imperial right, two brigades of medium cavalry on each side contested the flank. Rob's Danes attacked first, but the battle swung to and fro throughout the night.

On the Imperial left, Doug outnumbered the Danish horse. However, Rob moved his cavalry from the centre to reinforce his right flank.

Richard took charge of the Imperial right and centre-right when he arrived.

The Imperial tercios slowly advanced, and it looked as though Christian IV's army was going to be rolled over.

However, Rob's dice-rolling luck changed during the game, and as both sides got into the rules, the advantages of the Dutch system (poor at close combat but good at shooting) became apparent.

Danish artillery and close range infantry fire, coupled with defensive bonuses for defending the hill, enabled Rob to repel three or more assaults by the Tercios after successive push-backs.

The Danish right was battered by Doug's cavalry and infantry, with just one infantry unit left, but not outflanked, owing to the Danish cavalry.

On the Danish left, the infantry remained in place since no great headway was made by the Imperial cavalry.

This was partly because Richard could not activate arriving Imperial cavalry reinforcements on several attempts, which therefore played no further role in the game.

While the Danish centre was bruised by the Imperial infantry attacks and three of its infantry units were pushed back, despite Rob forming a right-angle with one unit to shore up his right, the tercios did not manage a full breakthrough.

In the end, the Imperial side lost 4 out of 10 tercios and one veteran medium cavalry unit, compared to two Danish 'Dutch brigade' units, 1 cavalry unit and 1 artillery unit. A defeat for the Count, then. Historically Tilly launched a successful double envelopment of the Danes, and won a decisive victory.

Thanks to the players for a good game and a nice evening.



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